Probation modified for convicted priest

McGuire can remain silent on past allegation

(Published October. 13, 2006, 8:38 a.m.)

By Mike Heine/The Week

A retired Catholic priest convicted of sexual assault can refuse certain lie detector tests while his case is being appealed, but he'll remain in jail until its determined whether he violated his probation, a judge ruled Tuesday.

The Rev. Donald J. McGuire, a retired Jesuit priest convicted of sexually assaulting two boys in the late 1960s, remains in the Walworth County Jail.

Although Judge James Carlson denied a defense request to suspend McGuire's probation, the judge agreed that while McGuire's case is being appealed he can refuse lie detector tests and sex offender classes that would require him to talk about past allegations.

Victor Bender, a 53-year-old man who says he was molested by McGuire in a Fontana home when he was a teen, was pleased with Carlson's decision.

"I definitely concur with what the judge ruled. He made a sentence, and he's sticking to it," said Bender, who allowed The Week to report his name despite being a sexual assault victim.

McGuire, 76, has been jailed since Sept. 25 because he followed the advice of his attorneys to not take lie detector tests and to not participate in sex offender treatment.

Appellate attorneys advised McGuire not to talk about his conviction because it could be used against him if gets a new trial. Forcing McGuire to talk about the conviction is a violation of his Fifth Amendment right to silence, his attorneys said.

But following his attorneys' advice put McGuire in violation of his probation.

McGuire was sentenced July 18 to 20 years probation and seven years in prison. At the sentencing hearing, Carlson stayed the prison sentence until an appeals court ruling.

In late August and early September, McGuire spent three days in jail for not reporting to Evanston, Ill., police that he was in town to attend the funeral of a friend, according to the Department of Corrections. That also was a violation of probation, corrections officials said.

McGuire, a former spiritual advisor to Mother Theresa, will remain in custody at least until an administrative judge rules on his probation violation.

McGuire's probation agent said he has not found suitable housing for McGuire in Illinois and the probation has not been transferred to Illinois.

After his sentencing, McGuire stayed at a Jesuit nursing home in Waukegan, Ill., but was evicted after the home learned of his felony conviction.

He was staying in Lake Geneva at the Comfort Inn hotel, which is a few blocks from St. Francis DeSales Catholic Church and School.

His stay there prompted members of the Survivors Network for those Abused by Priests to pass out leaflets informing neighbors that a convicted sex offender was staying in the hotel.

There were no reports of McGuire having contact with children during his stay, but Bender believes McGuire chose the hotel for more than a comfortable room.

"It was a comfortable place for him to operate in his normal way so he could start looking at additional victims," Bender said.

 

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