Cardinal: I Should've Done More

By Cathleen Falsani
Chicago Sun-Times
March 21, 2006

Two damning reports released by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago Monday show how missteps by Cardinal Francis George and a host of other church officials allowed an accused pedophile priest to remain in ministry for years with unfettered access to scores of children.

The reports were commissioned by the archdiocese after the Rev. Daniel McCormack was charged with molesting three boys at Chicago's St. Agatha parish between September 2001 and December 2005.

As Jimmy Lago, the archdiocesan chancellor, read an overview of the findings, George sat in a chair off to the side, head bowed, arms folded tightly.

Cardinal Francis George listens Monday as an archdiocese official discusses a report on alleged priest sex abuse.
Photo by the Jean Lachat/Sun-Times

"You read it and you weep," George said. "For the many missteps in responding to the accusations of sexual abuse of minors by Father McCormack, I must accept responsibility. And I do. For the tragedy of allowing children to be in the presence of a priest against whom a current allegation of sexual abuse had been made, I am truly sorry."

The two reports included an audit of how the archdiocese handled the allegations against McCormack and a review of the archdiocese's monitoring system for priests accused of abuse.

The audit, by Defenbaugh & Associates, an international security consulting firm, outlines numerous occasions when church officials could have intervened to remove McCormack, 37, from ministry but did not, dating to when he was a seminarian.

In the review of the archdiocese's monitoring system for accused pedophile priests, Terry Childers, a clinical social worker and consultant to the U.S. Courts and Federal Judicial Center on sex offender supervision, said the monitoring system allows accused priests to remain anonymous -- a state in which sex offenders "thrive."

When George learned McCormack had been questioned by police but that authorities did not feel they had enough evidence to charge him with a crime, the cardinal refused to remove the young, popular priest from ministry -- despite a "precautionary" recommendation from his own review board that McCormack be yanked from St. Agatha.

"For not following [the review board's] advice . . . I am deeply regretful and sorry," George said.

Childers' report notes that 18 priests accused of sexually abusing minors are being "monitored" ineffectually by the archdiocese in various settings by "monitors" -- three priests, two nuns and a deacon -- none of whom has received any training about sex offender management.

Records disappeared

"The monitors are not officially advised of the type of sexual abuse committed," Childers' report said. "One monitor did report requesting information about the sexual activity of the priest he was assigned to monitor, and was advised by the archdiocese that such information could not be revealed because of confidentiality."

Among other revelations in the two reports (which can be read in full on the archdiocese's Web site, are:

*Archdiocesan officials failed to follow their own protocols for reporting allegations of abuse against McCormack -- internally and to civil authorities -- and appear to have violated Illinois law that mandates reporting of such allegations to police and DCFS.

*Archdiocesan officials have known for more than a decade that McCormack, who was ordained in 1994, was accused of sexual improprieties with two adult men and one minor in 1992 when he was a seminarian.

*The vice rector of Mundelein Seminary when McCormack was a student, the Rev. John Canary, who is now vicar general of the Chicago archdiocese, says the 1992 allegations were noted in McCormack's seminary record. The records have since disappeared.

*Twelve priests accused of sexual abuse of a minor live in a "monitored setting" in the Cardinal Stritch retreat house on the Mundelein campus, but the monitoring is done by a deacon who knows little if anything about their sexual histories and has no training in dealing with sex offenders.

*The priests have master keys to all the Stritch house rooms, including those used by other men and women who visit throughout the year. They have unrestricted access to the Internet. At least one priest spends most nights away from the retreat house.

*Two accused abusers live at an unidentified retirement home for priests in the south suburbs, where they are each monitored by retired priests. The archdiocese is selling some land next to the retirement home to a local municipality that plans to build a children's playground.

Retired priest shocked

After years of refusing to do so, citing privacy and fairness issues, George released what he said was a comprehensive list of 55 priests who have "substantiated allegations" of sexual misconduct with minors dating back to 1950.

The Chicago Sun-Times attempted to reach each of the men whose names were included on the list but had not appeared before in news reports. The paper was able to reach only one.

Leonard Bogdan, who is retired and living in Arizona, was shocked when a reporter told him his name had been made public on a list of accused abusers.

"It was alleged but never proven," he said. "I'm very upset because back when that was brought up, the person who alleged it said he did not want to make it public."

The archdiocese has hired a child welfare expert, John Goad, former associate deputy director of DCFS, to help implement new training programs about mandated reporting of sexual abuse of children for all archdiocesan employees, and has appointed an ad hoc advisory committee to provide counsel on how to implement recommendations from the Defenbaugh and Childers reports.

