Archdiocese Puts Accused Priest Back on the Job, SNAP Responds
April 15, 2014
We are disappointed and surprised that Cardinal Francis George is putting Fr. Michael W. O’Connell back on the job despite an accusation that he sexually assaulted a boy in 1990.
We have met this victim and find him very credible. And we've seen dozens of cases across the country in which Catholic officials have reinstated an accused child molesting cleric only to later oust him permanently.
It takes a great deal of courage and strength for child sex abuse victims to speak up. They often suffer in silence and self blame for decades. Accusations are rarely made lightly. We hope that others will not be discouraged by O’Connell’s reinstatement and that Catholic officials and parishioners will remain vigilant in reporting known or suspected crimes to secular authorities, not church figures.
Fr. O’Connell has worked in Lakeview, Orland Park and Lake Forest.
We beg anyone who saw, suspected, or suffered crimes by O’Connell or any church employee to come forward and report to police. It is never too late to speak up.