Reverend Michael Pfleger has been reinstated as pastor of Saint Sabina Catholic Church of Chicago after an Archdiocese of Chicago review board cleared Pfleger of sexual abuse allegations made against him two years ago. months, according to a letter from Cardinal Blase Cupich.
Cupich wrote a letter to the parish community of Saint Sabina on Saturday, announcing that he was reinstating Pfleger as pastor immediately after extensive review by the archdiocese’s independent review board and outside investigators. The review board, according to the cardinal, concluded “there is no reason to suspect” that Pfleger is guilty of the charges.
“Having carefully considered their decision, which I fully accept, I now inform you that I am reinstating Father Pfleger as Senior Pastor of the St. Sabina Faith Community, effective immediately,” he said. he stated in the letter, in part. “I want to acknowledge that these months have had a huge impact on Father Mike and on all of you, and I pledge to do all I can to ensure that his reputation is restored.”
In mid-October, a Chicago attorney confirmed that one of his clients had filed a lawsuit with the Archdiocese of Chicago, alleging that Pfleger sexually abused him as a minor in the late 1980s. .
The attorney, Eugene Hollander, said his client was a member of the Soul Children of Chicago choir which rehearsed weekly at Saint Sabina Parish.
Hollander’s client alleges that twice during those rehearsals, Pfleger sexually assaulted him in the parish rectory.
In a statement that month, Pfleger said he was innocent of the charge while announcing he was stepping down from any public prosecution pending the archdiocese’s investigation. Pfleger has previously been accused of sexual abuse by three different men, leading to an investigation into Pfleger which began in 2021. Pfleger was allowed to return to the church in June 2021 after the archdiocese concluded that the allegations were unfounded.
Cupich’s full letter to the community of Saint Sabina is below:
December 10, 2022
Dear members of the Faith Community of Sainte Sabine,
Thank you for your patience and prayers during the absence of your Senior Pastor, Father Michael Pfleger. As you know, earlier this year the Archdiocese received child sexual abuse allegations against Father Pfleger. In accordance with our child and youth protection policies, the Archdiocesan Independent Review Commission. assisted by our Office of Child Abuse Investigation and Review and external investigators conducted a thorough review of the allegations.
The review board concluded that there was no reason to suspect Father Pfleger of being guilty of these allegations. After carefully considering their decision, which I fully accept, I now inform you that I am reinstating Father Pfleger as Senior Pastor of the Faith Community of Saint Sabina, with immediate effect. I want to acknowledge that these months have weighed heavily on Fr. Mike and all of you, and I pledge to do everything in my power to restore his reputation. I ask that this letter be read at all Masses next weekend, posted both in hard copy in the church and in soft copy on your parish webpage. We will make it available to the media and on the Archdiocese of Chicago webpage.
In these days as we prepare for the birth of the Saviour, Our Lord Jesus Christ, we remember that nothing can take away the joy of God’s love for us. My prayer is that your celebration of Christmas will be filled with the joy that belongs to those who are patient and confident in God’s goodness and closeness. As I assure you of my prayers, I ask that you do all you can to welcome Father Pfleger back so that he can resume the ministry that distinguished Saint Sabina in the Archdiocese and beyond.