21 Catholic US priests suspended

2011-03-09 13:34

Philadelphia - The Philadelphia archdiocese suspended 21 Roman Catholic priests on Tuesday who were named as child molestation suspects in a scathing grand jury report last month, a move that comes more than eight years after US bishops pledged swift action to keep potential abusers away from young people.

The priests have been removed from the ministry while their cases are reviewed, Cardinal Justin Rigali said. The names of the priests were not being released, a spokesperson for the archdiocese said.

"These have been difficult weeks since the release of the grand jury report," Rigali said in a statement. "[It is] difficult most of all for victims of sexual abuse but also for all Catholics and for everyone in our community."

The two-year grand jury investigation into priest abuse in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia resulted in charges against two priests, a former priest and a Catholic school teacher who are accused of raping young boys.

37 abusive active priests named

And in an unprecedented move in the US, a former high-ranking church official was accused of transferring problem priests to new parishes without warning anyone of prior sex-abuse complaints.

Since 2002, when the national abuse crisis erupted in the Archdiocese of Boston, American dioceses have barred hundreds of accused clergy from public church work or removed the men permanently from the priesthood.

The actions of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia stand out because they occurred years after the US bishops reformed their national child protection policies.

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.

Trust in Church shaken

There were five other priests who would have been suspended: one who was already on leave, two who are "incapacitated and have not been in active ministry", and two who no longer are priests in the archdiocese but are now members of another religious order that was not identified.

"The archdiocese has notified the superiors of their religious orders and the bishops of the dioceses where they are residing," the cardinal said.

The remaining eight priests of the 37 in the report were not being put on leave because the latest examination of their cases "found no further investigation is warranted," Rigali said.
"I know that for many people their trust in the church has been shaken," Rigali stated. "I pray that the efforts of the archdiocese to address these cases of concern and to re-evaluate our way of handling allegations will help rebuild that trust."

While the archdiocese formed a panel to handle abuse complaints after the 2005 report, the 2011 grand jury found it mostly worked to protect the church, not the victims.

Rigali responded by retaining former city child-abuse prosecutor Gina Maisto Smith to re-examine complaints made against the active-duty priests that internal church investigators previously said they could not substantiate.

"Cardinal Rigali's actions are as commendable as they are unprecedented, and they reflect his concern for the physical and spiritual well-being of those in his care," District Attorney Seth Williams said in a statement. "We appreciate that the Archdiocese has acknowledged the value of the report, and seen fit to take some of the steps called for by the grand jury."

The suspensions came on the eve of Lent, the Christian period for penance leading up to Easter.

‘Protecting priests, not parishes’

Peter Isely of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests said Rigali should have suspended the priests much sooner.

"There's a simple reason that dozens of credibly accused child molesters have recklessly been kept in unsuspecting parishes for years, instead of being promptly suspended. It's because Rigali and his top aides want it that way," he said.

"They have taken and still take steps to protect, above all else, themselves, their secrets and their staff, instead of their flock. That's what two separate Philadelphia grand juries, working with two prosecutors, after two long investigations, found over the last six years."

Rigali's move to suspend the priests "was forced on him by the Philadelphia grand jury report, and is an act of desperation, not transparency," Terence McKiernan of said.

"In Philadelphia, a Catholic official had to be indicted before the archdiocese finally began to comply with its own policies," he said.

"We have no reason to believe that Philadelphia is unusual - in other US dioceses, credibly accused priests are no doubt still in ministry, and review boards are protecting priests instead of protecting children."

  • Felix - 2011-03-09 14:03

    Paedophiladelphia! Fricking preists, what's wrong with you?!

  • LoveJesus - 2011-03-09 14:18

    Paedophilia is the main activity amongst satanists, this is how they enter into the service of satan and the very darkest places no sane person can stomach. Why it is allowed for the catholic church to be called a christian denomination is beyond me! What is even more scary is that the NG church, a traditional reformed church, is merging with it's "dreaded stephmom" in Rome! The Roman Catholic church is and always was a pagan institution and the first ever to hi-jack the Devine Scriptures of the Almighty YHVH Elohim, to promote itself! You have no idea how good those priests has it, the more little boys lives they destroy, the more esteem and respected they become in the "under world of the insane"! It is so sick, you cannot imagine!

      gb2161 - 2011-03-09 14:28

      Pot meet kettle. Do you honestly believe that a cosmic Jewish zombie that is his own father can make you live forever if you symbolically eat his flesh and telepathically tell him you accept him as your master, so he can remove an evil force from your soul that is present in all humanity because a rib-woman was convinced to eat from a magical tree by an infinitely sadistic being disguised as a talking snake with legs. Madness, pure madness and ultimately pathetic.

      x - 2011-03-09 14:36

      LOl really the main activity amongst satanists??? Where do you get this from? Peadophilia has nothing to do with any imaginary friend or foe; but is a person with criminal sexual deviations that need to be locked up as far as I am concerned. It is not satan or whatever evil foe you wish to conjure up; it is just really bad people.

      armosyn - 2011-03-09 14:38

      gb2161, whether it is true, or not, is not the issue here. The issue is how sick is the catholic church for you.

      ocon777 - 2011-03-09 14:48

      gb2161 - it is not symbolic - it IS. One day you might understand, but till then keep up your hatred, despise the truth and and enjoy the little time you have left on earth. Look for the truth and the answers and they will come. Peace be with you.

      Breathe - 2011-03-09 16:08

      Pot, that was totally out of line.

