CHICAGO (CBS) — It’s a story you saw first on CBS 2.
Sitting down exclusively with CBS2 Investigator Dana Kozlov, two brothers from Chicago coming forward with a painful secret that they’ve been hiding for decades. Revealing years of sexual abuse, they said, at the hands of Father Michael Pfleger.READ MORE: New CPD Policy On Search Warrants To Go Into Effect May 28; Police To Begin Tracking Wrong Raids Resulting From Faulty Information
CBS2 Investigator Megan Hickey reports the fallout over these allegations continues. On one side, Pfleger’s accusers are calling for a personal response to the allegations. On the other side, Pfleger’s supporters are trying to poke holes into the credibility of the claims.
The brothers broke their silence for the first time to CBS 2 Investigator Dana Kozlov.
“I couldn’t forgive myself because I blamed myself all of these years,” said one of the victims.
The two brothers described, in painful, sometimes graphic detail, their encounters with their former choir director, Rev. Michael Pfleger, who they said molested them dozens of times beginning in the early 1970s. Both said it started around the time they were 12 or 13.
Both said Pfleger’s prominent standing in his community kept them speaking out until now.
“We want peace,” said the other victim.
“That’s what kept me from coming forward for so many years, and never telling anyone,” added his brother.READ MORE: Hennessy, The Cat Who Leapt To Safety From Burning Englewood Apartment Building, Hasn't Returned Home
A decades-long champion of Chicago’s African-American community, Pfleger’s supporters fought back on Monday.
“His character and reputation has never been questioned,” said Kimberly Lymore, Associate Minister at St. Sabina.
“Sick enough to try to damage a faithful man’s reputation for $20,000,” added community member Christopher Jones Jr.
They pointed to the Dec. 30th letter sent by the younger brother where he asked Pfleger for $20,000. The brother said he would have considered any payment an admission of guilt. On Monday, the younger brother defended his decision. And both accusers called on Fr. Pfleger, known, for being so vocal, to respond personally to their painful claims.
“I can tell you what infuriates me is a lawyer saying anything about me and not knowing what happened. I was there, Mike was there. We were the only two in the room. His lawyer can say anything he wants,” said one of the victims.
Pfleger’s supporters have started a letter writing campaign asking to expedite the investigation into these allegations. An associate minister at St Sabina said Monday they’ve already taken about 760 letters to the archdiocese. They plan to drop off another batch of letters later this week.
CBS 2 reached out to Pfleger for comment and he declined the request.MORE NEWS: CBS 2 Chicago Wins 2020 Chicago Headline Club Watchdog Award
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