Retired Chicago priest Father George Clements, facing an accusation he sexually abused a minor during the 1970s, has suffered a stroke and is in “critical condition,” a family spokesman said Tuesday.
Clements was “alert and conscious” and being treated at a local hospital, according to the spokesman.
In August, the Archdiocese of Chicago announced that Cardinal Blase Cupich had asked Clements, then 87, “to step aside from ministry” pending the outcome of an investigation into abuse that allegedly occurred in 1974 during Clements’ 22-year tenure as pastor of Holy Angels Parish in Bronzeville.
Clements told the Chicago Sun-Times in August that the accusation is “totally unfounded.”
The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services reached the same conclusion, according to agency spokeswoman Deborah Lopez.
Lopez said the agency deemed the allegation “unfounded” on Aug. 9, 2019 after an investigation found “there was nothing” to support it. However, a representative for the Archdiocese of Chicago said Tuesday that its investigation was still ongoing.
Active in the civil rights movement, Clements marched with the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., in Chicago, Alabama and Mississippi and was arrested.
In 1980, Clements became the first Catholic priest to adopt a child. He would adopt three more.
His career inspired a made-for-TV movie in 1987, “The Father Clements Story,” starring Louis Gossett Jr. as Clements.
Contributing: Sam Charles