CHICAGO (CBS) — A Chicago priest has been re-instated after an investigation into an allegation that he molested a child nearly two decades ago.
Rev. Michael. W. O’Connell is returning to St. Alphonsus Parish in the Lakeview neighborhood four months after he stepped down as pastor when an allegation was made that he molested a minor at another parish nearly two decades earlier.
There was outrage when it was made public, from parishioners who didn’t believe it and from advocates for those abused by priests who thought Fr. O’Connell should have been suspended.
The Archdiocese says the allegation was unfounded. The allegation was investigated by the Cook County Sheriff’s office and the Archdiocesan Independent Review Board. Neither found evidence that Fr. O’Connell molested his accuser, who is now in his 20’s.
The priest will be back in the parish on Thursday and spoke with reporters on Tuesday at Holy Name Cathedral.