Northeast Times

Archdiocese dismisses a handful of priests

Start­Frag­ment

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 

You can reach at jloftus@bsmphilly.com.

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