By the CNN Wire Staff
Philadelphia (CNN) – Twenty-one priests have been placed on administrative leave following a review of suspected child sexual abuse by members of the Catholic Church in Philadelphia, according to a statement from the city's archbishop.
The church investigated 37 priests identified in a grand jury report as remaining in "active ministry with credible allegations of child sexual abuse," according to Cardinal Justin Rigali.
In addition to the 21 announced Tuesday, three other priests have already been placed on administrative leave after the report was released in February, Rigali said.
Five others would have been subject to administrative leave, he added, but one was already on leave and two others are considered "incapacitated" and have not been in active ministry. Two other priests no longer serve in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, but the church has "notified the superiors of their religious orders and the bishops of the dioceses where they are residing," he said.
"I want to be clear: These administrative leaves are interim measures," Rigali said in a written statement. "They are not in any way final determinations or judgments."
The cardinal added that he wished "to express again my sorrow for the sexual abuse of minors committed by any members of the church, especially clergy."
"I am truly sorry for the harm done to the victims of sexual abuse, as well as to the members of our community who suffer as a result of this great evil and crime," he said.
In February, three Philadelphia priests and a parochial school teacher were charged with raping and assaulting boys in their care, while a former official with the Philadelphia Archdiocese was accused of allowing the abusive priests to have access to children, the city's district attorney's office said.
CNN Senior Vatican Analyst John Allen said the charges against the former church official appeared to be unprecedented and could have national implications.
"This is apparently the first time that a Catholic leader has been charged criminally for the cover-up as opposed to the abuse itself," he said. "It sends a shot across the bow for bishops and other diocesan officials in other parts of the country, who have to wonder now if they've got criminal exposure, too."
Edward Avery, 68, and Charles Engelhardt, 64, were charged with allegedly assaulting a 10-year-old boy at St. Jerome Parish from 1998 to 1999.
Bernard Shero, 48, a teacher in the school, is charged with allegedly assaulting the same boy there in 2000, Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams said at a press conference in February.
James Brennan, another priest, is accused of assaulting a different boy, a 14-year-old, in 1996.
Monsignor William Lynn, who served as the secretary for clergy for the then-Philadelphia Archbishop Anthony Bevilacqua, was charged with two counts of endangering the welfare of a child in connection with the alleged assaults, Williams said.
From 1992 until 2004, Lynn was responsible for investigating reports that priests had sexually abused children, the district attorney's office said.
The grand jury found that Lynn, 60, endangered children, including the alleged victims of those charged last week, by knowingly allowing dangerous priests to continue in the ministry in roles in which they had access to kids.
Avery, Engelhardt and Shero were charged with rape, indecent sexual assault and other criminal counts following the results of the grand jury investigation of clergy sexual abuse, Williams said. The names of the alleged victims, who are now in their 20s, have not been publicly released.
The grand jury believed that more than 30 priests remained in ministry in Pennsylvania despite solid, credible allegations of abuse, according to Williams.
Williams on Tuesday said Rigali's actions "are as commendable as they are unprecedented."
"Going forward, in cases involving allegations of abuse by clergy, my office and the Philadelphia police will investigate, and where appropriate we will charge and prosecute. I intend to use the resources of this office to the greatest extent possible to protect the children of Philadelphia," Williams said in a statement.
"In those cases where allegations are not prosecutable because of the statute of limitations or some other reason, we encourage the Archdiocese to take the necessary and proper steps to protect the children for whom they are responsible, as they have done here."
The catholic church is so out of touch with reality. when is this crap going to be addressed. The church is attracting gay men and pedofile men as clergy. Why can't they see the light? Let's let priests have a normal life and marry and serve the church. Where do they get this stupid idea that priests must be single and celibant. What a stupid, stupid idea. What the pope really needs more than anything else is a piece of axx!
Reposting, so Gerald see's my post back to his arrogant question
Are you a protestant? Do revel togerald
@Gerald....Actually, no Gerald, I am a Catholic. A disgusted Catholic. One who is sick and tired of these criminals that are left off the hook, and covered up by our church!
