Irregularities in Weekend’s Philadelphia Archdiocese Priest Removals
By Susan Matthews
February 24, 2014
Excerpt: “As has been their practice, church officials offered no further details of the allegations against the men, except to say both involved 17-year-old victims and occurred decades ago. In both cases, local authorities had declined to pursue criminal charges because the statute of limitations had expired.”
Editor’s note: Kathy noticed this was the very first time the archdiocese released the ages of victims. Was this a public relations move? Perhaps archdiocesan officials wanted to “soften” the abuse story. When victims in previous cases were much younger, such as age 10, the archdiocese opted not to list the age. They also like to stress that this abuse took place a long time ago. With that realization, you would think Archbishop Chaput would seek window legislation in the name of social justice and the protection of children. At what age do abusers stop abusing? Do they ever stop? We do know that statistically victims don’t come forward until much later in life. It seems the Church is very comfortable in its hiding place behind the statute of limitations.
Excerpt: “The parish learned in early 2013 that Paul had been accused of abusing minors as a seminary student at St. Charles Borromeo. However, he was allowed to continue preaching while local law enforcement investigated the claims. During that time, he was barred from unsupervised contact with children, said Ken Gavin, an archdiocesan spokesman.
But that decision marked a departure from practice. After a scathing 2011 Philadelphia grand jury report on clergy sex abuse, the archdiocese suspended 26 priests while the law enforcement investigations of their individual cases proceeded.”
Editor’s Note: The Archdiocese knew of at least one allegation against Father Paul yet opted to leave him as pastor at Our Lady of Calvary while being investigated. Pastors are ultimately responsible for parish school students, parish children and C.Y.O. activities. They are also the top line for mandatory reporting on the parish level. The archdiocese stated “pertinent” people had been informed of his status. That did not include parents and teachers. Who could be more pertinent when it comes to safety? It was only when Father Paul resigned with a bizarre parting letter that social media and news sites were deluged with commentary on various incidents over the course of his priesthood. This highlights the importance of public assistance in these cases.
As we approach our three year mark with close to 850,000 site visits and an involved international community, it is clear this site still serves an important purpose. It began with the Philadelphia clergy sex abuse crisis and continues with it. We will be running a series of posts concerning the Father Paul case. As always we appreciate all who contribute and pray for those affected by abuse.