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Christianity Today: CHRISTIAN priest indicted for molestation of brothers

Friday, April 04 2008 @ 02:08 PM CDT

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Michael Kiefer

A defrocked priest who once served as spiritual adviser to Mother Teresa of Calcutta was indicted by a Maricopa County grand jury last week on charges that he molested two brothers from the Phoenix area between 1988 and 2002.

Donald McGuire was arrested in suburban Chicago on Tuesday. He was hospitalized there after claiming he was experiencing chest pains and is under the supervision of the Cook County Sheriff's Office.

McGuire, 77, is charged with three counts of child molestation, one count of furnishing obscene or harmful items to minors and one count of indecent exposure.

In announcing the indictment, Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas called it "the latest in a disturbing pattern of priests and people in ecclesiastical authority who have misused their office, allegedly, to commit crimes of this nature. And I want to make it very clear that this office continues to take these cases very seriously."

McGuire will have a telephonic bond hearing on Friday.

"This office will ask that McGuire be held without bond," Thomas said.

The brothers, who are now in their 20s, related their experiences to their father last year when they learned that a man they knew in Chicago was filing suit against the Society of Jesuits and McGuire.

In 2006, McGuire was sentenced to seven years in prison and 20 years' probation for similar offenses he committed in Wisconsin during the 1960s. When he was arrested, McGuire was out on bond pending an appeal of that conviction.

He is also facing federal charges for reportedly traveling to Switzerland and Austria to have sex with minors there. He was enjoined from celebrating Mass in 2003 and was defrocked in February 2007.

James Clark of Phoenix, the father of the two brothers in the Maricopa County indictment, said that the offenses that gave rise to the current charges started when the boys were 9 and 12 years old. McGuire would stay at the Clark home when he led retreats in Arizona, and some of the molestations took place while the priest was supposedly hearing the boys' confessions.

"This monster used the power of the confessional, while my son was confessing his sins, to abuse him and then to silence him under the pain of additional sin if he divulged what happened," Clark said. "And several years later, he did a comparable thing to my other son."

The county Attorney's Office brought the charges after conducting a six-month investigation.

McGuire, a Jesuit, traveled the world as spiritual adviser to Mother Teresa's Missionaries of Charity and led spiritual retreats in her name.

According to Chicago news accounts, McGuire usually traveled with adolescent boys, referred to as "valets," who would sleep in his room and give him "massages."

The 2006 conviction stemmed from when McGuire taught at a north suburban Chicago Catholic prep school. But since the statute of limitations had run out to try McGuire in Illinois, he was indicted in Wisconsin, because he had taken the boys on retreats there.

Clark and his wife met McGuire in 1983 while on a pilgrimage to Europe. McGuire asked Clark to arrange spiritual retreats in Phoenix and was a frequent guest in his home, where the molestations reportedly took place.

McGuire baptized three of Clark's children, Clark said, including one of the children he reportedly molested. He also witnessed the wedding of the other son.

"We feel as if we have been betrayed by a family member," Clark said.


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