January 29, 2006

Priest case will spur review of guidelines

Chicago Tribune

By Manya A. Brachear, Tribune staff reporter. Tribune staff reporters David Heinzmann and Jeff Coen contributed to this report
Published January 29, 2006

Prompted by debate over whether Catholic officials waited too long to remove a Chicago priest accused of sex abuse, a national watchdog panel plans to discuss whether current guidelines adequately address cases where the alleged victim chooses to deal exclusively with law enforcement.

Critics say Rev. Daniel McCormack should have been suspended in September from St. Agatha Church, 3147 W. Douglas Blvd., after police received an initial allegation that he had sexually abused a child. Police and prosecutors concluded then that the evidence was not strong enough to charge the priest.

Instead of removing McCormack, the archdiocese told Rev. Tom Walsh, a priest who temporarily lived with McCormack, that an "unfounded allegation" had been reported and asked Walsh to make sure McCormack did not invite children into the rectory, communications director Colleen Dolan said Friday.

McCormack was not removed from ministry until after police arrested him Jan. 20 in a different abuse allegation.

Posted by kshaw at January 29, 2006 06:21 AM