Hearing begins to determine fate of ex-priest who molested at least 25 boys

CHICAGO -- 424 people have been committed for life under the sexually violent persons act since it was enacted in 1998.  Prosecutors with the Illinois attorney general’s office are hoping former priest Daniel McCormack will be the next.

McCormack sat stone-faced, occasionally taking notes as forensic psychiatrist Dr. Angeline Stanislaus explained how she reached the conclusion that McCormack suffers from pedophilia disorder and is sexually attracted to young males.

In addition to detailing at least five cases where he fondled young boys, she also explained how she arrived at the conclusion that McCormack should be committed under the Illinois Sexually Violent Persons act, despite the fact she never interviewed him but only read reports and other psychiatric evaluations.  Attorney Marc Pearlman represents about a dozen men who claim to have been victims of McCormack’s sexual abuse.  He says they are all on board with McCormack being committed for life.

"They know how dangerous he is, they know how cunning he is, how manipulative he is and if left to his own devices, I don’t know, if he’s in the public at large, who’s going to monitor him, who is going to watch him," said Pearlman.

McCormack plead guilty to sexually abusing five young boys in 2007, but court records show at least 25 other boys and young men have come forward claiming McCormick also molested them, mostly while he worked as a priest, teacher and basketball coach at St. Agatha’s parish on the city’s west side.  He was sentenced to five years in prison and removed from the priesthood.  Now, nearly eight years after completing his sentence, judge Dennis Porter will have to decide if prosecutors have the burden of proving McCormack has a mental disorder that makes it likely he will re-offend if given the chance.

"Clearly he’s unable to control that, his impulse, because after he was arrested and he knew he was being watched he continued to abuse and not one or two people, many of his victims were abused between August of 2005 and January of 2006 when he was finally rearrested," said Pearlman.

Defense attorneys declined to talk on camera.  In court, they did not dispute the fact the sexual abuse took place but say the state will not be able to meet the burden of proving the McCormack has a mental disorder and that he would abuse kids again if given the chance.  The hearing is expected to last three days, with three expert witnesses being called.  None of which are any of McCormack’s victims.  And it’s still not clear if McCormack himself will take the stand.