  • jeremy - 2011-03-09 14:24

    Cathlicism should be banned outright until it moves into the 21st Century and allows its priests to marry. Maybe then they wouldn't be tempted to bugger little boys. And while it's about it, Catholicism could also rethink its stance on abortion and condoms!

      Hesap Oes - 2011-03-09 16:52

      Most, if not all, organised religions should be banned. We can think for ourselves, decide what is right and wrong and live a spiritual life. Not have to be somewhere at a certain time (Sunday church) and ask a mere mortal (priest) for forgiveness and then go on your merry way. I can go on far hours how the organised religion is a farce but I think that most people secretly know this anyway but have been indoctrinated enough not to say anything. PS With all the poverty in this world, the Catholic Church is one of the richest "companies" around, and look at the Rhema Church, for another example. Pure hyprocracy!!

      marc.dhotman - 2011-03-10 09:24

      You get Catholic priests that are married, people get your facts right. Some priests do however take an oath not to marry. Oh and for the idiot who says Im wrong check it out for yourself. St patricks in benoni has a married priest there.

      marc.dhotman - 2011-03-10 09:25

      Oh and I don't see the Catholic church saying "sure its ok to kill little babies"

  • Sam Burg - 2011-03-09 14:25

    Why so few comments?? It has nothing to do with all these freaks being white

  • Sam Burg - 2011-03-09 14:26

    Its a well established fact that most homosexuals are white.

      Felix - 2011-03-09 15:00

      *Yawn* I guess you feel like a racial debate?

      x - 2011-03-09 15:53

      LOL and most peadophiles are hetero. You are sad with your facts. I agree with felix... very yawn.

  • gb2161 - 2011-03-09 14:26

    21 in a single city. And Papa Ratzi claims his delusional gullible followers have moral authority. The Catholic church, that's the Mafia in frocks! The same methods are employed by both organisations, in fact I believe the Mafia learned their tricks from the Catholic church. Fear Extortion Intimidation Protection racket Kiddie gropers and rapers

  • Mike Webber - 2011-03-09 14:26

    For centuries the Catholic priests have practised sodomy. Thousand of children have been the victims of homosexual priests. Pity the Vatican and it's sins are only being exposed now. So many lives ruined ...

      armosyn - 2011-03-09 14:39

      and people still attend church.. How crazy is that?

  • Phronck - 2011-03-09 14:48

    Read the John Jay report, indepedent study done on child abuse in the Catholic Church covering all priests in the US from 1950 to 2004, of which only 4 % were accused of child abuse of which half or 2% falls into the paedophilia category. Hardly a big number. Another statistic which the media don't bother printing is that 68% of all child abuse in the US happens in the home. So basically your child is safer in the arms of a priest than a dad. I think you should consider your family environment before pointing fingers at Catholic priests.

  • Currie_Mafia - 2011-03-09 14:52

    That Pope chap must do something about his sub-ordinates... The Catholic Church is a paedophilia haven/heaven...Shame, instead of fasting for lente, they were being bent !

  • Zee - 2011-03-09 15:07

    Catholics - bad bunch aren't they!

  • ocon777 - 2011-03-09 15:08

    I have a company but my secretary is totally useless and made a huge error that costs the company lots. For that 1 person the whole company suffers. Does that mean the organisation as a whole is bad because of 1 person? Are the rest of them also as useless as her? What do you do? You fire the secretary and carry on with business according to your mission and goals. Oh wait I forgot, its just a whole lot easier to paint people with the same brush instead of taking the effort to find out the real cause of the problem. Like all whites are racist and all blacks are dumb.

      james4usa - 2011-03-09 15:16

      Problem is the Corrupt Church covered it up and it has cost them close to a Billion $. Black IQ in US is 15 points below whites, H/School dropout is 50%. Their DNA is within 3%of Ocean Invertebrate Src. any Bio Chemist with PHD in Nano Tech.

  • CorneN - 2011-03-09 15:22

    Putting an end to Clerical Celibacy might put an end to this?

      oxygen - 2011-03-09 15:48

      Putting an end to religion full stop.

      marc.dhotman - 2011-03-10 09:38

      Statistics show there are more abuses by married men then single ones.

  • Breathe - 2011-03-09 16:07

    I'd be interested to know how long the hierachy have been covering for them.

  • roboman1 - 2011-03-09 16:14

    I have been a Catholic for over 40 years, and was a young alter boy many years ago. I used to be in boarding school and attend the local catholic church. I was never abused and never felt any threat whatsover. So yes it happens, but do not tar everyone with the same brush. I am no longer a church goer or even a christian for that matter, but do feel that the truth should be told anyway. And I am glad they banning those molesters, they need to be ruthless with them

  • capetonian - 2011-03-09 17:10

    What you are reading about here is probably just the tip of the iceberg, so to speak! In my small circle of friends at least one has attended a Christian Brothers College, and while he personally had not experienced any abuse, he knew of at least several who did. So this is pretty much a world wide phenomena for this crowd. NO child should be exposed to any religious indoctrination, at home or at school. They should be allowed to develope without any teachings in superstitious ignorance - and, as educated adults, free to make an informed decision on religion.

  • pat.torngren - 2013-01-03 16:55

    There is no precedent in the bible for priests to be celibate (that was added later). If we dam up people's sex drive -- a normal healthy part of every person -- then this important and healthy part of people will be expressed in unnatural ways. It is time for the Roman Catholic Church to stop expecting priests to be celibate. The instructions given in the bible were, "Let the minister of the congregation be the husband of one wife." (For LGBT I would say "of one partner"). Until the Roman Catholic church admits that celibacy is not instructed in the bible, these problems are going to continue.

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