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  Accused Priest Taught after Ouster from Ministry; Martin J. Satchell Taught at the Haverford School from 1997 to 2000

By Craig R. McCoy and Nancy Phillips
City & Region
June 4, 2005

A Philadelphia priest removed from ministry in 1993 after he was accused of abusing a teenage boy went on to teach middle school at the prestigious Haverford School - which never knew of the earlier complaint against him.

The priest, Martin J. Satchell, 39, was recently defrocked, the church disclosed Thursday. Until the defrocking, he had been removed from active ministry, but was still officially a priest.

Four years after the Philadelphia Archdiocese dismissed him, Satchell was hired to teach history to boys at the Haverford School. He worked there from 1997 until 2000, school officials said yesterday.

They said that no complaints of misconduct surfaced against him during his years there and that he left voluntarily.

The Archdiocese of Philadelphia says it now reports all allegations of sex abuse to the police. Before the national scandal over priest abuse erupted, church officials nationwide often refrained from alerting authorities.

Joseph Headley, headmaster of the Haverford School when it hired Satchell, said he was unsure how Satchell's past had eluded the school. "I am absolutely 100 percent, 1,000 percent, sure that nobody at Haverford School had any idea that he had abused children at any point in his life," Headley said yesterday. "We would never have hired him."

Satchell, who lives in the Philadelphia region, could not be reached for comment yesterday.

John Salveson, a spokesman for the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, said Satchell's career path was alarming.

"It's outrageous," he said. "Here's a guy with a track record of sexual abuse, and he's able to teach at one of the most prestigious schools in the area."

When Satchell was hired at Haverford, Headley said, he told the school that he had been a seminarian at one time, not a priest.

It could not be learned where Satchell worked between 1993 and 1997, when he joined the 20-teacher middle school faculty.

Headley said that the Haverford School would not have hired Satchell without proof that he had teaching experience - and that references would have been checked.

John Harris, a current official of the school, said yesterday that he could not immediately obtain Satchell's resume or learn details of his hiring.

He noted, however, that Satchell, who has no criminal history in Pennsylvania, must have passed a records check under the state's required child-abuse clearance procedures, applied to all people who work with children.

Headley, now the headmaster of a school in New York City, said that Satchell called him about 18 months ago regarding a teaching job there. He had turned away the request, he said, because "I didn't think he was that strong as a teacher."

At the time, Headley recalled, Satchell was living in New York and studying at a culinary school.

While many of the assaults by priests that have surfaced during the sex-abuse scandal took place decades ago, the alleged abuse by Satchell occurred in the early 1990s.

It could not be learned whether the alleged abuse was recent enough to fall within the state statute of limitations for criminal prosecution.

When the abuse came to light and Satchell was removed from duty at St. Raymond of Penafort in the city's Germantown section, the pastor told parishioners about the accusations, a spokeswoman for the archdiocese said yesterday.

"The pastor did inform the parishioners that he [Satchell] had left the parish to take a leave and was receiving help and he had been accused of an inappropriate act with a minor," church spokeswoman Donna M. Farrell said yesterday.

The Rev. John F. O'Brien, who was pastor of St. Raymond in 1993 and still serves in that capacity, said yesterday that the parish would make a second announcement to parishioners at Mass tomorrow. He declined to comment further.

Farrell declined to describe the conduct that led to Satchell's dismissal. "I'm unable to discuss the specifics of the case," she said.

Satchell's defrocking was announced in an article in Thursday's edition of the Catholic Standard & Times, the weekly newspaper of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. The church said that he was removed from his post at St. Raymond when a "credible" accusation was brought against him. Satchell served there briefly, from June though September 1993.

According to the church, Satchell himself asked to be defrocked. The church did not say when he made that request.

The archdiocese also reported that another priest, the Rev. Edward M. DePaoli, 60, had been recently defrocked. DePaoli had been convicted of child-pornography charges in 1993, but had been allowed to remain in limited ministry until 2002.

A third priest, Msgr. Philip J. Dowling, 75, was permanently barred from ministry, the archdiocesan paper said. He had admitted to The Inquirer in March that he had fondled a teenage girl decades ago.

 
 

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