Reporting Mark Abrams
By Mark Abrams
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Philadelphia’s Archbishop Charles Chaput is set to appear at a news conference this afternoon to disclose the fate of some of the 27 priests suspended by his predecessor because of allegations of sexual abuse or other misconduct.
The Archdiocese of Philadelphia says Archbishop Chaput is to appear for the briefing in the Archdiocese headquarters in Center City at 2 this afternoon.
KYW Newsradio has learned he will announce the disposition of some, but not all of the cases of the priests suspended by Cardinal Justin Rigali back in March 2011, following the release of a second Philadelphia grand jury report on clergy sex abuse.
The report questioned why the Archdiocese allowed more than two dozen priests to remain in active ministry when it appeared credible allegations had been made against them.
The men were not named in the grand jury report, but their names eventually surfaced.
Rigali hired Gina Smith, a former child abuse prosecutor in the DA’s office, to investigate the cases and the archdiocese has said nothing since about her work.
Chaput said in a published column in March he hoped to see the cases resolved within two months.
But David Clohessy, executive director of the Chicago-based Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), says Smith’s review is delaying action by Chaput.
“The simple, undeniable bottom line is that the archbishop is in charge of the priests’ personnel files and he can put in those files or take out of those files anything he wants.”
He isn’t confident today’s announcement will bring justice.
“There will be some priests put back in ministry, more priests who won’t be put back in ministry. But, fundamentally, the public will know much less about these child-molesting clerics than they should.”
Clohessy says Chaput has to lift the veil of secrecy.
“It would be unconscionable if he didn’t name names. If a priest has been suspended and is not returning to work because of criminal child sex abuse allegations, people absolutely need to know who he is and where he is.”
The archdiocese has declined comment, saying Chaput will be the one doing the talking this afternoon.