Father Dan Hearing, Prosecutors Seeking Permanent Lockup
Reverend Daniel McCormack, known as Father Dan to his victims, pleaded guilty to sexual abuse on five counts and sentenced to five years in prison. McCormack was formerly a Roman Catholic priest at St. Agatha Parish on Chicago’s Southwest Side. He coached basketball, taught algebra, gave sermons and tutored an after-school program.
In 2006, Father Dan was arrested on allegations from inappropriate kissing and touching to sexual assault of young boys. Records of these allegations dated back to the early 1990s. Over a year after his arrest in 2007, McCormack pleaded guilty to sexually abusing five boys and was sentenced to five years in prison.
McCormack has finished his prison term, but Illinois prosecutors are determined to prove that he is a sexually-violent person who should be kept in the state facility he’s being held with other sex offenders. Prosecutors filed a petition to detain McCormack before he was even eligible for parole back in 2009. Since then he’s been detained at the Illinois Department of Human Services facility for sex offenders in Rushville.
The long list of McCormack’s victims are uneasy about his release and only time will tell if McCormack is determined sexually violent. In order for prosecutors to prove he is sexually violent and intends on committing more of the same acts, they must prove he has a mental disorder that would make it difficult for him to fight and would in turn reoffend if given the chance. Prosecutors are hoping that the long history of sexual offenses will help in the case.
Proving that McCormack will commit more crimes if he knows he won’t get caught. Maura Possley, a spokesperson for the Illinois attorney general’s office told the Tribune, “It’s our belief that he poses a danger to children if he is released into the community.” The attorney general’s office is prosecuting this case.
Another potential win for the case is the fact that during McCormack’s original trial he declined to undergo any sort of evaluations done by a psychiatrist during the hearing. This forced the original psychiatrist to rely strictly on police reports and records from the Illinois Department of Corrections. The original psychiatrist did determine from these records and files that McCormack suffered from pedophilia and it was “substantially probable” he would reoffend once released from custody.
The psychiatrist, Dr. Angeline Stanislaus, determined that due to his pedophilia he repeatedly engaged in sexual abuse with young boys despite the community, police officers, parents and a direct order from his vicar not to have any contact with the children.
The problem with sexual offenders is that their symptom is the crime. The only way to determine if they would reoffend is to allow them the chance to reoffend, but morally that isn’t right to allow someone else to potentially get hurt in a twisted social experiment. Only time will tell if McCormack will be permanently locked up in the sex offenders facility he’s currently being held or if he will be released back into the community.