Officials Seek to Bar Release of Convicted Priest from Prison

Chicago Breaking News
September 23, 2009

Illinois prosecutors today filed a motion to seek the indefinite incarceration of a Roman Catholic priest convicted of sexually assaulting several boys in a West Side parish.

The Cook County state's attorney's and Illinois attorney general's offices filed the petition under the state's Sexually Violent Persons Commitment Act to have the former West Side priest and convicted sex offender Daniel McCormack civilly committed instead of paroled and released from custody as scheduled on Friday.

The law allows prosecutors to seek continued incarceration in a secure treatment facility if a psychological exam leads them to believe another sex crime is likely if the inmate goes free.

Cara Smith, spokeswoman for the attorney general's office, said the medical evaluation received in the past several days confirmed prosecutors' suspicions that McCormack fits the criteria for civil commitment based on the number of victims, his "offending pattern" and the fact that he molested a child after law enforcement brought him in for questioning regarding initial allegations.

"McCormack is a young, aggressive serial predator who shows not a scintilla of remorse," said Barbara Blaine, president and founder of the Survivors Network for those Abused by Priests. "He is precisely the kind of unrepentant and dangerous child molester experts and legislators had in mind when the 'sexually violent predator' designation was drawn up."

In July 2007, McCormack pleaded guilty to five felony counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse and was sentenced to 5 years in prison.

McCormack fondled five boys between the ages of 8 and 12 inside St. Agatha's rectory, misconduct that dated to 2001. Some victims were members of the basketball team he coached at the nearby Our Lady of the West Side School; others were friends of boys who attended the school, where McCormack also taught algebra.

Two audits commissioned by the Chicago Archdiocese later found a trail of abuse allegations dating to McCormack's seminary days in 1988, all of which the archdiocese had failed to investigate properly. They also found that although a priest had been assigned to monitor McCormack at St. Agatha, he still had contact with children.

Since the audit, the archdiocese has centralized its procedures for handling sex-abuse allegations. McCormack has been removed from the priesthood.


Any original material on these pages is copyright © 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.