Father John Smyth, former head of Maryville Academy accused of sex abuse, dies at 84

Father John Smyth, the former head of Maryville Academy who was accused of sexually abusing minors, died Tuesday, multiple sources confirm to ABC7. He was 84.

Earlier this year, the Archdiocese of Chicago had asked Father Smyth to step aside from ministry after the Archdiocese received and began investigating the allegations.

RELATED: Former head of Maryville Academy investigated for sexual abuse allegations

The Archdiocese has not said how many children were involved in the abuse allegations or whether they had been living at Maryville Academy at the time. Officials said that they've been referred to the Department of Children & Family Services (DCFS) and the Cook County State's Attorney's Office.

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Rev. John Smyth, a well-known priest accused of sexual abuse, has died.

After Smyth was removed, supporters had sent a letter to the church. They said they were upset with the handling of the case because it should have remained a private affair.

"It's so hurtful and how the Archdiocese is handling this. Whatever happened to you're innocent until proven guilty? They're doing the opposite and that's why we totally disagree with what's going on," said John Maher, Maryville Academy alumnus.

Smyth served as the superintendent of Maryville Academy for 30 years before becoming president of Notre Dame College Prep in Niles, where he served from 2007 until 2014. He was ordained a Roman Catholic priest in April 1962. A former All-American basketball player, he was the captain of the Notre Dame University team in his senior year. Despite being drafted by the NBA, he turned down a professional basketball career to enter the seminary instead.
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