Irregularities In Weekend’s Philadelphia Archdiocese Priest Removals


Click here to read: “Phila. archdiocese removes two priests,” by Jeremy Roebuck, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Feb. 23, 2014

Excerpt: “As has been their practice, church officials offered no further details of the allegations against the men, except to say both involved 17-year-old victims and occurred decades ago. In both cases, local authorities had declined to pursue criminal charges because the statute of limitations had expired.”

Editor’s note: Kathy noticed this was the very first time the archdiocese released the ages of victims. Was this a public relations move? Perhaps archdiocesan officials wanted to “soften” the abuse story. When victims in previous cases were much younger, such as age 10, the archdiocese opted not to list the age. They also like to stress that this abuse took place a long time ago. With that realization, you would think Archbishop Chaput would seek window legislation in the name of social justice and the protection of children. At what age do abusers stop abusing? Do they ever stop? We do know that statistically victims don’t come forward until much later in life. It seems the Church is very comfortable in its hiding place behind the statute of limitations.

Excerpt: “The parish learned in early 2013 that Paul had been accused of abusing minors as a seminary student at St. Charles Borromeo. However, he was allowed to continue preaching while local law enforcement investigated the claims. During that time, he was barred from unsupervised contact with children, said Ken Gavin, an archdiocesan spokesman.

But that decision marked a departure from practice. After a scathing 2011 Philadelphia grand jury report on clergy sex abuse, the archdiocese suspended 26 priests while the law enforcement investigations of their individual cases proceeded.”

Editor’s Note:  The Archdiocese knew of at least one allegation against Father Paul yet opted to leave him as pastor at Our Lady of Calvary while being investigated. Pastors are ultimately responsible for parish school students, parish children and C.Y.O. activities. They are also the top line for mandatory reporting on the parish level. The archdiocese stated “pertinent” people had been informed of his status. That did not include parents and teachers. Who could be more pertinent when it comes to safety? It was only when Father Paul resigned with a bizarre parting letter that social media and news sites were deluged with commentary on various incidents over the course of his priesthood. This highlights the importance of public assistance in these cases.

As we approach our three year mark with close to 850,000 site visits and an involved international community, it is clear this site still serves an important purpose. It began with the Philadelphia clergy sex abuse crisis and continues with it.  We will be running a series of posts concerning the Father Paul case. As always we appreciate all who contribute and pray for those affected by abuse.

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33 Responses to “Irregularities In Weekend’s Philadelphia Archdiocese Priest Removals”

  1. The latest is that including the age was transparency..it is a change in policy from past cases. It is all so interesting how many things worked in Paul’s favor in this situation..any accused priest in the future should ask for the “Fr Paul package”

    • It includes a bizarre article that reads on catholic
      philly like a jubilee celebration or retirement send off…allowed to stay at your parish while being investigated..your name quietly removed weeks before an announcement is made acknowledging the admin leave..a bulletin insert to alert the parish of the final resolution..it really is the gold package .

    • Kathy,
      It is maddening what happened in the Fr. Paul situation. Total BS about the ages reflecting greater transparency. If transparency was really at the root of that PR move, they would opt to include the gender of each victim as well. It is definitely a PR move to make this pervs’ crime seem more palatable.
      The key thing that infuriates me is the spin put on the reason why Fr. Paul was not criminally charged. Another BS move on the part of the diocese! To claim that law enforcement decided not to pursue charges is disingenuous. The AD knows full well there was no actual decision to have been made. The option to pursue charges was rendered mute, as the present SOL statute prevented law enforcement from filing criminal charges against Fr. Paul.
      Moreover, to think the principal of OLC school signed and posted a message to the school community in large bold lettering that reinforced the AD message of law enforcement deciding to not pursue charges is unbelievable to me. It appears as if she was actively trying to deceive the parents of the kids in the school.
      I do not know how parents and parishioners of OLC do not hold her accountable for her actions.

      • Michele I imagine it was probably portrayed to her as long ago allegations that would be disproven..the problem is when you don’t know the truth… you certainly should not keep information from parents. No matter what one’s own personal feelings or opinions, it is a parent’s right and responsibility to make decisions for their child..not the principal’s decision.
        It amazes me that the AD still uses these monitor teams or ..a practice even criticized by past Review Board Members..even more amazing that people agree to cooperate in these plans.

