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updated: 4/22/2014 6:17 PM

Cook County sheriff reopens priest abuse inquiry

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Associated Press

The Cook County sheriff's office says it is reopening an investigation of sexual abuse allegations made against a Roman Catholic priest.

The Rev. Michael W. O'Connell stepped down as pastor of St. Alphonsus Parish in Chicago in December 2013 after allegations he engaged in sexual misconduct while assigned to Our Lady of the Woods Parish in Orland Park. The Archdiocese of Chicago last week reactivated O'Connell after the sheriff's department concluded there's no evidence he abused a minor 20 years ago.

An unidentified man, speaking Monday at a Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests news conference, alleged he witnessed O'Connell behaving improperly at a gym years ago.

Sheriff's spokeswoman Eleni Demertizis says based on the new allegation the investigation of O'Connell was reopened.

O'Connell hasn't responded to requests for comment.

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