Archdiocese of Chicago priest's reinstatement on hold due to "new information;" SNAP urges transparency
Fr. David Ryan was set to return to ministry at St. Francis De Sales Catholic Parish in Lake Zurich after being cleared just last week of allegations of child sexual abuse. However, on Thursday Cardinal Blase Cupich wrote in a letter to church-goers that the cleric will remain away from the parish while "new information" is investigated. SNAP urges the Cardinal to be transparent about the nature of this "new information," as the lack of openness exacerbates mistrust of the Archdiocese.
Fr. Ryan "stepped away" from his parish in November 2020, while he was investigated for the sexual abuse of minors while working at Maryville Academy, a school in Chicago's northwestern suburbs. The cleric held powerful leadership positions at the school from 1985 until the early 2000s. It is important to note that in the U.S., the average age of a child survivor coming forward is 52.
We would not be surprised to learn that the "new information" is another accusation of child sexual abuse. In fact, Fox 32 in Chicago reported that there was another allegation of sexual misconduct. More often than not, victims find the strength and courage to come forward themselves after they learn that other survivors have reported their abuse or have spoken publicly.
We are grateful that Fr. Ryan is being sidelined once again, as this may protect today's children from harm and may also encourage others to make their outcries. We have learned over the years that false allegations of child sexual abuse are extremely rare, and those child abusers typically do not stop abusing on their own. We call on Cardinal Cupich to be public about what this "new information" entails. Is it indeed another accusation, as Fox 32 reported, or is it a new witness, or perhaps new documentation? Knowing this may not only help others find the courage to come forward but will also inspire renewed trust in the Archdiocese.
In our view, Catholic officials in Chicago and elsewhere often try to move the ball further down the field and put this scandal behind them, but flags and penalties continue to emerge from every direction. To us, it is easy to spot minimizing and unhelpful statements like, "these allegations are from twenty-five years ago" or that "new information" has been found. Every diocese seems to try to word their announcements in such a way as to encourage parishioners and the public to assume that the accused is innocent and that the victim is making "false accusations."
CONTACT: Mike McDonnell, SNAP Communications Manager, (267-261-0578, [email protected]) Zach Hiner, SNAP Executive Director (517-974-9009, [email protected]), Larry Antonsen, SNAP Chicago (773-255-3382, [email protected])
(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)