Crime: Priest restored to East Lakeview parish post after being cleared of Midlothian-based misconduct allegations - PressFrom - US

CrimePriest restored to East Lakeview parish post after being cleared of Midlothian-based misconduct allegations

03:50  17 june  2019
03:50  17 june  2019 Source:

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Priest restored to East Lakeview parish post after being cleared of Midlothian-based misconduct allegations© Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church

A Catholic priest who faced allegations of sexual impropriety tied to a Midlothian-based parish, where he was first assigned more than four decades ago, was cleared of any wrongdoing.

Cardinal Blasé Cupich issued a statement saying that the Rev. Patrick Lee, who was suspended from religious duties in January, was reinstated as pastor of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church in the East Lakeview neighborhood.

Back when Lee was first ordained as a priest, he served from 1976-79 as an associate pastor at St. Christopher Catholic Church in Midlothian. He has since been assigned to churches in Oak Park and across Chicago. He has been pastor at Mount Carmel since July 2013.

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Lee was removed from that post in January after someone came forward and made accusations that they were sexually abused as a child by Lee while at St. Christopher. That person has since been offered services by the Victim’s Assistance Ministry of the Chicago Archdiocese.

Cupich, in his statement issued by the Archdiocese on Saturday, said Lee fully cooperated with church and legal authorities, including the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office and the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, as they investigated the matter.

The cardinal said that state officials have since found no basis for criminal charges against the priest.

That led the archdiocese’s Independent Review Board to decide that Lee should be reinstated as pastor at Mount Carmel.

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A priest who worked in the LaSalle and Grant parishes area has been dismissed after being accused of sexual misconduct with a girl in the Baltimore area, according to a release. Antonio Jorge Velez, a member of the Tertiary Capuchins, has been dismissed and prohibited from living within the diocese.

“They found that there was insufficient reason to suspect that Father Lee had committed sexual abuse of a minor,” Cupich wrote, adding that Lee was informed of the decision Saturday night.

“He took the occasion to reaffirm his longstanding conviction that the Church must remain vigilant in protecting our children and that we should spare no effort to bring healing to victim survivors who have been harmed,” Cupich said in his prepared statement.

When Lee was suspended, an archdiocese statement was read to the congregations of every church where Lee had worked, in an effort to keep parishioners informed.

Cupich said it was just as important to clear Lee’s reputation, now that charges have been dismissed. However, officials at St. Christopher said Sunday morning there were no plans to make an issue of the matter during Sunday Mass.

Gregory Tejeda is a freelance reporter for the Daily Southtown.

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