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Church Turned In Prominent Priest Over Possibly Criminal Sexual Images

By Selena Fragassi in News on Aug 4, 2015 9:15PM

Suspicious material found on the computer of a prominent pastor has resulted in an investigation and the removal of Rev. Octavio Munoz Capetillo from his position at St. Pancratius Church in Brighton Park.

The Archdiocese of Chicago released a statement this week, picked up by ABC7, notifying the public of Capetillo’s dismissal on July 27 after “sexual images and material” were found in his possession, though no further details were released about the nature of the items. The statement reads in full:

On July 27, 2015, Archbishop Blase J. Cupich removed Father Octavio Munoz Capetillo, pastor of St. Pancratius from ministry, pending resolution of an investigation of material found on a computer in his possession. Given the nature of the material, we reported our concerns to the civil authorities and will cooperate fully in their investigation. In the interim, Archbishop Cupich has withdrawn Father Munoz's faculties, his authority to minister. An Administrator will be appointed to assume Fr. Munoz's duties at St. Pancratius and Father Munoz will reside away from the parish until the matter is resolved.

According to church records, Capetillo was ordained in 2004 and was first assigned to St. Agnes Catholic Church in Chicago Heights. He was also formerly the director of a program called Casa Jesus that recruited potential priests from Latin America up until this year. Just last month Capetillo was welcomed at St. Pancratius from his former ministry at Holy Name Cathedral, though a spokeswoman for the Archdiocese says the transfer “happened before church leaders learned of the materials in question.” There’s been no further comment from the church or the police other than stating it’s an ongoing investigation.

This is the second removal of a Chicago Catholic priest in just a few months after it was discovered in May that Rev. Brendan Curran, O.P. of St. Pius V in Pilsen had carried on an "inappropriate relationship" with an woman several years ago that were alleged to have broken his celibacy vows. He, too, was removed from his position.