February 17, 2006

When to Put Priests on Desk Duty



Posted Friday, Feb. 17, 2006
It's one thing to investigate allegations of sexual abuse by priests, but it's quite another to keep those priests from further abusing their positions of authority — something the Chicago Archdiocese recently learned the hard way. Earlier this month, Father Daniel McCormack, 37, a priest at St. Agatha Church in Chicago’s Lawndale neighborhood, was charged with three counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse against two boys from his Parish, including one who was allegedly molested after the first accusations against McCormack surfaced last August. The case has shamed the archdiocese, which was hit with a $10 million suit last Friday, and Cardinal Francis George, who admitted in a rare mea culpa that he had failed to act quickly in removing the accused priest.

So it was that earlier this week the Archdiocese announced a new approach in dealing with the investigations of sexual abuse by the clergy. From now on, the Church plans to remove priests almost immediately after they are accused — effectively putting them on the ecclestiastical equivalent of desk duty. The archdiocese’s current chancellor, Jimmy Lago, will oversee all probes of abuse allegations against priests across Chicago.

Posted by kshaw at February 17, 2006 12:07 PM