Chicago priest cleared of sex abuse allegations holds first Mass since reinstatement

It’s good to be home,” 牧師. Michael Pfleger repeatedly told congregants of the Faith Community of St. Sabina, describing his time away during the investigation as apainful nightmare.

Pfleger, 72, was placed on leave in January amid allegations from two brothers who said Pfleger sexually abused them as children starting in the 1970s. A third man later also alleged that Pfleger molested him once in 1979 彼が〜だった時 18. 先月, the archdiocese concluded there wasinsufficient reason to suspectthat Pfleger had abused children. A police investigation remains open.

His first service back at the largely Black church on Chicago’s South Side was as spirited as ever, with live music, dancing and reenergized congregants who have fiercely backed their priest. Pfleger, 白人は誰ですか, thanked congregants for supporting him and vowed to resume his activism, especially against gun violence, with even more gusto.

改訂. Michael Pfleger conducts his first Sunday church service as a senior pastor at St. Sabina Catholic Church following his reinstatement by Archdiocese of Chicago after decades-old sexual abuse allegations against minors, 日曜日, 六月 6, 2021, in the Auburn Gresham neighborhood in Chicago. (AP Photo/Shafkat Anowar)

改訂. Michael Pfleger conducts his first Sunday church service as a senior pastor at St. Sabina Catholic Church following his reinstatement by Archdiocese of Chicago after decades-old sexual abuse allegations against minors, 日曜日, 六月 6, 2021, in the Auburn Gresham neighborhood in Chicago. (AP Photo/Shafkat Anowar) (AP Photo/Shafkat Anowar)

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I’m going to fight harder, because I’m stronger, I’m better and I’m wiser. … The last five months have been a roller coaster of hurt and anger and depression and pain and not knowing what people are thinking about you,” 彼は言った, his voice breaking at times.

To support Pfleger, church members have held rallies, flooded archdiocese phone lines, threatened to withhold church dues and launched a letter-writing campaign. 日曜日に, some wore T-shirts featuring the priest’s photo and the messagePfleger is back.Among those in attendance was filmmaker Spike Lee, who is friends with Pfleger and whose 2015 映画 “Chi-raqfeatured a character inspired by Pfleger and played by John Cusack.

Pfleger is known for his anti-violence activism and for bolstering neighborhood development in the largely low-income neighborhood surrounding the church. He’s also been in the spotlight for clashing with church leaders, having been suspended twice before this year, including in 2008 during Barack Obama’s presidential campaign when he mocked Obama’s primary opponent Hillary Clinton.

Ordained in 1975 and assigned to St. Sabina, Pfleger became pastor six years later and lived at the nearby rectory until earlier this year, when he temporarily moved to an apartment during the investigation.

Parishioners raise their hands as Rev. Michael Pfleger conducts his first Sunday church service as a senior pastor at St. Sabina Catholic Church following his reinstatement by Archdiocese of Chicago after decades-old sexual abuse allegations against minors, 日曜日, 六月 6, 2021, in the Auburn Gresham neighborhood in Chicago. (AP Photo/Shafkat Anowar)

Parishioners raise their hands as Rev. Michael Pfleger conducts his first Sunday church service as a senior pastor at St. Sabina Catholic Church following his reinstatement by Archdiocese of Chicago after decades-old sexual abuse allegations against minors, 日曜日, 六月 6, 2021, in the Auburn Gresham neighborhood in Chicago. (AP Photo/Shafkat Anowar) (AP Photo/Shafkat Anowar)

Police have said their investigation remainsopen and active,” but they haven’t provided any details about it. Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx has said police haven’t presented any information for her office to review or determine if criminal charges are appropriate. Illinois has no statute of limitations for filing charges in major sex crimes.

The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services completed its review in February, concluding there was no credible evidence of child abuse or neglect. 代理店, which doesn’t investigate allegations of abuse by an adult victim, focused on whether children were currently at risk.

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During Sunday’s service, Pfleger talked about street violence in Chicago. He also acknowledged the damage that the abuse allegations did to his reputation.

He didn’t talk about the allegations in detail, aside from saying the false accusations todestroy his characterbegan with anextortion letter.One of the brothers, who are in their 60s, has acknowledged that he asked Pfleger for a $ 20,000 payment in December.

I know my name will be damaged for the rest of my life,” Pfleger said as congregants booed. “But most of that is by people that hated me anyway. There are people watching today that are not happy that I’m back. But take off your party hat and blow out the candles. I’m back.

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