Two Philadelphia priests barred from ministry after abuse probe

Reuters News
Posted: Jul 06, 2012 7:38 PM
Two Philadelphia priests barred from ministry after abuse probe

By Dave Warner

PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) - The Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia has barred two priests from ministry, meaning they will not be allowed to perform duties such as saying Mass, after its latest review of suspected child sex abuse cases in the church.

The announcement on Friday by Archbishop Charles Chaput was the latest development in a broader investigation into sexual abuse that was prompted by a 2011 grand jury probe.

The review examined six cases of priests, all of whom had been placed on administrative leave, and cleared four of them. The other two were found to have violated the "standards of ministerial behavior and boundaries."

Chaput said the review did not find that either of the two priests had sexually abused a minor. Detailed accusations against them were not made public.

In May, the church found five priests unsuitable for ministry as part of the same investigation. It said a dozen more cases are under review.

The announcement came two weeks after Monsignor William Lynn, who was in effect personnel manager for 800 priests in the Philadelphia Archdiocese, was convicted of covering up child sex abuse. He is now in awaiting sentencing, which could be as long as seven years.

"I think the whole system is inadequate," said lawyer Marci Hamilton, who represents seven alleged sex abuse victims in civil cases against the archdiocese.

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"It's a sham system that has no transparency," she said of the internal investigations.

Chaput said in a statement that the review was conducted by teams of experts, including people outside the Church.

"The experience of these doctors, police officers, former prosecutors, victims' advocates and others in dealing with the broad societal problem of sexual abuse was crucial to our work," Chaput said in the statement.

(Editing by Paul Thomasch and Peter Cooney)