January 27, 2006

George takes the defensive

Chicago Tribune

By David Heinzmann and Manya A. Brachear, Tribune staff reporters. Tribune staff reporters Barbara Brotman, Margaret Ramirez and Ofelia Casillas contributed to this report

Published January 27, 2006

Cardinal Francis George Thursday defended the decision that allowed a West Side pastor to stay in his parish for months after an accusation of child sexual abuse, even as critics raised new questions about how the archdiocese handled the case, both last fall and as early as 2000.

George, who returned from Rome Wednesday night, issued a statement supporting the position of archdiocese officials that they could not investigate Rev. Daniel J. McCormack because of a lack of cooperation from the alleged victim's family and from law enforcement.

Shortly after George released the statement, in which he also offered prayers for the alleged victims of the priest, archdiocese officials said the cardinal had been admitted to Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood because of dizzy spells.

Critics say McCormack should have been removed in September from St. Agatha's Church, 3147 W. Douglas Blvd., while church officials determined whether he had abused children. But removing him without determining the allegation's credibility would have been unfair to the priest, George's statement said.

Posted by kshaw at January 27, 2006 08:10 AM