Ex-Student Testifies Priest Fondled, Massaged Him

By Josh Noel
Chicago Tribune
February 21, 2006,1,

ELKHORN, Wis. -- A Massachusetts man who says a renowned Jesuit priest molested him in the 1960s spent more than four hours Monday detailing for jurors how Rev. Donald McGuire allegedly fondled him and exchanged naked massages with him when he was a teenager in his room on the Loyola Academy campus in Wilmette.

But amid graphic evidence, the witness, Victor Bender, 53, was questioned by a defense attorney who described him as money-hungry and pointed out apparent discrepancies in his story. The Tribune does not identify alleged victims of sexual abuse unless they agree to have their names used, as Bender did Monday.

Defense attorney Gerald Boyle said Bender incorrectly told police that McGuire had no distinguishing marks on his body and that he couldn't say whether the priest was circumcised or name the floor on which McGuire lived in the school's faculty residence.

"I'm very satisfied with where I'm at," Boyle said after court was recessed. Walworth County District Atty. Phil Koss declined to comment.

Though the criminal case includes lurid details of alleged sexual encounters between McGuire and two teens between 1966 and 1968 on Loyola Academy's Wilmette campus, the priest is formally accused only of five separate sexual encounters with the boys at Bender's uncle's home in Fontana, Wis., near Lake Geneva.

During recesses, McGuire, 75, the former spiritual director for Mother Theresa and her nuns, greeted friends who had flown in for the trial.

Bender said he had tried to repress memories of the molestation but then received a letter from Loyola Academy in 2003. That letter said an unidentified fellow student alleged that McGuire had molested him in the 1960s.

He said he read on the Internet about a civil lawsuit filed against McGuire by the other alleged victim--who is scheduled to testify Tuesday and declined to provide his name--and quickly contacted the man's attorney.

Bender said he wanted to "bring McGuire out of the shadows."

The civil suit against McGuire has been dropped, but a suit against the Chicago Jesuit order remains active.

During a cross-examination that took almost twice as long as questioning from the prosecutor, Boyle said high-profile civil lawsuits have been filed against the Catholic Church in Massachusetts, Bender's home state.

Boyle later pointed out that Bender repeatedly said McGuire lived on the "top floor" of the faculty residence, which he thought might have been the second floor. McGuire lived on the third floor, Boyle said.

Boyle also said Bender hedged in interviews about whether the priest was circumcised, even though he testified that he and McGuire often saw each other naked. Projecting a photo of the priest's uncircumcised penis, Boyle said Bender should have known the difference.

Boyle also noted that Bender said the priest had no distinguishing marks on his body but showed pictures of bright red splotches on McGuire's neck and back. Bender immediately responded that the priest once told him forceps caused the marks at birth, but that he had forgotten about them during questioning.


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