Rev. Clements Accusation Is in Realm of Unthinkable

By Laura Washington
Chicago Sun-Times
August 11, 2019

That was my question as I read the headline: “Retired Celebrity Priest George Clements Accused of Sex Abuse in 1970s.”

It invades the realm of the unthinkable.

The Rev. George Clements, 87, has been accused of sexually abusing a minor in 1974 while serving as pastor of Holy Angels Church on Chicago’s South Side.

Cardinal Blase Cupich has asked Clements “to step aside from ministry pending the outcome of an investigation,” according to a statement from the Archdiocese of Chicago.

The charge is “totally unfounded,” Clements told the Chicago Sun-Times.

The “atmosphere here today is so toxic,” he added, referring to the never-ending sexual abuse scandal in the Roman Catholic Church. “The overwhelming majority of priests have to wake up each morning wondering, ‘Is this the morning that someone is going to accuse me of something negative?’”

Last year, an investigation by the Illinois attorney general’s office found that 690 Catholic clergy had been accused of sexual assault and abuse by minors.

Now an accusation comes to Clements, once the most famous priest in America.

In black Chicago, Clements is family. African American Catholics who came of age from the 1960s to the 1990s know “Father Clements” as a pioneering icon.








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