Letter from Cardinal Blase J. Cupich, archbishop of Chicago, on Father Lawrence Sullivan
Dear members of the Christ the King Parish and School communities,
I write to share some difficult news about your pastor, Father Lawrence Sullivan. The Archdiocese of Chicago’s Office for Child Abuse Investigations and Review learned this week of a report alleging that Father Sullivan sexually assaulted a minor thirty-six years ago when he was eighteen years old. In keeping with our child protection policies, I have asked Father Sullivan to step aside from ministry while this allegation is investigated. Allegations are claims that have not been proven as true or false. Therefore, guilt or innocence should not be assumed.
Father Sullivan has agreed to cooperate fully with my request and will live away from the parish. Father James Mezydlo will serve as the temporary administrator of Christ the King Parish and will attend to the needs of the parish and school community. Father Mezydlo, the Pastor of St. Walter Parish, is a Dean in your Vicariate.
Moreover, as is required by our child protection policies, the allegation was reported to the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services and the Cook County State’s Attorney. The person making the allegation has been offered the services of our Victim Assistance Ministry and the Archdiocese has begun its investigation.
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 member of the clergy, 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