Bartlett pastor reinstated after archdiocese says it found insufficient evidence of sex abuse

The pastor of a Bartlett church is being reinstated after an investigation found insufficient evidence to prove allegations of improper conduct, Cardinal Blase Cupich said in a letter Saturday.

The Rev. Christopher Ciomek was asked to step aside from his duties as pastor at St. Peter Damian Catholic Church in April so authorities could investigate allegations he sexually abused a minor about 30 years ago.

The Archdiocese of Chicago, with the help of an unspecified independent agency, investigated the allegations, the letter said, adding that Ciomek fully cooperated. The archdiocese also conducted a review of Ciomek's fitness for ministry, Cupich said.

"Based on our investigation, the Archdiocese found insufficient evidence to verify the allegations against Father Ciomek," Cupich said. "I am hereby informing you that I am reinstating Father Ciomek as your pastor effective immediately."

Ciomek had been directed to live away from the parish while the archdiocese investigated. The Rev. Curtis Lambert - who resides in retirement at the parish - served as temporary administrator.

The allegations were reported to the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services and the Cook County state's attorney, and the person making the allegations was offered services through the Victim Assistance Ministry, Cupich said in April.

"These have been difficult days and months for you as a parish. You have shown great patience as we attempted to complete our process. I thank you for doing so," Cupich wrote Saturday. "Please know that we take all allegations of misconduct seriously as well as our obligation to restore the good name of those returned to ministry."

Ciomek was ordained in 1998 and served as full-time associate pastor at St. Monica Parish in Chicago and then at St. Theresa Parish in Palatine before serving in Bartlett, according to his biography on the St. Peter Damian website.

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