McGuire convicted of sexual abuse in Illinois

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Associated Press
Saturday, October 25, 2008
— A 78-year-old former Catholic priest was convicted Friday on federal charges of taking a minor boy on religious retreats to have sex with him.

Donald McGuire was convicted after jurors deliberated less than three hours Thursday and Friday over evidence in the 2½-week trial.

The white-haired former priest sat stoically in his wheelchair as U.S. District Judge Rebecca R. Pallmeyer read the verdict that could result in a 30-year sentence.

McGuire said in a written statement afterward that he was “very disappointed in the verdict—I was hoping for a better outcome and exoneration.”

“I continue to pray for the spiritual well being of all involved in the case and put myself in the hands of the Lord—he is my salvation and hope,” McGuire said in a statement dictated to defense attorney Stephen Komie in the lockup after court.

The key testimony was provided by a boy known in court only as Dominick who said that McGuire had repeatedly molested him.

But several other boys took the stand and said McGuire had engaged in sexual conduct with them as well.

Komie told jurors in his closing argument that Dominick and the other boys were lying because they wanted to collect civil damages from the church.

After the verdict, prosecutors were sharply critical of that claim.

“The attempt to smear him (Dominick) and challenge his truthfulness was itself outrageous—it was shameful,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Julie B. Ruder told reporters.

Ruder said that the greatest challenge of the case was to “help these victims present what had happened to them in a way that they felt comfortable with.”

“They are the heroes of this case,” she said.

Prosecutors said that McGuire had been molesting boys for many years.

Pallmeyer set sentencing for Dec. 18.

In April 2006, McGuire was convicted in Walworth County Court for molesting two boys at a Fontana home in 1967 and 1968. The boys—students of McGuire when he taught foreign languages and religion at Loyola Academy in Wilmette, Ill.—were in their early teens at the time. They were staying at a private home on Geneva Lake when the assaults occurred.

McGuire was sentenced to seven years in prison, but he has appealed that conviction.

The priest also been indicted in Arizona for child molestation and faces lawsuits on a string of new child molestation accusations.

Last updated: 10:38 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012

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