Archdiocese of Philadelphia Announces Priest Found Unsuitable for Ministry

Archdiocese of Philadelphia

October 9, 2020

Reverend William E. Dean has been found unsuitable for ministry based on a substantiated allegation that he sexually abused a minor in the late 1970s.

Contextual Background Regarding Reverend William E. Dean

Reverend William E. Dean has served in a limited ministerial capacity for several years as a result of disability. He was declared legally blind in 2001 and requires the assistance of a service animal. He has not been assigned to a parish since 2012. Since that time, he has served as chaplain at Camilla Hall, a retirement community for the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (IHMs) in Chester County. Father Dean has also resided at that location for the past eight years.

In June 2014 the Archdiocese of Philadelphia received a report noting concern that Father Dean may have engaged in inappropriate behavior with a minor while serving at Saints Philip and James Parish in Exton (Chester County) in the late 1970s. This report was the first of its kind lodged against Father Dean and did not include any allegations of criminal behavior. It did, however, identify the individual who was a minor at that time. This person was contacted by the Archdiocese on multiple occasions, but did not wish to engage in dialogue.

As all available facts relative to this report constituted a potential violation of The Standards of Ministerial Behavior and Boundaries established by the Archdiocese, the required canonical (Church) investigation of Father Dean was launched. Had any information regarding alleged criminal activity been presented, the matter would first have been referred to the appropriate law enforcement agency in accordance with longstanding Archdiocesan policy.

The Archdiocesan Office of Investigations (AOI) undertook the canonical process. The AOI is responsible for conducting internal and canonical investigations following the conclusion of work performed by civil authorities. The AOI also performs investigations in matters that center on alleged activity that is not illegal in nature, but that may violate The Standards of Ministerial Behavior and Boundaries established by the Archdiocese.

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