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  Accused Priest Still in Rectory

By Sue Ter Maat
Chicago Daily Herald
August 8, 2002

Parishioners at St. Peter Damian church in Bartlett learned recently that the church's former pastor, who resigned in June amid allegations of sexual misconduct, is still living on church property.

At a special meeting with the Chicago Archdiocese at St. Peter Damian this week, it was revealed Rev. William Lupo has been living in the church rectory, a residential building next to the church on Crest Avenue.

Some parishioners who attended the meeting were under the impression that when Lupo resigned, he had also left Bartlett. Lupo's departure as pastor was sudden - announced during a June Mass by an auxiliary bishop. Lupo then sent a letter to parishioners, denying the sex abuse allegations and explaining his decision to resign for health reasons.

It was unclear if Lupo has had contact with any of his former parishioners, something the archdiocese prohibits. But rumors of his presence at the church were brought forward during last week's meeting.

"When people found out, they were surprised," said John Kavouris, a St. Peter Damian parishioner and a Bartlett village trustee. "They thought he had left immediately. They did not know about the arrangement. It surprised some people because they assumed he had moved out."

Lupo is in the process of moving to another home, said Dennis Kowalski, St. Peter Damian's business manager. Kowalski didn't know whether Lupo is living in the rectory full-time or living somewhere else and slowly bringing over his belongings.

The Chicago Archdiocese has not given Lupo a timetable for his departure, although it has been made clear to Lupo he can't stay permanently, said Jim Dwyer, a Chicago Archdiocese spokesman.

The archdiocese did not formally inform the congregation because it didn't see the need to do so, Dwyer said. It was assumed by the archdiocese that Lupo, who spent the last 12 years at St. Peter Damian, would be given some time to find another home, he said.

"We are trying to emphasize the more responsible thing is not to just toss someone out on the street unprepared," Dwyer said.

The information came to light when about 100 St. Peter Damian parishioners attended a meeting, set up by the archdiocese, to ask what qualities church members wanted in Lupo's replacement. The Priest Placement Board will create a profile based partly on the comments made by the parishioners, according to church officials.

Rev. John Clemens, who was heading the meeting, said Lupo was in the process of moving out, Kavouris said.

Clemens told them that finding Lupo's replacement will take about three months, Kavouris said. The Rev. J.C. Murray, a retired priest sent from the Chicago Archdiocese, has taken over services until a permanent replacement is found, Kowalski said.

Lupo was one of eight priests who resigned or were removed in June because of allegations of sexual misconduct.

When the allegations against Lupo surfaced in the early 1990s, he was already serving at St. Peter Damian, having come to the parish in July 1990. More than one teenage girl alleged sexual misconduct by Lupo while he was serving at St. Mary Church in Des Plaines between 1979 and 1986, said Mary McDonough, an archdiocese spokeswoman.

Lupo's predecessor at St. Peter Damian, the Rev. James Ray, was removed in June from his job as assistant liaison in the Chicago Archdiocese Office of Health and Hospital Affairs after allegations against him. Those allegations surfaced in 1991 when he was ministering at a church in Lake County. A man told the archdiocese that when he was a minor and Ray was a priest at St. Peter Damian, Ray sexually abused him. Ray served at St. Peter Damian from 1984 to 1989, McDonough said.

 
 

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