Pastor at Beverly Church Reinstated After Sex Assault Allegation ‘Cannot Be Substantiated'

The pastor of Christ the King Roman Catholic Church in Chicago's Beverly neighborhood has been reinstated after a review determined an allegation he sexually assaulted someone more than 35 years ago "cannot be substantiated," the Archdiocese of Chicago announced Friday.

Rev. Lawrence Sullivan was asked to step aside last month pending the outcome of the investigation into the incident, which was said to have occurred when Sullivan was 18 years old.

In a letter posted to the parish’s website, the pastor addressed the allegations, which he says stem from an encounter he had with an employee at a fast food restaurant in 1984.

“I made unwelcome verbal comments to a female employee that upset her to the extent that her parents and the police were contacted,” he said in the letter.

Sullivan said no physical interaction took place, and he was "ashamed and deeply sorry" about his actions that night.

In a letter to the parish community, Cardinal Blaise Cupich said a review by the Archdiocesan Office of Child Abuse Investigations and Review and an outside investigator, including multiple unsuccessful attempts to obtain information from the accuser, concluded the allegations "cannot be substantiated."

Cupich said Sullivan "fully embraces" the Archdiocese's "longstanding policies and practices on the conduct of all church personnel."

The cardinal added he resolves to see Sullivan's "good name restored" and that "healing now must be the pathway forward for all of us."

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