Week after being cleared, Chicago priest faces new sex abuse allegation

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A Chicago priest, accused in December of sexual abuse, faces a new allegation today from a man who says he witnessed another incident of abuse 15 years ago.

Father Michael O’Connell stepped down as pastor at St Alphonsus Parish in Lakeview when the original allegations were made in December. And just last week, after an investigation, O’Connell was reinstated by the archdiocese when the Cook County Sheriff called the allegations unfounded.

But now the Cook County Sheriff’s Dept says it has now reopened their investigation.

Today new allegations came from a 33-year-old man who claims that he witnessed Father O’Connell sexually abuse a young teenage boy in the locker room of a south suburban gym in 1999. O’Connell, he says, had his hand down the front of the other boy’s pants.

At the time, O’Connell was priest at Our Lady of the Woods parish in Orland Park.

The man now lives out of state but came forward because he say he believes Father O’Connell to be dangerous.

The organization, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, calls the witness John Doe # 2. He says didn’t know O’Connell was a priest when he witnessed this alleged sexual abuse in a gym locker room, but because of threats made to him by O’Connell after witnessing it, he kept quiet until now.

John Doe #2, again, says he’s a witness to abuse and does not know who the boy in question actually is, just that he may have been a new student at Marist High School at the time. Earlier today, he talked with law enforcement officials about the allegations.

The archdiocese says it would like to talk with John Doe #2 about what he says he witnessed before it takes any action against Father O’Connell at this time.




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  • snapjudy

    Thankfully the Cook County Sheriff’s Dept has now reopened their investigation into sex abuse allegation against Fr Michael O’Connell.

    It takes a lot of courage to speak up and take action about being sexually abused. It also takes a lot of courage for witnesses to speak up, especially if they have been threatened to stay silent. Also, It is extremely rare that a child predator has only one victim. Some have many. Child predators need to be kept far away from kids forever. It's never too late to come forward about being sexually abused.
    So let's hope that anyone who may have knowledge or may have been harmed by Michael W. O'Connel, will find the courage to come forward and contact law enforcement, no matter how long ago it happened. Do not report your abuse to the church officials, they are not the proper officials to be investigating child sex crimes.

    Silence is not an option anymore, it only hurts, and by speaking up there is a chance for healing, exposing the truth, and therefore protecting others.
    Judy Jones, SNAP Midwest Associate Director, USA, 636-433-2511, SNAPJudy@gmail.com
    SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

  • Live Christly

    Thanks Snap Judgy. I'm sure you have more facts than others and can make this damming statement in good faith and on a solid foundation unique to this man.

  • Greg

    When SNAP first started, it provided a vital service to victims of sex abuse. However, for the last several years, they have essentially worked as a front for some influential attorneys who have made a fortune on this. Does anyone wonder how Barbara Blaine gets enough money to travel all over the place ? Does her money come from donations to SNAP? Is she on the payroll of the attorneys? Why doesn't anyone check that out?

  • Nate Sandoval

    At 16, along with several friends of the same age I trained at what I believe is the gym in question at the time in question. I along with the rest of my friends developed a close relationship with Father Mike. I found him to be an intelligent, articulate and caring man. He was a mentor who developed a lasting relationship with all of us.

    Facts need to drive this investigation. Until facts that show father Mike to be anything less then what I have known him to be surface, I will continue to consider him a friend.

    Anyone who assaults an innocent is a coward and worst among us, and anyone who witnesses this abuse and remains silent is as equally reprehensible.

    • John

      Mr. Nate, the psychological ramifications of events such as these, in regards to the victims, is very difficult to encompass. It’s easy when the shoe is on the other foot. Children do not know. They are innocent and shouldn’t be judged because of what a man did to them. Let us remember they are the victims, and any one courageous enough to come forward should not have to listen to people like you saying; they should have stepped forward as a child. Remember nate, these are children with psychological damage that has been done to you. Every person can be an angel to some, and a demon to others.