PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - As Roman Catholics marked Ash Wednesday, 21 priests suspended by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia a day earlier for alleged sexual abuse claims were identified.
On Tuesday, the Archdiocese announced the suspension from ministry of 21 priests cited by a Philadelphia Grand Jury report last month as ducking what the panel believed were credible accusations of abuse.
A statement issued by the Archdiocese says Cardinal Justin Rigali suspended the priests from active ministry pending a further review of allegations of child sex abuse raised against the priests but dismissed by an archdiocesan review board which ruled those complaints not credible.
A source has confirmed to CBSPhilly the following list of priests who were suspended by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia:
Monsignor John A. Close of St. Catherine of Siena in Wayne, Pa.
Father Mark Fernandes of St. Agnes Roman Catholic Church in Sellersville, Pa.
Monsignor J. Michael Flood of St. Luke the Evangelist in Glenside, Pa.
Rev. Joseph M. Glatts of SS. Simon and Jude in West Chester, Pa.
Rev. Steven J. Harris of St. Issac Jogues Catholic Church in Wayne, Pa.
Rev. Daniel J. Hoy of Our Lady of the Assumption in Strafford, Pa.
Fr. Andrew McCormick of Sacred Heart in Swedesburg, Pa.
Fr. Peter Talocci of St. Patrick’s in Malvern, Pa.
Fr. Phillip Barr of St. Edmond Parish in Philadelphia
Fr. John Bowe of St. Joseph in Warrington, Pa.
Fr. George Cadwallader of St. Vincent De Paul in Richboro, Pa.
Fr. Paul Castellani of St. Philomena in Lansdowne, Pa.
Fr. Michael Chapman of Ascension of Our Lord in Philadelphia
Msgr. Frances Feret of St. Adalbert’s Church in Philadelphia
Fr. Mark Gaspar of Our Lady of Charity in Brookhaven, Pa.
Msgr. Joseph Logrip of Mary, Mother of the Redeemer in North Wales, Pa.
Fr. Zachary Navit of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Doylestown, Pa.
Fr. Leonard Peterson of St. Maria Goretti Parish in Hatfield, Pa.
Fr. Robert Povish of St. Eleanor in Collegeville, Pa.
Fr. John Reardon of St. John of the Cross in Roslyn, Pa.
Fr. Thomas J. Rooney of St. Timothy in Philadelphia, Pa.
On February 16th, Rigali announced that three priests — Father Joseph DiGregoria, Father Joseph Gallagher, and Father Stephen Perzan, all of whom were specifically named in the Grand Jury report — were being suspended from public exercise of their ministry pending a second review of their cases.
At that time, Rigali stated that the Archdiocese planned a re-review of the 34 other cases of priest child sex abuse cited by the Grand Jury’s review of those files as being credible.
According to the statement from the Archdiocese, five other priests would have been subject to suspension, but one is already on leave and two others are said to be incapacitated and have not been in active ministry.
Two others are members of a religious order which has not been identified and are no longer serving in the Archdiocese, according to the statement. But their superiors have been notified as well as bishops of the dioceses where they are living.
The Archdiocese says the eight remaining priests cited by the Grand Jury will not be suspended and that the initial independent examination of those cases found no further investigation warranted.
Due to the statute of limitations, none of the priests will face criminal charges.
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On Tuesday, Cardinal Rigali released a statement that read in part: “I know that for many people their trust in the church has been shaken.” “The 2011 grand jury report … presented us with serious concerns that demand a decisive response.”
Many people expressed their dissatisfaction and anger with the way the scandal has been handled by church officials.
“It’s like they’re trying more to protect their priests and their reputation than to protect their children and their parishioners,” said Barbara Hedgecock, of Treydiffrin Township.
And Bob Pisani, a parishioner of St. Katharine of Siena in Wayne where Monsignor John Close was pastor, had this to say: “It’s just a really sad thing. I think we’re really upset by it. As a member of the church it’s really hard to see that happen.”
Rigali’s actions Tuesday were recommended by Gina Maisto Smith, a former Philadelphia assistant DA who handled sex abuse crimes while a prosecutor. She was hired last month after the Grand Jury report to advise the Archdiocese on these matters.
David Clohessy, executive director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (“SNAP”), calls Rigali’s move a long overdue step which will make children safer in the short term.
But he says much more remains to be done.
“Suspending credibly accused child molesters is just a smart defense move and it’s great PR and it’s something, frankly, that Rigali has no choice but to do,” Clohessy told KYW Newsradio.
Sources say the suspended priests began getting notifications Monday morning and were told to clear out of their parishes by 5 p.m. Monday.
The announcement came on the eve of Ash Wednesday, the start of the Roman Catholic Church’s 40-day observance of Lent, a time of penance, prayer and sacrifice.