John Hefferan: Allegations of Sexual Abuse of a Minor Have Been Admitted, Established or Determined to Be Credible

John Hefferan

Ordained: 1956

  • 1956-1962: St. Louise de Marillac, La Grange, IL (CHI)
  • 1962-1967: St. Anastasia, Waukegan, IL (CHI)
  • 1967-1969: St. Simeon, Bellwood, IL (CHI)
  • 1969-1973: Infant Jesus of Prague, Flossmoor, IL (CHI)
  • 1973-1975: St. John the Evangelist, Streamwood, IL (CHI)
  • 1975-1981: St. John Vianney, Northlake, IL (CHI)
  • 1981-1985: St. James, Highwood, IL (CHI)
  • 1985-1990: St. Ann, Lansing, IL (CHI)
  • 1990-1997: St. Gerald’s, Oak Lawn, IL (CHI)
  • 1997-1999: St. Bede, Ingleside, IL (CHI)
  • 2000: Retired; St. Bede, Ingleside, IL (CHI)
  • 2001-2009: Retired; Bishop Lyne Home, Lemont, IL (CHI)
  • 2002-2003: St. Alphonsus, Lemont, IL (CHI)
  • 2010-2017: Unknown
  • 2018: Died

In 1993, Fr. John Edward Hefferan was accused sexually abusing a child from 1977 to 1978 at St. John Vianney in Northlake, Illinois, but was allowed to remain in active ministry. In 2002 and 2003, two more survivors came forward to accuse Fr. Hefferan of child sexual abuse. One survivor reported abuse at St. Anastaisia in Waukegan, Illinois from 1964 to 1967, and the other reported abuse in Flossmore in the 1960s. In 2003, the Archdiocese of Chicago decided to monitor Fr. Hefferan, but permitted him to remain in the ministry. According to the Archdiocese, Fr. Hefferan was removed from public ministry in October 2003. Fr. Hefferan is included in the Archdiocese of Chicago’s list of “Archdiocesan Priests with Substantiated Allegations of Sexual Misconduct with Minors.” He was believed to be living in Palos Park as of 2014. Fr. Hefferan’s whereabouts, status as a priest, and whether he had access to children from 2003 until his death are unknown.

Claiming that a priest’s touching was not “deliberately sexual in nature,” Cardinal Francis George intervened on behalf of four-time accused child molesting cleric and asked his board in charge of clergy misconduct to reconsider their decision to remove the priest from ministry.

Fr. John Hefferan had been a priest for almost 40 years before his victims began to come forward and report their abuse. By 1993, the archdiocese, knowing that there was a credible allegation, allowed Hefferan to remain in ministry, unmonitored.

After the Dallas Charter in 2002, two more victims came forward. A third came forward in 2003. That year, the clergy misconduct review board, after reviewing that allegations, decided that Hefferan should be removed from active ministry. In response, Cardinal George appealed to the Board to reconsider the possibility that “the touch was not deliberately sexual in nature.”

As a result, Hefferan was placed on monitoring in 2003, but was not removed from the priesthood.

In May 2014, the Archdiocese decided that the monitoring protocols in place should be strengthened, since Hefferan lived alone was able to “come and go as he pleases.”

Hefferan lives in Palos Park, IL. He is the subject of at least four allegations of child sexual abuse.

Fr. John Edward Hefferan Documents
Fr. John Edward Hefferan Timeline


5/1/1956          Ordained

1956 – St. Louise de Marillac (parish school had approx. 637 children)

1962 – St. Anastasia (parish school had approx. 715 children)

1967 – St. Simeon (parish school had approx. 1,141 children)

1968 – Infant Jesus of Prague (parish school had approx. 711 children)

1973 – St. John the Evangelist (parish school had approx. 206 children)

1975 – St. John Vianney (parish school had approx. 341 children)

Overlapped here with accused priest Thomas J. Job; parish school had 341 children

1981 – St. James (parish school had approx. 160 children)

1985 – St. Ann (parish school had approx. 381 children)

Overlapped here with accused priest Eugene P. Burns.

1990 – St. Gerald’s (parish school had approx. 550 children)

3/16/1993        Woman reports abuse by Hefferan to the Archdiocese. (AOC 014411)

Victim statement abstract says a minor girl was abused by Hefferan at St. John Vianney in Northlake, IL in the late 70s (AOC014413)

991993 Memo, handwritten notes say “remain in ministry” (AOC 014388)

3/24/1993        Hefferan placed on monitoring, not allowed around minors without another adult. Victim is believable and credible. (AOC 014415)

6/29/1993        Review Board determined that Hefferan can remain in ministry. (AOC 014426)

7/28/1993        Monitoring discontinued (AOC 014450)

1997 – St. Bede (parish school had approx. 243 children)

2002 – Bishop Lyne Home

4/10/2002        Report of abuse by Hefferan at St. Anastasia in Waukegan from 1964-1967. (AOC 014516)

5/2/2002          Report of abuse by Hefferan at Infant Jesus of Prague in 1970. (AOC 014517)

7/1/2002 – Parochial Administrator, St. Alphonsus (AOC 014519)

1/15/2003        Report of abuse by Hefferan at Infant Jesus of Prague in the late 1960s. (AOC 014530)

2/1/2003          Review Board determines that there is reasonable cause to suspect misconduct occurred. (AOC 014538)

3/7/2003          Despite several unanimous determinations by the Review Board that there is reasonable cause to suspect that Hefferan engaged in sexual misconduct with minors, Cardinal George appealed to the Board to reconsider the possibility that “the touch was not deliberately sexual in nature” (AOC 014547)

12/3/2003        Hefferan placed on monitoring. (AOC 014595)

10/21/2005      Memo re: possibility of laicization. “Accusations which came in prior to April 30, 2001, had to be reported to the CDF prior to the Feast of Christ the King last year (2004).” AD will refer Hefferan’s case to Rome only if he no longer wants to abide by the agreement that he was to not engage in public ministry. (AOC 014605)

5/2014             Review of Hefferan’s individual specific protocols says he has enjoyed a tremendous amount of freedom by living alone without a site monitor, he can come and go as he pleases. Recommends strengthened risk management protocols. (AOC 014688)