Archdiocese Probes 45-Year-Old Sex Abuse Claim Against Fr. George Clements, Renowned Chicago Priest

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CHICAGO (CBS) — The Rev. George Clements, one of the most celebrated priests in Chicago history, was asked to step aside from ministry Thursday amid a sexual abuse allegation dating back 45 years.

Blase Cardinal Cupich asked Clements, who is retired, to step aside from ministry pending the outcome of the investigation into the 1974 allegation. At the time, Clements was pastor of Holy Angels Parish in Chicago.

The allegation was referred to the archdiocesan Office for Child Abuse Investigations and review by Chicago Police, the Chicago Archdiocese said. The allegation was also referred to the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services and the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office, while the person making the claim has been offered the services of the archdiocese’s Office of Assistance Ministry.

Clements retired from active ministry in 2006. His entered the ministry as a young teen and was ordained in 1957.

Clements also made history as the first American priest to adopt a child, a story that ended up on the big screen. He has four sons.

He also gained national attention for his fight against drugs and rubbed elbows with politicians and popes.

In addition to Holy Angels Parish on Oakwood Boulevard, Clements has served as pastor of St. Ambrose Parish on 47th Street, and St. Dorothy Parish on 78th Street. He also served in the Diocese of Nassau, the Bahamas; St. Sabina Parish, and the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C.