Archdiocese Says Evidence Found in Abuse Case

Chicago Tribune [Chicago IL]
November 5, 2006

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago has found reasonable cause to suspect a southwest suburban pastor sexually abused at least two youths more than 20 years ago, church officials said Saturday.

Rev. Robert Stepek, pastor of St. Albert the Great Church in Burbank, was asked in May by Cardinal Francis George to temporarily step down while authorities investigated the allegations.

Rev. Gustavo Garcia-Siller, auxiliary bishop of Chicago, read a statement to parishioners Saturday night during mass at St. Albert. He said the archdiocese's review board had found evidence to suspect that the sexual abuse of minors occurred.

The review board recommended that Stepek not take part in any form of ministry, which Cardinal George accepted, Garcia-Siller said.

Stepek's case will be sent to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith at the Vatican for a review and determination. Until then, Stepek will live and be supervised in a private setting away from his parish, Garcia-Siller said in the statement.

In May, Stepek's case marked the first time new protocols had been implemented for handling abuse allegations.

The allegations against Stepek stemmed from the early 1980s when he served at St. Symphorosa parish in Chicago.

Stepek worked at St. Christina parish in Chicago from 1984 to 1991 and St. Joseph parish in Homewood from 1992 to 1998.


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