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Jan 162014

To date, 14 Philadelphia area priests have been removed from the ministry, mostly due to substantiated violations of priest behavior standards. The Philadelphia Archdiocese has not released any specific details about the reasons why these 14 priests were removed, other than a generic explanation of a “substantiated finding” of an “alleged violation.”

Failing to release any details about the substantiated findings does a real disservice to the general public and members of each of the parishes where these 14 priests spent time. Revealing the details of what occurred and when it occurred can help other victims come forward, and does not require breaching any identifying information about victims of any past behavior. Once again, by hiding the details, the Archdiocese effectively protects itself and its priests, over the well-being of past, present and future victims of priest sexual abuse.

A Call on the Philadelphia Archdiocese – Revealing Details of Each Priest’s Removal Can Help More Victims

As one of the largest religious institutions in the world, the Catholic Church holds a grave responsibility to its followers, not its priests. Priests hold immense power over their congregants, especially children. Therefore, sexual abuse, or any abuse for that matter, does incredible harm, not only mentally, emotionally and physically, but also spiritually. Those who’ve been sexually abused by priests often report that the worst part of their abuse is that they feel spiritually dead. For many victims of priest sex abuse, this is one of the hardest things to overcome.

Suggested: Philadelphia Priest Sex Abuse Scandal – More Priests Removed from Ministry (Dec. 2013 Update)

Over the course of the last two years, the Philadelphia Archdiocese’s response to the endemic problem of priest sex abuse has been lukewarm at best. Conducting an investigation is the first step, and removing priests who were found to have committed sexual abuse or committed violations of priest behavior standards is of course the next step. There is a third and more important step – helping additional victims come forward by encouraging an open and honest dialogue, which can only be accomplished by revealing the specific facts of each allegation.

Moreover, a majority of the 26 initial priests who were placed on leave were removed, a total of 14 priests. This is a clear majority, which underscores a serious problem. Simply removing these priests does nothing to address the bigger picture. The Church must send a clear message to current and future priests – that any inappropriate behavior will be met with swift action, including full disclosure to the public.


Brian Kent is a former sex crimes unit prosecutor who has helped many victims of sex abuse in the criminal courts. He now represents victims of sex abuse in civil courts. With offices in PA, NJ, NY and DE, his firm, Laffey, Bucci & Kent helps victims throughout the NE area. Our lawyers may also help victims of sexual abuse in other states on a case by case basis. Please call for a FREE consultation. 800.220.7600
 Posted by on January 16, 2014 Priest/Pastor Sex Abuse