Breaking News – Safe Environment Class Leads to Removal of Principal


The Archdiocesan Safe Environment program may being doing just what it claims – creating safer environments on the school level. Now if only the leadership will follow through on their administrative levels. Read this related breaking news story: “Catholic School Principal Placed On Leave,” FOX 29, Dec. 6, 2011.

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33 Responses to “Breaking News – Safe Environment Class Leads to Removal of Principal”

  1. Gee, it’s great to have the CHILDREN tell once the crimes have been committed, but where the hell are the adults that aren’t doing what need to be done to prevent it?

    This is like installing security cameras in banks so they can catch all the bank robbers. It’s a great tool, BUT, shouldn’t the focus be primarily about deterring or preventing bank robbery?

    This is good. It really is. But, it’s not enough. It will never be enough until the adults surrounding children wake up to this issue.

    • I applaud those children!!!!!!!! I am so proud of them!!!!! And a child shall lead them.

      This was my first thought and I wish I had posted it first instead of my rant about the irresponsible adults burdening children.

    • My question is why has he been working at so many different schools. Hello red flag!!!!!!!

    • SW,
      I just read another report and it said not sexual abuse but “personal boundary issues” hopefully if this is the truth the class may in fact helped stop grooming progress to sexual abuse. We will have to wait and see what the real story is. It is disturbing either way .

  2. I know absolutely nothing about this case -just what is in the news. I know at most parish schools the safety environment classes are taught by the teachers. If the students raised concerns then I applaud both the students and the teachers for following through on reporting what the students disclosed.

    • I agree. It just said he was a several schools. I can understand he was a teacher before becoming principle so that would account for one but several? Everyone is innocent til proven guilty and yes I am very glad that the teachers reported anything they were concerned with.

  3. S. Reid Warren, III Reply December 7, 2011 at 11:56 am

    The Church is now exposed as a corrupt country. Change comes only from revolution within. Hand wringing does not substitute for revolution. Hand wringing does not take charge. The hierarchy offer only counselling and prayer for hand wringers. The hierarchy is designed to maintain its grip on power and privilege – not to change, but only with words, to SEEM to change. The elderly mother of a friend of mine has said: “I would rather see a sermon than hear one.” Words, words, words, words will never substitute for action. Action is available only in the hands of the laity. The Vatican is at peace with itself. It is fiddling while The Church burns.

    Reid

  4. Good for them! Maybe some ears have been opened. However St. Joe’s still continues to back, pray, list Lynn as pastor, and proudly has his pictures on the school website.

    I was still upset while taking the Mandated Reporter Training -required to volunteer- last week, that one of the presenters still instructs reporting concerns to principals, pastors, etc. At least when Mary Achilles spoke, she did say that you could also call the police. If we have learned nothing else….report all concerns out of the school/church environment. Amen.

    • If you are at that parish you must have a strong faith to survive and keep your sanity. I keep comparing the church to a sick family where molestation takes place and no one(adults) stops it or talks about it. It is all the same………. denial denial denial and self preservation save myself at the cost of others…………….didn’t Jesus say the exact opposite.

  5. Donna Farrell of the Archdiocese, is a real company women. In my opinion, a real sell out!
    Glad to hear they reacted quickly to the situation at hand. It’s a real shame that it is a little late for most victims.

    Also, makes you wonder if it had been a priest in this case and not a lay person, would the dicocese act as quickly? Makes you think!

  6. Michael Skiendzielewski Reply December 7, 2011 at 3:03 pm

    The problem here is that no additional information will be forthcoming regarding what caused the principal to be removed. Just this morning, the case involving the teacher at Devon Prep was closed by the Chester County DA and no charges to be filed. However, more importantly, there is no information or disclosure regarding the nature of the incident that led to the priest/teacher being removed. Uncertainty, distrust, lack of information, secrecy……when will the leadership of our Philadelphia archdiocese ever learn that such conduct is unproductive and leads to further alienation and concern regarding the safety of our children.

