November 22, 2021
By Sylvia Goodman
Rev. David F. Ryan has been reinstated as pastor of St. Francis de Sales Catholic Parish and School in Lake Zurich after the Archdiocese of Chicago’s independent review board determined there was “insufficient reason to suspect” he had sexually abused minors 25 years earlier.
Ryan first was asked to step away from the parish as the investigation was launched in November 2020. Initially, Archbishop Blase Cupich announced Ryan’s reinstatement on Sep. 9, but a week later, Ryan was once again placed under investigation due to “additional information, not previously provided to the Archdiocese.”
“I share your disappointment at this news, especially as I know plans were being made to welcome Father Ryan back this weekend,” Cardinal Cupich had said in a statement Sept. 16.
Ryan had affirmed in a statement Thursday that he was innocent, but also had said the church is right to be vigilant and must investigate all claims.
“It is important that you know I categorically deny that I have ever abused a child. I have faith the investigation will confirm what I know to be true and that I will return to parish ministry when it concludes,” Ryan had said in a statement on Thursday.
The allegations revolved around Ryan’s time at the Maryville Academy in Des Plaines. Ryan was ordained in Springfield in 1979 and began working at Maryville in 1985. He was promoted to acting executive director in 2003, according to theLake Zurich church’s website. Ryan previously served at a parish in Godfrey and as director for the Catholic Children’s Home in Alton.
He worked alongside the Rev. John P. Smyth, Maryville’s executive director, for 20 years, long before Smyth came under scrutiny in 2019 for similar allegations at the home for troubled children.
Smyth died in April 2019. A lawsuit was filed against the archdiocese after Smyth’s death but the Des Plaines Police Department said it did not find any “credible” evidence against him.
Ryan led Mass Sunday at the St. Francis de Sales parish immediately after being reinstated and said, “It is good to be home for Thanksgiving.”
Sylvia Goodman is a metro intern. She is a senior at Northwestern University, where she is majoring in journalism with minors in business institutions and Middle East and North African studies. She previously interned at the Louisville Courier Journal and was the print managing editor of North by Northwestern newsmagazine.