Former priest sentenced to 25 years

February 11, 2009 4:33:33 PM PST
A former priest convicted of molesting an underage boy was sentenced to 25 years in prison on Wednesday.The length of the sentence means Donald McGuire, 78, will probably die in prison.

But before sentencing, victims of Donald McGuire told the judge their stories of depression, guilt and loss of faith.

The case for which McGuire was sentenced on Wednesday involves only one victim. But several more were heard in court.

In very powerful testimony, some of the victims described how the abuse drove them into alcoholism, drug abuse and years of depression.

Calling the abuse a very serious sin, Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer went above what the federal sentencing guidelines called for.

McGuire was a highly regarded priest, a Jesuit who travelled the world and even advised Mother Teresa. He is already serving 7 years for a 2006 abuse case involving two Loyola Academy students in Wisconsin.

But today, 78-year-old Donald McGuire sat hunched in a wheel chair as he was sentenced to 25 years in a federal prison for abusing Dominick, now 23 years old. The young man talked about the priest who abused him for four years.

"What he did and the ramifications of that, they may be good, but what he did to me and others are incredibly evil," said Dominick, victim.

Dominick came forward to law enforcement two years ago after McGuire was convicted in Wisconsin for sexually abusing two boys back in the 1960's. Now in his 50's, Victor Bender was one of those boys.

"He would have me sleep nude with him between him and the wall in his twin bed in his own private room," said Bender.

Bender testified on Wednesday as did several other of McGuire's victims. They all talked about how the abuse has destroyed their lives. Federal prosecutors believe McGuire abused dozens of boys for over four decades.

"We are very satisfied today that judge sentenced him to 25 years, and it is entirely reasonable, given how expensive the defendant's crimes were," said Julie Ruder, Asst. U. S. attorney.

"It's a sad day," said Stephen Komie, McGuire attorney.

McGuire did speak in court. He talked about how his failing health and how he is close to death. McGuire says he will see heaven. But the former priest never apologized, something every victim and their family members asked him to do.

"His arrogance is never going to change. We'll have to go on without that.," said Bender.

Many of the victims also blamed the Jesuits for protecting McGuire for decades.

"I think the safest place for children would be for Father McGuire to live the rest of his life behind bars, and I think that beyond that, I think that the archdiocese leaders and Jesuit leaders should also be held accountable for their involvement, their cover-up, for their enabling Father McGuire to be able to molest children for so long," said Barbara Blaine, The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP).

McGuire also faces criminal charges in Arizona for allegedly abusing two brothers. The father of those boys testified on Wednesday. He told the judge if he had the opportunity, he would invoke his own sentence on McGuire, which the man said would involve a baseball bat.


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