Issue Date: November 16, 2007
Jesuit faces federal sex abuse charges
Jesuit Fr. Donald J. McGuire is facing federal charges of traveling to another country with a minor for the purpose of committing sex acts, according to court documents filed in Chicago Nov. 1.
Documents filed with the U.S. District Court of Northern Illinois say McGuire traveled from Chicago to Switzerland and Austria in December 2000 and sexually molested a boy he took with him.
The complaint by an accuser identified as Victim A says that McGuire sexually abused him from 1999 to 2003 in 12 states and six countries.
McGuire had become a spiritual mentor to Victim As family, media reports said. McGuire traveled across the country and the world with the 13-year-old boy on religious retreats, lived with him in Canisius House, a Jesuit residence in Evanston, Ill., and molested him routinely from 1999 to 2003, according to the complaint.
The repeated abuse ended in 2003 when the Chicago Province of the Society of Jesus ordered McGuire to move from Canisius House to another residence in Chicago.
Another accuser, identified as Victim B, said the priest began to abuse him when he was about 9 years old and the abuse continued until he was about 13 or 14. Both victims are now in their 20s.
McGuire was in a Wisconsin county jail Nov. 2 when he was transferred to federal custody. Wisconsin authorities jailed him Nov. 1 for violating probation a third time. He had failed to keep his registration as a sex offender current since his conviction in February 2006. He was convicted of sexually abusing students from an Illinois high school where he taught while on trips to Wisconsin in the 1960s. He had been free on bond pending an appeal.
Correspondence between families and Jesuit leaders released by lawyers for the youths showed the Catholic order had received complaints about McGuires behavior going back to 1969.
More recently parents called and wrote to Jesuit officials to complain about McGuires conduct with their sons in 1993, 1994, 2000, 2001, 2002 and 2003, attorneys said.
Federal prosecutors cited documents showing that McGuires supervisors directed him in 1991 to not travel on any overnight trip with any person male or female under the age of 21.
The Jesuits have begun the process of laicizing McGuire.
Under current federal law, the statute of limitations for sexual abuse of a minor extends to the life of the victim. McGuire faces up to 15 years in prison and fines totaling $250,000.
-- NCR staff
National Catholic Reporter, November 16, 2007
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