Thursday, February 26, 2009

Former priest gets 25 years on sex charge with boy

Last updated February 11, 2009 3:19 p.m. PT
Former priest gets 25 years on sex charge with boy
CHICAGO -- A former Roman Catholic priest convicted of taking a boy on religious retreats to have sex with him was sentenced Wednesday to 25 years in prison.
Donald McGuire, of Oak Lawn, displayed no emotion as U.S District Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer imposed a 300-month sentence that likely means the 78-year-old former priest will die in prison.
Pallmeyer said McGuire used his stature, his international reputation that included being a spiritual adviser to Mother Teresa and the trust parents had in him that he would care for "the finest gifts God ever gave them: their children."
She said the boys' confidence, faith, innocence and sexual desire were destroyed.
"You robbed them of all these things," she said after a hearing that included statements from victims, including McGuire's godson.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Julie Ruder told the judge that it was "a horrific and monstrous crime."
McGuire was convicted in October of charges of traveling outside the United States and across state lines to have sex with a teenager between 2000 and 2003. The Vatican ordered McGuire out of the priesthood last year.
In 2006, McGuire was convicted in Wisconsin of child molestation and sentenced to seven years in prison. He has appealed that conviction.
McGuire also has been indicted in Arizona on child molestation charges and faces lawsuits on new child molestation accusations.
Victims and their parents testified before the sentencing Wednesday that they felt guilty for not coming forward sooner with their allegations.
"I apologize to the other victims," said one man who told the judge he was abused by McGuire for six years beginning in the late 1970s. "I apologize that I didn't come forward."
Many of those who testified also asked McGuire to apologize to them, which Pallmeyer noted the former priest didn't do.
McGuire has maintained his innocence throughout the trial. At the hearing, he told the judge he would continue to pray for everyone connected to the trial and spoke of being near the end of his life.
"I see that horizon, it's heaven, where every tear will be wiped away," he said.
McGuire would have to serve most of his sentence before he is eligible for release.

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