Wayne Deacon Banned from Archdiocese

By Patti Mengers
Delco Times [Pennsylvania]
June 13, 2006

Philadelphia Archbishop Cardinal Justin Rigali has determined that a deacon who was removed from duties at a Radnor church last November should not be restored to his ministry despite the fact allegations against him did not meet the Roman Catholic church's definition of sexual abuse.

The Rev. Mr. Charles Ginn Jr., who was ordained a deacon in 2001, will no longer be permitted to serve at St. Katharine of Siena in Wayne or any other parish in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia because of allegations that arose in 1996 while he was teaching at St. Joseph's Preparatory School, a private boys high school run by the Jesuits in Philadelphia.

St. Joe's spokesman Bill Avington said last November Ginn admitted to school officials in 1996 that he kissed and hugged two boys and that information was passed on to the archdiocese last October after a St. Katharine parishioner informed the pastor, the Rev. Msgr. John J. Jagodzinski, about them.

An investigation by the Archdiocesan Review Board "concluded that the allegations did not meet the definition of sexual abuse or exploitation contained in the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People adopted by the United States Bishops in 2002," according to an archdiocesan press release.

"Nevertheless, Deacon Ginn's admitted behavior is certainly questionable by common standards and inappropriate for a person in his position.

Cardinal Rigali, therefore, decided that Deacon Ginn will not be restored to ministry in the archdiocese," archdiocesan officials said in the prepared statement released Monday.

Neither Ginn nor Jagodzinski could be reached for comment.

Archdiocesan officials were not aware of the allegations against Ginn at the time he was ordained a deacon, according to archdiocesan spokeswoman Donna Farrell.

When they learned of the allegations last November, Ginn was immediately removed from ministry, an internal investigation was launched and the allegations were forwarded to civil authorities.

Cathie Abookire, spokeswoman for Philadelphia District Attorney Lynne Abraham, said an investigation into clerical sexual abuse in the archdiocese is ongoing, but she could not comment on specific cases.

She did say no charges had been filed against Ginn.

Ginn had been a freshman history teacher at St. Joe's Prep from 1975 until Nov. 9, 2005 when he tendered his resignation after it was revealed that archdiocesan officials were looking into the 1996 allegations, said Avington.

When Ginn admitted to school officials that he kissed and hugged two boys 10 years ago, he was forced to undergo psychiatric evaluation and counseling and was deemed not to be a threat to students, said Avington.

Ginn was permitted to remain on the faculty with severe restrictions. He was not permitted to have an office or counsel or touch students and he was removed from a mentoring program for African-American students.

Last November Avington said school officials learned that Ginn "admitted to something in 1999 to the archdiocese that we didn't know about."

He said it involved hugging a former student who, when contacted by school officials, said he didn't feel victimized.

Sixty-three priests were named in a report resulting from a three-year Philadelphia grand jury investigation on clerical sexual abuse that was released Sept. 21, 2005. None could be prosecuted because of Pennsylvania's statute of limitations.

Abookire said people who feel they have been victims of clerical sexual abuse should call the Philadelphia district attorney's office at (215) 686-8718. The Archdiocese of Philadelphia also offers victim assistance at (888) 800-8780.


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