May 24, 2006

Burbank pastor on leave over allegations

Chicago Tribune

By Manya A. Brachear
Tribune staff reporter
Published May 24, 2006

Cardinal Francis George has asked a southwest suburban pastor to temporarily step down while authorities investigate at least two 20-year-old allegations of sexual misconduct with minors, church officials said Tuesday.

Officials of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago said they informed parish leaders last week that Rev. Robert Stepek, pastor of St. Albert the Great Church in Burbank, took a leave at the cardinal's request while the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services and prosecutors investigate claims that date to the early 1980s when Stepek served at St. Symphorosa parish in Chicago.

Church officials said Tuesday they asked parish leaders to convey the information to parishioners, though it is unclear what churchgoers heard at masses this weekend.

Stepek has not been charged with any crimes or accused of any wrongdoing by the church. Unlike previous cases in which Catholic priests were removed from parishes, the archdiocesan review board has not yet reviewed the allegations.

Posted by kshaw at May 24, 2006 07:11 AM