I love what Jesus Christ ordained, and his church, but we are not exactly been pillars of faith, nor without spot, wrinkle, or stain, either. There is a person who keeps saying we are the church that Jesus spoke of, and granted. But, who has brought the "whoa" to scandalize our church?
Or, assuming you are Catholic (?), are you one who looks the other way? To say that its only a "small percentage" of priests that get caught in these shameful acts, is absurd.
Do you condone this, too? Does making a comparision of how many others commit these atrocities, make the Catholic Church "ok" by comparison?
Do you personally know anyone that was abused by a priest? Because I do. The person was suffering for most of his life, because of it. Even when it comes out, the pain of it never goes completely away!
You need to get your head out of the sand. You seem like one that would look the other way, for fear of bringing scorn to the church. Just remember, its the ones who commits the crimes that are respnsible for this. However, we are just as guilty if we don't condemn this by doing something about it. Looking the other way, is not what I have in mind, either.
To stand up for the church that God founded, is not to condone its sins that are being committed. If so, we better get those stones ready that will be tied around our necks.
Here is a reminder:
“Do you see this little one?” He asked. “Anybody who can become like a child, trusting and humble, that person will become the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven. Whoever takes care of a child and teaches him or her about me, has also welcomed Me but anyone who hurts child, or teach him or her not to trust in me will be in terrible trouble. It would be better for them if a huge stone were tied around their neck and someone threw them into the water
D0 not put gays in a class with "pedofiles.
Shame, shame, shame. No sympathy for any of the accused. As a former daily communicant, I say when people say the church has been good for two thousand years....just the opposite!
The one on the bottom right is about to spew pea soup all over the room.
These guys were just following the new Church program No Child's Behind Left.
The devil made them do it...
Some of you need a spell checker, desperately.
i think that all catholic churches should be shut down until they get rid of all child molesters. i want to know how they can act so pious on Sunday's, giving people holy sacrements for communion. like the bible states in the latter day things like this would come to happen, the priests are devils in disguise. how can they hear confession and forgive people of their sins when they are living in sin. it's a disgrace for these monsters to call theirselves men of GOD, when they prey on little boys how sick!!!
They can do it because people keep showing up at the pews. Fear and guilt are strong motivators.
Still just the tip of the iceburg. Grew up a good Catholic boy. Altar Boy, 10 years of catechism. Never had a problem. But, I used to hear stories. The Catholic church has been fraught with corruption since before the Crusades, going back to Pope Gregory. During the Crusades, Pope's weren't priests, they were generals. The problems continue, but in other areas. Corruption, all the same. Now we've got the political, religious zealots to deal with. Have they learned nothing from the past?
The catholic church always has been and will be the church of pedofiles. All religions commit atrocities and cover them up through lies, misdirection or attribute them to "god's will". Religious texts truly are weapons of mass distruction. The only people in church are liars and thieves.
That's ok though. Their evil will be exposed, and the scam will be foiled. Humanity will triumph over those who would dare to act against our innocents. We will have justice!
Correct. Hopefully more people will catch on. Especially law enforcement. They go to church too.
Children are our most precious resource. Keep them close and protect them fiercely!!
AHAHAHHH heres another one! keep your kids close. thats what the priests did you sicko
It's too bad the Catholic church doesn't worry about real live children as much as it does about unborn children!!!!
I'm Catholic, and Amen to that!!!!
Is the one on the lower right "Heaven Sent" or "CW"? Or maybe that's "Justina O"?
I doubt Justina is that cute.
You're probably right. But none of them is as ugly as Heaven Stinker.
Time for an uprising in the Catholic Church like they are having in the Middle East.
Another 21 reasons to really ask some hard questions of those at the top of the Catholic Church. It is about time that criminal charges are brought against those accused – if found guilty there should be prison time with no chance of parole until all the time has been served. There is a special place in hell for them as they abused a sacred trust and caused their victims to suffer a living hell here on earth. Do they still burn folks at the stake – be a great halftime show at an Eagles game !!
It's not only Catholic priests, but it seems that's where most of the molesters are.
Its not it just gets the most media.
