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  Two More Diocesan Priests Removed
The archdiocese disclosed the news of the defrocking for sexual abuse yesterday in its newspaper.

By Jim Remsen
Faith Life Editor
Philadelphia Inquirer
September 9, 2005

The Archdiocese of Philadelphia disclosed yesterday that two more priests have been defrocked for "sexual misconduct involving minors," raising its total to 11 in the abuse scandal.

One of the two, John J. Delli Carpini, 56, a former academic dean at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary, is the highest-ranking local cleric to be ousted thus far. He is alleged to have molested an altar boy for seven years beginning in the late 1970s.

The other, Raymond O. Leneweaver, 71, was accused of repeatedly abusing two teenagers decades ago. After the church placed him on sick leave, Leneweaver walked away from the priesthood and became a teacher in two area public school districts.

The two dismissals, which come as a Philadelphia grand jury is concluding a three-year-plus investigation of clergy sex abuse, were disclosed in a brief article inside the archdiocese's weekly newspaper, the Catholic Standard and Times.

The Vatican-approved defrockings return the men to the lay state, meaning they are no longer supported or monitored by the church. Because the alleged abuse occurred decades ago, the time limit on prosecutions has expired and the men face no criminal charges or police oversight.

Yesterday, the archdiocese declined a request for elaboration.

Delli Carpini and Leneweaver could not be reached for comment.

The article said Delli Carpini had been suspended from active ministry in 2002 after church investigators found a complaint against him to be credible. According to church directories, he was an academic dean at the seminary from 1992 to 1999 and became a chaplain to retired nuns in 2001.

The article briefly listed the two men's parish and school postings over the years and said Delli Carpini had asked to be defrocked, but it gave no specifics about the cases against them.

The Inquirer has obtained some details on the abuse cases from victims and others.

In an interview, Michael Wurtz, 41, of Center City, said Delli Carpini molested him from age 13 to 20. Wurtz said he met Delli Carpini when he served as an altar boy at St. Luke the Evangelist parish in Glenside in the late 1970s.

Wurtz said he reported the abuse to the archdiocese in 1998, and that the church later paid for extensive therapy and medication for him.

Wurtz said yesterday that he testified about Delli Carpini last fall before the grand jury "to get his name out and published, because the archdiocese never released any of the [abusers'] names until this point."

According to the archdiocese, Delli Carpini, ordained in 1976, went from St. Luke to St. John the Evangelist in Center City. He then taught at Roman Catholic High School before joining the seminary faculty in 1989.

Leneweaver, ordained in 1962, was a teacher at Cardinal O'Hara High School and Roman Catholic. He also served at Immaculate Heart of Mary in Chester, St. Monica Church in South Philadelphia, St. Agnes in West Chester, St. Joseph the Worker in Fallsington, and Our Lady Help of Christians in Kensington.

Two men have told law enforcement officials that Leneweaver abused them when they were teenagers, according to people familiar with the matter. One said Leneweaver threatened him and warned him not to talk about the priest's conduct.

Leneweaver was placed on sick leave in 1981. After that, he apparently left the church. He went on to teach in public schools in Millville, N.J., and Radnor Township. He taught Latin at Memorial School in Millville from February 1991 to June 1992. He taught the same subject at Radnor Middle School during the 2003-04 year.

There were no reports of abuse at either school, officials said.

The Camden Diocese has defrocked one of its priests and is awaiting word from Rome on petitions to defrock six others. A seventh case was sent back for a church tribunal, which is now under way in the diocese, spokesman Andrew Walton said yesterday.

Contact Faith Life editor Jim Remsen at 215-854-5621 or jremsen@phillynews.com

 
 

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