        Also how do schools accredited by Middle States explain this when they come for site visits every few years ? Anything new? “No just that the pastor/head of the school turned out to be a predator and we knew for a full year about allegations and kept the info from students, parents and teachers”

        The sad thing is this could happen at any parish school..this is not an OLC problem it is an Archdiocesan problem..a worldwide church problem..it just happened to be OLC.

  2. Well Kathy – the “Fr. Paul” package might not be too wise – announce your retirement, get a cushy article in Catholic Philly and other media outlets, and suddenly multiple allegations come in to get you removed from ministry.

    Here are my questions –

    [1] The allegations against Paul are numerous – it is confirmed from several sources of mine. You cannot tell me that not one person – in 30 years – raised a complaint against him. Of course they did – also confirmed by sources. Where did these complaints go? What was done? How thick is his personnel file? Eleven years at McDevitt and not one administrator, not one faculty member, not one guidance counselor thought his behavior was odd?

    [2] Was the age of the victim disclosed to soften the wrath of the Our Lady of Calvary community since he was allowed to stay at the parish? Is the insinuation that Paul only liked teenagers so, no worries, your 2nd grader was safe Mr. & Mrs. Parishioner.

    [3] Again, with multiple allegations still pending – whether with AOP or local law enforcement, will an additional announcement be made when those charges are validated? The AOP is still asking for information from victims!

    [4] Finally, look at his assignment history and, in particular, his residence assignments. It is customary for priests that are educators at High Schools to live in parishes and help on weekends and during the summer. Look at this interesting item –
    Faculty, Bishop McDevitt High School, Wyncote (1975-1986) – no residence assignment given – he lived with the Brothers of Charity in Laverock and SUMMERED, as it has been stated before, in Ocean City, NJ. How did he get away with this? Was there such a great number of priests then that he was afforded this luxury?

    The irregularities are astounding!

    • Very good questions . My point was that the other priests who have ultimately been removed as a final result had a different journey to get there! If the end is result is removal..might as well be treated “different” while on the way.
      As for complaints over the years I also have read comments online from people who complained 20-30 years ago..

      There are many times that the priest who turns out to be the predator is the last one anyone imagines… that was the opposite in this case as social media and online news sites erupted with first hand accounts after the retirement announcement. You are right..any abusive priests will want to avoid having a catholic philly article with their retirement plans and their retirement due to ‘stress” . That really is what turned this situation around in a matter of hours. So in a way..great article!

      • Yes – it was a “blessing” indeed that his retirement was made so public. So proud of my fellow Royal Lancers as well as alums from Archbishop Kennedy, Bishop Kenrick, Kennedy-Kenrick, St. James and Archbishop Wood!

        • Me too..as someone from that generation I could picture this all happening in the high schools in the 80’s and 90’s . Good for them for stepping up..for some stepping up again!

    • Your bullet points are right on the money. These coverups are standard protocol. One of my abusers (Francis X. Trauger) , of which occurred in 1981, was shuffled from parish to parish with an occasional sabbatical for mental health reasons. The span of time in active ministry was 23 years until he was defrocked in 2003. This is common place not only in this Archdiocese but throughout the world. Until legislative changes are made and the politicians stop accepting the RCC’s word, these predators and those enabling them will continue to paint a beautiful picture that they are hard at work on this issue. Meanwhile, victims/survivors sit back and grab more bandages for a wound that doesn’t heal. SOL reform is constitutional and necessary for any healing to begin.

  3. As a member of Out Lady of Calvary I was extremely upset when I heard that Paul was allowed to stay at the parrish even after allegations were made against him. My children do not attend school at Calvary so I knew my children never had contact with Paul but my anger continues to grow towards the Church. It amazes me how they still continue to protect these individuals. More funny was the announcement that the second collection would be used for retired priests so “please give generoulsly”. What a joke!

    • Victoria – what was the reaction at OLC? I heard that the pastor made the announcement prior to Mass. Were there Archdiocese officials there? Have you heard anything on how the school is planning on dealing with it?

      • There were 2 counselors available if people wanted to discuss the situation but no officials from the diocease. As for how the school is handling the problem, I can’t answer that because my children don’t attend the school.

