San Francisco News

Possible cover up in priest abuse case

Friday, April 01, 2011

The Catholic Church is under fire over decades of child sex abuse, as new evidence points to a 50-year cover up.

New documents were released about a high profile former Jesuit priest, in prison for sexually molesting young boys. The new evidence shows how church officials knew what was going on but did not come forward, including some in San Francisco.

Former Jesuit priest Donald McGuire of Chicago is serving 25 years in prison for sexual acts with two minors in the 1960s. He's also been indicted in Arizona for molesting "Jim's" two sons.

"He did retreats in the Phoenix area. I was the retreat organizer and he would typically stay at our home before and after the retreats," he said.

Documents have shown Jesuit leaders knew for more than 40 years McGuire was a predator and still allowed him to move around. In 1970 the president of Loyola Academy, a high school in Illinois, wrote "his presence here has become positively destructive and corrosive. I consider it absolutely essential that he be removed from this community." The letter was written to one of the top Jesuits in Chicago.

McGuire was then transferred to other places and from 1976 to 1981 he taught at USF's St. Ignatius institute. Members of SNAP, Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, held a press conference in front of St. Ignatius Church to reach out to other potential victims, even though to date no student from USF has come forward.

"To try to tar us into making us as if we were guilty of something when no one had come forward and there is no evidence that anything happened here, I think that is unfair to the university,"

"The only way we've been able to get documents and find out about the truth has been through the civil justice system. The more victims that come forward and use the civil justice system the more we can get to the bottom of this," said.

In 1981, three months after McGuire was forced to leave USF, the Jesuits of California wrote a letter to McGuire's superiors saying, "Don will have to undergo serious psychological evaluation and therapy."

Not only was he trusted by his followers but in 1983 he became Mother Teresa's confessor. Knowing that, one mother said she never felt uncomfortable leaving her son alone with him. She says her son was molested as a child by McGuire during his stay in San Francisco.

"McGuire is in jail but what happens to the rest of these people who covered for him," the mother.

McGuire is 80 years old and in court, he said he will never apology because he feels he never did any wrongdoing.

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university of san francisco, san francisco news, lyanne melendez
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