Rome--Chicago priest promoted by Francis hid child sex crimes

For immediate release: Sunday, Nov. 23, 2014

Statement by David Clohessy of St. Louis, Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 566 9790,,

A Chicago priest who was just promoted by the Pope concealed clergy sex crimes, according to today’s Boston Globe. We urge Francis to rescind this promotion.  

In September, the Vatican announced that Fr. Robert J. Geisinger will head up child sex abuse and cover up cases across the world. But today’s Boston Globe reveals that Fr. Geisinger, while head of the Chicago Jesuits, hid credible allegations of child sex crimes by a colleague, Fr. Donald McGuire who was close to Mother Teresa. McGuire is now in prison.

Why on earth would Francis pick a priest with a problematic track record on abuse in the US to deal with abuse worldwide? Any one of hundreds of thousands of priests could have been tapped for this key post. So why choose one who so clearly and repeatedly refused to call the law or tell the truth about a notorious, now-imprisoned serial predator?

According to the Globe, Fr. Geisinger “had detailed knowledge of the complaints against McGuire as early as 1995 and advised officials in Chicago on how to discipline McGuire as late as August of 2002, when they were still keeping the complaints secret” and “Fr. Geisinger played a significant role in the Jesuits’ long, unsuccessful effort to prevent McGuire from continuing to befriend and travel with young teenagers despite complaints dating to the 1960s.”

Fr, Geisinger had years and years to call  police about Fr. McGuire. He never did so. He has no business being the Catholic church’s top abuse official.

When Fr. Geisinger’s promotion was announced, we publicly said that he “has some links to a notorious, serial convicted predator priest once close to Mother Teresa.” We publicly said”

“We're anxious to hear from Fr. Geisinger about his dealings with Fr. Donald McGuire, a once high profile but now-imprisoned Jesuit in Fr. Geisinger's own province who – despite multiple reports of abuse – was allowed to keep ministering until law enforcement officials finally arrested him.

In 2002, another Jesuit (Fr. Rick McGurn) sent Fr. Geisinger a detailed, three page, single-spaced letter about Fr. McGuire:

Notice the phrase: “long list” of Fr. McGuire's “inappropriate behaviors.”

Not until 2005 were criminal charges brought against Fr. McGuire. We see no evidence that Fr. Geisinger ever helped police or prosecutors investigate Fr. McGuire, or any child molesting cleric. We challenge him to produce such evidence if he has any.

The letter show s that Fr. McGuire is repeatedly warned about his contact with children. But Fr. McGuire does exactly what he wants. More and more abuse reports and complaints against Fr. McGuire surface over time, yet neither Fr. Geisinger nor his colleagues take any effective action whatsoever. (At this time, Fr. Geisinger was in charge of “all matters of canon law” for the Jesuits. In other words, he was a high ranking cleric with the power to make a difference.)

The letter shows that Jesuit officials – including Fr. Geisinger – go on and on worrying about following canonical rules and whether or not Fr. McGuire will cause problems for them. There's no mention or concern evidently about the kids that he has assaulted or is assaulting kids. It is clear from the letter that Fr. Geisinger knew – or at a least strongly suspected – that Fr. McGuire was a criminal. Yet Fr. Geisinger went along with the plan to keep Fr. McGuire under wraps and away from law enforcement.

We're pessimistic about Fr. Geisinger's new position. On the church's continuing child sex abuse and cover up crisis, the pontiff’s promotions have been very disappointing. We see no evidence that Fr. Geisinger has done or even said anything encouraging about this scandal though he's been a cleric for decades.

At a bare minimum, Fr. Geisinger should publicly explain why he apparently never called police about Fr. McGuire, whether he ever called police about any predator priest, and why he deserves this promotion.

Geisinger had previously worked as the Associate Chancellor of the Archdiocese of Chicago, as well as a presiding judge on the archdiocese’s Metropolitan Tribunal.

( Francis has made several troubling promotions of complicit church officials” and  and )

(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We’ve been around for 25 years and have more than 20,000 members. Despite the word “priest” in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers. Our website is

Contact - David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell,, Barbara Dorris (314-503-0003 cell,, Barbara Blaine (312-399-4747,


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  • @ tweeted this page. 2014-11-24 10:15:22 -0600
  • Bill Reidy
    commented 2014-11-23 19:52:43 -0600
    I wonder how many other Jesuits priests will be looking naked to this guy? If Fr. Donald McGuire, FR. Lawrence Reuter and others who were at Loyola Academy, could FR. Donald J. O’Shaughnessy who abused me and 5 others be protected too?
  • Mike Skiendzielewski
    commented 2014-11-23 19:50:23 -0600
    Bishop Charles Scicluna, Geisinger’s predecessor as chief sex crimes prosecutor, or “promoter of justice,” told the AP that Geisinger’s previous work in the church as procurator general in Rome for the Jesuits was excellent.

    “He is a fine canonist dedicated to serving as a very strong promoter of justice,” Scicluna said.

    Bishop Scicluna is a CIVIL ATTORNEY and his primary ethical, moral and legal responsibility is to the organization and its leadership, i.e., the Roman Catholic Church. Regarding the position of “Promoter of Justice”, is the individual in this position responsible for promoting the justice of the RCC or promoting the justice of the sexual abuse victim? In this process, where is the “promoter of justice” for the victim? Does this investigative and review process allow for an ombudsman for the abuse victim?

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