Two More Priests in Philadelphia Placed on Leave

By David O'Reilly
Philadelphia Inquirer
March 31, 2011

The list of Catholic priests suspended in the last seven weeks here for alleged aberrant behavior involving children grew to 29 Wednesday, as the Archdiocese of Philadelphia placed two more clerics on administrative leave.

Citing archdiocesan policy, spokeswoman Donna Farrell declined to name the two, but said both had retired within the last six years and were living in private residences.

The 27 priests already on forced leave accounted for nearly 7 percent of the almost 400 clergy who were in active ministry in the five-county archdiocese when the year began. An additional 150 are retired or ill.

The Inquirer has identified one of the priests placed on leave Wednesday as the Rev. David Givey. Details of the allegations against him were not available.

Givey, 66, was editor of the Catholic Standard and Times from 1985 to 1992, and had served in numerous parishes and chaplaincies since his ordination in 1971. He retired in 2006.

Calls to Givey's home in Somers Point, N.J., were unanswered.

Joelle Casteix, a regional director of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, a victims' advocacy group, blasted Cardinal Justin Rigali for failing to release the priests' names or alleged wrongdoings.

"We may have never seen such immediate backsliding by a Catholic prelate," Casteix said. "Just a few short weeks ago, Rigali promised to do better with clergy sex cases. Now, he suspends two credibly accused predator priests, but won't name them. . . . If these men are so potentially dangerous that Rigali won't let them act as priests, why will Rigali let parents remain clueless about them?"

Givey and the other priest join the 27 whom Rigali suspended in the wake of a Feb. 10 grand jury report on allegedly predatory clergy in the archdiocese.

That week, Rigali suspended three priests when the District Attorney's Office filed felony charges against them. Also arrested were a defrocked cleric and a former parochial-school teacher.

However, the grand jury asserted that dozens of other priests accused of abuse or other inappropriate behaviors with minors were still in ministry despite the archdiocese's "zero-tolerance" policy.

In many dioceses across the nation, accused priests are sometimes allowed to remain in ministry if they deny committing the alleged assaults and if church officials have no way of corroborating the allegations.

The grand jury said the Philadelphia hierarchy had failed to investigate some cases adequately or had dismissed substantial evidence as too flimsy to take action. It cited three examples, naming the priests and the assault charges listed in their personnel files.

On Feb. 17, Rigali put those three priests on leave and appointed a former Philadelphia sex-crimes prosecutor, Gina Maisto Smith, to review the files of all the priests it identified as suspect.

Smith concluded that the allegations against 13 were too slight to warrant their suspensions, but on her advice, Rigali removed 21 on March 8. She is expected to soon name a team that will assist her in the investigations. That team will also recommend to Rigali who among the suspects should be removed, retired, or returned to ministry.

Givey attended the Vatican's North American College in Rome from 1974 to 1976 and served in these assignments as an archdiocesan priest:

St. Therese of the Child Jesus Parish in Philadelphia, 1977 to 1978.

Faculty at Archbishop Prendergast High School in Drexel Hill, 1979.

Chaplain at the Sisters of Mercy Convent in Merion, 1981 to 1984.

Editor of the Catholic Standard and Times, 1985 to 1992.

Chaplain at West Chester University and resident of St. Maximilian Kolbe rectory in West Chester, 1992 to 1994.

St. Agatha-St. James Parish in Philadelphia, 1995 to 1996.

Our Lady of Peace Parish in Milmont Park, 1997 to 2001.

From 2001 to 2005, he had no listed residence; his mailing address was Secretary for Clergy Office.

From 2006 to 2008, he lived in a private residence in West Chester before moving to Somers Point.

Contact staff writer David O'Reilly at 215-854-5723 or

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