Eugene priest arrested on charges of purchasing sex with juvenile prostitute, drug possession
Daniel James MacKay is a reverend at a Eugene Serbian Orthodox church
Editor’s note: This story has been updated to reflect language in the charging document filed Thursday and to indicate that the defendant is expected to return to court on Oct. 20, instead of Oct. 17 as earlier reported.
A reverend at a Eugene Serbian Orthodox church who is also a community college instructor has been arrested on suspicion of purchasing sex with a juvenile prostitute on more than one occasion and allegedly using her to traffic cocaine, according to Eugene police and charging documents filed Thursday in Lane County Circuit Court.
Dr. Daniel James MacKay, 42, is a priest at the St. John the Wonderworker Orthodox Church on Blair Boulevard in the Whiteaker neighborhood.
MacKay was arrested Wednesday during a Eugene police sting operation in which a detective posed as a minor and arranged a meeting with him, police said.
The detectives were led to MacKay after Eugene police arrested an underage girl on charges of prostitution last month. That girl, whose name was not disclosed because of her age, was taken to the John Serbu juvenile detention facility. Following an investigation into her case, detectives discovered that MacKay “had contact with the juvenile on several occasions,” police said.
Police then began posing as a teen to contact MacKay, arranging a meeting for Wednesday.
According to a charging document filed Thursday, MacKay is accused of one felony count of using a minor in the commission of a controlled substance offense and three misdemeanors, including prostitution, endangering the welfare of a minor and sexual misconduct.
According to the charging document, the felony offense states he allegedly used a minor “as an aider or abettor to manufacture, transport, carry, sell, give away, prepare for sale or distribute cocaine.”
The case still is open and under investigation, Eugene police spokeswoman Melinda McLaughlin said.
When contacted Thursday, a woman who answered the church phone said she didn’t know too much about it, other than “something happened.” She confirmed the man arrested is the same MacKay as the reverend before declining to comment further.
According to the church’s website, MacKay originally is from Detroit, Mich. He moved to Eugene in 1998. He was ordained as a deacon of the church in 2009, before becoming a “presbyter” — or priest — in 2011. MacKay is married with one child, according to his biography on the church’s website. The family was featured in a 2010 article in The Register-Guard Oregon Life section called “Spiritual Quest,” when the young family left Eugene temporarily for Pennsylvania, where MacKay began studying for the Serbian Orthodox priesthood.
According to the Lane Community College website, MacKay is listed as a professor in the English department.
According to the church’s website, MacKay also previously served as an adjunct instructor of English literature and composition at Northwest Christian University.
He’s written books and articles, including a recent work in the St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press titled “How to Make Love: Living an Orthodox Understanding of Love Instead of Dying for Romantic Love.”
It did not appear Thursday that MacKay entered any pleas to the charges. As of 5 p.m. Thursday, MacKay remained in the Lane County Jail, although court records show that a woman posted the $14,000 bail for his release at 3 p.m.
MacKay next is expected to appear in court Oct. 20.