CHICAGO (CBS) — The Rev. George Clements, a renowned Chicago priest who was accused of sexual abuse in a 1974 allegation, has died.
According to Father Michael Pfleger, Clements died in a hospital in Hammond, Indiana.
The Chicago Archdiocese also confirmed Clements’ passing.
Clements family said it will hold a news conference Monday afternoon.
In August of 2019, the Chicago Archdiocese asked Clements to step down from ministry after a sexual abuse allegation from 1974.
Blase Cardinal Cupich asked Clements to step aside from ministry pending the outcome of the investigation into the 1974 allegation. At the time, Clements was pastor of Holy Angels Parish in Chicago.
He was considered one of the most celebrated priests in Chicago history. It was the death of Martin Luther King Jr. that’s sparked his activism.
“That said to me, if they’re willing to go ahead and kill this saint, well, you don’t know how much time you have left,’” Clements said.
But when you ask Clements about his greatest achievement, he points to his four sons. He made history as the first American priest to adopt a child, a story that ended up on the big screen.
As pastor of Holy Angels Church, he was also chaplain for the Black Panthers. When leader Fred Hampton was killed in a raid by Chicago authorities, Clements spoke at his funeral.
He gained national attention for his fight against drugs and rubbed elbows with politicians and popes.
In addition to Holy Angels Parish on Oakwood Boulevard, Clements has served as pastor of St. Ambrose Parish on 47th Street, and St. Dorothy Parish on 78th Street. He also served in the Diocese of Nassau, the Bahamas; St. Sabina Parish, and the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C.