CHICAGO — Chicago Public Schools correspondence provided to The Associated Press shows that the school district gave a former Roman Catholic priest access to its schools for months despite knowing he was forced to leave the priesthood for sexually abusing a boy of 6 when he was around 15.

Only after the victim and the AP asked why the district let former cleric Bruce Wellems enter schools, as part of alternative-schooling programs he oversees, did the school district recently ban him.

Criticism that the nation’s third largest school district hasn’t done enough to protect 370,000 students at nearly 650 schools from sexual misconduct intensified after a June 8 article in the Chicago Tribune, which reported the school district didn’t adequately vet its own employees and cited scores of alleged cases of sexual abuse by staffers.

Illinois lawmakers held hearings on the issue this week.

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