Archdiocese Removes Priest Recently Returned to Ministry

Click here to read: “Church Removes Priest for Second Time,” by John P. Martin, The Philadelphia Inquirer, September 17, 2012


“The Archdiocese of Philadelphia on Monday said it had suspended a former Northeast Philadelphia pastor to investigate a new claim of child sexual abuse, four months after church officials publicly had cleared the priest of another misconduct allegation.

Archbishop Charles J. Chaput declared the priest, the Rev. Michael Chapman, suitable in May to return to active ministry. Chapman, 56, was preparing to resume his priestly duties when the archdiocese received a new accusation that Chapman had abused a minor approximately 30 years ago, the archdiocese announced.”

49 thoughts on “Archdiocese Removes Priest Recently Returned to Ministry

    1. Carol, when Hell freezes over. The problem is Satan is frying so many pedophile priests and their episcopal protectors, he can’t cool Hell off to freeze it.

      And the disgrace just continues as Chaput plays national politics instead of tending to his own flock.

      O Seth Williams, where are you when we need you!!

      1. Jerry,

        Consider my failure to mention you among the “friends” I’d like to see write commentaries for C4C an indicator that I’ve missed hearing from you regularly over the last couple of months.

        Would love to hear Philly Catholics assess the pastoral (“tending to his flock”) history, to date, of Chaput. A, B, C, D or F? Why?

      2. Kate, I missed you as well, but I have been reading here and commenting when feasible. I have not been cutting your excellent classes.

        I give Chaput an F – for his pastoral work and a F— for his political work. I am watching him closely and will weigh in when and as I am able

  1. This victim is in my prayers………I am so sorry for all you have been thru…… your coming forward you make this a better kinder place to live………where children one day will be valued and protected as they should……..

  2. How many others are out there? Sometimes I get so discouraged. It seems like it will never end. I just read an article on the front page of the Patriot News. From the Los Angeles Times: “For more than two decades, the Boy Scouts of America failed to report hundreds of alleged child molesters to police and often hid the allegations from parents and the public”. Sounds all too familiar to those of us who correspond here.Another revered American Institution covering up child sex abuse. The Roman Catholic Church, Penn State University and now the Boy Scouts of America. These institutions are suppose to set the moral compass for the rest of us. I think their compass is broken. I have always believed in the goodness of mankind,despite what has happened to me. It is so difficult. I know that there are evil people out there but I have always seen people as basically good. Today it seems so hard to keep that perspective.

  3. For years now, victims have been saying that church officials can not police themselves. –And they are not the proper officials to be investigating child sex crimes, that is the job for law enforcement.

    This is a perfect example as to why the statute of limitations for child sex crimes needs to be removed. How many kids need to be sexually abused to make these allegations valid?

    Let’s hope that every person who saw, suspected or may have been harmed Michael Chapman, will find the courage and strength to speak up and call police, not church officials, no matter how long ago the abuse happened..

    Keep in mind that child predators rarely have only one victim. And your silence only hurts, and by speaking up there is a chance for healing, exposing the truth, and therefore protecting others.

    Judy Jones, SNAP Midwest Associate Director, USA, 636-433-2511.,
    (SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests,)

    1. Snapjudy, are there any stats on how many priests cleared by the hierarchy and ‘returned to ministry’ have then been found to be guilty…I am wondering about stats in CA or other states with a ‘window’ extension?

      1. I don’t know the statistics.. but many bishops clear the priests for their own reasons, not because they are innocent. It is extremely rare to have false allegations. Usually any false allegations are weeded out by the lawyers, before they get any further…And just Monday, Joliet Bishop Conlon changed his mind and removed priest again.. they have no credibility left..,0,450859.story

    2. What steps should a person takes and what support is available for victims. Have victims that were promised help by a well established group and she was left alone in court – not your group. still picling up those pieces from the 70’s.

      Hear so much about changing the SOL’s – I always mention the Catholic Church in passing. There are so many other serial cases in Pa and cases that show why the SOL change is important. Need people to know we are protecting children.

      I posted about Bob Hermley – a priest mentioned in the grand jury report, convicted in 82 sentenced to probation and later accused (87). His name was mentioned by many students, guess V4J is the only one from Judge, because I heard a lot about him from Judge students. On this site I read the same about other priests that taught in the AD(Roman HS).If that priest calls its for a reason – yes abuse during the school day. How do we get these victims to trust that they will be supported? How many people are listening for those little clues or feelers sent out by victims to see if they can trust you? Its that waitress making a mistake because she is rude or is it because she was forced to do something to keep her job – been there – had no appetite afterwards -it did close down for that reason later.

  4. Can you imagine what it meant for the victim to learn they returned a questionable priest to ministry? He/She had to come forward because the AD had lost their moral compass once again. Proof that they STILL don’t know what they are doing! Quit handing over the children to these incompetent men!

