Day 2 of hearings on ex-priest who molested boys wraps up

CHICAGO -- The trial of disgraced Catholic priest Daniel McCormck has wrapped up a second day of testimony.

A judge will decide if the notorious ex-priest is a  “sexually dangerous person” who can be held indefinitely – despite having served his time for a criminal conviction.

In a day of mostly procedural testimony, an expert witness told a judge that he did not see McCormack as a threat to offend again. It was a direct contradiction to what an expert told him the day before. It’s the latest legal chapter in a case that has bedeviled the archdiocese for years.

For a decade, McCormack served in Chicago’s archdiocese, a priest at St. Agatha’s parish on the west side.

In 2007, he pleaded guilty to molesting five boys.

He was sentenced to five years in prison and was paroled in 2009, but has been held in a downstate medical facility ever since.

Now the question before a Cook County judge is – should an admitted pedophile who has served his sentence be released from medical custody?

“I know the history of Daniel McCormack, and I know it from the time he entered the seminary through his time in prison and based on what I know, I beloved there is a substantial risk that he could re-offend," said attorney Marc Pearlman.

Pearlman represents several of McCormack’s victims.

He’s been sitting in on the trial. For the last two days a judge has heard differing opinions from experts on the question of whether McCormack poses an ongoing threat,

"At the end of the day, it’s going to be whether the judge believes the state’s expert or the defense’s expert," said Pearlman.

The 48-year-old has brought a swirling scandal to the archdiocese. He was de-frocked, or dismissed from the priesthood, after being accused of abusing more than a dozen other children – claims that cost the archdiocese millions of dollars in settlements and prompted an apology from then archbishop Blasé Cupich.

McCormack’s abuse allegedly began in the 1990s and was carried out in a number of places from the basement of the rectory, to the classroom, to a White Sox game.

“If you’re asking me if I lived in a community and Daniel McCormack lived in that community would I feel safe with my children walking around the streets, the answer is no," said Pearlman.

McCormack himself is not likely take the stand tomorrow, WGN is told.

The trial will resume tomorrow at 2 p.m. and likely wrap up by the evening.