Convicted Priest May Be Ousted by Jesuits

By M. Daniel Gibbard
Chicago Tribune
February 25, 2006,1,4134482.story?coll=chi-newslocalnearwest-hed

A review board will resume proceedings that could lead to the removal from the priesthood of Rev. Donald McGuire, who was convicted Thursday of molesting two Loyola Academy boys in the 1960s, a Jesuit leader said Friday.

Rev. Edward Schmidt, who has the final say on McGuire's fate, said he expects the review to be fairly quick.

"The board will then make a recommendation to me on his status, which could mean permanent removal from the ministry," said Schmidt, the head of the Chicago Province of the Society of Jesus. "Of course we're praying for him, as we pray for the claimants and everyone involved. We want the right thing to happen here."

McGuire, 75, was convicted late Thursday by a jury in Elkhorn, Wis., of five felony counts of indecent behavior with a child during retreats to the Lake Geneva area in 1967 and '68.

McGuire faces a maximum of 10 years per count at sentencing, set for May 26. He remains free on bail and lives at a Jesuit home in Hyde Park.

He also allegedly molested the boys while living at Loyola Academy in Wilmette, but the statute of limitations in Illinois had run out. Because the Wisconsin statute of limitations does not apply to out-of-state residents, he was not protected there.

The two abused men have sued the Jesuits in Cook County, but the litigation was on hold during the criminal case, said their attorney, Marc Pearlman.

Before the verdict Thursday, Pearlman, who has settled other sex abuse suits against the Jesuits, said an agreement is in place to try to reach a speedy settlement of the suit, and Schmidt took the same position Friday.

The Jesuits, a Catholic religious order dedicated to education and missionary work, also issued an apology.

"We apologize to these two men, their families and the faithful that have looked to the Church for guidance and moral authority," the Jesuits said in a written statement. "The two men whose complaints prompted this case clearly have suffered pain. We hold them in our prayers and hope to meet with them."

Officials at Loyola would not comment on whether McGuire's conviction was discussed with students Friday.

Michael O'Rourke, a Chicago attorney who graduated from Loyola in 1969, said McGuire never made any advances toward him. He said he had numerous run-ins with McGuire, who he remembered as an overbearing taskmaster.

"He was a very intense guy. A very intelligent guy," O'Rourke said. "But off."

O'Rourke remembered McGuire always had a group of kids around who helped him set up heavyweight theological lectures that, he recalls, few people went to.

"I never suspected anything," he said. "I'm not a genius, but there are a lot of guys at the academy who were pretty smart [and] I don't think anybody suspected this guy was physically assaulting the students."


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