Peru priest among those named in Illinois Attorney General’s report on sexual abuse

The Journal Star [Peoria IL]

June 1, 2023

By Leslie Renken

Even after Samuel D. Pusateri pleaded guilty to criminal sexual assault of a 17-year-old student at Saint Bede Academy in Peru, the Catholic church did not publicly name him as a child sex abuser.

A month after Pusateri was sentenced in 1991, Diocese of Peoria Bishop John Myers wrote to the prison chaplain asking for special favors for Pusateri, according to a report on abusive priests compiled by the Illinois Attorney General. Even when Myers finally revoked Pusateri’s permission to minister in the Diocese of Peoria in 1993, he didn’t rule out the possibility that Pusateri might be allowed to return to his duties in the future.  

Pusateri did not return to the Diocese of Peoria, but instead served as a chaplain to the Franciscan Sisters in Wheaton until 2004, when he departed for Rome where he was in active ministry until about 2018, when the Attorney General of Illinois began their investigation. Shortly afterward both the Diocese of Peoria and the Diocese of Joliet finally added Pusateri, a convicted sex abuser who was sentenced to six years in prison, to their public list of credibly accused priests.