    Praying for the victim who had to come forward for the AD to do the right thing.

  5. People just said
    But no one told me that getting my soul rebuilt, my heart overhauled would be so painful.
    No one said,
    There will be secrets uncovered that even you don’t know about, and that you won’t be able to think them, even after you know.
    No one told me,
    that inch by inch, hour by hour, layer by layer, I would be peeled down to a soft, tender, defenseless core – the Child
    I didn’t know I’d have become a bruised and battered child in order to emerge a free adult,
    And certainly NO ONE, NOT ONE SOUL said I’d have to feel her feelings, remember her body and be her being, No One Knew!

    1. Vicky thankyou…..i am so sorry,….it hurts my heart to realize good people like you need to journey thru such pain be free…they may have stolen your happiness but dont let them steal your joy…


    2. Vicky: I have heard it said many times:The only way to heal is through the pain. You can’t dance around it. You can’t Sidestep it. You actuall have to take it head on and go through it. As you have attested to, that sounds alot easier than it actually is to do. It takes an awful lot of courage. I applaud you for your courage.

    1. Looks like the trial is again delayed. This time to Jan 7. Judge is Ellen Ceisler who sentenced the AD CFO.

      If Lynn’s lawyers are arguing that Avery’s guilty plea is a lie this is really gonna taint the jury pool.

      1. The link I just posted deals with 8 more civil cases, the statements of two survivors, those named in the suit, Rigali Chaput, the AD and the offending clerics…it’s a must see and must listen press conference.

      2. As always, thanks, Joan. With you, Kathy, Susan, Kate et al. as my C4C “co-counsel”, you give me time to pursue other clerical wrongdoers!

      3. Joan, I am unable to comment now in detail due to other committments, but the recent flurry of Philly litigation, etc., is a net positive, in my view.

        We all have a good idea what will be exposed when the legal mud is cleaned away, so it is important that experienced lawyers are pressing forward for Philly survivors.

        Of course, it could cause pain for some survivors, but is there any other effective way to purge this scourge than to cast the light of day on these criminal acts? Hopefully, all will see the benefit of shining this legal light.

        The ripples from the Lynn trial have already had positive effects far and wide.

      4. Jerry, I had trouble with the link for the suits filed today…but I am inept on occasion.

        But going back to this ‘released for ministry’ issue, I find it very interesting that Bishop Conlon who just stated that the hierarchy’s reputation was shredded relative to abuse cases (and he chairs the relevant USCCB committee) and THEN he reinstated a priest….has now WITHDRAWN the reinstatement….see

        I do not have a ‘comfort zone’ with the ‘released for ministry’ issue as Marci indicated, and SNAP has said so very very often, when courageous victims come forth (and apparently many new victims did after the Lynn trial, hence the 8 NEW civil suits) the truth comes dribbling out.

        Thank God for the courage of victims.

      5. Joan, your computer skills far surpass mine so my link may be lacking. In any event all of the key documents filed by Marci today are readily available now at which you and most here know well by now.

  6. Bishop Finn, in explaining why he failed to report Ratigan as mandated by the 2002 Dallas Charter and state law, told a group of priests, “I was trying to save his priesthood.” No doubt they applauded his indelible loyalty.

    When clerics police themselves, their sole objective is to save priesthoods and they are fundamentally incapable of reordering their priorities. Validating a purported clerical offender altogether supersedes institutional mandates, the law, victims, and children. The myopic defense of purported clerical offenders nourishes and sustains the magical and enchanting aura radiating from clerical loyalty. Clerical defendants, defenders, and silent observers are charmed and bewitched. The allure is addictive.

    On the outside, looking in… hocus-pocus, mumbo-jumbo, voodoo.

  7. I’ve knowed father Chapman for many years. Was shocked about the allegations still do not believe my prayers are with you Father Chapman and your family. May this nightmare end soon for you. Lord Hear Our Prayers

    1. Don,

      I don’t know a thing about Chapman, but I do understand your feelings. They may be similar to what Jesus felt when he was betrayed at the Last Supper.

    2. I don’t know Chapman either and have no idea what he was accused or how he was cleared.
      The interesting thing is that the priests that I knew that are now permanently removed, are not the ones I would have picked out if someone were to tell me that there were abusive priests in my life. When I sat in court and listened and saw the was like they were talking about someone I did not know and the truth is in the end, I really didn’t know them at all. I didn’t spend 24 hours,365 days a year with them,so there was another life that played itself out in the evidence presented and it was shocking. I talked to a priest who was a friend of a now permanently removed priest,his friend had him going for over a year that he was innocent and then the 2005 report was made public and the shock set in that as well as he knew this priest..he really didn’t at all.

      1. You are so polite, Kathy.

        I said at the outset Chaput was risking endanging more children by his year and a half (and still counting) dribbling out and private investigation of Rigali’s three dozen new and unsupervised suspects.

