Vatican Defrocks 2 Philadelphia Priests

Associated Press, carried in The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
September 10, 2005

PHILADELPHIA -- The Philadelphia Archdiocese announced the defrocking of two more priests -- including a former dean at the archdiocesan seminary -- who were accused of sexually abusing children.

Neither man is expected to face criminal charges, given Pennsylvania's time limits for prosecuting sex crimes.

The Vatican recently defrocked Raymond Leneweaver and John J. Delli Carpini over credible allegations of abuse, the archdiocese announced in a notice inside its weekly newspaper on Thursday. Eleven former priests in the archdiocese have now been defrocked, spokeswoman Donna Farrell said.

Leneweaver went on to teach public school children after apparently leaving the church in 1980, news that disturbs a clergy-abuse survivor.

"He taught at the middle school my kids went to," said John Salveson, a spokesman for the Philadelphia chapter of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. "Why not? The guy doesn't have a criminal record. He's not going to be tracked by the criminal justice system."

Neither man could be located by The Associated Press on Friday.

Delli Carpini served in the archdiocese from 1976 to 2002, working in parishes, teaching high school, serving as a dean at St. Charles Borromeo seminary and ministering at a home for older nuns. Church officials found one minor's allegation against him credible.

Leneweaver served in five parishes and lived in two others while teaching at two archdiocesan high schools from 1962 to 1980, the archdiocese said. Church officials believe he abused more than one minor.

Salveson noted Leneweaver's frequent job changes -- he lived in seven parishes in 18 years -- and questioned whether church leaders moved him around to stifle complaints.

"It's less than two-and-a-half years per assignment. That's extremely unusual. But if you look at other pedophile priests, it's business as usual," Salveson said.

A Philadelphia man, Michael Wurtz, told The Philadelphia Inquirer that Delli Carpini abused him when he was an altar boy in the late 1970s at St. Luke the Evangelist in Glenside. Wurtz said he testified about the abuse before a Philadelphia grand jury that has been investigating clergy abuse within the archdiocese.

The grand jury's report is expected to be released soon following three years of work. Cathie Abookire, a spokeswoman for District Attorney Lynne Abraham, said Friday she could not comment on when the report would be released.

Leneweaver taught Latin at public schools in Radnor, Pa., in 2003-04 and in Millville, N.J., in the early 1990s. Both stints were brief, and unremarkable, officials said.

Radnor school officials informed parents of Leneweaver's past last month, after being notified by the archdiocese, spokeswoman Lori Smith Wood said Friday. The district has not received any complaints or abuse allegations, she said.