Letter from Cardinal Blase J. Cupich, archbishop of Chicago, on Fr. Christopher Ciomek
Dear Saint Peter Damian Parish Family,
It is with great difficulty that I write to share news about your pastor, Father Christopher Ciomek. In keeping with our child protection policies, I have asked Father Ciomek to step aside from ministry following receipt by the Archdiocese of allegations of sexual abuse of a minor approximately 30 years ago. Allegations are claims that have not been proven as true or false. Therefore, guilt or innocence should not be assumed.
I have further directed Father Ciomek to live away from the parish while the matter is investigated, and he is fully cooperating with this direction. Father Curtis Lambert will serve as temporary administrator of Saint Peter Damian Parish. Father Lambert presently resides in retirement at Saint Peter Damian and, as an experienced pastor, will attend to the needs of the parish community.
Moreover, as is required by our child protection policies, the allegations were reported to the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services and the Cook County State’s Attorney. The person making the allegations has been offered the services of our Victim Assistance Ministry and the Archdiocese has begun its investigation of these matters.
In the days and weeks ahead, members of the Archdiocese’s Office for the Protection of Children and Youth will be available to answer any questions you may have and provide you with support during this challenging time.
It is crucial that you know nothing is more important than the welfare of the children entrusted to our care. The Archdiocese of Chicago takes all allegations of sexual misconduct seriously and encourages anyone who feels they have been sexually abused by a priest, deacon, religious or lay employee to come forward. Complete information about reporting sexual abuse can be found on the Archdiocesan website at www.archchicago.org.
Please know that you are in my prayers. We will do our best to keep you informed of developments as they occur.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Cardinal Blase J. Cupich, archbishop of Chicago