Trial Will Determine Priest's Future

Associated Press, carried in Duluth News Tribune
February 19, 2006

ELKHORN, Wis. - A retired Catholic priest molested two boys at a home in Wisconsin in the late 1960s after befriending them at an Illinois academy, a prosecutor said as the man's trial began with opening statements Friday.

Walworth County District Attorney Phil Koss described the Rev. Donald McGuire as "a stereotypical Irishman with a twinkle in his eye."

"People gravitated to him and they like him," Koss added.

McGuire, 75, of Chicago, is charged in Circuit Court with five counts of indecent behavior with a child, carrying up to 50 years in prison.

Koss said McGuire befriended the two boys, then between 14 and 15 years old, at Loyola Academy in Wilmette, Ill., where he taught several foreign languages and religion.

The priest eventually began a pattern of massaging and rubbing the boys' genitals at both his on-campus living quarters and during trips to a home in the Geneva Lake resort area in Fontana, Wis., Koss said.

The Wisconsin incidents are the subject of the charges against him.

Defense lawyer Gerald Boyle used his opening statement to raise questions about the accusers and their motivation.

He implied that the two, who now are 52 and 53, had the opportunity to conspire about their allegations against McGuire, having filed civil actions in Illinois in 2003 against the Jesuit order that ran the academy.

The lawyer the men hired "put the two in touch with each other and they talked to each other time and time again," including one conversation of three hours, Boyle said.

The accusers have claimed they did not know each other until one filed a complaint with the school in 2003. Koss said the second man came forward after getting a letter from Loyola Academy saying McGuire had been accused of a crime.

According to Koss, one of the accusers told another priest of being molested by McGuire shortly after it allegedly happened, and the priest told academy officials to no avail. He said the boy transferred from the school and McGuire left soon after that.


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