Two brothers from Chicago are speaking out against an area priest, Father Michael Pfleger, accusing him of sexual abuse when they were growing up in the city’s south side in the 1970s.

The brothers, both in their 60s, issued a video message outlining the charges against Pfleger with their faces obscured. Their full names weren’t disclosed.

"It destroyed my life," said the younger brother.

The younger brother said he asked the accused for a $20,000 payment in December as a tacit grab for evidence.

"I asked for money because I had a plan," he said, according to a readout from ABC affiliate WLS in Chicago. "When I prayed about this, and how I was going to do this, if he sent me some money that was an admission of guilt, that was going to be how I was going to have proof."

Pfleger has a reputation for his incendiary stance on crime in Chicago’s south side, a community plagued by gang violence and drugs. According to the account from the Associated Press, Pfleger offered the two young men a safe haven from the streets, but then abused them in the private rooms of rectories across the city.

The elder of the two said it was a confusing time growing up under the shadow of abuse.

“But… as a child, getting that attention — good or bad — was still better than being out on the street,” he said. “Because I was scared to death in the street.”

Pfleger stepped down from Faith Community of Saint Sabina in early January after allegations surfaced that he sexually abused a child, WLS noted in a separate report.

Pfleger earned a reputation for his tough stance on community issues in Chicago. When the city saw continued violence during the stay-at-home orders imposed to control the pandemic last year, the priest said part of the issue stemmed from the lack of respect for police by members of the minority community.

"Segregation here is horrible,” he said. “You have segregated communities on the South and the West sides that you don't have in other cities. I also think that decades of ignoring these segregated communities hasn't helped."

Pfleger denies the allegations of sexual misconduct and has drawn support from Saint Sabina’s worshippers and from members of the community. According to the AP, more than 50 people gathered outside the church on Monday expressing their support for his work.

The pope led a rosary prayer in the Vatican Gardens
The pope led a rosary prayer in the Vatican Gardens POOL / Alessandra TARANTINO