Philadelphia Archdiocese places priest on leave over sex abuse allegations

WHYY Radio
January 13, 2019

Archbishop of Philadelphia Charles Chaput, center, celebrates Ash Wednesday Mass at the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul in Philadelphia on Wednesday, Feb. 18, 2015.
Photo by Matt Rourke

A priest has been put on administrative leave after new allegations surfaced he sexually abused a minor in the early 1980s, the Philadelphia Archdiocese announced Sunday.

Church officials also announced that it had found two other priests unsuitable for ministry “based on substantiated allegations that they sexually abused minors in the early 1980s.”

The announcements come amid increased scrutiny of the Roman Catholic church’s handling of abuse allegations, after the release of a grand jury report in August 2018 detailing more than 1,000 cases of child sexual abuse at the hands of 301 clergy in six other Pennsylvania archdioceses. That grand jury report did not cover the Philadelphia Archdiocese.

The Rev. Msgr. Joseph Logrip, 73, was previously investigated by the archdiocese following a 2011 grand jury report. The allegations against him were never made public, and local prosecutors declined to press charges.

The archdiocese reinstated Logrip in 2014 after it said it could not substantiate the claims against him, and he went on to serve as a chaplain at Camilla Hall, a retirement home for female religious, and as a weekend assistant at Saint Peter Parish in Chester County.

The archdiocese did not provide details on the new allegation from the early 1980s.

“This matter has been referred to law enforcement and the Archdiocese will cooperate fully with authorities in the course of their investigation,” church officials said Sunday in a news release.

Logrip served in several parishes, schools, and offices around the Philadelphia region since his ordination in 1972. According to the archdiocese, he was at Bishop Kenrick High School, Epiphany of Our Lord in Plymouth Meeting, Saint Gabriel’s Hall, and Archbishop Carroll High School in the early 1980s.

The archdiocese also found the Rev. John F. Meyers and the Rev. Raymond W. Smart unsuitable for ministry.

Meyers, 64, was put on administrative leave in late 2018 after church officials received an allegation he had sexually abused a minor in the early 1980s, which the archdiocese said had been substantiated.

Meyers had most recently served at the Malvern Retreat House.

The archdiocese had also previously investigated Smart, 74, over an allegation stemming from the 2011 grand jury report, but said it could not substantiate the claim. Officials again investigated Smart in 2016 for alleged conduct with an adult that violated the church’s standards of behavior, but did not constitute criminal activity.

In the spring of 2017, the archdiocese investigated a report Smart had sexually abused a minor in the early 1980s, which said it could substantiate.

Smart retired in 2002.

While no criminal charges have been filed against Meyers or Smart, the archdiocese’s review board recently determined both priests could no longer serve as ministers of the church and have referred both cases to the Vatican.



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