CHICAGO (CBS) — Father David F. Ryan has been reinstated as pastor of St. Francis de Sales Parish and School in Lake Zurich, after the Archdiocese of Chicago determined accusations that he’d sexually abused children were unfounded.
Cardinal Blase Cupich removed Ryan from the ministry last November after the Archdiocese of Chicago received allegations of sexual abuse of minors 25 years ago when Ryan was assigned to Maryville Academy in Des Plaines.READ MORE: 'An Important Time For Us': Chicagoans Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month
On Thursday, Cupich announced a “thorough investigation” by the Archdiocese and state officials had been completed, and determined the claims against Ryan were unfounded.
“Following the determination by state officials, who are charged with the protection of minors, that the allegation of child abuse was unfounded, the Independent Review Board of the Archdiocese of Chicago investigated the allegations in accordance with our usual procedures,” Cupich wrote in a letter to the St. Francis de Sales Parish. “At their meeting on Saturday, August 21, 2021, they found there was insufficient reason to suspect Father Ryan had committed sexual abuse of a minor. Therefore, I am pleased to inform you that I am reinstating Father Ryan as your pastor effective immediately.”
Cupich said Ryan fully cooperated with the investigation, and said he is committed to “to see that Father Ryan’s good name is restored.”READ MORE: Downtown Chicago Roadblocks Quell Mexican Independence Day Street Celebrations
“These have been difficult days and months for you as a parish. You have shown great patience as each jurisdiction completed its process. I thank you for doing so. Father Ryan 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 wrote.
Maryville Academy has been plagued with allegations of sexual abuse, particularly surrounding the Rev. John Smyth – the longtime leader of the facility.
Smyth was assigned to Maryville after ordination in 1962 and became its executive director in 1970 — a position he held until it was shuttered in 2004.
Smyth died in April 2019, after being removed from public ministry by the church. At his funeral, there was a standing ovation.MORE NEWS: 'We're Back': Store Owner Reopens Chicago Sports On Michigan Avenue After 2020 Unrest
But a 9-foot bronze statue in Smyth’s honor at Maryville Academy mysteriously disappeared. CBS 2 later learned the statue was taken by Smyth’s foundation — without authorization. And then there are more than a dozen accusers – all wards of the state.