Five Philadelphia priests suspended, one accused of sexual abuse

Sun Dec 15, 2013 7:41pm EST
 
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By Dave Warner

PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) - The Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia, battered since 2011 by a high-profile child sex abuse scandal, said on Sunday it had placed another five priests on administrative leave, including one accused of sexual abuse.

Following a church investigation Archbishop Charles J. Chaput determined that there was a substantiated case of sexual abuse of a minor against a 58-year-old priest identified as Michael A. Chapman, according to a church statement. It gave no further details on the allegation.

Chapman was not immediately available for comment.

The other four suspended priests were determined to have violated standards of behavior and boundaries, the church said without elaborating. A church document defines one of the boundaries as pertaining to appropriate behavior with children.

The church said it had already reported the allegations against the men to the Philadelphia district attorney's office, and an archdiocese spokesman said he was not aware of any criminal charges against the men.

Calls to the district attorney's office were not immediately returned on Sunday.

The move means the suspended priests can have no public ministry, administer sacraments, wear clerical garb or present themselves as priests. All the suspensions announced on Sunday have been in effect for some time, with four of them dating back to 2011.

The allegations against the five grew out of a 2011 Philadelphia grand jury report that ended with the jailing of Monsignor William Lynn, the highest-ranking U.S. Catholic Church official convicted in a child sex abuse scandal.   Continued...