PHILADELPHIA – Five priests will be permanently barred from ministry after the Philadelphia archdiocese substantiated allegations of sexual abuse or inappropriate conduct, a Roman Catholic archbishop said.
Three other suspended priests will return to ministry, and another died during the investigation, Archbishop Charles Chaput said. Another 17 cases remain under review, he said Friday.
“When a child is harmed, the church has failed. When trust is lost, the church has failed. When the whole community suffers as a result, the church has failed,” Chaput said.
“We can't change the past. But I pray – and I do believe – that the lessons of the last year have made our Church humbler, wiser, and a more vigilant guardian of our people's safety.”
Four of the five cases substantiated were said to involve “boundary” or “behavioral” problems, not sexual assaults.
Yet a lawyer for one accuser said one of those four priests had raped his client at St. Timothy's Parish rectory in Philadelphia in the early 1970s.