A former priest and Lane Community College instructor convicted on three counts of sex solicitation is teaching classes again this fall.
Daniel Mackay was convicted on three counts of sex solicitation – a misdemeanor in Oregon – in 2016 and was sentenced to 90 days in jail and three years of probation.
The controversy surrounding Mackay’s employment at Lane has cast a shadow on the first week of fall term, after a Eugene Weekly article breaking the news was released last Thursday. Within hours of the article’s publication, chalk graffiti appeared around campus criticizing the college’s decision to employ Mackay and calling for his immediate firing. One chalk message read “Students are watching, Pres. Hamilton.”
“I don’t even care what the whole story is, I don’t want to be associated at all with him.”
One of Mackay’s current students, who agreed to speak on condition of anonymity, says the news about the former priest caught them and many of their classmates off guard.
“I had no idea when I signed up for this class that he was a sex criminal,” the student said. “I was already on the fence about him as a teacher on Tuesday, and by Thursday, everyone was sending me links to the [Eugene] Weekly article about him.”
The student also said that many of their classmates said that they would also try to drop Mackay’s class, but is unsure how many followed through.
“I don’t even care what the whole story is, I don’t want to be associated at all with him,” the student said. “But I’m stuck with him unless Lane decides to get rid of him.”
Moe Tarhuni, who was enrolled in Mackay’s class when he was first arrested in 2016, claimed that members of their class were prepared to file a formal complaint against him with administration. The class didn’t file the complaint once Mackay was removed from his position.
“He was refusing to respect some our classmates’ gender identities and pronouns,” Tarhuni said. “And many of us didn’t feel comfortable being in his classroom.”
Mackay maintains his innocence regarding the prostitution charges and is currently appealing his conviction.
According to the Eugene Weekly, Mackay served nine days of his 90-day sentence. He’s also completed roughly half of his three-year probation, as well as the state-required “Sex Buyer Accountability Course.”
The Torch will continue to investigate this developing story in future editions.