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Father Christopher Ciomek, Pastor Of St. Peter Damian Parish In Bartlett, Removed Amid 30-Year-Old Child Sex Abuse Claims

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Father Christopher Ciomek, pastor of St. Peter Damian Parish in northwest suburban Bartlett, has been removed from ministry as the Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago investigations allegations of child sex abuse dating back 30 years.

"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," Cardinal Blase Cupich said in a letter to the parish.

According to Ciomek's biography on the church's website, he was born in Poland, has been a priest since 1998, starting as a full-time associate pastor at St. Monica Parish in Chicago. He's also served at St. Theresa Parish in Palatine, and on the faculty of the Mundelein Seminary.

Ciomek has been instructed to move out of the parish while the allegations are under investigation, and retired Father Curtis Lambert will serve as temporary administrator.

Cupich said the allegations against Ciomek were reported to the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services and the Cook County State's Attorney's office.

The accuser has been offered the services of the Archdiocese Victim Assistance Ministry while the allegations are under 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," Cupich wrote to the parish. "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."

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