A Chicago Catholic priest who previously worked at a Lake
Forest church is stepping aside during an investigation into an allegation of
sexual misconduct with a minor 20
years ago while he worked at an Orland Park church, the Chicago Tribune is reporting.
The priest, Rev. Michael O’Connell, is currently pastor at St. Alphonsus Parish in Lake View. According to the church’s website, he was assigned to the Church of St. Mary in Lake Forest from 1989-1993. He started at St. Alphonsus last year.
According to the Tribune, the allegation of misconduct dates to O’Connell’s time at Our Lady of the Woods Parish in Orland Park. The Archdiocese of Chicago received the single allegation of misconduct last week and O’Connell has agreed to step aside from his work as pastor and not live at the parish until the investigation is finished.
According to St. Alphonsus’ website, O’Connell served at Our Lady of the Woods immediately prior to St. Alphonsus. The website says he was born in Chicago and grew up in the northwest suburbs.
ABC7 has a copy of the letter sent to parishioners announcing the allegation. “The investigation is ongoing and will take some time,” it says.
You can read the full letter here.