Ex-priest declared sexually violent; fate yet to be decided

CHICAGO (AP) - A former Chicago priest was deemed to be a sexually violent person by a Cook County judge on Friday, but whether he will be held indefinitely in a facility for sex offenders will be decided later.

With Cook County Circuit Judge Dennis Porter's ruling, Daniel McCormack will remain at the state mental hospital in the southern Illinois town of Rushville or another state institution.

"I have no reasonable doubt that you will engage in future acts of sexual violence," the judge said, not looking at McCormack.

McCormack has served a five-year sentence for molesting five boys of his West Side congregation. However, the state of Illinois wants him committed indefinitely.

Porter issued the decision on McCormack after hearing closing arguments from lawyers in the case.

During a hearing this week, the judge heard testimony from mental health experts for the prosecution and defense who disagreed on whether McCormack still posed a danger to re-offend if released from custody.

Officials say while awaiting a ruling on his inclination to re-offend, McCormack never participated in a psychological evaluation, even when it was sought by his own lawyers.

McCormack has been held in the mental hospital for sex offenders in Rushville since 2009, when he completed his prison sentence for sexually abusing the minors.

The Archdiocese of Chicago has paid about $140 million to settle sex abuse claims, including those against McCormack. In 2007, months after his arrest, he pleaded guilty to abusing the children and was sentenced to five years in prison. He was subsequently released from prison and placed in a mental health facility.

In 2014, McCormack was charged with aggravated criminal sexual abuse stemming from an alleged incident in 2005 involving a boy when McCormack was still a priest.