  7. This man was pirncipal at my son’s school years ago. He was terrific and admired by faculty, students and parents. While I am glad to see kids speaking out and action being taken, I will refrain from casting any guilt until more is learned about what occurred. I am shocked to read this, but I do have to admit I have been shocked in the past regarding other priests I have held in high esteem.

  8. Michael Skiendzielewski Reply December 7, 2011 at 4:05 pm

    But that’s just the point, mimzyb. The likelihood that ANY information regarding the reasons for the removal of this principal will be shared with concerned parents and others is quite small. Archdiocesan attorneys are not going to authorize the release of such information, so the faithful in that parish and neighboring parishes are left to wonder, hypothesize, etc. about what was revealed that led to the decision to remove the principal.

    Nothing is gained by this failure to disclose information. Further alienation, distrust and uncertainty will follow for sure.

    Once again, management and their objectives will trump the priorities of families, parents and children.

  9. Exactly, Michael! Isn’t it odd though, that they are so quick to publicly release what they have so far? Would they react so quickly and so publicly if it were a priest?

    We know how the diocese operates. As you said, alienation, distrust and uncertainty continue.

    I only knew this man for a short while, but he was definitely NOT a company man. He spoke freely and I appreciated his lack of political correctness. We all know that those are not traits smiled on by the powers that be.

  10. I think we need openess, balance and common sense when addressing these issues.

  11. Michael Skiendzielewski Reply December 7, 2011 at 6:02 pm

    Well, we will soon see whether or not a changing of the guard in legal counsel at the Archdiocese of Philadelphia will make any difference in terms of openness, accountability and parishioner access to information.

    Now that William Sasso and his Stradley and Ronon buddies have been kicked to the curb, let’s see what the new legal counsel has to offer those who PAY THEIR SALARIES (a Catholic conundrum). Loyalty to management? or Loyalty to the parishioners (C-H-I-L-D-R-E-N)?

    Let us never forget that counsel’s fiduciary and legal responsibility is to the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, the leadership and management.

    • Michael,

      Yes, it will be very interesting to watch how the AD’s new counsel maintains the old “loyalty to management” MO while weaving into it everything we have learned over the last couple of months from Penn State and Syracuse U. The body of knowledge that has resulted from these recent scandals MUST influence the new counsel’s style and methods, don’t you think? It would seem that to ignore it would be gravely disadvantageous. Can’t we assume that the days of blind “loyalty to management” are over?

      Or am I dreaming?

    • Remember this is will be the criminal defense team for Msgr. William Lynn. Abp. Chaput would not have had them take up residence in the AOP if they had FAILED TO STOP ANY LEGISLATIVE REFORM IN COLORADO.

      Their reason for being here is not to open or accountable even thought we’d like to believe in that fairy tale. Nothing that Abp. Chaput has done so far gives any indication that such is the case.

      As I understand it, Stradley Ronan are still very much the archdiocesan legal firm. They’re just not going to be involved in any criminal trials.

      • Thank you, Sr. Maureen.

        The public has learned a wealth of information over the last couple of months from Penn State and Syracuse. As long as the Church continues to operate in its fixed and unconscionable way, it will altogether extinguish its moral voice.

        Can you or someone answer a question for me.

        I am located close to the Syracuse scandal. Yesterday, Fine’s first two victims were left in the cold. NY state cannot bring charges against Fine, even though the victims accusations were found to be credible, since the statute of limitations had run out. I heard a news commentator, here, argue against extending the statute of limitations in NY state. His familiar reasoning was that gathering evidence, witnesses, testimony, etc. decades after an incident of sexual abuse would cause legal mayhem… an impossible task. Yet, the accusations made by Fine’s first two victims were found to be credible based on witnesses, testimony, etc. even though the statute of limitations had passed. The “impossible task” was accomplished.

        One the one hand, I can see the mayhem in the courts, the difficulty in terms of gathering evidence, witnesses, testimony, etc. especially in terms of decade-old cases of sexual abuse. On the other hand, all of these “difficulties” were accomplished in the case of Fine’s first two victims when the statute of limitations had run out.

