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CHICAGO — The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago has reinstated a priest after allegations that he sexually abused a child more than two decades ago were deemed "unfounded."

Cardinal Blase Cupich in a statement Saturday said he was restoring the Rev. William McFarlane to active ministry immediately after the Illinois Department of Child and Family Services and the Cook County state's attorney's office found the allegations against him were groundless and an archdiocesan independent review board further decided they were unmerited.

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The archdiocese suspended McFarlane from pastoral duties in July after the two agencies revealed the allegations against him dating from 1997.

McFarlane formerly worked at the Nativity of Our Lord and St. Gabriel Parish on Chicago's South Side. The archdiocese says he would receive a new role.

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