A second person has come forward with allegations of sex abuse as a minor by Rev. Michael Pfleger, which attorneys of the longtime St. Sabina Church pastor have called “false attacks ... motivated by greed.”
Pfleger, one of the most prominent figures in the Catholic community in Chicago, stepped away from the Auburn Gresham parish earlier this month at the archdiocese’s request as it investigates decades-old sexual abuse allegations made by another person.
The Archdiocese of Chicago’s general counsel “just received” the additional allegation, a spokesperson said Sunday evening.
“It is important to note that Fr. Pfleger remains removed from ministry pending the outcome of civil and church investigations,” the spokesperson said in an email. “We will continue to follow our process as we do with all such allegations.”
The person making the latest allegation, which dates back more than 45 years, is a relative of the first person who came forward, Pfleger’s lawyers, James Figliulo and Michael Monico, said.
In a statement on Pfleger’s behalf, Figliulo and Monico strongly denied the allegations.
“Father Pfleger has never abused them or anybody else,” the statement said. “These allegations are false and are simply being made for money. This is a shakedown.”
The first accusation, which also date back more than 40 years, has been reported to the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services and the Cook County state’s attorney’s office, Cardinal Blase Cupich previously said.
Since the first allegation surfaced Jan. 5, St. Sabina parishioners and community members have rallied around Pfleger.
Pfleger, 71, has stayed out of the public eye since the investigation launched. He released a statement Jan. 6 thanking people for their support and saying he was “devastated, hurt, and yes, angry” by the allegations.
Pfleger has served as pastor at St. Sabina Church since 1981. Over the years, he has become one of the city’s most prominent gun violence advocates, leading annual “peace marches” that routinely draw hundreds of people.
“Father Pfleger has worked tirelessly to serve the St. Sabina community for over 45 years, and his leadership has reached far beyond his parish,” Figliulo and Monico said in a statement. “Father Pfleger has mentored and inspired thousands of young men and women over the past several decades with honor, decency and dignity. He has earned the esteem and respect of the people he has served. It is so very disheartening to witness such false attacks on Father Pfleger, which are motivated by greed. Father Pfleger is a good and decent priest and does not deserve to have his reputation destroyed by such false allegations.”