Former priest jailed after eviction

 

(Published October. 5, 2006, 12:12 p.m.)

By Mike Heine/The Week

The Rev. Donald J. McGuire, a convicted sex offender, is back in Walworth County after being evicted from a Jesuit nursing home, according to the state Department of Corrections.

In February, a jury found McGuire, 76, guilty of five counts of indecent behavior with a child nearly 40 years ago. Judge James Carlson stayed McGuire's seven-year prison sentence pending appeal and ordered McGuire to live at Terrace Nursing Home in Waukegan, Ill.

But the nursing home evicted McGuire on July 26, eight days after his sentencing. John Dipko, public information director for the Department of Corrections, said the nursing home's charter does not allow it to house a convicted felon.

Paperwork to transfer McGuire's probation to the Illinois Department of Corrections was not completed, and the retired priest was ordered back to Walworth County, Dipko said.

McGuire temporarily was housed at the Comfort Inn, 300 E. Main St., Lake Geneva. Illinois probation officials were working to find a permanent residence for McGuire in his home state, Dipko said.

McGuire's probation agent took him into custody Sept. 25 for failing to complete sex offender programming, Dipko said. He remains in the Walworth County Jail.

Members of the Survivors Network for those Abused by Priests passed out leaflets last weekend informing residents who lived near the hotel that McGuire had been staying there.

Several citizens expressed concern that they hadn't been notified a convicted sex offender was living near them. What's more, St. Francis DeSales Catholic School is just a few blocks from the hotel.

State statutes do not require citizen notification about all sex offenders living nearby. Local police can inform the community, "if, in their opinion, releasing the information would enhance the protection of the public," according to the Wisconsin Sex Offender Registry Web site.

Community notification has three levels, according to the Web site:

-- Police-only notification.

-- Notification to certain individuals or groups based on the facts of the case.

-- Community-wide notification and may make use of the media and community meetings.

Local police agencies were notified of McGuire's temporary living arrangements, Dipko said. Also, McGuire registered as a sex offender with the Lake Geneva Police Department and meets weekly with his probation agent as required, Dipko said.

McGuire's probation was revoked because he refused to participate fully in sex offender classes, sign related documents and take a lie-detector test, according to a motion filed Tuesday by his appellate attorneys.

If he complied with the requirements, information from sex offender class or a lie-detector test could be used against McGuire in a new trial if his appeal is successful, the motion says.

McGuire refused to comply with the probation requirements on the advice of counsel, the motion says. His lawyers say McGuire has a Fifth Amendment right to silence.

"The only way we can protect our client's rights is by instructing him to refuse to participate or answer," reads a letter from defense attorney Steve J. Watson to McGuire's probation agent.

A motion hearing is set for Tuesday, Oct. 10, to stay the probation pending the appeal process.

 

 

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