St. Sabina parishioners push back against allegation Father Michael Pfleger sexually abused child

WLS - ABC 7 [Chicago IL]

October 16, 2022

By Maher Kawash

‘We’re trying to regroup and see now how can we help him and we know we’re going to stand 1000% behind him’: Joyce Wasner

Video: A man is accusing Father Michael Pfleger of sexually abusing him as a child at Saint Sabina Catholic Church, his lawyer said.

Sunday mass continued at St. Sabina Church without Father Michael Pfleger.

Parishioners were emotional as they returned for Sunday’s service, many of them showing their support for Pfleger as he faces another sexual abuse allegation.

“It’s gonna be a loss. It’s a scrambling feeling… we’re trying to regroup and see now how can we help him and we know we’re going to stand a thousand percent behind him,” said Joyce Wasner.

A man now in his 40s said Pfleger sexually abused him while he was a minor inside of this church in the late 1980s.

The Archdiocese of Chicago is looking into the accusation, and Pfleger agreed to step aside from ministry while the investigation is underway.

Parishioners said they understand how serious this accusation is, but are still strongly standing by Pfleger.

“It’s not the truth. I don’t understand how they’re gonna come back with the same thing when they went through his record the first time. They went through with a fine-tooth comb,” said Monique Stuckey.

Many parishioners at St. Sabina said Sunday service just isn’t the same without Pfleger. They said the hardest part of this investigation is losing him for a period of time, especially since they’ve gone through this before.

“We love seeing him when we come to the church and he opens the doors. I mean, he’s just a good person. He’s just a great man of God, and they’re going on a vendetta because he’s helping the African-American community,” Stuckey said.

The accuser is the third man to file a sexual abuse claim against Pfleger with the Archdiocese of Chicago. He faced similar allegations in 2021.

Pastor Tom Walsh led Sunday’s service, while offering a message to parishioners on behalf of Pfleger.

Father Pfleger’s Full Statement:

Full letter from the Archdiocese of Chicago to St. Sabina Parish