Lake Zurich pastor again reinstated after archdiocese finds insufficient evidence of abuse

The pastor of a Catholic parish in Lake Zurich has again been reinstated to the ministry after an Archdiocese of Chicago panel found no sufficient evidence he had sexually abused a minor, Cardinal Blase Cupich announced in a letter to parishioners Saturday night.

The Rev. David J. Ryan, who stepped aside when the allegations surfaced in September, can return immediately to his duties at St. Francis de Sales Parish, Cupich wrote.

"After numerous attempts, those making the accusations have refused to cooperate with both civil and church investigations," Cupich wrote. "This was reported to our Independent Review Board. Based on this information, the IRB finds that there is not sufficient reason to suspect Father Ryan is guilty of sexually abusing a minor and recommends he be returned to ministry and that the files be closed on these two claims due to the lack of cooperation of those making the accusations."

It is the second time in recent years Ryan had stepped down and only to be reinstated at St. Francis de Sales amid sexual abuse accusations.

He had been asked to step away from his ministry in November 2020, while the archdiocese investigated allegations he sexually abused minors while assigned to Maryville Academy in Des Plaines about 25 years earlier. Des Plaines police said they had no record of investigating Ryan during or after his tenure at Maryville, and the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services determined the allegations were unfounded, according to the archdiocese.

The archdiocese said Ryan fully cooperated with civil and church authorities during both inquiries.

"I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge the great patience you and Fr. Ryan have shown in what must appear to be a very unfair set of circumstances," Cupich wrote Saturday. "Yet, as Fr. Ryan has always acknowledged, he is convinced of the need for us as a Church to keep our word that the safety of children remains our priority. At the same time, we must keep our word and do everything possible to restore Fr. Ryan's good name."

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