Chicago Archdiocese Seeks Return of Statue of Priest Who Helped Kids

A statute of the late Rev. John Smyth was unveiled in 1996 at Maryville Academy in Des Plaines

The Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago is requesting that a statue of a well-known priest be returned, months after it was removed from church property in a suburb.

The statue shows the late Rev. John Smyth with his arms outstretched to a child above him. It was unveiled in 1996 to honor Smyth's years of work at Maryville Academy in Des Plaines, a home for troubled children. The Daily Herald reports that archdiocese officials know who removed the statue.

"Neither Maryville nor the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe gave permission for the statue to be removed," archdiocese spokeswoman Anne Maselli said. "The Archdiocese of Chicago did not remove it. … We expect the statue to be returned.''

Smyth died in April at age 84, a few months after he was accused of sexual abuse. His attorney has denied the allegations. The archdiocese still is investigating, Maselli said.

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