Chicago Priest Reinstated After Abuse Probe Finds Allegation ‘Unfounded’

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2019-06-15 21:51:28

A Chicago priest has been asked to step aside by Cardinal Blasé Cupich after allegations of sexual abuse has been reinstated by the Archdiocese of Chicago. 

Father Patrick Lee, who serves as the pastor of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church in the city’s Lake View East neighborhood, was reinstated after a five-month absence from the parish during an investigation into allegations of sexual abuse. 

In a letter to parishoners, Cupich said that the allegations against Lee were “unfounded,” and that the priest has been reinstated “immediately.” 

“These have been difficult days and months for you as a parish,” Cupich said. “You have shown great patience, and I thank you for doing so. Father Lee has also suffered, but he has offered that suffering freely, convinced of the need for us as a Church to keep our word that the protection and safety of our children remains the priority.” 

Cupich said that state officials found the charge to be unsubstantiated, and the Independent Review Board of the Archdiocese of Chicago also studied the matter and found “insufficient reason” to suspect any sexual abuse by Lee. 

The alleged sexual abuse of a minor took place in 1979 while Lee was at St. Christopher Parish in suburban Midlothian. 

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“The Archdiocese of Chicago takes all allegations of sexual misconduct seriously and encourages anyone who feels they have been sexually abused by a priest, deacon, religious or lay employee, to come forward,” the archdiocese said in a statement at the time. 

Lee also served as a pastor for nearly two decades at Immaculate Conception Parish, located in the city’s Old Town neighborhood.

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