A third man accused Rev. Michael Pfleger of sexual assault more than 40 years ago and presented a signed affidavit to the Archdiocese of Chicago stating that Pfleger had sexually touched him in undesirable ways and regularly gave him drugs and alcohol, a lawyer for the man said Wednesday.
“What happened to me was not consensual,” the man said in a statement distributed through his attorney, who also represents two other men who made sexual assault claims decades ago when they were 12 years old . The statement did not include the third name of the man who wishes to remain anonymous, according to his attorney, who said he was not filing a lawsuit or seeking financial damage and called it “painful” to talk about.
In a statement from his attorneys on Wednesday, Pfleger denied the allegations, calling them “false” and saying he “never touched this man in any sexual or inappropriate manner.”
St. Sabina Church said its lawyers had delayed responding, but “the Church’s position has not changed,” adding, “We continue to stand with Father Pfleger.” The Archdiocese of Chicago said in a statement: “We have received the affidavit and will process it as we make any such claim.”
Pfleger’s attorneys previously dismissed the other two allegations made against him as “false”, claiming that the “brutal allegations” had damaged his reputation.
“I don’t want to take legal action, but when I heard his followers attack the other victims and say that Father Mike could never do this, I knew I had to come forward and tell the truth,” the statement said third man. “Hopefully my experience will add to their credibility and encourage other victims to come forward.”
A testimony from the man’s attorney states that the inadequate sexual advances occurred in the summer after graduating from high school in the 1970s. The man, now in his late 50s, claims caregivers gave him marijuana and alcohol for years, starting when he was 15 or 16.
In the affidavit handed to the archdiocese on Tuesday, the man says he attended St. Sabina High School and met nurses as part of a youth program and, according to his lawyer, viewed him as a mentor. He said the nurse often came up with him in the priest’s parish room, where the unwanted sexual advancement later took place.
“He thought I had slept at the time. I was stunned and was finally able to push him away from me. After that, I was done with Mike Pfleger,” the man said in his statement. “I don’t want to take legal action, but when I heard his followers attack the other victims and say Father Mike could never do this, I knew I had to come forward and tell the truth. Hopefully my experience will add to their credibility and encourage other victims to come forward. “
“When I was 15 and 16 I thought it was cool that a priest would come up and drink with me, but as an adult it horrifies me. He should have discouraged this behavior, not encouraged it, and fueled it,” said the man said: “I can now separate Mike, the very flawed person, from Father Pfleger, a priest who has also done good. I do not wish him malice, but he should not be around young children and the victims should be believed and respected because it is not easy to come forward that way. “
“This man does not file a lawsuit or look for money. It hurts him to talk about it,” said attorney Eugene Hollander in a statement announcing the new allegations. “However, he has come forward because he wants the archdiocese to know what kind of priest Father Pfleger really is, so that he can take appropriate measures and remove him from St. Sabina. He wants to support the victims who have come forward, and the many who have done so. ” not for fear of retaliation from Father Pfleger and his followers. “
The man said he would cooperate fully with the archdiocese’s investigation, according to Hollander.
Pfleger’s lawyers said in their statement on Wednesday that he remembers the identified man, but that the incidents alleged in the affidavit “did not occur”.
“In the late 1970s, the man’s mother was very active in the women’s club and parish in St. Sabina. He knew the man as a teenager in St. Sabina, but did not take him to jazz clubs or give him alcohol or marijuana.” Statement reads.
He claimed Hollander was “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 crude and false stories of alleged incidents from more than 45 years made no sense. “They call it” completely incompatible with Father Foster ‘s character. “
In January, the Archdiocese of Chicago urged male nurses to leave his ministry after receiving allegations of sexual abuse of a minor.
“The Archdiocese of Chicago takes all allegations of sexual misconduct seriously and encourages anyone who feels they have been sexually abused by a priest, deacon, religious or lay person to report,” Cardinal Blase Cupich said at the time.
The sibling of the first person accused of Caregiver made a second allegation of abuse later that month.
“For the past 45 years, the non-state brothers have said they never told themselves or anyone else about the alleged abuse until this month after they hired a lawyer,” the newspaper reads in part Answer from Pfleger’s lawyers. “The claims made by these two men are false. Unfortunately, these brutal allegations are being made public, causing irreparable damage to Father Pfleger’s reputation. “
Last week, the Illinois Department of Children & Family Services wrote in a letter to caregivers that the agency had determined that following an assessment, a report of “suspected child abuse or neglect” was “unfounded.”
“This does not necessarily mean that no incident has occurred,” read the letter. “An incident may have occurred, but the evidence has not risen to the level required to indicate abuse or neglect as required by state law and the DCFS Administrative Rule.”
The Archdiocese of Chicago said the finding did not reflect an investigation by DCFS into allegations the two brothers made against Caregiver earlier this year, “and should therefore not be taken as a judgment of his guilt or innocence in these matters.”
The 71-year-old nurse has been pastor of Saint Sabina Church in Chicago’s Auburn Gresham district since 1981, which is best known for his commitment to fighting violence in the city.