Ex-Priest is Still a Sexually Violent Person, Judge Rules - NBC Chicago

Ex-Priest is Still a Sexually Violent Person, Judge Rules

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Former Catholic Priest Daniel McCormack has been declared a sexually violent person and will remain in a mental health facility. NBC 5's Mary Ann Ahern has the latest developments in his case. (Published Friday, Sept. 8, 2017)

    Daniel McCormack, a former priest convicted of molesting children in his Chicago parish, was deemed to still be a sexually violent person by a Cook County judge and will be held indefinitely. 

    The decision came down on Friday afternoon from Judge Dennis Porter, and means that McCormack will remain at the Illinois Department of Human Services SVP Treatment and Detention Facility in Rushville, IL.

    "Daniel McCormack has a history of repeated sexual abuse against children that was especially heinous given his status as a priest," Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan said. "I appreciate Judge Porter's decision that prevents Daniel McCormack from potentially harming other children." 

    McCormack will remain in the facility until at least Nov. 27 when a dispositional hearing will take place.

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    McCormack has been held in mental health facilities since 2009, when he was released from prison after serving a five-year sentence for sexually abusing five boys while he was serving as a pastor at St. Agatha's Church, the Chicago Sun-Times is reporting. 

    McCormack, who has been accused of abusing dozens of young boys in civil lawsuits, was seeking to be released from a facility dedicated to housing and treating sexually violent offenders. 

    Raymond Wood, an expert on statistical evaluations on the likelihood that sex offenders will repeat their crimes, testified Thursday that "actuarial models" suggested that McCormack would be a "minimal risk" to abuse children if he were released from the facility. 

    “My wife complains that I’ll say as I read [files] ‘This is a really bad guy,'” Wood said. “But as a professional, I want to be engaging in the best professional standard that I can.”

    Wood took the stand a day after a psychiatrist had testified for the prosecution, stating that McCormack was likely to victimize other children if released without court-ordered supervision, citing a long history of McCormack groping younger men and boys dating back to before his ordination and continuing even after he was arrested in 2005.

    Assistant Attorney General Joelle Marasco questioned whether Wood had factored in the large number of victims, and the fact the priest continued to molest multiple boys even though he’d been confronted by parents, then arrested, and told by supervisors that he was not to have contact with children or even continue his work as a teacher and basketball coach.

    Wood was the third person to evaluate McCormack’s risk factors for harming more children, though the ex-priest has refused to answer questions citing pending civil and criminal cases against him, leaving his evaluators with only reports from Chicago Police investigations and an internal review by the Chicago archdiocese.

    Before he was charged criminally, McCormack was sent by the church to a mental hospital for sex offenders in Maryland, where he denied being sexually attracted to children. 

    None of McCormack’s victims have taken the stand in the trial, and the courtroom gallery was all but empty save for a lawyer from the Chicago archdiocese, which has paid out millions to settle lawsuits brought on behalf of children who say they were molested by McCormack.

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