The CC is the only church is the only one that has the resources $$$$ to go after – the Roman Catholic priests are not the only clergy out there abusing and misusing their position to take advantage of the vulnerable. There are plenty of rabbi's, ministers and clergy out there who are just as guilty. All the money the CC has paid out in settlements would have fed thousands – vaccinated millions. Their sins are sins against humanity.
You wouldn't say that if it was your child that was molested. Thank god for that.
child abusers are found wherever they can find access to children. They are drawn to any vocation that will give them physical access to helpless children who have no rights under the law. If these abusers can get a form of "in loco parentis" rights, as clergy, teachers, coaches, and anything like that, they might act on their distorted lusts with impunity.
With the Catholic Church having "god's own influence" on vast numbers of believers and being a haven for child molesters throughout history, we naturally see a large percentage of this crime all the way to the top in this religious organization.
Youth pastors often get busted, too, in the Protestant sects. They had more than a "special touch" with the kids, you see.
Yet how many priests are even arrested? Very few compared to the criminal complaints given by a multltude of victims.
The Boy Scouts are now severely anti-gay as a result, yet I am sure there are many who were never accused of their crimes. Many victims will never speak out. Their trust has been betrayed beyond their ability to speak about it, and any religious influence will be brought to bear to ensure they will not speak. The crime is hidden but the damage is expressed in typical ways by the victim. The problem is huge, but it deals with not only se-x, but religion and all that implies, so nothing is done and the criminals find more victims and more criminals come along and join in.
If your church hides your crimes, is that not a crime itself? Of course it is. Religion is not a free pass to commit any crime you feel like committing, but that doesn't stop anyone who can twist their religion in any direction. Just interpret things that way and off we go to pedoland!
No it's just covered up when they do it in synagogs and islamic centers...
This is why the Pedophile Priests and Evangelical Horn Dogs (Rev. Tedd Haggard, Jimmy Swaggart etc.) should have no say on the morals of this Country as they now are trying to change our children’s textbooks saying the Earth is only 10,000 years old, creationism hogwash and praying for Armageddon to hurry up so “Dad” will fly down from the clouds and save us!!! – It’s time for the scientific and rational people of the US to keep these Modern Day Carpet Baggers out of our Classroom!!! – thank God for Cable TV News and the internet that keeps exposing these phonies with their Middle Age view on the world not to mention their phony piety all the while preying on the youth of this Nation!!! – Galileo “Thou art avenged”
If you'll do a little reseach you'll find out that all our government leaders are members of the same organization teaching such lies. It's a secret order that had Jesus put to death because he spoken against them and judgment will come for them soon.
Fascinating! – Mel56 what is the name of that group? – Thanks!
Anyone else find it odd that it's only Catholic priests that are child molestors? And that people are still going to church?
Its more likely that a kid will get molested at public school. The Catholic Church gets all the attention because the leadership was covering it up.
Yes I do find it odd... because that's not true.
If look at the stats for offending among Catholic priests, rabbis, imams, protestant ministers, etc. the percentages are lower in pretty much every category for Catholic priests. The offense rate is also lower than society in general.
I'm not saying that it excuses the fact that holy men are performing one of my most vile betrayals of trusts possible, but a little perspective is always a good thing.
I believe that most of the molesting Priests become a Catholic Priest because they know the Vatican will turn a blind eye to them. They know they wouldn't have that luck in other religions.
This is the same sect of Christianity that was in denial about not being the center of the universe and calling Galileo a heretic and murdering him, "destroying evil" by burning witches at the stake, shoving hot pokers up people's behinds during the Inquisition. Gee, what's not to like about Catholics? Historically, they are just your average people who never wanted to bother nobody.
No, it isn't odd at all. You have to think about the pool of people that actually want to be priests. They have to want to be celibate and spend time with young boys, isolated from women their own age. Why do you think so many pedophiles are Boy Scout troop leaders? They have to actively want to go on trips with young boys. It's a preying ground. The RCC's active and known protection program from the proper authorities across the globe certainly helped in recruiting pedophiles – they knew they'd have protection from the organization. I am not surprised at all, sir.
No.People are dumb
Does the Pope protect pedophile priest child molestors? Hell yeah!!
Only Catholic priests are celibate and not allowed to marry.
