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Mixed reaction from parishioners over misconduct allegations against Chicago priest

CHICAGO -- A priest from Chicago has been removed while the Catholic Archdiocese investigates accusations of misconduct with a minor.

Rev. Gary Graf was a pastor at San Jose Luis Sanchez Del Rio parish in Hermosa. Cardinal Blase Cupich wrote a letter to parishioners on Monday regarding the investigation into allegations of possible code of conduction violations involving a minor.

The 17-year-old parishioner and church employee who made the accusations said there were a series of uncomfortable interactions since July 1, when Graf first started there as a priest.

The teenager said he once received a phone call from the church secretary saying Graf was attracted to him. He said Graf would also rub his shoulders and once offered him a free car. The teen said he immediately told his parents.

The Archdiocese said it is not aware of any other allegations of misconduct against Graf. The Archdiocese handed the case over to Chicago police to fully investigate. Police said they have a noncriminal against Graf and investigators are looking into it.

Some parishioners who spoke to WGN said they were shocked by the news and can't believe Graf would doing anything inappropriate with children. Others called it a crime.

"God sees everything," one woman said.

One parishioner at Maternity Blessed Virgin Mary, Elena Hernandez, said what the accuser is saying about Graf is false. She said she and her family have known Graf for over 30 years.

"My children grew up with him," she said. "They played baseball together. My oldest son is 42 years old. I have 40 years at this church. The allegations being made by this gentle are false."

But other parishioners, like Blanca Rodriguez, said the investigation must proceed because one doesn't know if it's true or not.

The Department of Children and Services said they are investigating an allegation of abuse by a church staff member at St. Philomena Church.

Bishop Alberto Rojas will serve as administrator of the parish while the investigation continues.

Fr. Gary Graf Removal by WGN Web Desk on Scribd