Cook County Judge Dennis Porter recently ruled that convicted child molester and former priest of the Archdiocese of Chicago, Daniel McCormack, is a sexually violent person. For him to be declared a sexually violent person, prosecutors had to prove, that after previous convictions of sexual violence, McCormack has a pedophilic disorder and will reoffend again. While speaking directly at McCormack in the courtroom, Judge Porter said, “I have no reasonable doubt that you will engage in future acts of sexual violence.”
The Chicago Sun Times recently reported the news of the ruling and added that based on McCormack’s criminal case and church investigation files, McCormack groomed children with gifts, cash and trips to sporting events. He approached boys ranging from the fourth to eighth grades that he knew from the church or in his role as a basketball coach; several victims were altar boys. McCormack ran an after-school program out of Our Lady of West Side called SAFE, leaving him in a position to access unassuming young boys.
The McCormack cases, and hundreds like them in recent history, reinforce the fact that institutions have an obligation to ensure the people that are given the responsibility of caring for children are of sound mind and free of propensities to harm and/or exploit them. Perpetrators like McCormack seek out opportunities to be in contact with vulnerable children. Institutions have the responsibility to screen and supervise the people that work for them, and audit the programs they provide and sponsor for children.