No longer welcome.
Philadelphia’s Roman Catholic archbishop last Friday said five priests, all with ties to Northeast Philadelphia, will not be permitted to return to ministry because sexual misconduct allegations had been substantiated after a yearlong investigation.
Three others, said Archbishop Charles Chaput, may return.
One priest, the Rev. Daniel Hoy, 89, died while the archdiocese’s team of experts examined the cases of more than two dozen priests removed from their duties in early 2011 after a Philadelphia grand jury said the archdiocese had permitted them to remain on their jobs despite allegations against them.
During a news conference, Chaput said he has yet to make decisions about the other priests who were suspended about a week after Cardinal Justin Rigali, then the city’s archbishop, vehemently had denied there were any priests active in the archdiocese against whom there were credible accusations. Chaput made it clear he was not going to rush the investigations or provide any details of the allegations against the priests.
In one case, investigators substantiated allegations of sexual abuse of a minor. In the other cases, investigators were able to confirm priests had violated the archdiocese’s Standards of Ministerial Behavior and Boundaries. Those standards, according to the archdiocesan Web site, apply to all priests, deacons, religious, pastoral ministers, administrators, staff and volunteers in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia:
“They are intended to provide clear standards of behavior and, in particular, a blueprint for the boundaries of appropriate behavior in all interactions with children and young people. The Standards are not intended to create any rights in any person, to obligate the Archdiocese to act at any time or in any manner, or to establish any responsibility or liability of the Archdiocese.”
All of the priests ruled unsuitable have ties to Northeast Philadelphia, either through parishes or schools:
• The Rev. Thomas Rooney, 61: The archdiocesan team of experts hired to review his case, the archdiocesan review board and the archbishop considered an allegation that Rooney violated Standards of Ministerial Behavior and Boundaries. Among the parishes in which Rooney had worked were St. Bartholomew in Wissinoming in the early to mid-1990s; St. Christopher in Somerton from 2001 to 2005; St. Dominic in Holmesburg in the mid-1990s; and Resurrection of Our Lord in Rhawnhurst in the late 1990s. He also was chaplain of Immaculate Mary Home, a nursing facility on Holme Avenue.
• There were substantiated allegations of sexual abuse of a minor against the Rev. John Reardon, 65, the archdiocese said. Among his assignments were St. Leo parish in Tacony in the late 1970s and early 1980s and St. Hubert High School in Mayfair in the early 1980s. He had been at St. John of the Cross in Abington.
• The Rev. Robert Povish, 47, was ruled to have violated the archdiocesan standards. He had served at Little Flower High School from 1998 to 2002. He had been chaplain of Graterford Prison in Montgomery County.
• Monsignor Francis Feret, 75, was working at St. Adalbert’s parish in Port Richmond when he was suspended last year. He was deemed unfit for ministry after the archdiocese said boundary violations were substantiated. Among his assignments was a 19-year stint at Cardinal Dougherty High School from the early 1960s to early 1980s.
• The Rev. George Cadwallader, 58, against whom there were substantiated standards violations, also will not return to ministry. He had worked at St. Martin of Tours in Oxford Circle in the early to mid-1990s; at St. Anselm’s in Parkwood in the late 1990s; and St. Bernard in Mayfair from 2007-2008. He had been working in a Bucks County parish.
The three priests who may return to their ministries are: the Rev. Phillip Barr, 92; the Rev. Michael Chapman, 56; and Monsignor Michael Flood, 72.
Barr had retired. Allegations of sexual abuse of a minor against him were unsubstantiated, the archdiocese ruled. Similar allegations against Flood also were not substantiated. Chapman had been accused of violating the archdiocesan Standards of Ministerial Behavior and Boundaries, but the charge also was not substantiated.
Chaput said the three priests whose cases were cleared could return to ministry, if they chose to. He added he wasn’t going to rush their decisions.
Hoy died before allegations he sexually abused a minor would be fully investigated, the archdiocese stated in a news release.
Among his assignments was St. Leo parish, where he served from the early 1980s to early 1990s. No conclusion was reached in his case.
The investigations of more than two dozen priests were prompted by a grand jury’s assertion that the archdiocese was ignoring allegations against them. A week after Cardinal Rigali denied that was true, the men were put on leave and a probe led by former sex crimes prosecutor Gina Maisto Smith began. Maisto Smith assembled a team of more than 20 experts from different fields to conduct investigations, which Rigali had promised would be exhaustive. Rigali retired last year.
Chaput and Smith on Friday said their investigatory results were submitted to local authorities.
The Roman Catholic Archdiocese includes Philadelphia and several surrounding Pennsylvania counties. The archbishop said he didn’t expect the remaining cases to take a year to resolve since investigations and reviews were all but complete.
That wasn’t good enough for members of a group that supports the victims of clerical abuse.
Barbara Blaine, president of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, was shocked the archdiocese was ready to make announcements about only eight priests.
ldquo;Catholics, citizens, children and the accused priests deserve better,” she stated in an e-mail to the Northeast Times. “Parishioners and the public should continue to be highly skeptical of the secretive internal church processes and redouble their efforts to get victims and witnesses to contact police and prosecutors.”
Authorities began investigating two priests, Charles Engelhardt and Edward Avery, after the archdiocese itself referred their cases. The probe of those two priests led to a grand jury investigation and to the arrests of not only Engelhardt and Avery, but of another priest, the Rev. James Brennan, a Roman Catholic lay teacher, Bernard Shero, and Monsignor William Lynn, who for 12 years investigated allegations of sexual abuse by the archdiocese’s priests. Lynn was not charged with ever laying a finger on anyone, but the grand jury held that he was responsible for crimes committed by Avery and Brennan.
Avery, Engelhardt and Shero were accused of molesting the same young St. Jerome parish altar boy. Brennan, whose activities drew the grand jury’s attention while it was looking into Avery and Engelhardt, was charged with molesting a suburban youth.
Lynn currently is on trial in Common Pleas Court on endangering children charges along with Brennan, who is charged with attempted rape. Both also are charged with conspiracy and both have pleaded not guilty.Initially, they were to be tried along with the other defendants, but attorneys for Shero, and then Engelhardt, successfully argued for separate trials. Avery, who had been defrocked, pleaded guilty the week before the trial began in late March. Shero and Engelhardt, an Oblate of St. Francis DeSales, are expected to go on trial in early September. ••EndFragment