The pastor at Christ the King parish in Beverly has been reinstated after officials found an allegation that he sexually assaulted someone 37 years ago could not be substantiated, Cardinal Blase Cupich said Friday in a letter to the community.
The Rev. Larry Sullivan was asked to step aside from the parish at 9325 S. Hamilton Ave. in April after an accusation that he and another person attacked a woman in an alley in 1984 before he was to leave for the seminary, when he was 18 years old, according to the Archdiocese of Chicago.
“A thorough review of this matter by the Archdiocesan Office of Child Abuse Investigations and Review and an outside investigator, including multiple unsuccessful attempts to obtain information from the accuser, concludes that the accusation against him, which was alleged to have occurred prior to his entering the seminary, cannot be substantiated,” Cupich wrote.
Father Sullivan “fully cooperated with the investigation,” Cupich wrote, adding that Sullivan was to be reinstated as pastor “effective immediately.”
In April, Sullivan was asked to live away from the parish while investigators looked into allegations a woman made in video posted to TikTok, saying Sullivan and another person followed her in an alley and sexually attacked her in 1984.
After the video was posted, Sullivan sent an email to his parishioners admitting he made “unwelcome verbal comments” to a female employee at a fast-food restaurant in 1984, when he was 18. But he denied any physical assault took place.
Cupich on Friday thanked the community for their patience as authorities investigated. “This has been a difficult time for your parish and school communities and all involved,” he wrote.
Cupich said he would share his letter with all archdiocese employees and ask pastors to provide it to their parishioners to see Sullivan’s “good name restored.”
“Healing now must be the pathway forward for all of us,” Cupich wrote. “Father Sullivan shares this sentiment and you can honor him by doing everything to make sure that a spirit of reconciliation and unity prevails as you move ahead.”
In February, the Chicago Sun-Times reported that the archdiocese has yet to make public the full list of priests who have been accused of sexual misconduct, despite Cupich demanding a full accounting of any clergy members who have faced child sex abuse claims from orders in his territory, which covers Cook and Lake counties.
Contributing: Sam Kelly