Hearing to determine if Chicago priest should remain in sex offender facility

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A hearing held Wednesday will determine whether a former Chicago priest should remain locked up indefinitely at an Illinois facility for sex offenders.

It is up to Cook County judge Dennis Porter to decide whether Daniel McCormack should be committed to a state mental health facility indefinitely. State prosecutors want the former priest declared a sexually violent person under a rare Illinois law that would keep the convicted child molester from being released to the public.

"If the state can provide beyond a reasonable doubt, that is a high burden, that you have a very high likelihood of offending, then I think it's justified to retain in a monitored environment," said Marc Pearlman, attorney representing several of McCormack's victims.

Pearlman said the victims he represents all said they want the former priest to remain in custody.

"They know how dangerous he is, they know how cunning he is, how manipulative he is," he said.

In 2007, McCormack pleaded guilty to sexually abusing five boys while he was a priest at St. Agatha Parish on Chicago's West Side, but court records show dozens of other boys alleged McCormack abused them as well.

To be declared a sexually violent person, prosecutors must prove McCormack has a mental disorder and will reoffend again. The state's only witness, forensic psychiatrist Dr. Angeline Stanislaus, diagnosed the former priest with pedophilia. She testified it is likely McCormack will offend again, especially since he continued to abuse boys after he was arrested and placed under supervision by the archdiocese.

Since the state filed its petition in 2009 to have McCormack declared a sexually violent person, the former priest has been held in a downstate facility for sex offenders. He appeared in court Wednesday, and his attorneys will have their own psychiatric experts as witnesses. All are relying on court records and documents, as McCormack chose not to be interviewed.

The bench trial is scheduled to last until Friday.
Copyright © 2022 WLS-TV. All Rights Reserved.