[Opinion] Dilemma at heart of sex abuse claims

Chicago Sun-Times

January 26, 2021

By Neil Steinberg

What are those who love and respect Father Michael Pfleger to make of accusations against him?

“No one ever had a bad word to say about him.”

In late May, 2015, it was revealed that Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert had sexually molested boys he coached in high school wrestling. The media descended on his hometown of Yorkville, Illinois. Those who knew him were shocked and supportive.

“He was a fantastic mentor.”

Hastert was charged, not with the abuse itself, but for structuring payments to silence the abused. Which isn’t quite a signed confession. But close.

“I would have known for sure. Something like that we would have jumped on right away.”

Only the good people of Yorkville didn’t know. Or knew and didn’t jump on it right away. Hastert admitted to molesting children and went to prison for 13 months.

“I hope it’s not true.”

Which sums up the view of those who know and respect Father Michael Pfleger, including myself, as the longtime firebrand priest of St. Sabina’s faces a pair of brothers who accuse him of abuse 45 years ago.

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