Bridgeport priest reinstated after allegations of sexual abuse deemed ‘unfounded,’ church says

Sun Times

Nov. 3, 2019

By Sam Kelly and Tom Schuba

A Bridgeport priest who was removed from active ministry has been reinstated after officials found allegations that he sexually abused a child were “unfounded,” according to a statement issued Saturday by Cardinal Blase Cupich.

Father William McFarlane was asked to “step aside” from Nativity of Our Lord and St. Gabriel Parish in July after an accusation that he sexually abused a child in 1997 was brought to the attention of the Archdiocese of Chicago, Cupich said.

The archdiocese confirmed that McFarlane would be reinstated in a new role after the Illinois Department of Child and Family Services and the Cook County state’s attorney’s office deemed the allegations “unfounded” and the archdiocese’s independent review board further decided they were unmerited.

“At their meeting on Saturday, October 26, 2019, the Board found that there was insufficient reason to suspect that Father McFarlane had committed sexual abuse of a minor,” Cupich said. “Therefore, I am restoring Father McFarlane to active ministry, effective immediately.”

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