New Abuse Allegations for Already-Cleared Priest

By Phillip Lucas
Philadelphia Daily News
September 18, 2012

A 56-YEAR-OLD PRIEST who was preparing to return to ministry after being cleared in a child-sex-abuse investigation has been placed on administrative leave for a second time as the Archdiocese of Philadelphia investigates new allegations against him.

Michael Chapman, who has served for 11 years at Ascension of Our Lord, on Westmoreland Street near G, in Kensington, spent about a year on administrative leave before being cleared to return to ministry in May.

However, the Archdiocese received a second child-sex-abuse complaint against him the same month, reported the allegation to police and delayed his return to ministry, according to Donna Farrell, a spokeswoman for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

Officials did not elaborate on the nature of the allegations against Chapman.

The alleged abuse occurred about 30 years ago, Farrell said. Chapman was ordained in 1982 and assigned to St. Bonaventure, according to the Archdiocese.

Before being placed back on administrative leave, Chapman was a participant in the Healing and Hope in Christ program - an initiative aimed at addressing sexual abuse in the Archdiocese, Farrell said.

Chapman did not live in an archdiocesan parish and never actually returned to ministry, officials said.

Eleven investigations into child-sex abuse are unresolved following a 2011 grand-jury report, Farrell said. The Archdiocese has not yet conducted internal reviews of them, and priests involved in those cases remain on administrative leave.



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