        All of this should have been, and still should be, handled exclusively by local prosecutors, not Rigali’s/Chaput’s own lawyer, Gina Smith. She now is a defense lawyer and cannot be expected to assume properly a prosecutor’s role.

        This is just proper criminal procedure 101 and local prosecutors, including Seth Williams, are not following it. Why?

      2. Jerry the cases were sent to the respective DA’s of the 5 county area of Bucks, Montgomery, Delaware,Chester and Philadelphia counties. I believe 7 cases have yet to be cleared by the local DA’s.

      3. Actually I would not have thought any of the priests that I knew were sexually violating children. One was a grandfather type,one was quiet and kind,the other young and charming…shocking still.

      4. Kathy the sad thing is abusers are good liars and manipulators…….good people want to believe that most people are good and yes they are for the most part…….the shock is that there are evil people and they are not out there somewhere but sometimes right next to you. Someone might seem nice and still be rotten at the core.

      5. Kathy, exactly!

        What other organization gets to review and decide when and which of their employees suspected of serious crimes involving defenseless children will be further investigated by the local prosecutors?

        Are Rigali and his hand picked successor to be trusted with policing themselves?

        Were not Rigali’s eight years of failures among the principal factors in causing the current Philly abuse mess in the first place?

        Why aren’t all of these serious and potentially still dangerous cases handled from the get/go by the local prosecutors themselves?

        What do Philly citizens get from these prosecutors for their hard earned tax payments?

        I am sorry, Kathy, but it makes no sense to me as a lawyer and grandparent and has a very foul odor about it.

      6. Kathy: It is not only priests that don’t appear to show any signs of what is below the surface. How many times do you read in the paper of interviews with neighbors of people who commit all kinds of heinous crimes , including sex abuse and even murder. Their neighbor was such a good person. I can’t believe they would do something like that. I think if I ever hear a neighbor say that the suspect was an evil man, I will drop dead from shock. This is what makes identifying potential priestly abusers so difficult. This is one thing. I can’t fathom regarding the abuse crisis in the Church. Why haven’t the other priests ,who don’t abuse kids risen up to support the victims , if only to protect their own reputations.

      1. Why admit guilt when you aren’t guilty? Especially in such serious matters? What’s their defense? We don’t think he was guilty? Well, he says he is…what more is needed? Smoke and mirrors…distraction, distraction, distraction.

    1. “In return, Avery got a 2 ½ to 5-year prison term, one far shorter than what he faced if he had been convicted at trial, where prosecutors were prepared to show jurors evidence that he molested at least a half-dozen boys.”

      This just stinks as far as I’m concerned. 6 boys! There weren’t 6 incidents wrt Avery in the two grand jury reports. What are the 6 and why aren’t they being prosecuted or at least why can’t they be prosecuted?

      If this was such a slam dunk, why the sweet plea deal? A deal that nearly screwed up the prosecution’s case.

      1. mackerel If I am rememebering correctly, victims came forward after the 2011 arrest of Avery..I believe the crimes fell outside the statutes.

  8. Survivors Wife: You are so right on:A priest is removed from ministry after recently being reinstated. Jeez How do we counteract that negative information. I know. We will claim that Avery was lying when he admitted to molesting Billy. And you know what, they won that battle. What ends up on the front page and what is on the local news page. These guys are extremely clever when it comes to manipulating the news media. After all they have been doing it for years. When are the Philly newspapers going to do a full expose’ of the Catholic Church in Philadelphia like was done by the Patriot News in Harrisburg, regarding Penn State and Jerry Sandusky. The Inquirer used to be such a powerhouse. They have certainly gone down hill.

    1. Jim, did they ‘win that battle’….Kathy’s citation indicates the prosecutors position….Avery was ‘defrocked’ years ago, he is named in at least one if not more of the civil suits, and a local paper just ran this article……

      I think the testimony in those civil suits will be covered by the media and very damaging to those named in the suits, which include the AD, Rigali, Chaput and the offending priests.

      Marci in that link noted above indicates that the 8 NEW suits are looking at the AD and it’s recent efforts and the legal ‘toll gate’ is running.

      1. Joan: I did say battle. I know they havn’t won the war. Nor do I expect they will. Being the optomist that I am, I know the good guys will win this war.I just don’t underestimate what lengths they will go to for the cause of evil.

      2. “As a survivor of childhood sexual abuse by the clergy, I can tell you that there is no doubt that the conspiracy to cover-up the grave moral actions by the clergy started long before these tragedies ever became public,” said McDonnell, who attended the press conference. “It was protocol. It is today that courage brings me here, it is today that more will be revealed.”

        This trial will be damaging indeed. The central premise is conspiracy, which has entirely different SOL.

        The Philly DA had so much evidence but never properly framed the charge.

Leave a Reply