        How would you speak to the legal “mayhem” argument?

        I sent your Reuter’s comment to my congresswoman in NY. She emailed me, today, fixated in Egan’s MO!

      • I heard the same ‘mayhem’ argument on CNN’s Erin Burnet’s show, with Mark Garagos and another guest making the argument, yesterday pm. I e mailed Erin and suggested that as Anderson Cooper had had Marci recently on his show, that she might want to interview Marci too…as the ‘mayhem’ argument plays into institutional opposition to SOLs.

  12. Michael Skiendzielewski Reply December 7, 2011 at 9:46 pm

    haditCatholic…..

    I am hopeful, though not confident, that new legal counsel can institute a more productive approach to the matters re child sexual abuse. Of course, there are other concerns for archdiocesan parishioners that deserve a new approach and understanding……..the most important one is that involving financial reports, accountability and access to financial information at the archdiocesan level. Yes, I guess I’m dreaming too.

    I sure hope Chaput realizes he’s not in Kansas anymore…….oops, wrong drama, he’s not in Denver anymore.

  13. Chaput and the like only occupy Kansas and Denver. They ARE in Rome.

  14. His work history concerns me gaps and short durances at certain schools schttp://www.delconewsnetwork.com/articles/2011/12/07/ridley_town_talk/news/doc4edf9dd9160d3684493029.txt?viewmode=fullstory. can some of these be student teaching?

  15. Well Good for Mr. Reitano! i am sorry that he had to undergo these events. From my prior experience with him, I can imagine he was devastated..

    Beth, I was unable to pull up the article from the link you posted. I did read anothoer article that listed his employment. These were all positions he had in the Phila Diocese. When I knew him, he was in the Camden Diocese and from there I believe he went to Delaware. This may explain the gaps you were referring to.

    I don’t know how someone gets over an experience like this. I have to admit that I am very cautious and often hesitant to have kids over to the house unless I know them and their parents well. Chaperoning class trips is another concern. You never know when an innocent word or gesture may be misinterpreted and what accusations may follow.

    Praying for Mr. Reitano and the students, faculty and families of the school and parish. I hope they can support him.

    • It just seemed he moved around alot. I think like Kathy said if you are going to teach kids about personal space you do need to explain why you are doing things sometimes. I also think some people are more touchy/feely but you really have to talk to teachers too and let them know you really have to limit physical contact. Unfortunately alot of abuse starts out with tickling, hugging etc. It is really sad. The priniple could have told the student they need to put in their tag and the wet willy was not necessary. To tell you the truth. I am not really against teachers hugging my kid as long as it does not make them feel uncomfortable. Many times a kid might hug their teacher when graduating etc. It is a shame we have to question healthy behaviors like hugs but some people do take advantage.

  16. I’m glad the civil authorities were involved.

    Wow. Sadly, this is going to follow him wherever he goes, innocent or not.

    I don’t know what to think at this point.

    Putting a tag in someone’s shirt? A “wet willy?” Monitoring bathrooms to deter graffiti? Tell me THIS is not what gets a principal suspended?

  17. I think because we educate our kids about boundaries and safety, a whole lot of common sense from the adults is necessary. When I was young and went to the doctor,he said ‘take off your clothes”. With my kids the doctor always explains why he is asking them to remove their clothing. He explains,”I need you to remove your shirt so I can listen to your lungs”, “I need to check this private area now and will be moving your underwear down for just a minute” etc….
    I am just thinking that explanations can help make situations clear to everyone involved. If graffiti in the boys bathroom was a problem then explain to the kids that the principal is going to be monitoring the boys bathroom,checking in ,making sure they are behaving. If all the sudden the kids think the principal is just hanging out in the boys bathroom….that could be confusing.

  18. Michael Skiendzielewski Reply December 8, 2011 at 7:19 pm

    survivor’s wife:

    “……I’m glad the civil authorities were involved…..”

    But the civil authorites WERE INVOLVED for quite awhile at the Citadel, Syracuse University, Penn State University…..

    What happened in these instances?

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