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Virtual Press Conference Today: 1 PM CST – New ruling lets serial predator priest walk free

Attorneys buying billboards to help keep him locked up

Two McCormack survivors will beg Attorney General to appeal court decision

“Daniel McCormack is state’s most dangerous cleric” advocates say

WHAT: At a virtual news conference, survivors of a high-profile ex-priest, Daniel McCormack, who was deemed “a sexually violent predator” will beg prosecutors to try to keep him behind bars and overturn a new ruling that might set the cleric free.

As part of an aggressive effort to find witnesses, whistleblowers and evidence, attorneys plan to secure two billboard spaces near the locations where McCormack committed his crimes. They will unveil the billboard design at the event.

A survivor’s advocate will urge Catholic officials to “help beat the bushes” and get other survivors, witnesses and whistleblowers to call law enforcement with “anything they know or suspect about Illinois’ most notorious child molesting cleric.”

WHEN: Thursday, May 27, 2021 – 1:00 PM CST (Zoom details at bottom of release)

WHO: Two young Chicago men who were repeatedly sexually assaulted as kids by the priest, their attorneys and the former co-director of SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests).

WHY: Late last week, a three-judge panel said Illinois’ most notorious predator priest, McCormack, should soon be set free. For “the safety of kids,” attorneys, survivors’ advocates and some of the priest’s survivors are desperately begging prosecutors to appeal the ruling. The perpetrator is now 52 years old.

In 2009, then-Fr. Daniel J. McCormack pled guilty to molesting five boys at a Chicago parish. At the time, prosecutors said that the priest had abused kids on an “almost daily” basis. In 2017, a judge declared him a “sexually violent predator” and ordered he be held indefinitely after his sentence had been served at a southern Illinois facility.

Recently the state’s First District Appellate Court decided that there is insufficient proof that McCormack is likely to re-offend, setting the stage for him to be released from a southern Illinois sex offenders facility. Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raouel’s office is pondering next steps.

Even if McCormack is freed, news conference participants believe the cleric could be charged, convicted and jailed again, if other survivors would step forward. They also believe that Cardinal Blasé Cupich and other church employees have a duty to aggressively seek out others who saw, suspected or suffered McCormack’s crimes and urge them to call law enforcement. McCormack’s case generated national headlines, in part because church officials had known of his arrest and release, yet put him back on the job and even promoted him, enabling him to continue molesting boys.

In the years following McCormack’s crimes, nearly all of the church figures involved in the case were promoted.

The Archdiocese of Chicago has paid out more than $20 million to settle lawsuits alleging sexual abuse by McCormack, the Sun-Times has reported. McCormack also reportedly abused a boy in Mexico when he was a seminarian.

McCormack is at least the second northern Illinois abusive priest to be declared “sexually violent” by a judge and held beyond his prescribed sentence by state authorities. Another is Fr. Fred C. Lenczycki of the Joliet diocese, who admitted abusing up to 30 boys over 25 years. He’s now locked up in Missouri after pleading guilty in 2019 to more child sex crimes.

FORMAT: The press conference will take place over a secure Zoom conference call and will be filmed live in our Saint Paul office. Attendees will be on mute upon arrival but will be able to submit questions through Zoom chat. Alternatively, attendees can wait until the conclusion of the presentation to ask questions directly over Zoom.

ZOOM DETAILS: Press contact media@andersonadvocates.com

LIVE STREAM: The press conference will also be live-streamed via Vimeo and in the News section of our website.

MEDIA NOTE: The press conference will be filmed at 1080p resolution with a broadcast camera and uploaded in real-time to Vimeo. Video files will be uploaded to Vimeo and available for download here following the conclusion of the event for use by broadcast and digital media (processing of the full resolution video file may take up to an hour). Submit requests to media@andersonadvocates.com.