Egan Is Cleared of Allegation of Sex Abuse

By Daniel J. Wakin
New York Times
December 28, 2002

The Archdiocese of New York said yesterday that Cardinal Edward M. Egan had been cleared in the investigation of a man's allegation that the cardinal, while a priest in Chicago in 1969, had sexually abused him when he was a teenager.

The allegation came to light only yesterday when the archdiocese issued a statement saying the investigation ended when the accusation was found to be baseless. The Cook County, Ill., state's attorney's office said it had found "no credible evidence on which to proceed."

In the statement, Cardinal Egan called the allegation "totally false and beneath contempt," saying he had never met the man, who was not identified, or even heard his name until the charge was made.

Joseph Zwilling, the spokesman for the New York Archdiocese, said the cardinal, in telephone conversations, answered questions from both an assistant state's attorney and an official of the Chicago Archdiocese's review board, which also found the charge baseless.

According to the New York Archdiocese, the Chicago Archdiocese notified it in August that a man had made "allegations of sexual misconduct against more than 20 'high profile persons,' " including local and national political figures and other clergy members. One was Cardinal Egan, who in 1969 was secretary to Cardinal John Cody and co-chancellor of the archdiocese. Cardinal Egan, who was ordained in the Archdiocese of Chicago in 1957, has come under fire for his handling of accusations against several priests while he was bishop of Bridgeport, Conn. Prosecutors declined to comment on any other allegations by the man.

The New York Archdiocese also released a letter to Cardinal Egan from Cardinal Francis George of Chicago, who accepted the recommendation of his archdiocese's Professional Fitness Review Board to throw out the case. "I am deeply sorry for the personal anguish this false accusation has caused you," he wrote.


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