Thursday, May 21, 2009

Priest's Conviction on Child Molestation Charges Upheld

In State of Wisconsin v. McGuire, (WI Dist. II Ct. App., May 20, 2009), a Wisconsin state appellate court upheld the 7-year prison term imposed on a former, once-prominent Jesuit priest who was convicted of molesting two teenage boys in the late 1960's. Priest Donald McGuire was not charged until 2005, and was tried in 2006. The statute of limitations had not run because McGuire was not in Wisconsin in the intervening years, thus tolling the statute. The court rejected McGuire's claims that the 36-year delay in bringing charges against him prejudiced his defense and violated his constitutional rights; that he received ineffective assistance of trial counsel; and that the trial court had admitted unduly prejudicial evidence. Yesterday's Chippewa Valley (WI) Newspapers reporting on the appeal said that the now 78-year old priest was also sentenced earlier this year by a federal court to 25 years in prison for traveling across state lines and out of the country to have sex with a teenager between 2000 and 2003.