Court Says Pedophile Ex-Priest Can't Be Held Beyond Sentence

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An Illinois appeals court has reversed a trial judge’s ruling that a convicted child molester and defrocked priest can be held longer than his sentence, according to a Tuesday court filing.

A three-judge panel of the Illinois First District Appellate Court ruled Cook County prosecutors failed to prove Daniel McCormack’s mental disorder would likely cause him to re-offend, the Chicago Sun-Times reported. McCormack completed his five-year sentence in 2009 for molesting five boys in Chicago’s St. Agatha’s Roman Catholic parish. He has been in state custody since.

Judge Dennis Porter in 2017 declared McCormack a sexually violent person who should remain indefinitely in a state facility for sex offenders. During the hearing, psychiatrist Dr. Angelique Stanislaus, testifying for the state, and Dr. Raymond Wood, a defense expert, both concluded that McCormack had pedophilic disorder. They differed in that Wood said McCormack and a "below average” risk of re-offending, while Stanislaus testified it was "much more likely than not” he would re-offend.

In its decision, the three-judge panel said that while they agree McCormack’s mental disorder could cause him to re-offend, Stanislaus failed to offer an explanation as to why the risk is ’substantial.

McCormack’s attorney Michael Johnson said he was grateful the court followed the law. He said the decision won’t be final until a mandate is issued in about 35 days.

An internal report by the Archdiocese of Chicago found 30 “substantiated” claims of abuse at the hands of McCormack

The archdiocese has paid about $140 million to settle sex abuse claims, including those against McCormack.

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