Friday, December 18, 2009

McCormack's bid to stop commitment hearing denied

McCormack's bid to stop commitment hearing denied
December 17, 2009 11:54 AM | No Comments
A judge today denied a motion filed by Daniel McCormack, the former priest convicted of sexually abusing five boys, that sought to stop the state from labeling him a sexually violent person.

McCormack, 41, has served more than two years of a five-year sentence. Shortly before his parole in September, Cook County prosecutors and the Illinois attorney general filed a joint petition to have McCormack confined to a state treatment facility under the Sexually Violent Persons Commitment Act.

Illinois law allows prosecutors to seek continued incarceration if a psychological exam leads them to believe another sex crime is likely if the inmate goes free. A forensic psychiatrist hired by the attorney general's office diagnosed McCormack with pedophilia and recommended civil commitment.

In a defense motion filed last month, McCormack's lawyer argued that the Illinois Department of Corrections should have been the one to hire the psychiatrist to evaluate his client, not the attorney general. It also points out that another psychiatrist hired by the DOC in August did not recommend McCormack for civil commitment.

But today, Judge Dennis Porter denied the motion, saying that though the law does say the Department of Corrections must hire a psychiatrist, it does not explicitly require that other agencies cannot hire psychiatrists to evaluate the subject or that the decision to commit must be based on the DOC psychiatrist's findings.

The statute "doesn't say the state is bound by that," Porter said.

Whether McCormack will be committed under the law has yet to be decided. His case is next scheduled to be heard Jan. 19.

McCormack pleaded guilty in July 2007 to abusing five boys at St. Agatha Roman Catholic Church on the West Side.

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