Philadelphia archdiocese resolves six more priest abuse accusations

Philadelphia archdiocese resolves six more priest abuse accusations

Archbishop Charles J. Chaput at a May 4, 2012 press conference on abuse cases in Philadelphia.
Archbishop Charles J. Chaput at a May 4, 2012 press conference on abuse cases in Philadelphia.

.- The Archdiocese of Philadelphia has announced the resolution of six cases involving priests who were placed on leave following a grand jury report on sex abuse allegations, removing two of them from ministry permanently.

“In making these decisions I relied on the counsel of numerous experts,” Philadelphia Archbishop Charles J. Chaput said in a July 6 statement.

The Archdiocese of Philadelphia announced that four priests have been found “suitable for ministry” after an investigative process by 20 specialists in child abuse, while two priests were deemed “unsuitable for ministry.”

In the cases of the two priests who were found “unsuitable,” neither of them involved allegations of sexual abuse of a minor, but were the result of them violating the archdiocese's “Standards of Ministerial Behavior and Boundaries.”

The archdiocese's behavioral standards establish a strict code of conduct by which all adults who interact with minors must abide. The standards include rules such as, “Church personnel are not to step beyond their competence” in counseling situations, adults should avoid “physical contact of any kind,” and leaders should “socialize with other adult chaperones” while on trips with youth groups.

It was not indicated which of the standards the priests who were removed from ministry violated.

Archbishop Chaput praised the work of those involved in the investigations, calling them “crucial” in dealing with “the broad societal problem of sexual abuse.”

“I'm grateful for their tireless efforts,” the archbishop said.

A total of 26 priests were suspended from ministry by Archbishop Chaput's predecessor, Cardinal Justin  F. Rigali, in response to allegations of sex abuse or inappropriate behavior contained in a 2011 grand jury report.

In May 2012, Archbishop Chaput announced the resolution of eight cases, permanently barring five priests from ministry.

Each case was first reviewed by the local district attorney before being reviewed by the Archdiocesean Multi-Disciplinary Action Team, which was reformed last year in response to the initial grand jury report.

Some of the remaining cases have not yet been cleared for archdiocesan investigation by the local district attorney, while others have only recently been released by the authorities.

According to a July 6 press release, the archdiocese was unable to reveal the resolution of other cases, but “hopes to announce them as soon as possible.”

The archdiocese said it will continue to pursue the parish level initiative, “Honesty, Healing, and Hope in Christ,” which seeks to support victims and others affected by abuse while building safe environments for the future.

Tags: Sexual Abuse