Bishop Changes Mind on Letting Suspect Priest Minister
By Karen Sorensen
September 18, 2012
Joliet Bishop Daniel Conlon has reversed his decision to allow a priest accused of having a sexual misconduct with a teen in the 1970s to return to ministry, according to a published report.
Last week, Conlon had allowed the Rev. F. Lee Ryan to do limited religious work by ministering to homebound parishioners in Watseka and Crescent City, despite having been removed from the ministry in May 2010 in light of allegations that he had a relationship with a teenage boy 28 years earlier, the Chicago Tribune reported.
Conlon said his decision was based on the fact that the allegation did not meet the criteria of a crime under church law at that time. The ruling stirred a huge amount of controversy, especially in light of Conlon's earlier statement that the church's credibility was "shredded" because of how the chuch sex abuse scandal has been handled.
“Subsequent discussions that have occurred since that decision have highlighted that any action needs to fulfill the larger need of the Church to confront the scandal of child abuse in its midst and work to diligently restore trust,” Conlon said in a statement, which was cited in the Tribune story.
“For the sake of the greater good of the Church, I have decided to revoke my earlier permission and once again place Fr. Ryan on full administrative leave.”
The victim, now 52, told the Tribune that he and Ryan's alleged relationship began when he was 14, became sexual and lasted more than a year.