Oregon Orthodox Priest Arrested on Sex and Drug Charges Involving a Minor

mug shotAn Orthodox Christian priest, Father Daniel James Mackay, 42, has been arrested on criminal charges including purchasing sex with a minor, sexual misconduct, patronizing a Prostitute, endangering the welfare of a minor, unlawful possession of cocaine and using a minor in a controlled substance offense.

Mackay has been an Orthodox priest since 2011 when he began serving the Orthodox community of Saint John the Wonderworker parish in Eugene, Oregon.  Mackay is a member of the Western American Diocese of the Serbian Orthodox Church.

The investigation started with the arrest of the juvenile for prostitution, Eugene Police said. Presumably she will not be prosecuted, once the police discovered that she was a minor.

Investigators determined that Daniel James Mackay, 42, had contact with the juvenile on more than one occasion.  “Police conducted a sting operation and exchanged information with Mackay, posing as the minor and arranged to meet him on October 12,” police said.

In addition to serving as a priest, Mackay also taught English Literature 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.

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.”

Mackay allegedly spoke with one of his parishioners after his arrest and told him that what police believe is cocaine is actually incense.

On Friday, October 14, 2016, the Western American Diocese of the Serbian Orthodox Church issued a press release concerning Mackay’s arrest.  Here is an excerpt:

Father Daniel who was the parish priest at St. John the Wonderworker Serbian Orthodox Church in Eugene, Oregon, has since October 12, 2016, voluntarily taken leave from all priestly ministry duties to which he was assigned. While everyone is presumed innocent until proven guilty, the Western American Diocese nonetheless takes allegations of misconduct in any form very seriously and must act accordingly to insure the safety and security of all our Orthodox parishioners and others as we conduct our worship and ministries together. Such misconduct is abhorrent and not condoned by the Holy Orthodox Faith. We are deeply concerned and pray for all involved. The Western American Diocese stands ready to cooperate with the civil authorities. Further, anyone who might be, or knows someone that has been, a victim of sexual abuse by a member of the diocesan clergy, church employee or volunteer should first call the police and then report the matter, confidentially, to the Diocesan ombudsman at +1.415.930.9069.

While Mackay has stepped down from his post as parish priest, it is not clear at this time if there are other victims or whether Mackay will be subject to any penalties or restrictions from the church.

Dumas and Vaughn Attorneys at Law has law offices in Portland, Oregon and serves clients in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and other states.

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