Just a week after a Chicago, Illinois, priest was cleared of sexual misconduct and reinstated to his position with the church, he is once more under the harsh glare of public scrutiny as he faces additional sexual abuse allegations. In light of the new allegations made against the priest, the Cook County Sheriff’s Department has reopened the original case.
The new sexual abuse allegations come from an Arizona man who claims he witnessed the priest committing sexual abuse against a young man 15 years earlier. The Arizona man said the abuse happened in a gym located in the south suburbs and involved the priest, whom he knew then only as Mike, inappropriately touching the teenage boy.
The Chicago Archdiocese says it plans to meet with the witness who made the allegations to determine what course of action to take. The witness, who met with the investigators involved in the case last Monday, says he remained silent for so long because he feared no one would believe him since the man is a priest.
Now, the witness says he can no longer live with the thought that he didn’t do enough about what he claims he witnessed. He also said that since the priest has already been questioned about sexual abuse, he feels his own story is more believable.
When people dare to speak out about sexual abuse they have experienced or even simply witnessed, it makes it easier for more victims to come forward. For those who are still frightened about making sexual abuse claims, there are a number of ways to acquire support and safety before coming forward. Speaking with police officials is one such way, but an empathetic sexual abuse attorney can also serve as a source of strength, safety and support.
Source: NBC Chicago, “Abuse Allegations Made Against Recently-Cleared Priest” Rob Elgas, Apr. 21, 2014