Prominent Jesuit priest faces new sex abuse charges


The Reverend Donald MacGuire, SJ, was taken into federal custody in Chicago on charges of molesting two U.S. boys, including one on a trip overseas.

Until 2006 Father MacGuire was affiliated with Mission Fides, a group that organized religious retreats including some to Mother Teresa's communities in India.

The new charges, unsealed by the U.S. Attorney's office on Friday, allege Father MacGuire traveled to Switzerland and Austria in 2000 to engage in sexual misconduct with a minor who is now 21.  In a complaint filed against the priest on Thursday, an accuser identified as Victim A claims that Father MacGuire sexually abused him between 1999 to 2003 in 12 states and six countries.  Victim A was living with the priest in Evanston, Illinois, where Father MacGuire had reportedly become a spiritual mentor to Victim A's family.

Victim A and another boy, Victim B, alleged a pattern of abuse beginning with discussions of sexual topics which escalated through viewing pornography to oral sex, according to the complaint.

The 77-year-old Jesuit priest, considered a flight risk by prosecutors, is being held without bond.  If convicted on federal charges, he could face up to 15 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

The alleged victims' lawyers released correspondence between families and Jesuit leaders showing that the order had received complaints about Father MacGuire's behavior as far back as 1969.  More recent complaints were made in the years 1993, 1994, and 2000 through 2003, the lawyers said.

Federal prosecutors cited documents showing that Father MacGuire's superiors ordered him in 1991 to "not travel on any overnight trip with any person male or female under the age of 21."

Attorneys for Victims A and B have filed suit alleging the Jesuit order and other church officials had received formal, documented complaints about the priest but failed to inform authorities.

On Friday the Chicago Province of Jesuits issued a statement saying they have "cooperated extensively and proactively" with the U.S. Attorney's office in the case and expressed "apologies to anyone who was abused."

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