A Bridgeport-neighborhood priest has been removed from his pastoral duties in light of an accusation of sexual abuse that allegedly occurred more than two decades ago.
William McFarlane, formerly of Nativity of Our Lord in Bridgeport and St. Gabriel Parish in Canaryville, was “asked to step aside from ministry” after the archdiocese was notified of the allegation. Church officials then reported it to the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services and the Cook County state’s attorney’s office, the Archdiocese of Chicago said in a statement Saturday.
The archdiocese said it wasn’t known if the person accusing McFarlane was a minor in 1997 at the time of the alleged abuse, which was before McFarlane entered the seminary, the archdiocese said.
A spokeswoman for the state’s attorney’s office did not immediately respond to a request for more information Saturday night.
Deacon Robert Boharic has been appointed as pastoral coordinator of Nativity of Our Lord and St. Gabriel Parish, the archdiocese said.
“As I am aware this is difficult news to hear, particularly as your parish undergoes a transition, let me assure you that we will communicate new information as it becomes available,” Cardinal Blase Cupich said in a statement to parishioners.