March 08, 2006

The God factor

Wednesday Journal of Oak Park and River Forest


Kathleen Falsani should have been home in bed. Instead, she was at her desk long after 9 o’clock on a Tuesday night, tweaking and re-tweaking her lead for the next day’s story, proofing copy and checking facts in the sprawling quiet of the Sun-Times’ newsroom. Only three or four other staffers lingered among the blank computer screens and buzzing lights. True, Falsani felt much better than she had the night before, when a feverish flu had kept her awake for hours, but she was tired and woozy, and it showed. No matter: news was breaking in the spiraling drama of priest and accused molester Daniel McCormack, and Falsani—who lives in Oak Park—had roused from her sickbed to cover it.

"I think we’ve got something nobody else has," she said, scanning a revised draft for mistakes while her editor waited across the room for a thumbs-up. Two days later, on Jan. 26, the story (on which Falsani shared a byline with Sun-Times crime reporter Frank Main) would disclose that a nun had warned the Chicago Archdiocese of concerns about McCormack back in 2000, more than five years before church officials said they first learned of allegations against the priest and nearly six years before criminal charges ousted him from St. Agatha’s North Lawndale pulpit. The revelation would intensify already rising outrage among parents and worshippers. "Cardinal Francis George isn’t going to be happy," she said.

Posted by kshaw at March 8, 2006 07:37 AM