Priest May Plead Guilty to Child Sex Abuse, Sources Say

March 20, 2007

Chicago -- NBC5 has learned that the Rev. Dan McCormack will appear in court Wednesday, where he is expected to begin the process to plead guilty.

Video: Sources Say Priest May Plead Guilty To Child Abuse

It was last January when McCormack was first arrested, and since then he's been charged with abusing five young boys.

However, sources told NBC5 that there are more potential victims, Mary Ann Ahern reported. The priest is likely to plead guilty rather than face a trial.

McCormack was a rising star in the Chicago Archdiocese before his arrest. He was the pastor of St. Agatha's on the West Side and placed in a leadership position by Cardinal Francis George as a dean of his area.

In January 2006, he was arrested and charged with abusing two young boys.

Soon, it was learned there had been a previous arrest in September 2005, but no charges had been filed and McCormack was allowed to remain at St. Agatha's and continued to work as a boy's basketball coach.

When more young people came forward, the State's Attorney's Office filed three more cases of alleged abuse against McCormack.

All of this led to an internal audit at the Chicago Archdiocese of how McCormack could have been placed back at the church, where he and allegedly abused more children.

The report indicated there were questions about McCormack forcing himself on other seminarians, but the cardinal had been unaware of the alegations.

Other than his arrest, McCormack has remained out on bond, but that may soon change.

In court on Wednesday, it is expected that the priest will ask a Cook County judge to begin the plea bargaining process. It will be up to the judge to decide, but prosecutors are likely to ask for jail time.

At least a dozen more boys have come forward with allegations against McCormick, sources told NBC5. Those allegations could be brought up at sentencing if McCormick is found guilty.

It is unclear whether any archdiocese employee will be charged for failing to act as a mandatory reporter of abuse. That possibility is part of an ongoing investigation.

The possible plea deal was expected for some time because no one wants to force the boys making the allegations to testify in a trial that would attract much publicity, Ahern reported.

McCormack's lawyer had not returned NBC5's phone calls by 4 p.m. Tuesday. The Chicago Archdiocese said it has cooperated with authorities, and it is not a party to criminal proceedings.


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