Chicago priest jailed for breaking probation

The Gazette Xtra, Wisconsin/September 30, 2006
By Chris Schultz

Lake Geneva --A Chicago-area priest out on probation while appealing his recent conviction for molesting two boys in Wisconsin in the late 1960s is now in the Walworth County Jail.

Donald J. McGuire, 76, was brought to the Walworth County Jail on Monday by a Walworth County probation agent after reportedly not complying with the conditions of his probation.

Meanwhile, Illinois representatives of a support group for those abused by priests were leafleting a Lake Geneva neighborhood with news that McGuire was closer to them than they might have thought.

The jail gave McGuire's home address as 30 E. Main St., Waukegan. However, according to Wisconsin's online sex offender registry, McGuire was living at the Lake Geneva Comfort Inn, 300 E. Main St., Lake Geneva.

Attempts by the Janesville Gazette to reach Doug Geske, Walworth County probation agent, and Gerald Boyle, McGuire's attorney, were unsuccessful Saturday.

However, Jeff Anderson of St. Paul, Minn., an attorney representing McGuire's two victims in civil suits against McGuire, said he was informed that McGuire refused to take the periodic lie detector tests required as part of his probation.

Anderson said a complaint by one of his clients to the Walworth County probation office led to McGuire's incarceration.

In February, a Walworth County jury found McGuire, a retired Jesuit priest from the Chicago suburbs, guilty on five counts of indecent behavior with a child.

McGuire was sentenced in July to 20 years probation with a seven-year stayed sentence, pending McGuire's appeal of his conviction.

Judge James Carlson relegated the 76-year-old McGuire to a Jesuit nursing home in Waukegan, Ill., until the Court of Appeals makes its decision.

Why McGuire was staying in Lake Geneva is unclear.

Representatives of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests took information downloaded from the Internet about McGuire to inform Comfort Inn's neighbors that a convicted child molester was living in the hotel.

"What we have is a convicted sex offender who is in denial," said SNAP founder Barbara Blaine, herself a victim of priest sex abuse when she was a child. "When sex offenders live in a state of denial, they are more apt to re-offend."

Blaine said she could not believe that McGuire was living in a hotel in a resort community such as Lake Geneva.

"People are on vacation with their guards down," Blaine said.

What's more, St. Francis DeSales Catholic School is right up Main Street at Curtis Road.

Residents of West Drive, West Barry Drive and Curtis Road who were approached by Blaine and two fellow SNAP members, Jeff and Sue Jones of Rockford, Ill., said no one had warned them that a sex offender was living that close.

Some of the houses appeared to be summer cottages and were closed up, but others had children's toys and bicycles out front.

Tim Relue, who lives on Barry Drive, said he appreciated knowing about McGuire living at the hotel.

"I've got a 12-year-old son," Relue said.

Relue said he was concerned about McGuire being close by because West Barry has a number of families with young children.

"We had no clue," said Laura Manley, when she was told of McGuire staying at the hotel

Although she and husband, Scott, have no children, she said it was still a concern for the neighborhood.

"We have a Neighborhood Watch program here," Scott said.

Dan Pitt and Chris Knoch live in an apartment building across the street from the DeSales school. Both are members of the town of Linn Fire and Rescue Department.

Knoch said she thought neighbors had to be notified that a sex offender was living nearby.

Pitt said he was outraged that the county would lodge a sex offender in the neighborhood and so close to a school.

"I'm stupefied this could happen," he said.

Knoch has two sons and a daughter, ages 8-15.

"We let our kids play across the street," Knoch said. "No more."

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