WFLD - Fox 32 [Chicago IL]
December 10, 2022
Chicago Catholic Archdiocese reinstates Father Michael Pfleger, says ‘no reason to suspect he is guilty’
“I just want to thank you for your love, believing in me,” Pfleger told parishioners on Saturday afternoon. “I apologize for taking you through all this craziness again because of me. I love you. I’ll talk with you soon.”
In October, Pfleger had been accused of abusing a minor more than 30 years ago. During the investigation, he was removed from his post at St. Sabina Church.
In a statement, attorney Eugene Hollander, who represents the latest accuser, said: “”My client is extremely disappointed by today’s finding. We had overwhelming evidence concerning these sexual abuse allegations. Today’s finding, unfortunately, will discourage other victims of sexual abuse from coming forward. The Independent Review Board did not disclose a basis for its finding.”
Parishioner Pamela Bosley was one among many welcoming Pfleger back to work on Saturday.
“When I heard Father Mike’s voice on the phone saying ‘I’m back,’ – you just don’t know how that pierced my heart,” Bosley said.
This is not the first time Pfleger had been accused of sex abuse. An earlier accusation in January 2021 was found to be unsubstantiated. In that case, two brothers in their 60s claimed Father Pfleger inflicted years of sexual abuse on them in the 70s.
Archbishop Blase Cupich’s complete letter to the St. Sabina Community reads:
“Thank you for your patience and prayers during the absence of your senior pastor, Father Michael Pfleger. As you know, earlier this year the archdiocese received allegations of child sexual abuse against Father Pfleger. In accordance with our policies for the protection of children and youth, the archdiocese Independent Review Board. assisted by our Office of Child Abuse Investigation and Review and outside investigators conducted a thorough review of the allegations.
“The Review Board has concluded that there is no reason to suspect Father Pfleger is guilty of these allegations. Having given careful consideration to their decision, which I fully accept, I now inform you that I am reinstating Father Pfleger to his position of senior pastor of the Faith Community of St. Sabina, effective immediately. I want to recognize that these months have taken a great toll on Fr. Mike and all of you, and I am committed to do everything possible to see that his good name is restored. I ask that this letter be read at all the Masses this coming weekend, posted both as a hard copy in the Church and an electronic copy on your parish webpage. We will make it available to the media and on the webpage of the Archdiocese of Chicago.
“In these days in which we prepare for the birth of the Savior, Our Lord Jesus Christ, we recall that nothing can take away the joy of God’s love for us. My prayer is that your celebration of Christmas will be filled with the joy that belongs to those who are patient and trusting in the goodness and nearness of God. As I assure you of my prayers, I ask that you do all you can to welcome back Father Pfleger so that he can once again take up the ministry that has distinguished St. Sabina in the archdiocese and beyond.”
[Photo: The Chicago Catholic Archdiocese reinstated Father Michael Pfleger on Saturday, saying “there is no reason to suspect Father Pfleger is guilty” of sex abuse. “I just want to thank you for your love, believing in me,” Pfleger told parishioners on Saturday afternoon. “I apologize for taking you through all this craziness again because of me. I love you. I’ll talk with you soon.”]