Philly Priest with Gallup Ties 'Unsuitable for Ministry'
By Elizabeth Hardin-Burrola
The Gallup Independent
December 17, 2013
GALLUP – A Catholic priest from the Archdiocese of Philadelphia who worked in the Diocese of Gallup for several years has been found “unsuitable for ministry” after a lengthy investigation, the Philadelphia Archdiocese announced Sunday.
The Rev. Stephen B. Perzan, aka Stephan Perzan, was one of seven priests placed on administrative leave by Archbishop Charles J. Chaput in March 2011, following a grand jury report.
The archdiocese announced that Chaput has decided two of the seven priests are suitable for ministry, one priest is unsuitable because of a substantiated allegation of sexual abuse of a minor, and four priests, including Perzan, are unsuitable because of substantiated violations of the Standards of Ministerial Behaviors and Boundaries.
The Official Catholic Directory lists Perzan as serving in the Gallup Diocese from 1995 to 1998 in Rio Arriba County. Perzan, whose name is spelled “Stephan Perzan” in the directory, was assigned to the mostly Hispanic and Native American parishes of St. Francis of Assisi in Lumberton and St. Anthony Mission in Dulce on the Jicarilla Apache Reservation.
According to the archdiocese’s announcement, Perzan is 68 years old and was ordained in 1973. The archdiocese’s records list Perzan serving in the Diocese of Gallup from 1994 to 1997. Before and after his stint in Gallup, Perzan is listed as working in parishes and schools in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, as well as briefly in Puerto Rico from 2002 to 2004.
Archdiocese officials said all the cases were first reported to the appropriate local district attorney’s office. Upon declination of criminal charges by the district attorney, the Archdiocesan Office of Investigations began a canonical investigation in each case. Following Chaput’s decision regarding the five priests found unsuitable for ministry, announcements were made at the parishes where the priests last served. Counselors were made available for parishioners.