Rev. Michael Pfleger has been reinstated as the pastor of Chicago’s Saint Sabina Catholic Church after an Archdiocese of Chicago review board cleared Pfleger of sexual abuse allegations brought forth against him two months ago, according to a letter from Cardinal Blase Cupich.
Cupich wrote a letter to the Saint Sabina parish community Saturday, announcing he was reinstating Pfleger as pastor immediately following a thorough review by the archdiocese’s Independent Review Board and outside investigators. The Review Board, according to the cardinal, concluded “there is no reason to suspect” Pfleger is guilty of the accusations.
“Having given careful consideration to their decision, which I fully accept, I now inform you that I am reinstating Father Pfleger to his position of senior pastor of the Faith Community of St. Sabina, effective immediately,” he said, in the letter, in part. “I want to recognize that these months have taken a great toll on Fr. Mike and all of you, and I am committed to do everything possible to see that his good name is restored.”
In mid-October, a Chicago attorney confirmed that a client of his has filed a claim with the Archdiocese of Chicago, alleging that Pfleger had sexually abused him when he was a minor in the late 1980s.
The attorney, Eugene Hollander, said his client was a member of the Soul Children of Chicago choir that rehearsed at St. Sabina Parish on a weekly basis.
Hollander’s client alleges that on two separate occasions during these rehearsals, Pfleger sexually abused him in the parish rectory.
In a statement that month, Pfleger said he was innocent of the accusation while announcing he was stepping aside from all public ministry during the Archdiocese’s investigation. Pfleger was previously accused of sexual abuse by three different men, leading to an investigation into Pfleger that began in 2021. Pfleger was allowed to return to the church in June 2021 after the Archdiocese found the allegations to be unfounded.
The full letter from Cupich is below:
December 10, 2022
Dear members of the Faith Community of St. Sabina,
Thank you for your patience and prayers during the absence of your senior pastor, Father Michael Pfleger. As you know, earlier this year the archdiocese received allegations of child sexual abuse against Father Pfleger. In accordance with our policies for the protection of children and youth, the archdiocese Independent Review Board. assisted by our Office of Child Abuse Investigation and Review and outside investigators conducted a thorough review of the allegations.
The Review Board has concluded that there is no reason to suspect Father Pfleger is guilty of these allegations. Having given careful consideration to their decision, which I fully accept, I now inform you that I am reinstating Father Pfleger to his position of senior pastor of the Faith Community of St. Sabina, effective immediately. I want to recognize that these months have taken a great toll on Fr. Mike and all of you, and I am committed to do everything possible to see that his good name is restored. I ask that this letter be read at all the Masses this coming weekend, posted both as a hard copy in the Church and an electronic copy on your parish webpage. We will make it available to the media and on the webpage of the Archdiocese of Chicago.
In these days in which we prepare for the birth of the Savior, Our Lord Jesus Christ, we recall that nothing can take away the joy of God’s love for us. My prayer is that your celebration of Christmas will be filled with the joy that belongs to those who are patient and trusting in the goodness and nearness of God. As I assure you of my prayers, I ask that you do all you can to welcome back Father Pfleger so that he can once again take up the ministry that has distinguished St. Sabina in the archdiocese and beyond.
Region: Chicago,Local,City: Chicago
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December 10, 2022 at 04:24PM