February 09, 2006

Arrest of Chicago Priest Raises Questions About Reform

The New York Times

Published: February 9, 2006
CHICAGO, Feb. 8 Last August, a young boy told the police that a Roman Catholic priest had groped him after Mass at St. Agatha Catholic Church, a West Side parish.

Officials at the Chicago Archdiocese were told of the claim by prosecutors, but no criminal charges were brought at the time, and the priest, the Rev. Daniel McCormack, was kept on as pastor at the church and as basketball coach at the parish school.

In recent weeks, Father McCormack was arrested and charged with abusing the boy and two other young boys at least one of them, the boy's lawyer says, in the months since August. The charges have set off a storm of new concerns that the Roman Catholic Church in America has not done enough to address the problems of sexual abuse by priests despite years of a roiling scandal.

Cardinal Francis George, the head of the Chicago Archdiocese and a leader among America's bishops, has been criticized by parents, victims' advocates and at least one priest for his failure to remove Father McCormack after the accusations in August. And leaders of a national review board, assigned to monitor the church's handling of sexual abuse against children, say the case points to a serious loophole in a charter set down in 2002 by the nation's bishops to deal with sexual abuse by priests.

Posted by kshaw at February 9, 2006 07:18 AM