Special to HarpBlaster.com
CHICAGO, Nov. 2, 2007 — A Catholic priest was taken into federal custody Friday on a new federal charge that he sexually molested minor boys, including one boy who lived with him in Evanston, Ill., between 1999 and 2003, and accompanied him on interstate and international religious retreats.
This charge resulted from an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
The Rev. Donald J. McGuire was charged in a criminal complaint with one count of traveling to Switzerland and Austria in December 2000 to engage in sexual conduct with a minor. The complaint was filed yesterday and unsealed today after McGuire was transferred by ICE agents from state custody in Wisconsin to federal custody in Chicago.
McGuire, 77, of Chicago, was expected to appear today before Magistrate Judge Arlander Keys in U.S. District Court in Chicago. The charges were announced by Patrick J. Fitzgerald, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, and Elissa A. Brown, special agent-in-charge of the ICE Office of Investigations in Chicago.
According to a detailed complaint affidavit, McGuire was ordained in 1961 and is affiliated with the Chicago Province of the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits). Until at least 2006, he was also affiliated with an organization called Mission Fides, which supported and helped organize McGuire’s religious retreats in the United States and around the world, including retreats for Mother Teresa’s communities in India.
Between the mid-1990s and 2003, McGuire’s primary residence was at Canisius House, a Jesuit priest community in Evanston.
The 24-page affidavit states that, according to documents — provided by the Jesuits, since at least 1991, McGuire has had a number of restrictions placed on him concerning interaction with minors. According to multiple witnesses, however, McGuire continued to travel alone with boys in their teens and early 20s throughout the 1990s and through 2003, and sexually molested males during this time, including Victim A, a minor, who accompanied McGuire on a retreat to Switzerland and Austria in December 2000.
The affidavit alleges that Victim A told ICE agents that McGuire sexually molested him between 1999 and the fall of 2003. Victim A was 13 years old when the sexual abuse allegedly began in 1999. According to Victim A, the sexual abuse ended in 2003 when the Jesuits ordered McGuire to move from Canisius House to another residence in Chicago.
The complaint affidavit also alleges the McGuire sexually abused Victim B, beginning in about the late 1980s when Victim B was about 9 years old. McGuire frequently stayed with Victim B’s family when he traveled to retreats.
The first sexual abuse of Victim B allegedly occurred while he was hearing Victim B’s confession. According to Victim B, McGuire continued to sexually abuse him during subsequent retreats and confessions when Victim B was about 13 or 14 years old. The affidavit also details information from another individual. Victim C was 17 years old when he came to live and work with McGuire in 1998.
“This case reveals the disturbing truth that some adults will go to great lengths to sexually exploit children,” said Elissa A. Brown, special agent-in-charge of the ICE Office of Investigations in Chicago. “Unfortunately, we cannot restore the lost innocence to those children who have been exploited by sexual predators. However, ICE helps ensure that justice is served. Identifying and investigating those who victimize children – especially those who hold positions of public trust — is one of the most important responsibilities we have.”
Under current federal law, the statute of limitations for sexual abuse of a minor extends during the life of the victim.
The government is being represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Julie B. Ruder.
The statute under which McGuire was charged carries a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The Court, however, determines the appropriate sentence to be imposed under the advisory U.S. Sentencing Guidelines.
McGuire’s investigation and arrest are part of Operation Predator, a national ICE initiative that protects children by investigating and presenting for prosecution pedophiles, Internet predators, human traffickers, international sex tourists, and other predatory criminals. Since Operation Predator was launched in July 2003, ICE agents have arrested more than 10,000 child predators and sex offenders nationwide, including 543 in Illinois.
ICE encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at (866) DHS-2ICE. Investigators staff this hotline around the clock.
Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may be reported to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, at (800) 843-5678 or http://www.cybertipline.com.