Priest Faces Sexual Abuse Charge
By Michael Hirsley
Less than two weeks after Cardinal Joseph Bernardin announced that he would institute a new policy to deal with sexual abuse of minors by priests, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago has removed another priest from a parish, the eighth in the past year, because of such allegations.
In addition, eight other unnamed priests are being removed pending investigations of allegations that they sexually abused minors, Bernardin has said.
Rev. Thomas Swade was put on administrative leave from St. Dorothy Church, 450 E. 78th St., earlier this month after a 25-year-old man charged that the priest sexually abused him when he was a minor.
The complainant has sought an internal archdiocesan investigation that will protect his privacy, according to archdiocesan spokesman Bob Quakenbush.
The man was advised of his right to take the allegations to the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services or the Cook County State's Attorney's Office, Quakenbush said.
According to a letter sent to parishioners last week, Swade will not return to the parish. However, it was not until a special meeting following 10 a.m. mass Sunday that Rev. Michael Nallen, pastor of St. Dorothy, told parishioners why Swade was leaving.
Nallen would not comment Monday but released a statement that he made to parishioners at the special meeting.
In it, the pastor said he was "stunned," and it was "the saddest day of my priesthood," when Rev. Patrick O'Malley, the archdiocesan vicar for priests, informed him June 17 that Swade was being removed immediately because of "allegations of child abuse."
"My sympathy goes out to the alleged victim if it is true, but it also goes out to Father Swade," Nallen said in the statement. "He is a brother and a co-worker who has been with me for 20 years and has done an incredible amount of good, especially working with young people.
"He has been counselor, father figure and a good friend to literally hundreds of young adults."
At a press conference June 15, Bernardin released a long-awaited commission report on sexual abuse of minors by priests and said he intended to implement the commission's recommendations by this fall.
Also, as a result of the commission's review of 57 sexual abuse allegations brought against priests since 1963, Bernardin said eight priests were being removed from parish positions.
Swade was not one of the unnamed eight deemed to pose no risk to children in their parishes, Quakenbush said. He said Swade was in his 50s and was ordained in 1961. Quakenbush said he knew of no other sex abuse complaints brought against priests since the Cardinal's press conference.
The archdiocese offered no explanation as to why Swade was treated differently from the other eight. But its current policy states that priests should be removed immediately if initial investigation shows probable cause to believe misconduct has occurred.
In Swade's case, the allegations were made to O'Malley, who acted after consulting his advisory board.
Under the new policy, O'Malley would be replaced by a case manager who is not a clergyman, and the advisory board would be replaced by a nine-member permanent review board, whose six non-clergy members should include either a victim of child sexual abuse or the parent of a victim.
In the case of Rev. Norbert Maday, removed from a South Holland parish
as he faces sex abuse charges involving minors from a Wisconsin arrest
warrant, the archdiocese announced Monday that it intends to "post
any reasonable bond" on Maday's behalf.
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