The Archdiocese of Philadelphia Announces Additional Resolutions of Cases of Priests on Administrative Leave
The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia
December 15, 2013
Archbishop Chaput makes final decisions in seven more cases of priests placed on administrative
leave following the February 2011 Grand Jury Report
The Archdiocese of Philadelphia announced today that Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap. has made final decisions in seven more cases of priests placed on administrative leave following the February 2011 Grand Jury Report. Priests on administrative leave are not permitted to exercise their public ministry, administer any of the Sacraments, wear clerical attire, or present themselves publicly as priests.
Archbishop Chaput has decided that two of the priests are suitable for ministry. He has also decided that one of the priests is unsuitable for ministry due to a substantiated allegation of sexual abuse of a minor and that four of the priests are unsuitable for ministry due to substantiated violations of The Standards of Ministerial Behaviors and Boundaries. Additional information regarding these decisions is available in the attached background documents and at http://archphila.org/HHHIC/hhhic.php.
Those priests found unsuitable for ministry will have no public ministry in the Archdiocese. They do have the right to appeal the decision to the Holy See. For any priest found to have a substantiated allegation of sexual abuse of a minor, if they do not appeal, or if their appeal is unsuccessful, they could be laicized (removed from the clerical state) or live a life of prayer and penance.
Announcements were made at the parishes where these priests last served when they were placed on administrative leave in March of 2011. Follow up announcements were made at those parishes this weekend regarding the final decisions in their cases. Counselors were made available for parishioners.
All cases were first reported to the appropriate local district attorney's office so that law enforcement could investigate the matter and review it for possible criminal charges. Upon declination of criminal charges by the district attorney, the Archdiocesan Office of Investigations began a canonical investigation in each case. The results of this process were submitted to the Archdiocesan Professional Responsibility Review Board (APRRB). The APRRB is comprised of twelve men and women, both Catholic and non-Catholic, with extensive professional backgrounds in the investigation and treatment of child sexual abuse. It functions as a confidential advisory committee to the Archbishop, which assesses allegations of sexual abuse as well as allegations of violations of The Standards of Ministerial Behavior and Boundaries. This body provided a recommendation as to suitability for ministry to the Archbishop, who made the final decisions.
On May 4, 2012; July 6, 2012; October 15, 2012 and April 7, 2013 Archbishop Chaput announced resolutions in 18 of the cases of priests on administrative leave. Of the 18, eight priests were found suitable for ministry and nine priests were found unsuitable for ministry. In one additional case, the priest died before a full investigation could be conducted so it was not possible to reach a conclusion. All of those cases followed the same process of review and by the district attorney, an internal, canonical investigation, review by the APRRB and a final decision by the Archbishop. More information regarding those announcements is available at http://archphila.org/HHHIC/hhhic.php.
With the decision announced today, the Archdiocese will continue the initiative entitled Honesty, Healing and Hope in Christ: Confronting Sexual Violence in Our Archdiocese, which was introduced in May 2012. Once a case is resolved the initiative begins at the parish level and consists of four phases over six months. Its purpose is to address the wide variety of reactions, thoughts and feelings that will be experienced as a result of this announcement and in the days and weeks moving forward. It identifies three primary stakeholders: the victims of the allegation or violation of The Standards of Ministerial Behaviors and Boundaries, the parishioners, who include school and Parish Religious Education Program (PREP) families, and the priests on administrative leave. Through the implementation of this initiative, the Archdiocese continues a journey of honesty, healing and hope toward the restoration of trust.
The remaining administrative leave case that followed the Grand Jury Report is not being announced today as the investigative process is not yet complete. Consistent with Archdiocesan policy, it was reported to the appropriate district attorney. In November of 2013, law enforcement declined to press charges. The internal Archdiocesan investigation is currently in progress. At its conclusion, the results of the investigation will be provided to the Archdiocesan Professional Responsibility Review Board will review the findings and provide a recommendation to Archbishop Chaput, who will make a final determination, which will be announced publicly.
To Make a Report
If you would like to report a violation of The Standards of Ministerial Behavior and Boundaries, contact the Archdiocesan Office for Investigations at 1-888-930-9010.
If you would like to report an allegation of sexual abuse, contact your local law enforcement agency and/or the Office for Investigations at 1-888-930-9010.
We recognize that this public notice may be painful to victims of sexual violence. If you need support or assistance, victim services are available to you through the Victim Assistance Office of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia at 1-888-800-8780 or firstname.lastname@example.org.