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Philadelphia Archdiocese announces more priests removed for conduct

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
April 8th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

The Archdiocese of Philadelphia has permanently removed three priests from ministry following allegations of child sexual abuse. The move was slow in coming, however is a step in the right direction for the Archdiocese which is now expected to take a more aggressive role in dealing with suspected pedophile clergy.

PHILADELPHIA, PA (Catholic Online) - The Archdiocese has announced that Jospeh Gallagher and Mark Gaspar were both removed from ministry following a 2011 report from a grand jury that said both men were likely involved in child endangerment.

The report was particularly critical of Gallagher because in February 2011 he was still in ministry despite the allegations against him. This was because the Archdiocese had launched its own investigation and concluded that there were no substantiated claims against him.

Gallagher's accuser committed suicide in 2009 after accusations against the priest were dismissed by the Archdiocese.

Gallagher, 78, will not face criminal charges. However, subsequent review by the Archdiocese has resulted in Gallagher, along with other priests, being permanently removed from the ministry.

A third individual, Monsignor Richard Powers, was suspended after his name appeared on a list of priests who had been earlier accused of sexual abuse.

That list held by the Archdiocese has been taken seriously by Archbishop Charles Chaput. The Archdiocese says that all priests on the list were either deceased, removed from ministry, or were sent to live "a life of prayer and penance." The list contains dozens of names. At least one of the individuals on the list has been arrested and is now imprisoned.

The current announcement follows the conviction and imprisonment of Monsignor William Lynn and three others. Lynn is serving three to six years in prison for his role in covering up accusations against priests and transferring them to different parishes where they continued to abuse children.

Lynn was the Secretary of the Clergy for the Archdiocese.

A new order from Pope Francis is sending the Bishops of every diocese in the world to work on drafting better policies to protect children. No child should face abuse at church, particularly at the hands of the clergy. New reforms in how the Church handles accusations will do much to hasten the demise of the outgoing culture of secrecy that protected suspected pedophiles in the past.

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