Archdiocese removes Wicker Park priest charged with sexually abusing 2 women, attacking teen
By Hannah Leone And Ese Olumhense
October 13, 2018
|Rigoberto Gamez Alfonso, a pastor at churches in Wicker Park and Little Village, is charged with sexual abuse of two women and battery of a teenage girl, according to Chicago police.|
Two days after police charged a priest at a Wicker Park church with sexually abusing two women and attacking a 17-year-old girl, that priest has had his permission to minister within the Archdiocese of Chicago withdrawn “effective immediately,” said a spokeswoman for the archdiocese on Saturday.
Rigoberto Gámez Alfonso, 52, of the 2300 block of West Le Moyne Avenue in Wicker Park, is charged with two felony counts of criminal sexual abuse involving force and one misdemeanor count of battery, according to Chicago police.
Gámez Alfonso is the associate vicar for canonical services for the Archdiocese of Chicago, the archdiocese confirmed Saturday. Most recently, he had also served as a resident priest at St. Aloysius Parish and had previously been appointed pastor of Our Lady of Tepeyac Church in Little Village in 2009.
In addition to having withdrawn the priest’s permission to say Mass and perform other duties, the archdiocese said it will “fully cooperate with the authorities” regarding the matter.
“The Archdiocese of Chicago is committed to ensuring that parishioners are served by priests who are fit for ministry,” said spokeswoman Anne Maselli in a Saturday statement emailed to the Tribune.
“Moreover, it is critically important that all who work in our parishes and ministries understand behavioral expectations of them,” the statement continued. “Additional measures will be introduced to train all priests and parish personnel on sexual harassment and boundary violation prevention. Only by adhering to proper behavioral standards and a continued enforcement of our code of conduct will people feel respected and safe in workplaces and worship and service sites throughout the Archdiocese.”
The charges involve a 17-year-old girl, a 19-year-old woman and a 29-year-old woman, police said. The alleged attacks began in November 2016. Further information on the identities of the women and girl allegedly attacked was not released.
It is not known whether the women were parishioners Gámez Alfonso encountered during his work as a priest. He was released from jail and subject to electronic monitoring on Friday, jail records showed. He is expected back in court Oct. 19.
In July 2005, according to a St. Aloysius bulletin, Gámez Alfonso became an associate pastor at another Chicago church, the Providence of God Parish, where he later was appointed parish administrator. In February 2007, he was appointed to a different position at the Archdiocese of Chicago that involves giving spiritual guidance to 80 parishes, according to the bulletin.
The archdiocese maintains that anyone who wishes to make an allegation should call its Office for the Protection of Children and Youth at 312-534-5254.