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St. Bernadette Priest Steps Down Amid Sexual Misconduct Allegations

Rev. Gary M. Miller resigned from St. Bernadette's after allegations that he had engaged in sexual misconduct with a minor over 30 years ago at another parish.

Rev. Gary M. Miller, the senior pastor at has stepped down from his duties as pastor amid sexual misconduct allegations with minor over 30 years ago.

The Archdiocese of Chicago announced on its website that Miller resigned as of Sunday, Sept. 23, and has been removed of all ministerial duties.

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The allegation was made to the Archdiocese of Chicago on June 30, 2012, that Miller had engaged in sexual misconduct with a minor while assigned to St. Leonard Parish in Berwyn.

According to Archdiocese officials, the allegation was immediatley reported to the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services and the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office.

Miller was asked to withdraw from the ministry after an Archdiocese Independent Review Board determined there was reasonable cause to suspect that the sexual abuse of a minor occurred, Archdiocese officials said.

Francis Cardinal George has accepted the review board’s determination and recommendation. Miller is said to be residing in a private setting away from the parish, Archdiocese officials said.

Miller has also agreed to participate in the Prayer and Penance Program administered by the Archdiocesan Office for the Protection of Children and Youth.

Notification of Miller’s case has been sent to the Vatican in accordance with canon law and policies of the U.S. Conference of Bishops. The Archdiocese is awaiting further instruction from Vatican for Miller’s possible permanent removal from the ministry.

Any parishes where Miller previously served are also being notified so that other possible victims of abuse may step forward, Archdiocese officials said.

“Sexual abuse of children is a grave sin and a crime,” the Archdiocese press statement read. “The Archdiocese of Chicago reports every allegation to the civil authorities and cooperates with them.  The Archdiocese continues to reach out and work for the healing of all those affected by the tragedy of child and adolescent sexual abuse.”

Miller served as pastor of St. Bernadette since 2001. His name, contact info and “Father Gary’s Musings” are still listed on the parish’s website.

A staff person who answered the phone at St. Bernadette's said all news media inquiries were being directed to the Archdiocese of Chicago.

The priest has not yet been charged with wrongdoing, according the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office.

Information about reporting allegations of sexual abuse by Archdiocesan clergy, deacons or lay persons, no matter when the abuse occurred, can be found on the Archdiocesan website, or by calling:

  • Office for Child Abuse Investigations and Review, 312-534-5205 or 1-800-994-6200
  • Office of Assistance Ministry, 312-534-8267 or toll-free at 866-517-4528

Cardinal George is expected to appoint a new pastor for St. Bernadette before Oct. 1.

