Pope Francis Says Goodbye To Charles Chaput, Former Denver Archbishop

Colorado Public Radio

January 25, 2020

By Hayley Sanchez

Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput, who held the same post in Denver almost a decade ago.

Chaput led Denver churches from 1997 to 2011. He was an outspoken bishop on matters both political and cultural and played a role in addressing some clergy sex abuse allegations both in Colorado and Philadelphia. He helped Philadelphia’s archdiocese after it dealt with its own series of allegations. But Chaput’s poor handling of allegations in Colorado also garnered criticism.

In 2007, allegations of sexual abuse involving Rev. Kent Drotar, a leader at St. John Vianney Theological Seminary, came up. Drotar was sent to therapy for a few months but was reassigned to another parish with a school.

Chaput was confronted about the assignment and said he had documentation from the therapist that Drotar was fit to serve in a parish. After a victim of Drotar’s abuse, Stephen Szutenbach, confronted him, Chaput put together a conduct response team that removed Drotar from the parish within weeks.

Szutenbach said the only new information he gave Chaput during their meeting was that he threatened to go to the media if something wasn’t done.

“The reaction of Archbishop Charles to protect himself and his reputation and the seminary’s reputation is a complete act of clericalism,” Szutenbach told CPR News in 2018.

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