IPSWICH — A retired Catholic priest could face spending the rest of his life in prison after a Lawrence Superior Court jury found him guilty of five counts of child rape Wednesday morning. 

The victim, now 44, wept as the verdicts were read against Rev. Richard McCormick, 73, a Salesian priest who once ran the Ipswich camp the victim attended in the early 1980s, when he was between the ages of 10 and 12. The camp was on the grounds of the Sacred Heart Retreat, which is now the location of New England Biolabs. 

McCormick, who had been free on bail in the case and living at a facility for priests accused of sexual abuse in Missouri, was taken into custody in the courtroom and will await sentencing at Middleton Jail. He is scheduled to be sentenced on Dec. 18. 

The victim said outside court that he feels vindicated by the jury's verdict and grateful that they believed him. 

While he disclosed the abuse to a former girlfriend more than 20 years ago, he did not come forward to authorities until just a few years ago, after finding McCormick's name and image in a directory of priests online, and realizing that it was the man he called "Father Dick." 

The priest would pull him out of activities or wake him late at night and then force him into sexual acts, the victim testified. 

McCormick showed no reaction to the jury's verdict, which came after deliberations on Monday and again Wednesday morning. 

“Rape of a child is a heinous crime,” District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett said. “It is a fundamental violation of a child’s innocence that can never be truly restored. My hope is that these guilty verdicts allow this brave man to find some peace of mind, knowing that none of this was his fault.”

Courts reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, via email at jmanganis@salemnews.com or on Twitter @SNJulieManganis.

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