Letters List


The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Letters

Letter to Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan

July 16, 2009

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan
Chicago Main Office
100 West Randolph Street
Chicago, IL 60601

Dear Attorney General Madigan:

We are writing about Fr. Daniel McCormack, Chicago's most notorious predator priest, who molested at least five kids because of his obviously deep-seated pedophilic addiction and because of the recklessness and secrecy of Chicago Catholic officials. We are writing to ask that you take efforts to have McCormack declared a sexually violent person.

We are grateful for your efforts and success in having Fr. Fred Lenczycki declared a “sexually violent person.” We believe this has made Illinois safer for children. While we are disappointed in the judge’s ruling last week which allows Lenczycki to be released into the community, we appreciate the work by your office to keep him in custody until he completed his sex-offender treatment.

(In that case, media reports quote a defense attorney who claims Lenczycki should be released because few pedophiles commit crimes after they turn 60. We dispute this notion, of course. But even if it were true, this obviously doesn't apply to McCormack, who is believed to be 40 years old. He obviously has potentially decades of freedom ahead of him, years and years in which he could molest kids again.)

The archdiocese's deceptive and callous mishandling of the McCormack case has been widely documented. Even after staffers at the seminary expressed doubts about him, top church officials put him in parishes. Even after he was arrested, Cardinal Francis George promoted him. Even after George's hand-picked abuse panel urged George to suspend him, the Cardinal let him stay in ministry.

The results were devastating. When McCormack pled guilty, prosecutors said that he molested at least one boy "on an almost daily basis" after George kept him at St. Agatha's long after repeated warnings. McCormack himself admitted to abusing five boys. It was clear that at least on some days, McCormack abused more than one boy. His addiction to having sex with boys was out of control.

(Later, George tried to get records about McCormack's crimes and archdiocesan misdeeds sealed. All this happened despite repeated church promises to deal with child molestation with "openness and transparency.")

We recite this horrific history because next month, McCormack is set to get out of prison. We fear that, given his extreme predilection to abusing children, he poses grave risks to the community.

We urge you to keep in mind these facts:
-- McCormack has expressed no public remorse for his crimes. (According to one news account, "When asked by the judge if he would like to make a statement to the court, McCormack declined.")
-- We've seen no evidence that he's apologized privately to any of his victims.
-- He uses all his skills to get close to kids - teaching, tutoring, preaching, and sports. (He was a basketball coach at parochial schools.)
-- Since he's been defrocked, there's no real chance of any 'monitoring' of him by archdiocesan staffers. (And even if there were such a chance, church employees have a terrible track record supervising their predator priests).
-- He's well educated, charming, and charismatic - with the personal skills that make it easy for him to win the trust of unsuspecting parents and kids.
-- Dozens of child molesting clergy have legally changed their names so that even after getting out of prison they can gain access to vulnerable children.
-- Perhaps hundreds of current and former pedophile priests have fled to other countries, often Third World nations with fewer law enforcement resources, more archaic laws, and greater poverty - all factors which make molesting kids easier and make prosecuting predators tougher.

Regardless of the constraints or outcome of the "sexually violent person" process, we strongly hope you will use your 'bully pulpit' to aggressively urge others who with information about McCormack's crimes to come forward to law enforcement. Victims and witnesses often take action when prodded to do so by authorities, especially when the potential dangers are clearly spelled out. Your strong public voice in this matter could make a real difference in enabling more criminal charges to be brought against McCormack and/or those who shielded him.

So we ask: please, for the safety of children, that you use all resources at your disposal and make every possible effort to keep McCormack in custody as long as possible.

We know of your commitment to preserving the safety of the children in Illinois and ask that you take all possible steps to keep McCormack away from the children.

If we can help in any way please be assured of our willingness.


Barbara BlaineTony Jannotta, Permanent Deacon
SNAP President Chairperson
Survivors Network of those Abused by PriestsCoalition of Concerned Catholics
700 N Green Street Suite 5041415 East Central Road #302A
Chicago, IL 60642Artlington Heights, IL 60005

Sandy Stilling SeehausenJanet HauterJim FitzGerald
President Chicagoland VOTFVOTF Vice-PresidentIncoming Director
Voice of the FaithfulVoice of the FaithfulCall to Action
956 Verona Drive4 Loch Lane2135 West Roscoe Street
Cary, IL 60013South Barrington, IL 60010Chicago, IL 60618