Teenager testifies she didn’t tell grand jury full extent of sex acts with Eugene priest

Author: Jack Moran
Date Published: 03/01/2017
Daniel MacKay
Daniel MacKay

The alleged victim in a Eugene priest’s prostitution case told a jury on Tuesday that she was not completely truthful when testifying before a grand jury that returned a 10-count indictment against the priest last October.

The 18-year-old woman — a key prosecution witness — returned to the witness stand during Daniel MacKay’s trial on Tuesday in an attempt to clear up confusion about what she asserts happened between her and the priest.

The teenager testified Friday about a variety of sex acts that she says occurred during arranged meetings with MacKay.

But she acknowledged Tuesday that she told the Lane County grand jury only about having performed oral sex on the priest and had neglected to talk about other sex acts.

The alleged victim blamed alcohol and marijuana use, as well as embarrassment, for why she didn’t provide the grand jury with a complete account. She said she was high on drugs during her grand jury testimony.

“My mind was somewhere else,” she said of her time in October before the grand jury. “It was uncomfortable to talk about.”

Based in large part on the teenager’s testimony, the grand jury charged MacKay with four counts of prostitution, four counts of endangering the welfare of a minor and single counts of sexual misconduct and attempting to use a minor in the commission of a controlled substance offense. The latter charge — the only felony of the bunch — was dismissed by prosecutors last week before MacKay’s trial started.

Also dismissed last week was a prostitution charge that the alleged victim faced. Prosecutor JoAnn Miller said the charge was dropped so that the teenager could testify against MacKay without incriminating herself.

The alleged victim was 17 at the time of her alleged sexual encounters with MacKay, who is 42.

MacKay has denied the allegations. His attorney, Terri Wood of Eugene, told the jury last week in an opening statement for the trial that her client gave the teenager money on several occasions to help her while also trying to convince her to enroll in Lane Community College, where he taught English at the time.

MacKay serves as a priest at St. John the Wonderworker Orthodox Church in the Whiteaker neighborhood. He has been suspended from church duties pending the outcome of his criminal case and a separate investigation being conducted by church officials.

Wood said last week that she expects MacKay will testify in his own defense. She also characterized the trial as one that centers on the teenager’s credibility because no one else apparently witnessed the alleged crimes.

MacKay faces a potential jail sentence if convicted.