Dissident Priest Faces More Allegations

News: Video Reports
by William Mahoney, Ph.D.  •  ChurchMilitant.com  •  January 29, 2021   

Chicago brothers come forward

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TRANSCRIPT

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Two brothers are telling their stories of sexual abuse at the hands of Fr. Michael Pfleger 40 years ago.

"I was in his room at Precious Blood. He grabbed my manhood. ... I got up, took a shower, and when I came out of the shower, he gave me a pair of his brief underwear to put on. And I laid back down and went to sleep."

Now in their early 60s, the brothers never spoke of Pfleger's abuse, even with each other, until recently.

"He would encourage me to touch him, but I resisted. And there were times that I just pretended to be asleep. I didn't want to engage — I can tell you that. I just wanted to survive it."

Wishing to remain anonymous, the two allege the abuse began when they were in their early teens at the now-closed Precious Blood Parish, where Pfleger was a priest at the time before he transferred to St. Sabina in 1981.

One of the brothers decided to break his silence after seeing Cdl. Wilton Gregory on the news.

That brother confronted Pfleger in a letter in which he demanded $20,000 — a demand he says was not about money:

I asked for money because I had a plan. When I prayed about this and how I was going to do this, if he sent me some money, that was an admission of guilt. That was going to be how I was going to have proof. He didn't even answer.

But some parishioners at St. Sabina are claiming these allegations are not true.

Christopher Jones Jr.: "And not once have I felt uncomfortable or seen anything that would make me question this man's character."

Fitzgerald Craan: "We've gone on vacations together. I have been around this man for 45 years, and never has he touched me inappropriately; never has he given me an inappropriate handshake; never has he given me an inappropriate hug."

One Chicago priest, under condition of anonymity, told Church Militant he wasn't surprised by the allegations against Pfleger.

"If you look closely at the course of his many years as a priest, he's always been out there in left field doing his own thing at St. Sabina's — not showing much restraint or caution with respect to following the rule."

As to the connection with Cdl. Wilton Gregory, Father explained Gregory was ordained a Chicago priest in 1973 and was appointed auxiliary bishop for the Windy City on Halloween in 1983.

He was consecrated by notorious cardinal Joseph Bernardin.

"These group of individuals that hung close back in those days — in the early '80s — with Bernardin, whether it was Pfleger or Wilton Gregory — there were some queer customers that were way too close to Cdl. Bernardin and associated with him."

Pfleger was first accused of abuse in early January and put on leave.

With the two brothers coming forward, he's now facing three official allegations.

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