Priest Charged in Sex Abuse Case Placed on Leave by Archdiocese

By Michael Hirsley
Chicago Tribune
April 12, 1994

Sexual abuse allegations dating back to 1976 have led to the removal of Rev. John Calicott as pastor of Holy Angels Catholic Church, 607 E. Oakwood Blvd.

Calicott becomes the 20th priest to be removed from a Chicago archdiocese parish since July 1991, according to church officials.

Parishioners at Holy Angels were notified during services over the weekend that Calicott was being placed on administrative leave "effective immediately."

Calicott, who succeeded Rev. George Clements as pastor of the South Side church two years ago, was charged with sexual misconduct in two separate allegations by two adult males, according to an archdiocesan spokesman. He said both accusers were minors at the time of the alleged misconduct 18 years ago.

In removing Calicott, Cardinal Joseph Bernardin was acting on the recommendation of the Archdiocesan Professional Fitness Review Board.

The matter was first reported Mar. 31 to the office of Rev. Patrick O'Malley, archdiocesan vicar for priests. That office turned the investigation over to Professional Fitness Review Administrator Stephen Sidlowski.

Sidlowski brought the matter to the archdiocese's nine-member review board last Wednesday. The board then recommended Calicott be removed as pastor at Holy Angels.

"Father Calicott will remain on administrative leave under archdiocesan supervision pending the outcome of further proceedings," according to an archdiocesan statement released Monday in response to an inquiry about Calicott's removal. No formal charges have been brought against him.

Rev. Dennis Riley, associate pastor of Holy Angels, will assume administrative leadership of the parish in Calicott's absence. The parish issued no public statement in response the the archdiocese's action.

The removal of Calicott comes at a time when the issue of clergy sexual abuse is again simmering in the archdiocese. This week marks the beginning of a long-delayed trial in Oshkosh, Wis., in which Rev. Norbert Maday faces sexual misconduct charges involving two former altar boys.

When the allegations surfaced two years ago, Maday was removed as associate pastor of St. Jude the Apostle parish in South Holland.

May 2 is the scheduled trial date for a civil court case in Cook County, in which Rev. Robert Lutz, pastor of St. Norbert parish in Northbrook, and a former school principal at the parish are charged with sexual and physical abuse of a minor.

Also on May 2, a status hearing is scheduled for the case in which criminal sexual abuse charges have been brought against Rev. Ralph Strand, former pastor of St. Francis Borgia parish, 8033 W. Addison St.

Strand, like Maday, was placed on administrative leave. Lutz remains as pastor of his parish.

Archdiocesan policy says accused priests will be removed if the review deems their continued presence threatens the safety of children.


Any original material on these pages is copyright © 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.