Citing the anger level among Catholic parishioners, Cardinal Francis George announced Sunday that eight priests accused of sexual misconduct–three of whom have already resigned or retired–will be officially withdrawn from the ministry, even though some of the allegations date back more than 30 years.
“The level of anger is very high from what I can tell, and justifiably so,” George said at St. Fabian School auditorium in southwest suburban Bridgeview.
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops earlier this month adopted a national standard calling for the removal of any priest who has abused a child.
The five priests now practicing, including the Rev. John Calicott of Holy Angels Church on the South Side, had been cited for one or more acts of sexual misconduct with minors.
In addition to Calicott, other priests who will be removed effective Tuesday include the Rev. John Keehan, pastor at St. Ann’s on the West Side; the Rev. Daniel Buck, associate pastor at St. Mary in Buffalo Grove; the Rev. James Ray, of the Office of the Archdiocese’s Health and Hospital Affairs, and the Rev. Thomas Swade, a coordinator in the Office of Racial Justice. All indicated they may appeal, an archdiocese spokesman said.
The charges had been reviewed by Cardinal Joseph Bernardin’s Special Commission in 1992 or after 1993 by the the archdiocese’s independent Fitness Review Board. After the investigations, each priest received therapy and was always assigned a monitor. They also were forbidden to be alone with children.
Calicott was accused in 1994 by two men who said he abused them at St. Ailbe, also on the South Side. At the urging of church members, Bernardin returned Calicott to Holy Angels in 1995 after he admitted to improper sexual conduct and underwent extensive therapy.
The allegations against Buck came while he served at St. Francis Borgia on the Far Northwest Side between 1979 and 1984. Charges of sexual misconduct against Keehan came while he was at St. Basil between 1967 and 1974. Charges against both men were reviewed by the Fitness Review Board.
Ray had been placed in restricted ministry for sexual misconduct with minors before 1992, when new policies were put in place. Allegations against him date back to his days as an associate pastor at St. Anastasia in Waukegan and St. Peter Damian in Bartlett between 1975 and 1989.
Swade had been removed from ministry before 1993, and his removal was affirmed in 1993 by the Fitness Review Board. Allegations against Swade date back to when he was an assistant pastor in St. Dorothy Parish in 1972 and 1992.
The Rev. Richard Bartz, who was a chaplain at Ravenswood Hospital, and the Rev. William Lupo, who was the pastor at St. Peter Damian in Bartlett, resigned after George returned from Dallas.
The Rev. Daniel Holihan retired last year. Specific allegations against Bartz, Lupo and Holihan were not available.