Wednesday, March 09, 2011

It's a Start - Philadelphia Cardinal Benches 21 Priests

The Archdiocese of Philadelphia has suspended 21-RC priests identified as suspected child abusers in a grand jury report.

The two-year grand jury investigation into abuse in the archdiocese of Philadelphia resulted in charges against two priests, a former priest and a Catholic schoolteacher who are accused of raping boys. A former high-ranking church official was accused of transferring problem priests to new parishes without revealing they had been the subject of sex abuse complaints.

Since 2002, when the national abuse crisis erupted in the archdiocese of Boston, US dioceses have barred hundreds of accused clergymen from public church work or removed them permanently from the priesthood. However, the archdiocese of Philadelphia has only taken action now.

The grand jury named 37 priests who remained in active ministry despite credible allegations of sexual abuse. After the release of the report, the second such investigation in the city in six years, Rigali vowed to take its calls for further reforms seriously.

In addition to the 21 priests placed on leave on Tuesday, three others named by the grand jury were suspended a week after the report's release in February. Five other priests would have been suspended but one was already on leave, two were "  incapacitated and have not been in active ministry"   and two were no longer priests in the archdiocese but were members of another religious order that was not identified.

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