Contributing: Eric Herman


Monday, the Archdiocese of Chicago released its most comprehensive list to date of 55 priests, current and former, alive and dead, with "substantiated" allegations of sexual misconduct with minors, as determined by the archdiocese's Professional Responsibility Review Board.

The deceased priests on the list are only those who were able to respond to the allegations before their deaths. Archdiocesan spokesman Jim Dwyer said five other deceased priests weren't able to respond to allegations and aren't named.

Alexander Sylvester Baranowski: Ordained 1955 Resigned June 1975
Richard Barry Bartz: Ordained 1974 Resigned June 2002
Robert Charles Becker: Ordained 1965 Died Oct. 1989
Leonard Adolph Bogdan: Ordained 1960 Retired from the Diocese of Kalamazoo, Mich., June 2000
Robert Peter Bowman: Ordained 1955 Removed from public ministry, May 2002
David Francis Braun: Ordained 1954 Died Dec. 1997
Daniel Peter Buck: Ordained 1971 Removed from public ministry June 2002
Eugene Patrick Burns: Ordained 1955 Died Jan. 2005
John Walter Calicott: Ordained 1974 Removed from public ministry June 2002
William J. Cloutier: Ordained 1975 Died Aug. 2003
Robert Craig: Ordained 1974 Resigned Oct. 1993
John William Curran: Ordained 1957 Died March 2000
Walter George DeRoeck: Ordained 1971 Resigned Aug. 2001
Francis Emil Dilla: Ordained 1953 Died Feb. 2005
Richard Wayne Fassbinder: Ordained 1953 Died May 2004
Joseph L. Fitzharris: Ordained 1962 Resigned Jan. 1995
Vincent James Flosi: Ordained 1971 Resigned July 1992
Robert Friese: Ordained 1978 Resigned Aug. 1985
Jesus P. Garza: Ordained 1979 Resigned July 2000
James Craig Hagan: Ordained 1974 Resigned April 1997
John Edward Hefferan: Ordained 1956 Removed from public ministry Oct. 2003
Michael J. Hogan: Ordained 1984 Resigned July 1993
Daniel Mark Holihan: Ordained 1957 Removed from public ministry June 2002
Walter Edward Huppenbauer: Ordained 1957 Removed from public ministry Oct. 2002
Thomas Job: Ordained 1970 Resigned Dec. 1992
Robert Louis Kealy: Ordained 1972 Removed from public ministry June 2002
John James Keehan: Ordained 1967 Removed from public ministry June 2002
John Joseph Keough: Ordained 1952 Resigned March 1982
Joseph Patrick Kissane: Ordained 1969 Resigned Jan. 1993
Leonard Paul Kmak: Ordained 1959 Died July 2002
William L. Lupo: Ordained 1965 Resigned Dec. 2002
Norbert J. Maday: Ordained 1964 Incarcerated
Robert E. Mayer: Ordained 1964 Resigned Jan. 1994
Vincent McCaffrey: Ordained 1978 Resigned Dec. 1993
Robert Joseph McDonald: Ordained 1973 Resigned June 1990
Peter John McNamara: Ordained 1970 Resigned Aug. 1971
Donald John Mulsoff: Ordained 1969 Died Nov. 2005
John William O'Brien: Ordained 1973 Removed from public ministry June 2005
Joseph Owens: Ordained 1965 Resigned April 1991
James M. Ray: Ordained 1975 Removed from public ministry June 2002
John Allen Robinson: Ordained 1971 Removed from public ministry Jan. 2003
John F. Rohrich: Ordained 1965 Resigned June 1975
Russell Lawrence Romano: Ordained 1973 Resigned Oct. 1991
Kenneth Charles Ruge: Ordained 1963 Died May 2002
Joseph E. Savage: Ordained 1918 Died June 1974
Raymond Francis Skriba: Ordained 1957 Removed from public ministry July 2002
Marion Joseph Snieg: Ordained 1955 Died June 2005
Victor E. Stewart: Ordained 1978 Died June 1994
Ralph S. Strand: Ordained 1964 Removed from public ministry March 1993
Thomas J. Swade: Ordained 1961 Removed from public ministry June 2002
Henry Peter Swider: Ordained 1950 Resigned Feb. 1974
Albert Tanghal: Ordained 1991 Died Dec. 2003
Donald Francis Ulatowski: Ordained 1956 Died June 1999
Anthony Joseph Vader: Ordained 1952 Removed from public ministry Feb. 2003
Michael Howard Weston: Ordained 1973 Resigned Sept. 1993


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