Church Removes Pastor It Determines Abused Child in 1970s

NBC 10
July 5, 2006

Philadelphia — Church officials have removed the pastor of a Roman Catholic parish after concluding he had abused a child while teaching at an archdiocesan high school in the 1970s.

The Rev. John F. Hummell, 66, was ordered to step down last week from Sacred Heart Parish in Oxford, and was banned from serving anywhere as a priest.

Hummell, who has left the Chester County parish, has denied the allegation. He will not talk to reporters, a church spokeswoman said Monday.

The archdiocese took action after a 10-month investigation of an allegation received in October, officials said. In a statement, the church provided no details of the case against Hummell beyond saying the inquiry had taken months because the allegation was "particularly complex."

The complaint against Hummell came one month after a Philadelphia grand jury issued a scathing report accusing the archdiocese of a decades-long cover-up of extensive abuse by scores of priests.

The archdiocese plans to contact church authorities in Rome about further disciplinary procedures against Hummell. Police immediately were alerted to the allegations, the archdiocese said.

Hummell was ordained in 1965 and served in numerous parishes in Philadelphia and its suburbs.

Besides teaching at Roman Catholic High School, where the alleged abuse occurred, he taught at Bishop McDevitt High School and was an adjunct faculty member in the physics department at St. Joseph's University.


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