Suburban Chicago Priest Sidelined Again Amidst Allegations

(For Immediate Release September 19, 2022) 

Two new sexual abuse allegations have been brought against a suburban Chicago priest who was reinstated as a pastor in November of 2021 after a review board found there was “insufficient reason to suspect” he had sexually abused children 25 years ago. SNAP wants Cardinal Blase Cupich to provide additional information about the nature of these new accusations and to beg victims and witnesses to come forward. Continued secrecy from the Archdiocese only deepens mistrust in the Church.

In a letter to parishioners of St. Francis de Sales Catholic Parish in Lake Zurich, the Cardinal wrote that the Archdiocese of Chicago was notified on Friday of two additional allegations of child sexual abuse by Rev. David Ryan. Fr. Ryan had faced an earlier accusation of child sexual abuse stemming from his time at Maryville Academy in Chicago's northwest suburbs. In fact, Fr. Ryan was reinstated after a Church investigation cleared him of those charges, only to be removed again when "new information" came to light in September of 2021. The clergyman was reinstated for a second time in November 2021.

We are relieved that Fr. Ryan has once again been removed from ministry. We know that false allegations of child sexual abuse are rare, and three false allegations are even rarer. Child abusers seldom cease abusing on their own, and this move may safeguard today's children from harm while also inspiring others to speak up.

However, we are dismayed that Catholic officials in Chicago continue to provide incomplete information about the accusations and minimize the significance of this news by offering prayers for Fr. Ryan and highlighting his cooperation. We remain skeptical about the way that the earlier allegations against this priest were handled. It seems to us that every diocese strives to frame its announcements in such a manner that parishioners and the general public are encouraged to believe that the accused is innocent and that the victim is making "false allegations."Such implications are not useful for ascertaining the truth.

From 1985 through the early 2000s, Fr. Ryan held powerful leadership positions in the Archdiocese, so we commend the survivors who have had the courage to come forward. We anticipate that there are more victims. We urge anyone who may have suffered, witnessed, or suspected Fr. Ryan of child sexual abuse to immediately make a report directly to law enforcement.

 

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 more than 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)

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