|Priest Accused of Sexual Assault Removed from Parish
By Bradley Schlegel
July 29, 2008
A priest accused of sexually assaulting a minor more than 30 years ago has been relieved of his duties at a parish in Doylestown Borough, according to the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.
The Rev. Gerard J. Hoffman was recently removed at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish by Cardinal Justin Rigali, pending a formal investigation, the archdiocese announced Monday.
The accusation is the first against Hoffman, who has served as parochial vicar at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish since 2002, according to a statement released by the archdiocese.
Hoffman has not lived at the parish rectory since last week, according to information from the archdiocese.
Hoffman has been relieved of his assignments and is not allowed to present himself in public as a priest, according to Donna Farrell, the archdiocese's director of communications.
David Zellis, the first assistant district attorney in Bucks County, said no charges have been filed.
Zellis said the archdiocese is handling the investigation.
Cases where the alleged victim is a minor must be immediately reported to authorities, according to Farrell.
However, the archdiocese can defer to victims who are adults when they report the abuse, Farrell said.
Ordained in 1973, Hoffman has served at St. Teresa of Avila in Valley Forge, St. Basil the Great in Kimberton, St. Isaac Jogues in Wayne, King of Peace in Philadelphia, St. John the Evangelist in Philadelphia and as an assistant priest at Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul.
Hoffman has also been a faculty member at St. Pius X High School in Pottstown, as well as St. John Neumann and Roman Catholic high schools in Philadelphia.
Parishioners wishing to make a report of the sexual abuse of a minor are urged to contact the Archdiocese Victims Assistance Coordinators at (888) 800-8780 or the Network of Victim Assistance of Bucks County.
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