March 04, 2006

Remember, accused priests innocent until proved guilty

Chicago Sun-Times

March 4, 2006


At a news conference in Turin on Feb. 9, the day before speedskater Chris Witty was to lead the U.S. Olympic team into the opening ceremony of the Turin Games, she described how a neighbor, a married man, had sexually abused her as a child in a Milwaukee suburb.

A week earlier, the Rev. Daniel McCormack, a priest of the Chicago archdiocese, was charged with aggravated sexual abuse of an 11-year-old boy. He had earlier been charged with abusing two other children.

Witty, who won a gold medal in the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics, said the trusted neighbor had begun abusing her when she was 4 years old and had continued until she was 11. In Witty's case, the offender apparently was not sued civilly and made no payment of damages, as is true in most cases of sexual abuse of children.

On the day of Witty's news conference, the 11-year-old boy claiming sexual abuse by McCormack and his mother sued Cardinal Francis George and the Chicago Archdiocese for negligence in allowing the priest to remain as pastor of a parish after allegations of sexual abuse had been made. McCormack has not been convicted of any crime.

Posted by kshaw at March 4, 2006 06:57 AM