Afternoon Edition: May 7, 2021

Today’s update is a 5-minute read that will brief you on the day’s biggest stories.

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Marist High School at 4200 W 115th St in Mt. Greenwood, Wednesday, May 5, 2021.

Anthony Vazquez/Sun-Times

Good afternoon. Here’s the latest news you need to know in Chicago. It’s about a 5-minute read that will brief you on today’s biggest stories.

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Afternoon Edition

Chicago’s most important news of the day, delivered every weekday afternoon. Plus, a bonus issue on Saturdays that dives into the city’s storied history.

This afternoon will be partly sunny with a small chance of showers and a high near 58 degrees. Tonight’s low will be around 38 degrees. This weekend will be mostly cloudy with a high near 55 degrees on Saturday and a high around 53 degrees on Sunday.

Top story

Marist Brothers Catholic order hid abuse by member who helped run Chicago school in the 1970s, suits say

After Brother Robert Ryan died in 2017, a relative posted an online tribute, calling him “the favorite uncle” who “lived a giving life” and “selflessly” served God.

Two lawsuits paint a different picture of Ryan, one that’s become public only after his death at 83. They accuse him of having molested children over a yearslong span in which he was a member of the Marist Brothers Catholic religious order.

One of the lawsuits says victims of the abuse included students attending Marist High School on the Far Southwest Side in the 1970s.

At Marist, Ryan’s “sexual abuse of minor boys worsened in both frequency and intensity . . . and he began to engage in more violent conduct, such as anal rape and sodomy,” according to the lawsuit.

Beyond describing what it says was the emotional and physical damage caused by Ryan, the suit accuses his order of covering up for him for years. It says the Marist Brothers were aware of allegations against Ryan and dealt with them by transferring him from coast to coast, in addition to placing him in Chicago, rather than removing him from ministry. The order also failed to report the sexual abuse allegations against Ryan to the police or to inform parents, according to the suit.

Most Catholic dioceses and many independently run Catholic religious orders now inform their church communities and the public about what they deem to be credible allegations of abuse of minors by their priests, deacons and brothers.

But the Marist Brothers, who have a hub in Chicago, do not. So, unlike, for instance, the Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago, the order does not post a public list of its members in Chicago and elsewhere who have been credibly accused of sexual abuse.

Read Robert Herguth’s full story here.

More news you need

  1. A young, pregnant Chicago woman who recently died of the coronavirus had expressed hesitation about taking the vaccine before coming down with the virus on April 8, her family says. Less than two weeks later, she was dead. Read Mark Brown’s story on Charmaine Bailey and how her death has affected those who cared about her.
  2. A day after Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced Illinois could be five weeks away from a full reopening, state health officials reported the highest daily COVID-19 caseload in a week. Here’s the latest on Illinois’ coronavirus metrics and the reopening process.
  3. Some of Chicago’s most influential Black women kicked off Mother’s Day weekend with a vow to remove barriers made worse by the pandemic that are holding back the next generation of Black women and girls. Mayor Lori Lightfoot called it, “the next phase of what I hope is the feminist revolution.”
  4. Homeowners around the country are facing a confusing situation after accepting COVID-19 mortgage forbearance plans that are supposed to provide an interest-free pause in payments. Stephanie Zimmermann spoke to a Beach Park man whose loan provider demanded $12,000 in immediate payment even though he’d accepted a forbearance plan.
  5. More than 50 building code violations have been issued to the owners of Parkway Gardens affordable housing complex in Woodlawn. Broken window panes, rodent issues and malfunctioning elevators are among the violations turned up by city inspectors.
  6. The Chicago Police Department’s Neighborhood Policing Initiative program will soon expand to the Grand Crossing, Englewood and Gresham districts. The initiative encourages officers to engage with residents on a personal level, providing direct contact between the community and CPD.
  7. Eugene “Eda” Wade, a local star in the Black Arts Movement who worked on Chicago’s landmark Wall of Respect mural, has died at age 81. Read our full obituary of the man Chicago poet Haki Madhubuti called a “master artist.”
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A bright one

In Back of the Yards, a hamburger with eyes, ‘fox demon’ and waving bird paint a once-blank concrete canvas

The viaduct at West 49th and South Honore streets in Back of the Yards used to be just a white wall.

Now, thanks to the recent work of a group of street artists, the concrete canvas is filled with a colorful array that includes a three-eyed “fox demon” and a hamburger with arms and legs.

The artist behind the human-like hamburger goes by the name KOZMO and helped organize the group of artists who painted the wall in April.


Some of the street art that recently was painted at West 49th and South Honore streets in Back of the Yards.

Rylee Tan/Sun-Times

She lives a few blocks away and says it was the perfect spot for the group, which came together “spur of the moment, almost like serendipity,” and went to work.

Part of the work features graffiti-style designs by an artist who goes by MATR, with green and yellow letters combining to spell out the artist’s name.

Another part of the mural was done by an artist who goes by xhaust and showcases graffiti “wildstyle” art.

See more photos of the art in Rylee Tan’s story and check out our ongoing series on Chicago’s public murals and mosaics here.

From the press box

The Bears-Packers rivalry may have been dominated by Green Bay the last three decades, but Steve Greenberg has a message: It won’t be much longer (will it?) before the cheese dries up and crumbles.

The Sky won’t have talented forward Gabby Williams for the upcoming season after the team put her on the full-season suspension list yesterday. Williams will play for the French national team in this year’s FIBA Women’s EuroBasket, so the Sky fielded trade offers for her on draft night, but ultimately opted to retain her rights, Annie Costabile reports.

And some of the Cubs’ young pitchers, including left-hander Justin Steele and right-hander Keegan Thompson, have started earning the trust of manager David Ross, who’s often talked about having guys he can rely on in his bullpen.

Your daily question ☕

What’s a personal passion project you’re working on right now?

Email us (please include your first name and where you live) and we might include your answer in the next Afternoon Edition.

Yesterday, we asked you: What song do you most associate with your childhood? Tell us why. Here’s what some of you said...

“‘Emotion’ by Samantha Sang and the Bee Gees. It played at the first dance I ever went to in 8th grade and the first time I ever danced with a boy and apparently I sang it in his ear.” — Michelle Perez

“‘American Pie,’ it was one of the first real conversations between my father and I about music. I asked what a levee was ... and so it began.” — Andrea Gorman

“‘Mercy Mercy Me’ by Marvin Gaye, It’s a song that shaped my worldview and social consciousness growing up in the 70s. The song is still very relevant today.” — Tony Williams

“My mother would turn on a radio musical program called ‘Candlelight and Silver’ as we ate dinner. It featured light classical music, and one selection, Albert Ketelbey’s ‘In a Persian Market,’ will instantly transport me back to that apartment.” — Philip Wizenick

“‘Jump’ by Van Halen, because my mom and I always watched the Cubs games on Channel 9 and that was the intro song.” — Heather Wilson

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