CHICAGO (CBS) — A third man has come forward claiming that he was sexually abused by the Rev. Michael Pfleger when the man was a teenager more than 40 years ago.
Pfleger was removed from St. Sabina’s parish, pending an investigation into allegations of past sexual abuse. Both of Pfleger’s original accusers – two brothers – shared their story exclusively with CBS 2 Political Investigator Dana Kozlov. They told her they could no longer keep their secret.READ MORE: 'You Will Die:' Jovan McPherson Charged With Shooting CPD Officer, Kidnapping Woman In Lincoln Park
“I would like people to see there is a dark side to Mike Pfleger,” one of the men told Kozlov in January.
The third man said he was 18 when his alleged incident with Pfleger occurred, but he said he came forward after hearing the brothers’ claims.
In an affidavit sent to the Archdiocese of Chicago late Tuesday, the third man, now 59, claimed that he met Pfleger in Chicago in 1976 or 1977 and viewed him as a “big brother.” The man said he worked in a summer youth program at St. Sabina the summer after eighth grade and continued to work there through high school.
The man said he also occasionally went with Pfleger to Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Glenview.
The man said he went to jazz clubs such as Rick’s Café and Showcase with Pfleger and drank alcohol with him there – as well as at the rectory at St. Sabina and elsewhere – despite being underage. He said he also smoked marijuana with Pfleger, and claimed that Pfleger kept a quarter pound of marijuana in his room.
The man claimed that in the summer of 1979, he was in Pfleger’s room at the rectory and they watched television and smoked marijuana together, and then the man fell asleep. He said he woke up feeling that Pfleger had done something inappropriate, but he did not witness anything happen.
The man said about two weeks later, he was in Pfleger’s room smoking marijuana again and pretended to be asleep. He said Pfleger called the man’s name a couple of times to see if he was asleep, and then grabbed the man’s genitals over his clothes.
“It was not consensual,” said attorney Eugene Hollander.
He said he pushed Pfleger away, and afterward, their relationship ended and they stopped socializing.
The man said he moved out of town around Christmas 1980, but returned to Chicago in 1985 and saw Pfleger at St. Sabina. He said he expected Pfleger to apologize for sexually assaulting him, but never received an apology.
Kozlov: “So you believe it helps establish a pattern?”
Hollander: “There’s no question it establishes a pattern.”READ MORE: 4-Month-Old Girl Was Killed In Act Of Child Abuse In South Shore, Officials Say
In a statement provided by St. Sabina, Pfleger’s attorneys angrily denied the new claims against him, calling it a “false story.”
“He never touched this man in any sexual or inappropriate way at any time,” attorneys James Figliulo and Michael Monico said in the statement.
Pfleger’s attorneys also denied that Pfleger ever took the man to jazz clubs or gave him alcohol or marijuana, and accused the man’s lawyer of “desperately trying to find anything to help his dishonest clients get money from the Archdiocese.”
“He knows that his clients are dishonest men and that their gross and false stories about purported incidents from more than 45 years ago do not make sense. They are wholly inconsistent with Father Pfleger’s character and the recollections of the thousands of young men and women who have known Father Pfleger over the decades, including the accusers’ friends during the years that these alleged incidents purportedly occurred,” Pfleger’s attorneys wrote.
Hollander countered: “The third victim has absolutely nothing to gain by coming forward. He does not have a case of his own. He’s not going to receive any financial compensation or theoretically receive any compensation. What he wants to do is the right thing.”
The brothers who made the earlier accusations say they were each around 12 or 13 when the sexual abuse started 40 years ago. Both said Pfleger’s prominent standing in his community kept them speaking out until now.
Pfleger’s attorney also vehemently denies the brothers’ abuse allegations, but they say it happened.
Supporters have since rallied behind Pfleger, saying his character has never been questioned before. The two brothers have also been accused of lying for financial gain. But they say their main motivation for coming forward is not money but telling the truth. Pfleger’s attorneys point to a letter the younger brother sent Pfleger asking for $20,000. The younger brother said he thought he’d use payment as an admission of guilt.
This past Sunday, leadership at Saint Sabina Church announced that the church will withhold its monthly assessments of the church and school to the Archdiocese of Chicago starting this month, in what the church said was a “continued effort to get the Archdiocese of Chicago to swiftly conclude its investigation into the allegations against Fr. Pfleger.”
The assessments Saint Sabina plans to withhold total about $100,000 per month, the church said in a statement. The church also noted that the funds will not be used but will be set aside to be paid at the conclusion of the investigation.
Father Pfleger’s attorneys did not directly respond to Kozlov’s request for an interview, and it is not clear how long this investigation will take.MORE NEWS: CPD: 21 Officers Not Being Paid After Defying City's COVID Vaccine Mandate
Pfleger has not addressed the latest allegations directly. But on social media last week, he again professed his innocence and looked forward to the time he would be able to say more.