The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Press Statement

Statement Regarding Arrest of Wisconsin Jesuit

For Immediate Release:
February 8, 2005

Peter Isely, Midwest Director (Milwaukee) 414-429-7259

SNAP Milwaukee Statement on the Arrest of Fr. McGuire for Child Abuse in Wisconsin

Wisconsin law enforcement officials have demonstrated once again that when you seriously and aggressively investigate and prosecute child molesters, no matter when the crime occurred and no matter what the social status of the perpetrator, children are safer and justice is served.

Church cover-up in tandem with outdated and dangerous statutes of limitations on child abuse have made our communities safe havens for clerical and other sex offenders, when the need not be. Fr. McGuire's arrest should encourage citizens and victims to continue to come forward to police with information concerning the abuse of children by anyone, anywhere, at any time.

An arrest, however, is not a conviction and a conviction does not guarantee the permanent safety of the community--as Wisconsin citizens saw recently with the feeble sentences handed down to clerical offenders in Green Bay and Milwaukee late last year.

Still, law enforcement and the judiciary are making long-overdue progress in Wisconsin. Although most clergy offenders will never be punished for their crimes against the innocent, at least a small number of them are being brought to account.

This spring the Wisconsin State Supreme Court will rule whether current state law--which provides a civil shield for abusive clergy and their supervisors based on the first amendment--will be overturned. As progress is being made in Wisconsin with the continuing arrests of clerical offenders, so too those who covered up these terrible crimes must also be held accountable.

This week marks the third anniversary of the revelations of wide-spread sexual abuse of children in the Boston Archdiocese. Like Massachusetts, for Wisconsin victims, justice delayed has, indeed, been justice denied. But while there remains a chance for some measure of justice, no matter how inadequate to the crimes, victims and citizens must continue to press forward awareness and reform.

Priest facing charges of indecent behavior with a child

Published Tuesday, February 8, 2005
By Mike Heine-Gazette Staff

ELKHORN-A 74-year-old Jesuit priest has been charged with two felony counts of indecent behavior with a child for incidents that allegedly happened between 1966 and 1968 in Fontana, according to a news release from the village's police department.

The Rev. Donald J. McGuire, Chicago, faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison if convicted of the two felony counts. He can still be charged with the Wisconsin felonies because there is no statute of limitations clause for individuals who reside out of state, said Walworth County District Attorney Phil Koss.

McGuire allegedly had sexual contact with two juvenile males almost 40 years ago at a private residence in Fontana that was being used as a church retreat, according to the release. The home belonged to a relative of one of the alleged victims, according to the criminal complaint.

The victims, now in their early 50s, reported the alleged abuse to Fontana police in late 2003.

According to the news release, there was no known connection between McGuire and St. Benedict's Parish in Fontana.

Milwaukee-based defense attorney Gerald Boyle said he hadn't yet read the criminal complaint as of Monday afternoon.

"My client is in a position (to say) that whatever they are accusing him of doing almost 40 years ago did not happen," Boyle said in a phone interview.

Boyle added: "The man's got a right to say he's not guilty and right now that's his position."

Koss would not comment about specifics of the case.

Both Koss and Boyle were working on finding a time for an initial court appearance.

McGuire was not in police custody and was in the Chicago area, Boyle said.

The two men alleging the indecent behavior were from Illinois and were students of McGuire, who was on the staff at Loyola Academy in Wilmett, Ill., at the time of the alleged incidents, according to the release.

It's not the first time McGuire has been accused of indecent behavior.

In September 2003, WLS-TV, the ABC affiliate in Chicago, reported McGuire allegedly sexually abused a boy at Loyola Academy multiple times from 1968-70.

The victim in that case claims McGuire was sleeping in bed with him and abusing him constantly, according to the station's report.

About a week later, the station reported about another man who came forward alleging McGuire sexually abused him. That man, who came to the school in 1966 when he was 13, also says McGuire shared a bed with him for two years.

A dispatcher at the Wilmette Police Department could not say what, if any, charges were brought against McGuire as a result of those allegations.

Koss said McGuire was never charged in Illinois because the statute of limitations had run out.

Illinois court records, both criminal and civil, were unavailable before press time.

McGuire last taught at Loyola in 1970, according to a Sept. 2, 2003, article in the Chicago Sun-Times that appeared on the Web site for the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or S.N.A.P.

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests