Advocates, survivors want Illinois attorney general to prevent release of ex-priest convicted of molesting children
A survivor who says he was sexually abused as a child by Daniel McCormack was subjected to “unspeakable” and “inhumane” treatment from the former priest and those actions are unforgivable.
Advocates and survivors of one of Chicago’s most notorious sex abuse cases are urging Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul to keep defrocked priest Daniel McCormack locked up.
Minnesota attorney Jeff Anderson, who specializes in child sexual abuse cases, called McCormack’s potential release an “imminent and urgent peril” to the public.
“Daniel McCormack as a priest ... is a serial predator and has been incarcerated for some years,” Anderson said during a virtual news conference on Thursday. “We do know that he’s [McCormack] already sentenced scores, if not hundreds, of kids to a lifetime of suffering and we have to do everything today to prevent that from happening to others.”
A spokeswoman with the attorney general’s office said they plan on bringing McCormack’s case to the Illinois Supreme Court.
“We disagree with the appellate court’s decision and believe Daniel McCormack qualifies for commitment under the Sexually Violent Persons Act,” Annie Thompson said Thursday evening. “We intend to seek further review by the Illinois Supreme Court.”
Since 2009, McCormack has been confined to a state facility for sex offenders after finishing a five-year prison sentence for molesting five boys while serving as a priest at St. Agatha’s parish. In 2017, after two days of expert testimony, a Cook County judge ruled McCormack was a sexually violent person and should continue to be held at the facility.
But last week, a three-judge panel on the Illinois First District Appellate Court overturned that finding, which had allowed McCormack to remain locked up after his sentence was complete. The appeals court unanimously determined the prosecution failed to prove McCormack’s mental disorder would cause him to harm other children.
The Illinois Department of Human Services did not respond to question on his potential release date.
The Sun-Times has reported that at least 32 boys made allegations against McCormack dating as far back to 1999. The archdioceses paid $10 million to settle lawsuits involving claims against McCormack.
However, Anderson said McCormack meets the profile of serial predators. He has conducted his own investigation, he said, and believes the former priest molested over a hundred children.
Two people who said they were victims of McCormack spoke during Thursday’s news conference; their identities were not revealed.
One said the trauma he’s been forced to live with because of McCormack should be enough to keep the ex-priest “behind bars indefinitely.” McCormack, that victim added, should have been a role model and leader in his church and community, but instead committed “unspeakable” and “inhumane” acts.
The other person who spoke said he was in 2nd or 3rd grade when he was molested by McCormack, and the abuse has caused him to question his faith and dissuaded him from attending church.
Anderson urged anyone who has been abused by McCormack, witnessed any abuse or knows of any other abuse cases to contact law enforcement so that new charges can be brought.
“The reality is this guy has got a long history of serial offenses that got covered up and there are ways around [a] statute of limitations,” Anderson said. “And this guy’s predation of so many kids, for so long, so recently disclosed, is not a problem and will not be an impediment to keeping him behind bars.”