But all religon is fake and the fact that the people who are responsible for "spreading the word", are the ones who are commiting the gravest "sins", proves it.
The real truth-seekers are the ones who turn to science
It's not just the Catholic church. Google it.
There are approximately 46,000 Catholic priests in the United States and approximately 300 cases filed to date, which is under 0.7% of the priesthood. Well below the national average for cases in identifiable groups.
ralph, or should I say gerald, that is total bullshlt. The incidence is HIGHER among Catholic clergy. Not your fault, but the clergy themselves all the way to the Popes over many centuries have been known for child abuse, mostly se-xual.
Did they threaten you? There are people who can protect you, you know. People who don't want to abuse you any further...
School Teachers, other denomiations, your everyday citizen, your relatives and so on.
Do you have any facts to back your statement up or do you just pull things out of you a s s to support your bigotry. Now go do a simple google on the net for child sxl abuse statistics. Hmmmmm 38 million is the number given nationwide. 1/3 of girls and 1/6 of girls. Priest numbers are around 4-5k so somebody besides priests are doing it. You make it sound like priests are pretty much it. Again that is just your bigotry speaking and not facts.
Again you make this sound like it's only a Catholic problem. There are 38million cases of child abuse in the US. The great majority of them are actually by married men. You seem fixated on the ones by priests and seem to have determined that is the biggest part of the problem. Your thinking aint so good.
@Gerald: The difference is that with others committing the abuse is that YOU aren't financially supporting them.
Go back and read what you wrote. You are actually trying to justify the Catholic Church having pedophiles because mainstream society has them as well. Instead, your focus should be on why YOU are supporting pedophiles.
My parents are staunch Catholics and one of my brothers is a born-again Christian. Let me ask you the same question I ask my parents: How can you possibly justify supporting an evil Church? Do you know why children continue to get mole-sted and why the perpetrators aren't being promptly removed by the Church? It is because people like yourself are part of the problem by not forcing the Church to do the right thing. And while there are many great priests who are extremely good people, they are every bit as guilty as well by not joining together and forcing the Vatican to do the right thing.
Let's look at who you are supporting:
– A group that covers up the ra-pe of children.
– A group that is currently under investigation of money laundering for the mafia.
– A group that had the audacity to declare bankruptcy to further try to scew over (pun possibly intended) the moles-tation victims from getting their monetary payday in court. After all, the Catholic Church in the US is "only" worth more than the TOP FIVE largest corporations COMBINED.
– A group that paid off child moles-tation victims to stay quiet about the abuse.
– A group that says they are against hom-ose-xuality and yet somewhere between 35%-65% of all priests are gay (according to their OWN accounts).
– A group whose leader lives in a mansion with perhaps trillions of dollars in artwork alone that they hoard while Jesus' children are starving to death all around the world. I'm sure Jesus would have done the same thing. What was the name of that mansion that Jesus lived in again?
– A group who charges admission to get into the Sistine Chapel when visiting the Vatican (I know because I've been there)... I'm sure Jesus would cool with that. Oh yeah, no taking pictures in the Chapel either because they sold the rights to that to another company so you are forced to buy their pictures instead while the Vatican makes money off of that as well.
– A group that allowed Cardinal Law from Boston to have the honor of being one of a select few to say the final mass for Pope JP II (this was after they "promoted" him to Rome as to evade US authorities).
– A group where the Pope is actually now hiding behind his diplomatic immunity as head of the "country" of Vatican City so that he doesn't have to testify in court about child mole-station (that he OBVIOUSLY knew about). How pathetic is that? Jesus and the Church preach about telling the truth, yet they go out of their way to try and hide it.
– etc, etc, etc, etc, etc....
Catholics should be standing up and fighting FOR the children who can't fight for themselves instead of enabling perverted criminals to mol-est more children! This should be common sense!!! People should be rioting in front of the Vatican, but instead have been "conditioned," via years of repeti-tion, into supporting them unequivocally by putting even more money in the basket.
Speaking of money in the basket, this is a perfect illustration as to where YOUR MONEY gets spent (besides the billions they are paying out for mole-sting kids):
In that picture, notice the chairs in the middle. The big chair is the archbishop of Los Angeles' chair and the smaller ones are for other Church Hierarchy.
