|Jesuit Leader Is Sorry for Abuse
Status of Convicted Priest Questioned
By Margaret Ramirez
October 26, 2007
Two days after more abuse allegations surfaced against a Chicago-area Jesuit priest, the head of the cleric's religious order said Thursday that he was sorry he had not done enough to prevent abuse but declined to say whether steps are being taken to remove the convicted abuser from the priesthood.
A former prosecutor now advising the Jesuits, meanwhile, said a review of the order's records had turned up additional abuse allegations against Rev. Donald McGuire and the information has been disclosed to multiple law-enforcement agencies.
McGuire, 77, stands accused of abusing at least five boys. He was convicted last year in Wisconsin of molesting two boys in the 1960s.
New sex-abuse allegations against convicted priest
A 21-year-old man filed suit in August alleging abuse from 1999 to 2003. And on Tuesday, two brothers from Arizona sued, saying the priest had abused them as children from 1988 to 2002.
The priest, who is on probation, lives in Oak Lawn while he appeals his conviction.
"Above all, I want to say I'm sorry. I say I'm sorry to anyone who may have been abused by Donald McGuire or any member of this province," said Rev. Edward Schmidt, head of the Chicago province of the Society of Jesus, known as the Jesuits.
"More important, we failed to listen to those who came forward and to meet their courage in dealing with the problem that McGuire presented."
Schmidt also outlined actions the Jesuits are taking to protect children , which include training programs and background checks of all Jesuit priests. The order also is working with Kathleen McChesney and William Gavin, former FBI officials who advised the nation's Roman Catholic bishops on preventing sexual abuse of children.
Asked whether he had taken steps to remove McGuire from the priesthood, Schmidt said the priest was under the supervision of Wisconsin authorities and declined to comment further.
"The processes that would lead to such a thing are very strictly defined," Schmidt said. "They're very precise steps that have to be taken along the way. I know what these steps are. But these steps are all conducted in great confidentiality. And that's all I can say.
"I think I'm doing what's right," he said.
Former prosecutor Patrick Collins, now advising the order, said abuse allegations against McGuire are likely to increase.
McChesney said she is discussing with the Jesuit order and Wisconsin officials why a convicted child molester is being allowed to live in a largely unrestricted suburban setting while awaiting the outcome of his appeal.
This month, the Jesuits told Wisconsin officials they did not have access to a residence where they could adequately monitor an alleged child abuser.
Outside the Jesuits' Chicago office on Thursday, the president of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests questioned why the order was not monitoring a convicted child molester or making efforts to move him into a sex offenders' treatment facility.
"Apologies are empty if they are not followed by strong actions," Barbara Blaine said. "Father McGuire is free to roam the streets of Chicago and abuse any child. Their actions tell us they are not concerned about children. They are more concerned about their image."
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