Ex-priest pleads not guilty to latest sex abuse charges

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Former Roman Catholic priest Daniel McCormack appeared in court Monday to face new child sex abuse charges.

McCormack pleaded not guilty. The defrocked priest has pleaded guilty in several previous cases.

Members of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests say there may be more victims yet to come forward.

"I think it's really important that we work hard to create an environment where victims feel safe to report, and I'm not sure that Cardinal George has created that kind of an environment in this church," said SNAP's Barbara Blaine.

McCormack is being held at a mental health facility in Rushville, Ill., about 250 miles from Chicago. His next court date is July 23.

McCormack has already served prison time for abusing five boys. He now faces a new allegation from another boy who participated in an after-school program at St. Agatha on Chicago's West Side. Prosecutors say there were two incidents that took place between September and December of 2005.

"In the first incident, McCormack took the child to a White Sox game and after the game McCormack is alleged to have hugged the victim while he put his hands inside of the boy's pants," said Anita Alvarez, Cook County state's attorney.

Alvarez says McCormack allegedly fondled the boy again when the priest invited the 10-year-old to his bedroom in the rectory.

"McCormack told victim not to tell anyone what has occurred," said Alvarez.

The victim, who is now 19, came forward seven years after McCormack pleaded guilty to multiple counts of criminal sexual abuse. McCormack was sentenced to five years in prison and paroled in 2009. At that time, prosecutors took immediate action to keep him detained at a mental health facility while they petitioned the court to have McCormack declared a sexually violent person. If the petition is granted, McCormack will remain in state custody indefinitely, which abuse support groups say is where the 45-year-old belongs.

"We know that he has abused many children in the past, and my position would be, why risk putting him out there where he might abuse more in the future?" said Blaine.

The Archdiocese of Chicago and Cardinal Francis George are also facing civil suits from three victims who claim the archdiocese was negligent in allowing McCormack to work with boys unsupervised after abuse allegations were made.

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