The Rev. Larry Sullivan has been reinstated as pastor of the parish of Christ the King Roman Catholic Church after allegations of sexual assault from over 35 years ago were found to be unsubstantiated, according to Cardinal Blase Cupich.
"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 said in a May 21 letter to the parish on the archdiocese website. "Therefore, I am reinstating Fr. Sullivan as your pastor effective immediately."
Cupich added that Sullivan "has fully cooperated with the investigation during these weeks. He has steadfastly reaffirmed the imperative for us as a church to keep the protection and safety of our children as our priority."
Sullivan was asked to step aside from his pastoral duties in April after a video surfaced on social media in which a woman said Sullivan tried to sexually assault her in 1984 when she was working at a fast-food restaurant.
Sullivan was 18 at the time, and she was 17; he was set to leave for the seminary the next day.
Sullivan said in a statement on the Christ the King website that he said "unwelcome" things to the then-teenager but never physically attacked her. He also apologized to the woman in his statement.
Sullivan reported the video to the archdiocese, and Cupich said in following church protocol, Sullivan was asked to step aside while an investigation took place.
Sullivan has been pastor of Christ the King for about six years.
Cupich said that church policies "call us to do everything possible to restore the good name of priests when the process has determined allegations cannot be substantiated."
He said he resolved "to see [Sullivan's] good name restored."
"Healing now must be the pathway forward for all of us," Cupich said. "Fr. 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 this way, the mission of Jesus can flourish. That is my prayer for you."
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