Accused Pedophile Priest's Picture Included in Holy Spirit Yearbook
By Regina Medina
Philadelphia Daily News
June 13, 2012
|A page with a photograph of Father David Sicoli in the 2011-2012 Holy Spirit year book on Tuesday, June 12, 2012.|
This year's issue of the Holy Spirit School yearbook was supposed to be special, a treasured keepsake to remember the 47-year-old Catholic school that's set to close down Thursday.
Parents and Packer Park community members are incensed with a parish decision to include a photograph of a smiling defrocked priest in the last Holy Spirit yearbook — next to a 1965 photograph of the eighth-grade graduating class. David C. Sicoli was featured prominently in the 2005 Grand Jury report, accused of molesting several boys during his 33-year ministry and was a former pastor at Holy Spirit Church. Sicoli was defrocked in 2008 after the Archdiocese logged 11 credible abuse claims against him.
He was never charged criminally, but many parents and residents in the parish blame Sicoli for the school's eventual closure.
Parent Maria Capetola said that Sicoli's image next to children is "a disgrace" and "the last slap in the face that they're [Holy Spirit] going to give us."
Capetola said she was "livid" when she saw the photo Tuesday morning and, believing it was a mistake, went to see Holy Spirit's current pastor, Rev. Mark Kunigonis, at the rectory.
"Why would you put a pervert in the yearbook with innocent children?," she asked Kunigonis.
"Well, he was a pastor and he wasn't convicted," Kunigonis said, according to Capetola.
|Yearbook photo of the Rev. David Sicoli. |
"You're sick. You're a sick man," she told him.
Kunigonis declined to comment and said a letter would be sent home with students for their parents Tuesday. None of the parents interviewed by the Daily News said they had received it Tuesday night.
Leslie Davila, director of the Archdiocese's Office of Child and Youth Protection, called the photo's publication "regrettable."
"When an image or a name of a known child abuser is published, it causes some very real wounds and it reopens wounds for victims," Davila said. "The inclusion was regrettable and may have caused pain for victims of abuse or acted as a traumatic cue for people."
The allegations against Scioli were brought up by prosecutors in the case against Msgr. William Lynn, whose fate is being mulled by a jury. He is one of 21 priests whose secret files were shown to jurors to prove that Lynn ignored or didn't investigate signs that priests were sexually abusing children.