Chicago priest Father Michael Pfleger asked to step down following child sex abuse allegation

Midwest

Father Michael Pfleger speaks as he introduces Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan at St. Sabina Catholic Church in Chicago, Illionis on May 9, 2019. (Photo by KAMIL KRZACZYNSKI / AFP) (Photo credit should read KAMIL KRZACZYNSKI/AFP via Getty Images)

CHICAGO (WGN) — Prominent Chicago priest Father Michael Pfleger has been asked to step away from ministry following a decades-long child sexual abuse allegation, the Archdiocese of Chicago announced Tuesday.

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According to a letter sent from Cardinal Blase Cupich to the St. Sabina community, Father Pfleger has been accused of sexual abuse of a minor from more than 40 years ago.

Pfleger is well-known in Chicago as an anti-violence activist and has been the pastor of St. Sabina Catholic Church, located in Auburn-Gresham, since 1981.

Read the entire letter from Cardinal Cupich below:

Dear members of the Faith Community of Saint Sabina and the Saint Sabina Academy Community,

I write to share some difficult news about your senior pastor, Father Michael Pfleger. In keeping with our child protection policies, I have asked Father Pfleger to step aside from ministry following receipt by the Archdiocese of Chicago’s Office for Child Abuse Investigations and Review of an allegation of sexual abuse of a minor more than 40 years ago. Allegations are claims that have not been proven as true or false. Therefore, guilt or innocence should not be assumed.

Father Pfleger has agreed to cooperate fully with my request and will live away from the parish while this matter is investigated. Your pastor, Father Thulani Magwaza will serve as temporary administrator of Saint Sabina Parish and will attend to the needs of the parish and school community.

Moreover, as is required by our child protection policies, the allegation was reported to the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) and the Cook County State’s Attorney. The person making the allegation has been offered the services of our Victim Assistance Ministry and the archdiocese has begun its investigation.

In the days and weeks ahead, members of the archdiocese’s Office for the Protection of Children and Youth will be available to answer any questions you may have and provide you with support during this challenging time.

It is crucial that you know nothing is more important than the welfare of the children entrusted to our care. The Archdiocese of Chicago takes all allegations of sexual misconduct seriously and encourages anyone who feels they have been sexually abused by a priest, deacon, religious or lay employee to come forward. Complete information about reporting sexual abuse can be found on the archdiocesan website at www.archchicago.org.

Please know that you are in my prayers. We will do our best to keep you informed of developments as they occur.

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Cardinal Blase J. Cupich, archbishop of Chicago

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