Allentown Diocese Removes 2 Priests Amid Allegations of Sexual Abuse of Minors

By Amanda Leigh Brozana
Republican Herald
September 27, 2010

Two Roman Catholic priests, both of whom served in several parishes in Schuylkill County over the past 30 years, have been removed from the ministry after an Allentown Diocesan Review Board found allegations of sexual abuse of minors to be credible.

The removal of Monsignor Bernard Flanagan, 54, who has been serving since 2006 as pastor at Annunciation BVM, St. George and Our Lady of Mount Carmel churches in Shenandoah and St. Mary Magdalen Church, Lost Creek, was announced at the 8:30 a.m. Sunday Mass by The Most Rev. John O. Barres, Bishop of Allentown.

Barres also announced the removal of the Rev. Andrew A. Ulincy, 74, at a 4 p.m. Saturday Mass at St. Paul Church, Reading, where he had been pastor since 1997.

The allegations have been reported to the "appropriate authorities" according to Diocese of Allentown spokesman Matt Kerr.

Both Flanagan and Ulincy will go to a treatment facility outside the diocese, Kerr said in a press release Sunday. Neither will be permitted to publicly function as a priest.

Kerr said in a phone interview Sunday evening that the alleged events of abuse did not occur in Schuylkill County.

The allegations against Flanagan date back approximately 25 years while those against Ulincy are from 1981, according to a statement by the diocese.

Kerr said that the abuse Flanagan allegedly committed occurred while he served as a priest at Reading Central Catholic High School while the abuse Ulincy is accused of occurred while he was priest at Ss. Simon and Jude Church, Bethlehem.

Flanagan and Ulincy each served as priest in three institutions in Schuylkill County - including area Catholic high schools. Flanagan also was in residence while in his training at a church in Saint Clair.

Flanagan, who was ordained in 1982, was in residence at St. Mary Church, Saint Clair, and also at St. Paul Church, Reading, and St. Catharine of Siena Church, Allentown, during his training. He served as priest at Nativity BVM High School, Pottsville; Mary Queen of Peace Church, Pottsville; St. Jerome Church, Tamaqua; Ss. Peter and Paul Church, Lehighton; St. Anne Church, Bethlehem, and Our Lady of Help of Christians Church, Allentown.

Since being ordained in 1966, Ulincy was priest at Marian High School, Tamaqua; Assumption BVM Church, Mahanoy City; St. Joseph Church, Frackville; St. Joseph Church, Jim Thorpe; St. Michael Church, Lansford, and Holy Rosary Church, Reading, Diocese officials said.

Kerr said while the recommendation for removal came down from the review committee this week, it was unclear how long accusations against each priest had been going through the review process.

"The review board determined this week the credibility of these accusations and made their recommendation to the bishop," Kerr said in the interview.

Kerr said both priests will be replaced, but it will be a few weeks before new priests are in place for the parishes.

"It hasn't happened yet, but there will be replacements but until then, there will be priests in those parishes to hold Mass," Kerr said.The Allentown Diocese said credible allegations of sexual abuse of a minor were found against Monsignor Bernard Flanagan, pastor of Annunciation BVM, St. George, Our Lady of Mount Carmel and Lost Creek St. Mary Magdalen Roman Catholic parishes, Shenandoah, and against the Rev. Andrew A. Ulincy, pastor of St. Paul Roman Catholic Parish, Reading. Ulincy also served in Tamaqua, Mahanoy City and Frackville.

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