PHILADELPHIA, December 19, 2013
Philadelphia’s priest sex abuse scandal is far from over. Last week, the Philadelphia Archdiocese released details regarding the status of seven more Philadelphia area priests. Five priests were removed from the ministry, and two priests were reinstated. One of the five priests removed from duty had previously been cleared and returned to the ministry.
The Philadelphia Priest Sex Abuse Scandal – A Brief History
In response to a February 2011 Philadelphia grand jury report regarding sexual abuse by priests, the Philadelphia Archdiocese placed 26 priests on administrative leave. According to a press release by the Archdiocese (Background Regarding Resolutions to Seven of the Cases of Priests on Administrative Leave, December 15, 2013), a special review board reviewed each case. That review board is supposedly a “confidential advisory committed to the Archbishop, which assesses allegations of sexual abuse as well as allegations of violations of the Standards of Ministerial Behavior and Boundaries.”
May 2012: Nine cases were resolved. Five priests were removed from the ministry: George Cadwallader, Francis Feret, Robert Povish, John Reardon, and Thomas Rooney. Read more about these priests.
July 2012: Six cases were resolved. Two of the six priests were removed from the ministry: John Bowe and David Givey. Read the Archdiocese’s press release about priests Bowe and Givey.
October 2012: One more case was resolved. Father Joseph DiGregorio was returned to the ministry despite a finding that he violated the standards of priest behavior roughly 40 years ago.
April 2013: Two more cases were resolved. Father Mark Gaspar and Father Joseph Gallagher were removed from the ministry due to substantiated findings of alleged violations of the standards of priest behavior.
Dec 2013: Seven more cases were resolved. The following priests were removed from ministry:
- Father Michael Chapman (substantiated finding: alleged sexual abuse of a minor),
- Father Mark Fernandes (substantiated finding: alleged violation of the standards of priest behavior),
- Father Joseph Glatts (substantiated finding: alleged violation of the standards of priest behavior),
- Father Stephen Perzan (substantiated finding: alleged violation of the standards of priest behavior), and
- Father Peter Talocci (substantiated finding: alleged violation of the standards of priest behavior).
Interestingly, Father Zachary Navitt was found suitable for ministry despite a “substantiated finding” of an alleged violation of the standards of priest behavior.
What to do if You’ve Been Sexually Abused by a Priest in Philadelphia
The Archdiocese of Philadelphia set up a Victim Assistance Office, and on its website urges anyone needing assistance in a priest abuse matter to contact the office. Any victim of priest abuse should NOT contact that office and should instead contact law enforcement. Any contact with the Victim Assistance Office of the Archdiocese is not privileged and may be used against a victim in any subsequent criminal or civil matter.
Anyone with information about priest or church abuse should speak to law enforcement. The Philadelphia District Attorney’s Special Victims Unit telephone number is 215-685-3252 and the District Attorney’s Family Violence and Sexual Assault Unit telephone number is 215-686-8080.
Related Pennsylvania Priest/Church Sex Abuse Legal Articles:
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Priest/Church Sex Abuse Lawyer
Former sex crimes unit prosecutor, Brian Kent, has devoted his entire career to helping victims of sex abuse find justice.
For a free, confidential consultation about a Pennsylvania or New Jersey priest/church sex abuse case, call 800.220.7600. Mr. Kent’s law firm has the resources and experience to handle matters outside the Pennsylvania and New Jersey area, and the firm’s sex abuse lawyers can be admitted into other states such as New York.
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