The revelation occurred a little over a year after a different investigation exonerated the Rev. Michael Pfleger, a priest, of claims that he had sexually molested children.
Cardinal Blase Cupich claimed in a letter released on Saturday that Pfleger was asked to resign from his position at the church, Faith Community of Saint Sabina, following claims that he had molested a youngster decades before.
Pfleger “has agreed to fully cooperate with this request,” Cupich said, adding that the archdiocese has informed law enforcement officials and the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services as required by law.
The accuser is a man in his late 40s who said Pfleger on two occasions abused him in the late 1980s during choir rehearsals in the Saint Sabina rectory, according to a statement released by a spokesperson for the man’s attorney, Eugene Hollander. The attorney did not elaborate on the allegations.
In his own statement to the parish on the city’s South Side that he has led for decades, Pfleger said he had done nothing wrong.
“Let me be clear I am completely innocent of this accusation,” he wrote, telling his parish he was confident that the allegation would be “determined to be unfounded” and that he would be reinstated.
Pfleger, who is white, leads a Black church in Chicago’s largely Black and low-income Auburn Gresham neighborhood. His activism captured the attention of film director Spike Lee, who based a character played by actor John Cusack in the 2015 film “Chi-Raq” on Pfleger.
Pfleger has made national headlines for his activism on an array of issues, opposing cigarette and alcohol advertising, taking on drug dealers and stores that sell drug paraphernalia, and leading countless protests. He has even been sued for his activism and once said it “has resulted in jealousy, attacks and hate.”
In May of last year, four months after Pfleger was asked to step aside from his duties while similar allegations involving a minor more than 40 years earlier were investigated, he was reinstated by the archdiocese after the probe found “insufficient reason to suspect” he sexually abused children.