Former Port Richmond Pastor Will Be Removed from Ministry
By John P. Martin and Claudia Vargas
May 4, 2012
A former Port Richmond pastor is among the Catholic priests who will be permanently removed from ministry over child-sex abuse allegations, according to a lawyer for a man who said the cleric raped him.
Archdiocese of Philadelphia officials notified the accuser on Thursday that Msgr. Francis J. Feret won't be reinstated, attorney Daniel Monahan said.
Feret, 75, spent more than a decade as pastor of St. Adalbert in the city's Port Richmond section, and twice as long as a teacher and administrator at Cardinal Dougherty High School.
Reached by phone late Thursday, Feret said: "I'm sorry, I don't have anything to say," then hung up.
He was among 26 priests suspended last year while the archdiocese reexamined allegations that they had sexually abused or acted inappropriately around minors.
Archbishop Charles J. Chaput is scheduled to disclose the results of that investigation at a news conference on Friday afternoon. Church officials have declined to say which or how many cases had been resolved or would be discussed by Chaput.
A source familiar with the process said about a dozen of the affected priests were expected to learn their fates in private meetings with the archbishop on Thursday and Friday. Some would be exonerated and reinstated; others face permanent removal, according to the source.
Church officials also planned to notify those victims whose allegations were deemed credible.
That's how Feret's accuser learned the priest's fate, according to his lawyer. The man reported the abuse to the archdiocese in an e-mail in 2006, Monahan said. He said Feret began sexually assaulting him at age 9 in the early 1970s. The alleged abuse included oral and anal sex, the lawyer said.
Monahan declined to publicly identify his client or the church where the abuse occurred. The Inquirer does not publish the names of sex-crime victims or accusers without their permission.
The accuser has not filed a lawsuit but has been interviewed by police, according to Monahan.
Ordained in 1962, Feret worked until 1983 at Cardinal Dougherty, according to the website Who's Who in Polish America.
In 1994, he was named pastor at St. Adalbert, serving an ethnic, working-class community where many residents speak Polish. Neighbors interviewed Thursday said they weren't aware of the decision but said Feret had been gone for some time.
Steve Endrik, a St. Adalbert's parishioner for 50 years, said that Feret was not popular, but that the situation was sad. Another church member said parishioners did not press for answers after Feret's suspension.
"It's sensitive," said the man, who asked not to be identified because his sons attend the school. "We just stay out."
Public records show Feret moved in the fall to Villa St. Joseph, a church-owned retirement home in Upper Darby for priests. The site is also a residence for accused abusive priests who have agreed to a supervised life of prayer and penance, though it was unclear whether Feret had done so.