CHICAGO (CBS) — A priest at Our Lady of Mount Carmel parish in Chicago was reinstated Saturday after he was accused of sexual abuse and asked to step aside from his duties in January.
Cardinal Blase Cupich said Father Patrick Lee cooperated with civil authorities and the Archdiocese of Chicago during the investigation.
Cupich said both state officials and the independent review board of the archdiocese determined the allegations against Lee were unfounded.
In an email to the Our Lady of Mount Carmel parish, Cupich said:
“These have been difficult days and months for you as a parish. You have shown great patience as each jurisdiction has completed its process. I thank you for doing so. Father Lee has also suffered, as you well know, but he has offered that suffering freely, convinced of the need for us as a Church to keep our word that the protection and safety of our children remains the priority.”
Cupich shared his letter with other parishes in the Archdiocese of Chicago and the media to “see that Father Lee’s good name is restored.”
Lee was accused of sexually abusing a minor in 1979 while he was assigned to St. Christopher Parish in Midlothian.
The archdiocese said the person who made the allegation was offered the services of the archdiocese’s Victim Assistance Ministry.
Lee worked for the diocese as a pastor and faculty member at the following locations:
- St. Christopher Parish in Midlothian — May 12, 1976 to June 30, 1979
- St. Matthias Parish in Chicago — May 23, 1979 to December 7, 1983
- Quigley Preparatory Seminary in Chicago — July 1, 1979 to December 31, 1986
- St. Giles Parish in Oak Park — December 7, 1983 to December 30, 1986
- Immaculate Conception Parish in Chicago — June 15, 1986 to July 1, 2013
- St. Joseph Parish in Chicago — July 1, 2001 to July 1, 2013
- Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Parish in Chicago — July 1, 2013 to present
The archdiocese encourages anyone who feels they have been sexually abused by a priest, deacon, religious or lay employee to go to their website for more information on how to report the abuse.