The big chair... cost them ONE MILLION DOLLARS.
The smaller chairs cost them $250,000.00 EACH.
The altar there cost them FIVE MILLION DOLLARS.
Who spends a million dollars for a chair? Bill Gates, Oprah, etc don't have million dollar chairs. In fact, that chair is literally worth more than Warren Buffett's house!!! How many people would that money have clothed, housed and fed??? The chair isn't even that nice. Would Jesus spend a million dollars on a CHAIR???
Putting this into perspective: The husband of one of my friends is a fighter pilot. He had to eject one time & he is now nearly two inches shorter due to the massive spinal compression force. So he was in a highly advanced jet whose chair allowed him to open the canopy, rocket out of a moving plane at 12-15 G's (the space shuttle at launch is about 3 G's), employed a parachute and took him to safety.
The pilot's chair doing all that is around $100K... the Catholic Church's stationary wooden chair is $1M.
These people are nothing at all like Jesus. Jesus is your savior, not the Pope. Jesus in his day rebelled against the corruption in church instead of just accepting it and it seems like common sense that he'd support rebelling against this Church instead of just going along with the flow.
Child ra-pe/abuse/molestation is about the worst thing possible and yet Catholics are just allowing the Church to "get away with it" like they have done countless times in the past. Even the Mafia and convicts in prison won't put up with child ab-use, yet the "moral" Church knows they can get away with it as people won't leave them almost regardless of what they do.
The irony is that "fixing" these problems is easy... all they need to do is come COMPLETELY clean, tell the WHOLE truth, let a third party go through their files to make sure that ALL the "dirt" is cleaned and ask for forgiveness, but they can't even do that. The "good" priests and "good" followers are the ones giving the Vatican power by not rebelling back against them. If every "good" Catholic priest and layperson went on "strike" so to speak, it would quickly force the Vatican's hand to make instantaneous positive change. But of course that doesn't happen.
So perhaps you should think long and hard about who you are supporting. If this EXACT same group was a local company like Toys R Us, you'd be up in arms about it, perhaps picketing them and boycotting them for being a morally corrupt company who abuses children and demanding the head of the CEO on a platter... but when it comes to your Church who does the EXACT same thing, you have no issue with supporting them and therefore becoming part of the problem yourself. Food for thought.
Truth, you logic is astounding. Or lack thereof.
Wow... great response. That sure showed me. LMAO
Another day, another story about priests raping children and church officials covering it up. Leave the church now if you haven't already. The church lies to poor people around the globe, telling them they will go to hell if they use birth control, condemning them to a life of poverty and suffering.
You cannot go to Hell because there isn't one. There's no Devil or Demons. Kings dreamed up that nonsense to control the population. Read Life In The World Unseen by Anthony Borgia. Churches keep spewing that nonsense because it keeps the lights on. Churches couldn't exist without it.
Amen. The wealth of the Catholic Church is built of the fear of the poor .
Thelma: The Catholic Church is not the only organization that preaches about Hell
They do it in other religions too...Jews and Muslims...
@Dwight, you are helping Anthony Borgia profit too. He is just a man with a theory as well trying to profit from it and you bought it. Everyone against the church or religions in general always say "think for yourselves", yet they reference and promote more literature for sale of only opinion and not fact. Everyone wants proof, but there is none either way. Some people just have faith and live fulfilling lives and are criticized for it, but others need validation from another author out for money themselves. Who are the ones not thinking for themselves anyway?
Jews don't believe in Hell, so leave 'em out of this dogfight.
If they are found guilty nail their thing to a tree stump with a rusty nail. :)
Then they would have to cut it off to get free. :)
Did they choose the 5 most creepy looking of the 21 or are they all creepy looking? Nut jobs! Why don't they make it a requirement for them to have it chopped off when they join the church? If they ain't gonna use it, what's the use in having one?
Did you ever see a picture of Albert Einstein? Doesn't get much kookier looking than that!
Did you ever see a picture of Ted Bundy? A handsome all-American boy.
Some of those pictured here are not molesters, but are the cover-up / flim-flam offenders.
The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.