SNAP’s Brief Analysis of Cardinal George’s Deposition

From the SNAP website, 8.13.2008.

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Roster of Statements


The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

Brief analysis of Cardinal George’s deposition






August 12, 2008

Some disturbing portions of Cardinal George’s deposition:

The cardinal says his vicar general at the time of McCormack’s first arrest, mishandled the case (p. 94). Yet, after McCormack’s second arrest, that vicar general, Fr. George Rassas, was elevated to an Auxiliary Bishop in the archdiocese.

The cardinal says he never asked Daniel McCormack whether he sexually abused children (p. 93.) McCormack was first arrested in August 2005, but never charged with sexually abusing a minor. In January 2006, he was arrested again and charged. In July 2007, he pled guilty go abusing five boys and was sentenced to prison.

The cardinal says that after McCormack’s first arrest, he never asked legal authorities whether they thought he was guilty (p. 83). “.they had set him free which I interpreted to mean they didn’t think he was a danger.”

-The cardinal says that he didn’t follow the archdiocesan’s Review Board recommendation in October 2005 that McCormack be removed from ministry (p. 81). “They gave me that advice, yes….I thought they had not finished the case investigation.”

The cardinal says he that knowing now that McCormack was accused of sexual misconduct with a minor and two of his peers while in seminary, he would never have ordained him (p. 95-96; 98.) One of the seminary officials at the time, Gerald Kicanas, (now bishop of Tucson and vice president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops), told the Chicago Sun-Times that it would have been “grossly unfair not to ordain him.”

The cardinal says he thought McCormack was being “supervised” adequately after his first arrest (p. 43). “The one egregious time when the protections of children failed to our great shame was the McCormack case where I thought he was being supervised and it wasn’t adequate.” (McCormack was, in fact, continuing to molest kids “on an almost daily” according to prosecutors.)

The cardinal says the Vicar for Priests – Father Edward Grace – told him that “McCormack could not possibly have done this…” (p. 86)

The cardinal says that his chancellor, Jimmy Lago, had knowledge of but didn’t inform him about matters pertaining to Father McCormack and sexual abuse of kids (p. 103). Yet in the aftermath of McCormack’s second arrest, Lago was given greater responsibility in handling clergy sexual abuse matters. (Several other officials connected with the horrific case were also promoted. The only one who suffered was Barbara Westrick, the school principal who called the police about McCormack.)

The cardinal says Vicar General George Rassas (now an auxiliary bishop) and Fr. Edward Grace, Vicar for Priests (then and now) MAY have received letters of reprimand in their files for their handling of McCormack. (Yet Rassas has also been promoted.)

The cardinal says that the archdiocese’s monitoring of predator clergy was “inadequate” p. 45. “May I say that none of these priests so far as we know even with the inadequate monitoring committed another such grave sin,” the cardinal testified. The victims’ attorney replied, “You may say that, Cardinal, but I may say that if you’re not monitoring them carefully, you’re not going to know; isn’t that correct?”

-Of those who had knowledge of accusations of sexual misconduct involving a minor during McCormack’s history with the archdiocese, all have seen their positions elevated or remain in positions of authority. (Since the McCormack debacle, Cardinal Francis George has become president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops; George Rassas has been elevated from vicar general to Auxiliary Bishop in the Chicago Archdiocese; seminary official Gerald Kicanas is now bishop of Tucson and vice president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Archdiocese of Chicago Chancellor Jimmy Lago has been given more authority on sexual abuse matters; Father Edward Grace remains Vicar for Priests; Leah McCluskey still remains on the archdiocesan staff handling sexual abuse cases; John O’Malley remains the archdiocese’s director of legal services.)

David Clohessy of St. Louis, national director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 566 9790 cell, 314 645 5915 home)

Barbara Blaine of Chicago, national president member of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (312-399-4747)

Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, Outreach Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 862 7688 home, 314 503 0003 cell)

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests



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