Abuse Allegations Made Against Recently-Cleared Priest
By Rob Elgas
April 21, 2014
A witness has come forward with new allegations against a Chicago priest who was reinstated to his parish just last week.
Father Michael O'Connell, of St. Alphonsus Church, was cleared of any wrongdoing in a previous case, but now the Cook County Sheriff's Department have decided to reopen the case.
An Arizona man claims he saw O'Connell sexually abuse a young man 15 years ago. He says it happened in a Gold's Gym in the south suburbs when a man he only knew as "Mike," inappropriately touch the teenager.
"Now, I feel with this victim coming forward and people are starting to question him, then maybe my story is more believable," said the man, who know lives in Arizona and asked that his identity not be revealed for fear of retaliation.
He says he kept quiet all these years because he doubted anyone would believe his story because O'Connell is a priest. He also says he can't live with the feeling that he didn't do enough.
"That had I said something back in those days, that this new victim never would have happened," the alleged witness said. "Father Mike is just plain old dangerous, in my opinion."
The Chicago Archdiocese plans to meet with the alleged witness to determine its next course of action.
The man also met with investigators on Monday.