Are Jesuits Liable For Sexually Abusive Priest?
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UPDATED 06/08/11 8:45 a.m.
CHICAGO (CBS) — A Cook County judge will decide in a couple weeks whether the jury in a civil suit against the Jesuits over the sexual misdeeds of one of their own can impose punitive damages.
As WBBM Newsradio 780’s Mike Krauser reports, Jesuit leaders are accused of allowing Father Donald McGuire to molest children, by their inaction.
Documents obtained by the plaintiffs’ lawyers detail numerous child sex abuse complaints dating from the 1960s – when McGuire was at Loyola Academy, and, according to testimony, sharing his bed with boys – to the 1990s, when his superiors were still hearing about abuse, but wrote him a letter of good standing.
LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s Mike Krauser reports
Among the documents is a letter written in 1969 between a priest – the Rev. Charles Schlax – and the former president of Loyola Academy high school in Wilmette– the Rev. John Reinke. In the letter, Schlax expresses concern after he learns a student and McGuire had been staying overnight at the school.
The court filings claim that while Loyola subsequently ended McGuire’s teaching duties, it tried to cover up the reasons.
Barbara Blaine, of the Survivors’ Network of Those Abused by Priests, was in court:
“So basically, the Jesuits turned their head for approximately 40 years and allowed this predator priest to go after dozens of children,” she said.
Blaine continued: “We believe the judge should let the jury decide whether or not the Jesuits who covered up these sex crimes should be punished to hopefully deter other types of recklessness by church officials.”
In the Jesuits response to the motion for punitive damages, they call McGuire is an “evil and perverted man” and a “master manipulator” who fooled even Mother Teresa.
McGuire was once spiritual adviser to Mother Teresa.
McGuire, 80, is now in prison. He was sentenced by a federal judge to 25 years, and he is almost certain to die while incarcerated.
He had been convicted the year before by a Chicago federal jury of talking a boy on religious retreats to have sex with him.
The allegations during the 2008 trial were sensational. Two abuse victims testified that they were molested by McGuire as teens testified that he convinced them that they were “addicted” to masturbation and needed to be “educated” on how to stop it.
The “education” included looking at sexually explicit magazines such as Playboy and Playgirl and watching X-rated films.
One alleged victim, who was 22 at the time of the trial, said McGuire had him masturbate just short of climax. Both alleged victims said McGuire asked them during confession about their sexual activities.
Both alleged victims also said McGuire had them give him massages that included rubbing his genitals. Dominick alleged that McGuire put oil on the boy’s penis, examined it with a magnifying glass, and performed oral sex on him.
Dominick said he didn’t tell anyone of the alleged abuse — which he said took place from 1999 to 2003 — because McGuire threatened to reveal his masturbation habits.
The other victim, a fisherman who later moved to in Catalina, Calif., and was 32 at the time of the trial, said McGuire told him if he ever told anyone of the abuse, “they’re not going to believe … because he was religious. I was trapped, basically.”
McGuire was once a renowned Jesuit. The Vatican ordered him out of the priesthood earlier this year.
McGuire was also convicted in 2006 by a jury of Wisconsin of molesting two boys from Loyola Academy. He was also indicted in Arizona for child molestation and faces lawsuits on a string of other child molestation accusations.