Priest Indicted in Sex Abuse of Minor

By Daniel J. Lehmann
Chicago Sun-Times
May 27, 1993

A 55-year-old Roman Catholic priest was charged Wednesday with nine counts of sexual abuse involving a minor.

The Rev. Ralph S. Strand, removed from his Chicago parish post March 19, was indicted on three counts of criminal sexual assault and six counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse, Cook County State's Attorney Jack O'Malley said. Strand was not taken into custody and has agreed to surrender June 10 for arraignment, O'Malley said.

Strand had last been pastor of St. Francis Borgia parish, 8033 W. Addison. O'Malley declined to say where the reported abuse occurred, but said it involved a 15-year-old boy and reportedly occurred between 1990 and 1992. In March, an auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Chicago said the incident took place five years ago when Strand was associate pastor at St. Mary parish in Des Plaines.

The archdiocese pulled Strand from St. Francis Borgia after receiving a complaint from the alleged victim. The charges were examined by the church's professional fitness review administrator and its fitness review board, newly created to handle such accusations. The church also notified the state Department of Children and Family Services and the state's attorney's office.

O'Malley recently proposed legislation requiring churches to provide more information to civil investigators. In this case, O'Malley said the church's reporting procedures proved "effective."

Strand was the 23rd priest to be removed from a parish assignment here because of sexual misconduct allegations since July, 1991.

Joseph Cardinal Bernardin, before the archdiocese's Communicators' Day luncheon Wednesday at the Sheraton Chicago Hotel and Towers, said the case won't sully the reputations of the nearly 2,000 priests in Cook and Lake counties.


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