Prominent Jesuit Accused of Abusing Boy More Than 1,000 Times

News: US News
by David Nussman  •  •  December 31, 2019   

Fr. Donald McGuire served as Mother Teresa's spiritual director

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SAN FRANCISCO ( - A priest with ties to Mother Teresa stands accused of sexually abusing underage boys for decades, one victim saying the abuse occurred more than 1,000 times.

Robert J. Goldberg filed suit in state court in California on Monday, alleging the late Fr. Donald J. McGuire sexually abused him "more than 1,000 times, in multiple states and countries," according to court documents.

McGuire, a Jesuit priest, died in 2017 during a 25-year federal prison sentence for molesting minors.

According to the lawsuit, Goldberg was 11 when he first met Fr. McGuire in 1970 in Chicago. The priest made an in-road with the boy's mother, and hired the boy as his personal assistant. When Fr. McGuire moved to California in 1976, Goldberg and his family followed along.

At times, the priest would share the boy's bed at the family home. Much of the alleged sexual abuse happened as Goldberg traveled with McGuire to spiritual retreats. The abuse included "sexual touching, oral copulation and anal penetration," the lawsuit states.

In a press conference Tuesday, Attorney Jeff Anderson said Jesuit provincials knew of homosexual pederasty allegations against McGuire, but kept him in ministry for years, shuffling him across the country and letting him travel around the world.

"Thus, this lawsuit names the Jesuit order," Anderson told reporters.

"It also names the archdiocese of San Francisco," he added, on the grounds that it "gave permission to Donald McGuire and the Jesuit order to allow him to work here."

Anderson presented reporters a map of the world with red dots representing places where McGuire allegedly perpetrated the abuse.

"There are hundreds of assignments where McGuire was allowed to minister and to violate the innocence of children," Anderson remarked.

There are hundreds of assignments where McGuire was allowed to violate the innocence of children.

Father McGuire had a long history of alleged abuse throughout his priestly ministry:

  • Sexual abuse in Austria and Germany in the 1960s
  • Abusing a boy at Loyola Academy in Wilmette, Illinois in 1968
  • Molesting two boys at Loyola Academy in 1972 (McGuire was later convicted in 2006 on these allegations)
  • Repeatedly abusing a boy in Phoenix, Arizona and Barrington, Illinois from 1988–1994, beginning when the victim was nine years old
  • Abusing five minors while stationed at Canisius House in Evanston, Illinois, 1989–2003

Father McGuire was a confessor and spiritual director for Mother Teresa of Calcutta, now a canonized saint. He also became St. Teresa's spiritual advisor and helped screen potential candidates for the Missionaries of Charity, the order she founded.

In 1994, St. Teresa of Calcutta wrote a letter to McGuire's superior, the Jesuit provincial, supporting Fr. McGuire and refusing to believe abuse allegations against him.

In that letter, Mother Teresa noted that McGuire "admitted imprudence in his behavior," adding: "We, in the Missionaries of Charity, will do all in our power, to protect him and the Priesthood of Jesus Christ, which he bears, when he once more takes up his mission with us."

"I am full of hope," she wrote, "that you will send Fr. McGuire to continue his ministry to the Missionaries of Charity as soon as is possible."

According to Anderson, McGuire touted his connection to Mother Teresa as a way to gain people's confidence so he could "access kids and violate their trust."

Warnings about McGuire's predatory behavior stretched back to the early 1960s, from Church officials in Germany and Austria.

Last year, the Jesuits' Midwest Province included McGuire's name on a list of credibly accused clergy involved in sexual misconduct.

Goldberg's lawsuit comes after the state of California expanded the statute of limitations for child sexual abuse victims. In October, lawmakers decided to suspend the statute of limitations for three years, allowing victims to file civil suits for abuse that happened decades ago. The three-year window begins January 1.

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