By Mike DeNardo and Pat Ciarrocchi
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Philadelphia archbishop Charles Chaput today announced the result of some of the investigations of abuse by priests within the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, even as other cases remain under investigation by civil law enforcement authorities.
Chaput said the archdiocese is nearly finished with its investigation of the cases of 26 priests who were publicly placed on leave last year (see related story). Today, Chaput announced the results of eight of those investigations.
Listen to or download the entire press conference at the Archdiocese of Philadelphia (runs 1:10:00)…
Five of the cases of abuse by priests have been ruled “substantiated” by archdiocesan officials, and those priests have been declared unsuitable for ministry. The other three were ruled “unsubstantiated,” and those priests have been declared suitable for ministry. One priest died during the investigation of him and the archdiocese issued no ruling in his case.
The other 17 cases will not be announced today, Chaput said.
Those five priests declared unsuitable for ministry can appeal to Rome, after which they might be defrocked or might retain their status as priests while living in a supervised capacity.
One of the five substantiated cases, involving Rev. John Reardon, was for the sexual abuse of a minor. The other four substantiated cases were for “violating the boundaries of ministerial behavior.”
Chaput added that civil authorities are still reviewing six cases of alleged abuse by priests and that those cases have not yet been cleared by authorities for investigation by the Church.
The church’s investigatory panel, headed by former assistant Philadelphia district attorney Gina Maisto-Smith (below), interviewed more than 225 witnesses and reviewed more than 400,000 documents before coming to its findings.
Meanwhile, two priests are currently on trial in Philadelphia. Rev. James Brennan is accused of sexually abusing a ten-year-old boy, and Msgr. William Lynn is charged with endangering children by not removing priests accused of sex crimes from ministry (see related stories).