Our Lady of Calvary pastor resigns after molestation allegations probed

Pa­rish­ion­ers of Our Lady of Cal­vary Ro­man Cath­ol­ic Church in the Far North­east were in­formed dur­ing Sunday’s Masses that their pas­tor, the Rev. John Paul, had been ac­cused of mo­lest­ing minors and vol­un­tar­ily had resigned the post he had held for 13 years.

“Earli­er this year, the arch­diocese re­ceived al­leg­a­tions that Fath­er Paul had sexu­ally ab­used minors more than 40 years ago dur­ing his time as a sem­in­ari­an,” arch­dioces­an spokes­man Ken Gav­in stated in a Nov. 10 email to the North­east Times. He said Paul had denied the al­leg­a­tions. 

Gav­in said the arch­diocese fol­lowed its own policies and im­me­di­ately re­ferred all in­form­a­tion about the al­leg­a­tions to law en­force­ment, which he said de­clined to press charges.

“We don’t com­ment on cases un­less charges are filed,” said Tasha Jamer­son, the dis­trict at­tor­ney’s spokes­wo­man. That be­ing said, she ad­ded, giv­en that the al­leg­a­tions are 45 years old, the DA wouldn’t have been able to pro­sec­ute any­way be­cause the stat­ute of lim­it­a­tions would have run out.

Gav­in said the arch­diocese had not yet con­cluded its own in­vest­ig­a­tion of the al­leg­a­tions against Paul.

Earli­er last week, an an­nounce­ment of the priest’s de­cision to leave was pos­ted on the par­ish school’s web­site. (See ht­tp://user­web.nni.com/OLC/ and click on “notes from the prin­cip­al” on the left.) The web­site didn’t spe­cify what the al­leg­a­tions were oth­er than they in­volved sexu­al ab­use of minors. 

In a state­ment re­leased Monday, Kar­en Polesir, loc­al dir­ect­or of the Sur­viv­ors Net­work of those Ab­used by Priests, said the al­leged ab­use in­volved two minors. She ac­cused the arch­diocese of not thor­oughly in­vest­ig­at­ing Paul.

“Philly Cath­ol­ic of­fi­cials — des­pite re­peated pledges to be ‘open’ — are con­tinu­ing to pre­tend to do quiet, in­tern­al in­vest­ig­a­tions in­to ac­cused pred­at­or priests without warn­ing par­ents,” Polesir stated.

“The safety and well-be­ing of our chil­dren and young people is of the ut­most con­cern to the Arch­diocese. Fath­er Paul was al­lowed to re­main at the par­ish dur­ing this time only after care­ful con­sid­er­a­tion of all avail­able facts by the Arch­dioces­an Re­view Board, the Vicar for Clergy, the Dir­ect­or of In­vest­ig­a­tions, the Dir­ect­or of the Of­fice for Child and Youth Pro­tec­tion and the Arch­bish­op,” Gav­in stated. “Throughout this time, and as a mat­ter of pre­cau­tion, Fath­er Paul’s min­istry had been re­stric­ted in that he had no un­su­per­vised con­tact with minors. Ap­pro­pri­ate no­ti­fic­a­tion of his re­stric­tions was made to per­tin­ent parties and a mon­it­or­ing and sup­port plan was im­ple­men­ted and fol­lowed.”

Gav­in said Arch­bish­op Charles Chaput ap­poin­ted the Rev. John Babowitch pas­tor of Our Lady of Cal­vary. He will as­sume his new post Dec. 2. ••

You can reach at jloftus@bsmphilly.com.

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