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Evergreen Park priest steps aside as archdiocese investigates decades-old sexual abuse allegations – Chicago Tribune


The assistant pastor at an Evergreen Park church has stepped aside after the Archdiocese of Chicago said it received information about accusations of sexually abusing a minor about 40 years ago before he became a priest.

In a letter to the parishioners of Holy Redeemer, Cardinal Blaise Cupich said the archdiocese received the statement while priest Paul Guzman was serving abroad in the military.

The alleged abuse occurred while Guzmán was a layman and 25 years before he entered Mundelein Seminary to prepare for the priesthood, the letter said.

According to the letter, Guzman was ordered to immediately resign from the service and live away from Holy Redeemer Parish when he returned from military service.

Guzman serves as a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy Reserve and was stationed as a chaplain at Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti, Africa, according to the Navy.

Cardinal’s letter said the abuse allegation was brought to the attention of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services and the Cook County District Attorney. According to the letter, the person making the accusation has been offered the opportunity to participate in the archdiocese’s investigation.

“It is important to remind everyone that while the Archdiocese takes every allegation of child sexual abuse seriously, the mere fact of an allegation does not imply guilt,” Cupich wrote.

Guzman did not respond to messages seeking comment Monday.

He was ordained in May 2012 by Cardinal Francis George and was originally assigned to St. Damian in the Oak Forest, the archdiocese reports.

According to the archdiocese, Guzman spent 10 years as a police officer with the U.S. Department of Justice and 17 years as a nurse before his ordination.

The archdiocese’s letter warned that the charges do not presuppose guilt and asked people to leave the court until the investigation was completed.

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In December of last year, Cupich restored the leader of the influential community of faith of St. Sabina, Reverend. Michael Pfleger following an investigation into allegations of abuse against the priest.

Pfleger was kicked out of the church in mid-October after a 40-year-old man said the priest sexually abused him in the late 1980s, but an investigation by the diocese found the allegations were unfounded.

It was the second time Pfleger had been accused of sexual assault and then reinstated.

In May 2021, the parish priest of Church of Christ the King on Chicago’s southwest side, was reinstated after Cupich’s month-long leave of absence following allegations of sexual assault that allegedly occurred nearly four decades ago.

In a letter to parishioners at the time the allegation surfaced, Sullivan wrote that while at the fast-food restaurant, he made “unsolicited verbal comments to an employee that upset her to the point that her parents and the police were contacted. Sullivan wrote that there was no physical contact between him and the young woman.

The Rev. Larry Sullivan stepped down from his parish duties after reports that he sexually abused a minor when he was 18, but the allegation could not be verified, the archdiocese said.



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