Saint Sabina's Father Michael Pfleger accused by third man of sexual abuse

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A third man is now accusing Chicago's Father Michael Pfleger of inappropriate sexual behavior dating back decades.

Wednesday morning, a spokesperson for the man's attorney sent ABC7 an affidavit that she says was sent to the Archdiocese of Chicago. In it, the man alleges Pfleger touched him inappropriately when he was 18 and regularly gave him marijuana and liquor as a teenager in the mid to late 70s.

The spokesperson says the man is not filing a lawsuit and is not seeking money.

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The third man said he wants to add to the credibility of the two brothers who made similar claims. He said he never knew the brothers, but felt he needed to share his story to encourage others to come forward.

"They want Father Pfleger to admit what he's done," said Eugene Hollander, the man's attorney. "He's allegedly assaulted three individuals, they want him to admit the truth."

Holland also represents the two brothers who filed a claim against Pfleger and said he is now presenting the Archdiocese of Chicago with an affidavit from a third unnamed man who is now in his late 50s.

The man claims the beloved South Side priest once grabbed him sexually in a bedroom area at St. Sabina Church while he pretended to be asleep.

Although the man was 18 at the time, he said he did not consent. He also claims Pfleger regularly gave him drugs and liquor as a teenager in the mid to late 70s.

The attorney said the man is not filing a lawsuit and isn't looking for money. Instead, his goal is to prevent Father Pfleger's supporters from disparaging the brothers.

"The third victim has absolutely no incentives coming forward," Hollander said. "He does not have a claim of his own because at the time the alleged sexual assault occurred he was over the age of 18. So there's nothing for him to gain here by him coming forward."

Father Pfleger has denied previous allegations and a statement was issued on his behalf denying the new claim.

"Father Pfleger remembers the man who was identified in this false report. During the late 1970s, the man's mother was very active at St Sabina's in the Women's Club and the Church community. He knew the man as a teenager at St Sabina's, but did not take him to Jazz clubs or give him alcohol or marijuana."

Hollander then released a statement in response to Fr. Pfleger's statement saying, "Father Pfleger and his camp should stop interfering with the process and allow the Archdiocese to carry out its investigation."

The Archdiocese of Chicago responded in a statement saying, "We have received the affidavit and will process it as we do every such accusation."

Many parishioners have been calling for Pfleger's reinstatement ever since he was removed from the parish pending the Archdiocese investigation. His lawyers say Hollander is just seeking publicity.

"It is very important for the St. Sabina community to allow this investigation to proceed - the victim should be able to come forward, they should not be intimidated to come forward - if they have a story to tell, they should be able to tell their story," Hollander said.

Chicago Cardinal Blase Cupich asked Fr. Pfleger to step away from ministry at St. Sabina parish on Chicago's South Side in early January when Pfleger was initially accused of sexually abusing a minor more than 40 years ago. According to the archdiocese, the brother of the first alleged victim of abuse also made a claim.

RELATED: Father Michael Pfleger responds after being accused of sexually abusing child decades ago
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Father Michael Pfleger responded Wednesday to an allegation that he sexually abused a child decades ago.



Last week, The Archdiocese of Chicago said that it has received a letter from the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services stating that DCFS has concluded its investigation into Father Michael Pfleger.

The agency was investigating risk, the archdiocese said, not the allegations of abuse dating back four decades.

In a statement, DCFS confirmed: "The law does not permit DCFS to investigate allegations of child abuse or neglect made by an adult victim. DCFS can only determine whether there is a current child victim."

The archdiocese said DCFS has completed its investigation into Pfleger and said in part, "DCFS has determined the report to be 'unfounded.' This means that credible evidence of child abuse or neglect was not found during this investigation. This does not necessarily mean that an incident did not occur. An incident may have occurred but the evidence did not rise to the level required to indicate for abuse or neglect as dictated by state law and DCFS Administrative Rule."

"The Independent Review Board of the archdiocese will conduct its investigation into the allegations and will communicate its findings in due course. Fr. Pfleger will remain away from the parish pending the outcome of that process," the archdiocese said in a statement.

"I would hope and expect I would be returned to ministry quickly," Pfleger told ABC7 Chicago by phone Friday.

St. Sabina released a statement Wednesday saying, "The Pastoral Staff has just received news of an additional allegation against Fr. Pfleger. We are deferring to Frl. Pfleger's lawyers to respond to the allegations. In the meantime, we appreciate your patience. Our position has not changed, we continue to stand with Fr. Pfleger."

Full statement made on behalf of Fr. Pfleger



"Responding to a new false story that is being circulated by the Texas accusers' lawyer Eugene Hollander concerning a 59-year-old Louisiana man, Father Pfleger definitively states that this alleged incident, which purportedly occurred when the man was 18 years old, did not happen. He never touched this man in any sexual or inappropriate way at any time.

"Father Pfleger remembers the man who was identified in this false report. During the late 1970s, the man's mother was very active at St Sabina's in the Women's Club and the Church community. He knew the man as a teenager at St Sabina's, but did not take him to Jazz clubs or give him alcohol or marijuana.

"We think Eugene Hollander is 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 gross and false stories about purported incidents from more than 45 years ago do not make sense. They are wholly inconsistent with Father Pfleger's character and the recollections of the thousands of young men and women who have known Father Pfleger over the decades, including the accusers' friends during the years that these alleged incidents purportedly occurred.

"Hollander has shamelessly used the media to smear the reputation of a truly good priest and advocate for his community in a sordid attempt to get some celebrity time on TV for him and his clients and some money from the Archdiocese. The release of this new false story on the day that one of the Texas brothers is being interviewed by the Archdiocese is not a coincidence. Hollander's initial client's blackmail attempt failed and now Hollander is trying to keep the story alive with allegations that even he recognizes do not constitute a legitimate claim. Any suggestion by Hollander that he or this Louisiana man are publishing this so-called affidavit "to do the right thing" is just a shameless ploy for publicity.

"If the identity and background of Hollanders' secret accusers become public, people will know that they and their stories are utterly unreliable, and should not be believed."


Full statement from attorney Eugene Hollander in response to Fr. Pfleger's statement



"Father Pfleger, his criminal defense lawyers and the parishioners of St. Sabina should welcome a fair and thorough investigation of all of the facts. It is extremely dangerous when a community blindly follows a leader who has been accused of not just one, but three alleged sexual assaults. Father Pfleger and his camp should stop interfering with the process and allow the Archdiocese to carry out its investigation, With their threats, protests, falsehoods and victim trashing, they are showing who they really are. These are not the actions of an innocent man or a person of faith. By taking the approach that Father Pfleger and his lawyers have engaged in, victims of sexual assault will be discouraged from coming forward. Every victim of a sexual assault deserves to have a voice and be heard."

My clients and the third victim have presented credible allegations of sexual abuse and assault, evidence which Father Pfleger and his team have chosen to ignore. There is significant corroboration between all of the claims. Father Pfleger had every opportunity to immediately deny the allegations when the story broke earlier in the year. While Father Pfleger made a couple of Facebook posts claiming that he was "hurt" and "angry" by the allegations, the priest never denied them at the time. It was only after that he hired a prominent, criminal defense attorney that his attorney denied the allegations on his behalf.".
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