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Nolan September 24, 2012 at 10:37 PM
Oh, he only WAITED THIRTY YEARS TO REPORT IT. I wonder how many other children he has molested in that time. What a con the catholic church is. Religion poisons everything.
Judy Jones September 25, 2012 at 12:23 AM
Let's hope that every person who saw, suspected or may have been harmed by Gary M. Miller, will find the courage and strength to speak up and contact police, not the church officials. They are not the proper officials to be investigating child sex crimes. Keep in mind that sexual predators rarely have only one victim. And your silence only hurts, and by speaking up there is a chance for healing, exposing the truth, and therefore protecting others. Judy Jones, SNAP Midwest Associate Director, USA, 636-433-2511. snapjudy@gmail.com, (SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests,)
R Gibbons September 25, 2012 at 12:34 PM
Religion does not poison! And comprehension of what is written is key. Someone needs to re-read the article with "comprehension" .
EPRes September 25, 2012 at 01:41 PM
Do not make quick judgements against an individual based on what the media says. There has been a lot of allegations of sexual misconduct among the Catholic church. Especially allegations that happend decades ago. Understanding there has been proof and children trust their priest so that is why most do not come forward until years later. But this has been going on for years now, and some people just do it to get people in trouble. Father Gary was a great priest, we've known him for years and I do not believe he would do such a thing. God is his judge and he only knows what actually happened. The media likes to portray wrong doings and get a rise out of people, that is their job. They also like to miscue stories to make them sound worse than they are.
Lorraine Swanson (Editor) September 25, 2012 at 02:12 PM
EPRes, Thanks for your comment. We did call the Archdiocese yesterday and the information we obtained for the story came from Arch. I don't think Patch sensationalized the story and we do plan a followup. My co-editor Dan Lambert and I are happy to talk to any St. Bernadette parishioners. You may email us at lorraine.swanson@patch.com or daniell@patch.com.
L September 25, 2012 at 02:29 PM
Whether the allegations are fact or fiction, it’s still a very sad situation for everyone involved…
jimci September 25, 2012 at 02:42 PM
EPRes and L: I completely agree. I find this very hard to believe with Fr. Gary. My family always found him to be a faithful priest to our parish who ministered with sensitivity. I think we should all pray for Fr. Gary and for whoever accused him. We can't know what happened, but both need our prayers--If someone was abused, he/she has probably suffered for many years from it; if whoever it was wasn't abused, they are clearly dealing with many inner struggles. But, most importantly, let's pray for our parish and for our church--and that our next pastor ministers effectively and is a strong leader.
EPRes September 25, 2012 at 02:45 PM
I'm not saying the Patch sensationalized the story, but what I was trying to say is people automatically believe what they hear from the media. They assume that he did this and he as a bad person and start talking bad upon these folks. He hasn't been charged with anything yet, so let our justice system do it's job. Let the investigators find out, and if he is found guilty then he is. Innocent before proven guilty. Sometimes the media portrays people guilty before innocent. That's all.
Lorraine Swanson (Editor) September 25, 2012 at 02:55 PM
I know you're not, ERPes. And we very much appreciate your insight. It's all good. And I agree with you, read the story with "comprehension."
hypocrisy hater September 25, 2012 at 11:23 PM
Let's hope the next priest isn't yet ANOTHER pedophile. The catholic church hides these criminals and further endangers children. My husband and i were both raised as Catholics, and have turned away from the church because of hypocrisy like this. No premarital sex...unless you're a priest playing with children. We love everyone...unless you are gay or another religion. I am disgusted with the lies and hypocrisy of the Catholic church, and nope these criminals get what they deserve in prison.
hypocrisy hater September 26, 2012 at 02:06 AM
That's why Bernadette is slated to be closed....4 kids to a class? That makes for easy picking for the pedophiles!
hypocrisy hater September 26, 2012 at 02:19 AM
I will never step foot in a catholic liar symposium ever again. I went to school at Bernadette but had the good sense not to go to one of the indoctrination centers, i.e. marist, rice, rita, back in 83 because of the brothers at marist that believed it was their god given right to beat the hell out of you for not wearing a tie. They got off on hitting children and whatever else they could get away with. I sincerely hope more of these truths come out and bankrupt the catholic lie. I suggest that true catholics stop giving money to these puppy mills of sexual perversion and just go to church, if they care to, and communicate with their god without interference or a cash register from a group that hides pedophilia.
hypocrisy hater September 26, 2012 at 02:40 AM
To hell, literally, with the pedophile and pray for the victims. You wrote, and I quote..."if someone was abused, he/she has probably suffered for many years from it, if whoever it was wasn't abused, they are clearly dealing with many inner struggles. But, most importantly, let's pray for our parish and for our church-and that our next pastor ministers effectively and is a strong leader." I really cannot respond to such childish simplicity. Are you over the age of twelve? Probably suffered? Probably??? I can't even tag your remarks as stupid...because they are beyond stupid. Here's a question for you...how do you spell "CAT"... I'll give you a clue, the first letter is C, and the last letter is T...all you have to do is fill in the A! I'll bet you still can't get it. Keep on giving your money to the catholic pedophilia defense fund.
R Gibbons September 26, 2012 at 12:47 PM
I'm surprised that since "Hypocrisy Hater" stated "I really can't respond to such childish simplicity." and then proceeded to asked such a childish question as "Are you over the age of twelve?" that any response to these posts would do more than encourage "hypocrisy haters" poor behavior. The school and the education received at St Bernadette's and all other parochial schools exceed expectation. You criticize tuition but clearly do not understand that per student a public school paid by taxes receives more than the parochial school tuition. And you speak of physical abuse in a parochial high school. Then why didnt that get reported by you in 1983? You clearly have no support for any "argument " you raise. Try again because you clearly embarrass yourself.
patk September 27, 2012 at 12:31 PM
"Hypocrisy Hater" clearly has deep anger and mental health issues and should be ignored.
TM September 27, 2012 at 01:59 PM
I think Hypocrisy Hater may have had a bad experience at a parochial school. And yes he should be ignored and maybe the Patch needs to erase his comments as he is offensive and completely off the mark
Lorraine Swanson (Editor) September 27, 2012 at 04:05 PM
Hypocrisy Hater, I removed one of your comments because of the abbreviated F-bomb, which was in violation of Patch's Terms of Use, evergreenpark.patch.com/terms.
Lorraine Swanson (Editor) September 27, 2012 at 04:07 PM
While HH has expressed some very strong opinions, I think for the most part she is in line with our terms of use.
james j. kennedy October 08, 2012 at 05:55 AM
I wonder at the Church of Rome's chewing of toenails over how to handle the very few pedophiles among their clergy. Could we consider a similar situation? A large bank with many branch offices has caught a teller helping himself to the depositors' money. What would the bank's top supervisory crew do? Would they cover up the embezzlements? Would they quietly shift that sticky-fingered teller to another branch office of their bank? And not tell the new branch manager or that branch's customers that their $$$ will be handled by someone who has betrayed their trust in the past and is more than likely to do so in the future? Or is my analogy too simple-minded to allow the comparison? Perhaps the analogy lacks compassion or some other important consideration that the Church CEO's haven't told us about. Poor me! Perhaps I fuss too much over betrayals of trust!
williams December 28, 2012 at 06:44 PM
For everyone talking shit about father gary, you all need to grow up ! I am 23 yrs old and father gary wasva great priest none of us know the real story so stop assuming !! He gave me a great experience at the catholic school i went to . If it is true my condolences go to the victim but if it isnt youll all feel like assholes for all the shit you all talked . Let go and let god! This is two peoples lives were talking about !

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