A protest at the University of San Francisco came in the wake of allegations that a convicted pedophile priest who used to teach at the school was protected by a half-century-long cover-up by the Catholic Church. Father Donald McGuire served as a teacher and spiritual adviser at USF’s St. Ignatius Institute during the late 1970s and early 1980s, until he was fired for “highly questionable acts.” He is currently serving 25 years in prison for two counts of sexual relations with a minor.
The internal church documents showing the church’s protection of McGuire came out of a motion for punitive damages in a class action lawsuit against the Chicago Province of the Society of Jesus for an over 40-year cover-up of McGuire’s activities. The documents show that the first report of McGuire’s penchant for inappropriate behavior towards young boys extended as far back as 1960. Since then, he was reportedly shuffled from position to position within the church, and was reportedly continually kicked out of one community after another.
After leaving USF, McGuire briefly became Mother Teresa’s confessor.
No USF students have come forward with allegations of abuse by McGuire, but he alledgedly molested young children during his tenure in San Francisco. After he was removed from his position at USF, McGuire was still allowed to take kids and teens on cross-country retreats. On these retreats, he allegedly shared beds with young boys and continued his abusive behavior unabated.
The protesters, organized by the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, urged the church to do more to combat sex abuse by priests. “They don’t warn kids about these priests,” said abuse survivor Joey Piscitelli, “I’m pissed that the church allows these people to access children without warning. There’s a bunch of priests in SF right now who have been sued from raping kids, and they haven’t posted a list.”
An Oregon-based Jesuit group was recently ordered to pay $166 million to Native American abuse survivors in the Pacific Northwest. It was one of the largest ever settlements issued in the ongoing sex scandal sweeping the Catholic Church.