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For He Has Sinned 

A new lawsuit sheds light on the S.F. years of Mother Teresa's spiritual adviser – who is also one of the Jesuit order's most notorious convicted pedophiles.

Wednesday, Jul 29 2009
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In contrast to other Jesuits, who tend to occupy the liberal end of the Catholic spectrum on political and cultural issues, McGuire was a staunch conservative on doctrinal questions, including those involving gender and sexuality. Brigid Crotty, a 40-year-old Napa resident whose family became close to McGuire in the 1980s, recalled that the priest demanded that women wear long skirts in his presence.

Looking back, Hockel said she could pick out "red flags" that signaled an unstable personality. "There was always a chaos that surrounded his presence," she said. Meetings started late; appointments were not kept; people were made to wait, or to indulge McGuire's eccentricities. He was something of a control freak, forcing his hosts to cater to strict demands regarding his schedule, accommodations, and diet.

"He always wanted a salad with his meal," Hockel said. "He always wanted four ounces of fresh-squeezed orange juice. I can't believe every time he came I actually made an effort to squeeze orange juice. You look back ..." She paused. "I think deep down inside he enjoyed the coronation that we laypeople gave him, because we felt so lucky that we had this time with this brilliant, devout prophet."

It was this later phase of McGuire's life, as a traveling Jesuit guru, that federal authorities investigated as they built their case against him. They discovered that the priest, while he preached the virtues of intensely orthodox Catholicism to his followers, was subverting the traditions of his calling in startling ways. According to a sentencing memorandum filed by federal prosecutors after McGuire's conviction, one of his primary means of "grooming" young abuse victims was the ritual of confession.

For example, when the primary victim in the case confessed to McGuire at the age of 13 that he masturbated, McGuire "seized on it" and said the boy had an "addiction" that could send him to hell, according to court documents. He then demanded to "inspect" the boy's penis using a magnifying glass and baby oil.

Doe 129 said he was never abused in the confessional. But he does recall other strange twists on McGuire's vocational interests. During a visit to the Jesuit residence in Evanston, Doe 129 said, McGuire began masturbating in front of him in a private upstairs room. The classics scholar had allegedly preceded this exhibition with a discourse on how gay sex was a common practice among the ancient Greeks.

There is reason to believe that Doe 129 was not McGuire's sole local victim during his post-USF decades of world travel. A colleague of McGuire's within the church said in a recent interview that he received a complaint from a Bay Area family that McGuire was molesting their teenage son in the years after the priest left the university. The church official, who requested anonymity for fear of reprisal from his superiors, said he had passed the complaint on to McGuire's Jesuit higher-ups. (Doe 129 confirmed that he was not the complainant.)

Likewise, Crotty said her father, Fran Crotty, a former administrator at a North Bay Catholic school, was informed "in no uncertain terms" sometime in the last few years by a local man that McGuire had abused his son in the past. Reached by telephone, Fran Crotty declined to comment. "I'm not at liberty to discuss anything concerning McGuire," he said.

Stephen Komie, McGuire's Chicago-based lawyer, said in an interview that his client continues to maintain that the allegations leveled at him are lies intended to wring money from the church — and that his criminal convictions are simply by-products of accusations that drove the civil suits against him. "Father McGuire has always said that these are stories made up for the financial benefit of the persons who are bringing the case," Komie said.


It is true that the interplay among abuse victims, private attorneys, and law-enforcement officials in McGuire's case has at times been complicated. The victim whose complaint led to McGuire's federal conviction — his identity was withheld during the trial, and he is named in court records only as Dominick — originally consulted a private attorney known for representing plaintiffs in priest-pedophilia civil suits in Southern California. That attorney's name is Kevin McGuire, and he is Donald McGuire's nephew.

Kevin McGuire said he urged Dominick to take his allegations to federal authorities, and accompanied him to the U.S. Attorney's office on the day he filed a complaint. "I traveled in the same Catholic circles that a lot of these same victims traveled in," he said. "I realized it was my obligation to turn my uncle in. I'm doing it because it's the right thing to do."

Kevin McGuire is also representing Doe 129, who claims he is motivated by desire to hold the priest's superiors to account, rather than the prospect of financial gain. The litigation "certainly hasn't made my life any easier, and it's certainly not fun, and I certainly question whether there's any justice that can be done," said Doe 129, who still lives in the Bay Area. "I'm just really disgusted and furious about the fact that they knew about this for so goddamn long, and didn't do anything about it. If you had a carpet-cleaning business and a guy was a rapist, you wouldn't let him out and about working for you."

In response to questions from SF Weekly about Doe 129's lawsuit, Chicago Jesuit Provincial Edward Schmidt (the regional head of his order) said in a statement that the province was "aware" of the suit. "Because this matter involves a court action, we do not plan to make any further comment about these particular allegations at this time," he said.

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Peter Jamison

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