A trailblazing Catholic priest has been accused of sexually abusing a boy aged 7 in the 70s
Rev. George Clements, who was a civil rights hero to many African American Catholics, was accused Tuesday, April 26, in an $800,000 settlement reached with the Archdiocese of Chicago, according to a lawyer for the boy.
Rev. Clements was the pastor of the Holy Angels Church in Chicago when he allegedly began preying on the then 7-year-old boy in 1974, according to the accuser’s attorney, Mitchell Garabedian.
The alleged abuse, which happened at least 20 times until 1979 when the boy turned 12, took place in the church rectory, in Clements’ car, and while on a camping trip, the lawyer said.
“It was the worst you could imagine,” Garabedian said of the alleged abuse during a news conference in Chicago.
“When my client reported the abuse to his mother, his mother locked him in the closet and said, ‘Don’t ever talk about Father Clements like that again’.”
Garabedian called on Cardinal Blase Cupich, head of the archdiocese, to place Clements on the archdiocese’s public list of “credibly accused priests.”
Garabedian said: “The hiding has to stop. The secrecy has to stop.”
The $800,000 in settlement money, which was agreed upon through private mediation, will also be shared by the alleged sex-abuse victims of four other Chicago-based Catholic clergymen, Garabedian said.
Clements’ accuser, who is now 54 and lives in the Chicago area, was not at the news conference.