Defense Presents Old Notes on Priest

By Josh Noel
Chicago Tribune [Elkhorn WI]
February 22, 2006,1,6482329.story?coll=chi-newslocalnorthshore-hed

ELKHORN, Wis. -- Rev. Donald McGuire's attorney presented four pages of notes in court Tuesday that indicate one of his accusers complained in 1969 that the priest asked to kiss him and that the two exchanged massages.

But the notes, supposedly taken by a Loyola Academy administrator during a meeting with the alleged victim and his father in December 1969, also say the behavior "never went any further," said defense attorney Gerald Boyle.

Prosecutors say McGuire, 75, repeatedly fondled two boys in the 1960s while having them sleep in his bed at separate times at the Wilmette school.

Because the statute of limitations prevented him from being charged in Cook County, McGuire is on trial in Walworth County, Wis., where he is accused of molesting the boys five times at a vacation home in Fontana.

Boyle presented the notes at the end of a long day of testimony from one of the men alleging the abuse. Boyle said the man was the student who initially came forward.

The accuser, who asked that his name not be made public, testified in a low, halting voice that he did meet with a school administrator and his father about the alleged abuse, but that he did not say that the abuse stopped at massages and requests for kisses.

Earlier in the day, he testified that he and McGuire regularly fondled each other and that the priest had performed oral sex on him. The Tribune does not identify alleged victims of sexual abuse unless they agree to have their names used.

Walworth County District Atty. Phil Koss tried to discredit the notes, calling to the stand Loyola Academy Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Terence Brennan, who said no copy of the notes could be found at the school.

Earlier in the day, the accuser, who is 52 and lives in Arizona, testified that he had been struggling with his grades and with getting to school on time when McGuire suggested to his family that he stay at Loyola. The man said his father approved the idea but was not to be told that the teenager would be sleeping in McGuire's bed.

In 1970, after a year of the alleged molestation, the man said he tearfully told his neighborhood priest, Rev. Charles Schlax of Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Chicago, about it. The accuser said the meeting with Loyola administrators couldn't have happened in 1969 because it followed his confession to Schlax.

"I didn't have anybody else to turn to," he said. "I don't remember a lot of the conversation. I remember I was crying. I remember Father Schlax told me, `Don't worry, I'll take care of it.' I was afraid of Father McGuire, and I was afraid of my father."

Schlax is expected to testify Wednesday.

Like he did Monday when the other accuser testified, Boyle tried to paint the witness as a money chaser who stands to profit from a civil lawsuit filed in Cook County against McGuire and the Chicago Province of the Society of Jesus in 2003. McGuire has been dropped from the suit.

The Chicago Jesuits said Tuesday that McGuire, who has worn a priest's collar throughout the trial, has been suspended from active ministry but would not reveal further details or say whether wearing the collar is a violation of its rules.


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