CHICAGO (Reuters) - A Roman Catholic priest at the center of a sex abuse and cover-up scandal was taken into federal custody in Chicago on charges of molesting two U.S. boys including one on a trip overseas, authorities said.
Donald McGuire, who once worked with a group linked to Mother Teresa, traveled to Switzerland and Austria in 2000 to engage in sexual misconduct with a minor who is now 21, according to charges unsealed by the U.S. Attorney’s office on Friday.
The 77-year-old Jesuit priest is being held without bond, labeled a flight risk by prosecutors. If convicted on federal charges, he faces up to 15 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
McGuire was convicted in 2006 of sexually abusing high school students on trips to Wisconsin in the 1960s but was free on bond pending an appeal.
He was jailed on Thursday in Wisconsin for probation violations and transferred to Chicago. The new complaint was filed on Thursday.
The complaint against McGuire, by an accuser identified as Victim A, says that McGuire sexually abused him from 1999 to 2003 in 12 states and six countries.
The youth was living with the priest in Evanston, Illinois, where McGuire had become a spiritual mentor to Victim A’s family, media reports said.
Victim A and another boy, Victim B, outlined a pattern of abuse escalating from discussion of sexual topics through viewing of pornography to oral sex, according to the complaint.
Abuse of Victim B began when the boy was about 9 years old and continued until he was about 13 or 14, it said.
McGuire was affiliated until at least 2006 with a group called Mission Fides. It helped organize religious retreats including some to Mother Teresa’s communities in India, according to the 24-page complaint.
Correspondence between families and Jesuit leaders released by lawyers for the youths this week showed the Catholic order had received complaints about McGuire’s behavior going back to 1969.
More recently parents called and wrote to Jesuit officials to complain about McGuire’s conduct with their sons in 1993, 1994, 2000, 2001, 2002 and 2003, attorneys said.
Federal prosecutors cited documents showing that McGuire’s supervisors directed him in 1991 to “not travel on any overnight trip with any person male or female under the age of 21.”
The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, has sued the Jesuit order, saying that officials had received formal, documented complaints from the latest alleged victims 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.”
In July the Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles agreed to pay $660 million to 500 victims of sexual abuse dating back as far as the 1940s.
The settlement, which means victims will receive more than $1 million each, was the largest from the Catholic Church in recent years following many cases in which victims sought financial compensation for suffering abuse from priests.
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