Eugene priest arrested in sex, drug case says he is ‘praying for everybody involved’

Author: Jack Moran
Date Published: 10/14/2016

A Eugene priest charged with paying for sex with an underage girl and also using her to traffic cocaine said Friday that he and his supporters are saying their prayers “for everybody involved” in the case.

Daniel James MacKay, 42, declined to discuss the allegations during a brief telephone conversation with a reporter. But he did offer a few general comments about the case, which authorities are continuing to investigate following his arrest on Wednesday.

“What I can say right now is that we’re very concerned, and we’re praying for everybody involved,” MacKay said.

He called the situation “deeply unfortunate.”

MacKay serves as priest at the St. John the Wonderworker Orthodox Church in Eugene’s Whiteaker neighborhood. He also works as a part-time instructor at Lane Community College, where officials canceled his classes on Thursday and Friday but haven’t yet taken any formal employment action against him.

“We have made no decision at this point,” regarding MacKay’s employment status, said Dawn DeWolf, LCC’s interim vice president of academic and student affairs.

MacKay has taught English composition at LCC since 2008, DeWolf said.

Eugene police arrested MacKay on Wednesday during a sting operation in which a detective arranged a meeting with him while posing as an underage girl who was arrested in September for prostitution.

Prosecutors on Thursday filed a four-count charging document in the case. MacKay faces one felony count of using a minor in the commission of a controlled substance offense; and misdemeanor charges of prostitution, endangering the welfare of a minor and sexual misconduct.

The charging document alleges MacKay paid to have sex with the underage girl in late September, and also used her to help him “manufacture, transport, carry, sell, give away, prepare for sale or distribute cocaine.”

Police said in a news release that they suspect MacKay met with the girl on several occasions, and that the case remains under investigation.

MacKay was released from the Lane County Jail after a woman posted $14,000 bail on his behalf following his arraignment Thursday afternoon in Lane County Circuit Court, according to court records.

It’s not known if MacKay has hired an attorney. A judge on Thursday declined to appoint a public defender to represent him, ruling that MacKay can afford a lawyer.

MacKay’s next scheduled court date is Nov. 17.

The church’s website says MacKay moved from Detroit, Mich., to Eugene in 1998. He was ordained as a deacon of the church in 2009 and became a priest in 2011. He is married with one child, the website says.

Follow Jack on Twitter @JackMoranRG . Email jack.moran@registerguard.com .