Glendale Heights Priest Placed on Leave Amid Abuse Allegations

By Marco Santana
Daily Herald
June 7, 2010

A Glendale Heights clergyman was one of two Catholic priests removed from their posts last month after a man in his 40s accused them of sexual abuse dating to when the alleged victim attended high school.

Church officials confirmed Monday that Rev. Kevin McBrien of St. Matthew Church was placed on indefinite administrative leave May 25 as an investigation into the matter continues.

Rev. Jack Welch of the provincial office of the Carmelites in Darien said McBrien's removal is not a reflection of his guilt or innocence.

"When an allegation is made, we remove the priest from the public," said Welch, who serves as McBrien's direct supervisor. "The priority is given to the safety of the children and the young people."

McBrien and Rev. Lee Ryan of St. Edmund Catholic Church in downstate Watseka both were removed following the allegations, which include repeated abuse involving Ryan and a one-time incident with McBrien while the alleged victim attended Providence High School and then Joliet Catholic High School.

"The reason my client came forward was to have these priests suspended and punished and to publicly expose them to protect children," said Adam Horowitz, a Florida-based attorney for the alleged victim, who also now lives in Florida.

Horowitz said his client met with church officials and legal representation for hours in late April. After no action was taken for several weeks, Horowitz said the alleged victim decided to come forward.

Horowitz said the man is undergoing counseling and going public has helped him handle the situation.

"The church has publicly stated that they deal with this seriously and with transparency," Horowitz said. "In this case, everything has been done behind closed doors."

Executive Assistant to Bishop Peter Sartain of the Joliet Diocese Doug Delaney said that has not been the case.

"We always tell the truth and do the right thing, at least the best we can," he said. Delaney and Welch said each of their groups - the Joliet Diocese and the Carmelites - is conducting formal investigations into the allegations and the two priests will be on leave until those investigations are complete.


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