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Sentencing Today For Ex-Priest Who Molested Boys

Jan 30, 2003 | A former Roman Catholic priest convicted of possessing child pornography, who testified at a December hearing that he lost count of the number of boys he molested, is scheduled to be sentenced Thursday.

Vincent McCaffrey, 50, of 6747 N. Artesian Av., entered a "blind" plea, meaning there was no agreement with prosecutors, to allegations in a two-count criminal information charging him with receiving and possessing child pornography. "I'm a serial molester, a predator of young boys who cannot be cured," he said at his Dec. 9, 2002, sentencing hearing before U.S. District Judge John Darrah. McCaffrey testified that he had sexual contact with 12 to 14 boys, but later said he might have had sexual contact with 40 underage boys since he was a teenager.

Darrah is scheduled to sentence McCaffrey at 10 a.m. at the Dirksen Federal Building. McCaffrey said he was not sure of the number of children he molested. Although the normal sentencing guideline would be for a range between 97 and 121 months in prison, prosecutors filed a motion to increase the range to 168 and 210 months, based on McCaffrey's molestation of children while he was a priest.

Federal agents were led to McCaffrey after New Zealand authorities last December discovered he was a paid subscriber to a Web site set up by Glenn Williams Roberts, 7E Duncan Av., Hendersen, Auckland, New Zealand, according to a criminal complaint.

Agents on June 11, 2002, went to McCaffrey's home and seized his computer, which contained more than 4,500 images of child pornography, three CD-ROM disks with videos and images of child pornography hidden in his dresser, and hundreds of printouts of nude boys or boys engaging in sexual activity were found under his bed.

About 10 of the images showed boys who suffered sadomasochistic abuse, prosecutors said.

McCaffrey was ordained a priest in May 1978 and was removed from parish ministry at Our Lady of Good Counsel, at 3525 S. Hermitage Av., in November 1991 "because of allegations regarding sexual misconduct with minors," Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago spokeswoman Mary McDonough said. He resigned from the priesthood in 1993 and received $85,000 in a settlement with the Archdiocese, McDonough said.

At the December hearing, victims, who were allowed to identify themselves by only their first names, said McCaffrey targeted young boys looking "for a big brother." He made the boys feel emotionally close to him and he befriended their parents.

Michael, 34, of Illinois, said he was 12 when he met McCaffrey at church in 1980. McCaffrey molested him three times, Michael testified.

"I have a bit trust problem with people," Michael said of the effect the molestation. "I believe I've lost my faith in the church because of what he did to me."

Bruce, 39, of Wisconsin, said he was 14 years old when he awoke in the same bed with McCaffrey only to find the defendant fondling his genitals.

Eddie, 31, of Los Angeles, said McCaffrey molested him between 20 and 25 times over a two-year period, and Kevin testified McCaffrey molested him more than 200 times.

McCaffrey's niece, Kate, testified that her uncle often brought a young boy with him on family vacations to a cottage in Wisconsin, where he slept with the child in a queen-sized bed. He brought a total of 15 to 20 boys on the vacations, she said.

Dr. Jonathan Kelly, McCaffrey's psychiatrist at the Isaac Ray Center for Forensic Psychiatry, loctaed at the Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke's Medical Center, testified McCaffrey told him he fantasized about boys three to four times a day. He also said his client told him he had numerous sexual encounters with teens, including some male prostitutes, Kelly said.

McCaffrey testified he was admitted to Resurrection Hospital in 1980 for alcohol abuse but transferred to the Guest House in Minnesota, a psychiatric facility for clergy, where he also received treatment for his sex addiction. Within months of his release from Guest House, McCaffrey said, he resumed molesting boys.

He then went to St. Luke's Institute in Maryland for six months.

As McCaffrey apologized, adding that he prays for his victims, his victims whispered their disgust with him.

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