    • I am sorry Victoria..no one deserves to be denied information about the safety of children. It is the absolute most disrespectful thing to do to a parent. I am glad your children did not have contact with him

      Can you imagine the kids who did have contact with him..and finding out he was left there for a year with them..even if he didn’t lay a hand on them..it is just so wrong..wrong..wrong.. No one thinks of the kids,if they did he would have been removed while being investigated..what a breach of trust for children!

  4. Anyone who supports the current policy on SOL is propedophile. If your child was raped by the man around the corner and told you too late to do anything about it, how would you feel when you walked past his house? Would you let your other kids play in his yard when he most likely is still abusing children? How many years should go by and then he gets a get out of jail free card? Why does it making the guy a priest change anything?

    The average age of women in my support group is 45. 30-40 years to get the courage to come forward
    Most have their perps still out there free to keep raping kids

    • Suzpt,

      You need to change your wording a bit so that Catholics will understand exactly what you mean. I understand you though. You must ask your question as though you are not certain that you or your child had been indeed raped by the neighbor. He/she has been “accused” or “alleged” in raping you or your child. That’s the difference and the reasoning on why Catholics can tell themselves “It’s okay to go to church today. It’s okay to send my child to that school. It’s okay my child spends time alone with the neighbor.” Alleged and accused is enough for them to risk it, and they’ll never truly know how significantly damaging the reward, because they base their decisions upon a sort of mindless recklessness for what may have happened. It’s unfortunate that the child is immediately disbelieved, because “a priest or the neighbor would never do such a thing.”

      The Catholic Church has a long way to go. Society needs to travel even further if we can ever come to a day when “rape” and “sexual abuse” become vacant words in our vocabulary. A Mass for victims won’t help. They can’t even reach out to us. Moving forward always seems to be about them and it’s always on their turf. Besides, how can anyone trust them? My experience with the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, the Wilmington Diocese, and the Oblates of Saint Francis De Sales has been a well-documented game of dishonesty, ignorance, callousness, and fraud.

      They never seem to ask themselves, “Why should we not believe these victims?” Instead, they toss judgmental statements our way and claim we are anti-Catholic or money-hungry leeches, when in fact that couldn’t be further from the truth. Instead of masses, I’d prefer the hierarchy to lobby in our legislatures to change the current Statute of Limitation laws so that every person is protected in society from scumbags invading their personal space. I want to lobby for a new kind of Statute of Limitations that’s says, “Anyone who abuses, assaults, rapes any child, man, woman has 1 hour to turn himself in to law enforcement, otherwise it’s a mandatory life sentence.” If you’re 15 minutes late then it’s only a 75 year sentence. If you’re 15 minutes early, you get grape juice, water crackers, and still a life sentence! Or, you can just go to confession, wipe the slate clean for the week, and go back out raping kids – that’s the Catholic way!

      Peace out!
      Rich

      (So happy to see the “thumbs” removed.)

      • I completely agree, Rich.

        I think Catholics believe it won’t happen to their child/grandchild/niece/nephew because they are more vigilant, wiser, more aware, better policies. They trust the lies they are told instead of the actions they see. They WANT to believe their kids are safe because otherwise they’ve have to DO something about it. Essentially, they are making the EXACT SAME MISTAKES parents made with their children who are now victims.

        How anyone has their children in Catholic schools knowing what they know is beyond comprehension to me.

        Roulette with their most precious.

  5. What took Chaput so long to make these names public? He continues to protect the predators and the church instead of protecting the children. The church officials are NOT the law enforcement, he should have removed these priests immediately.
    It takes a lot of courage to come forward about being sexually abused and this is not an easy thing to do, but it is extremely rare that a child predator has only one victim. Some have many.
    Child predators need to be kept far away from kids forever. So let’s hope that anyone who may have knowledge or may have been harmed by John P. Paul and/or James J. Collins, will find the courage to speak up and contact law enforcement, no matter how long ago it happened.
    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, SNAPJudy@gmail.com
    SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

  6. Calculated, contrived….every move.

    Deception…no matter which way they spin this one.

    I want every one of us to imagine a priest making “moves” or sexual advances toward our 17 year old sons or daughters…it’s abhorrent! Honestly, if a priest crosses sexual boundaries with any person it’s abuse. If a therapist does it, they lose their license. If a priest does it, they promote them or let them retire with a sweet deal!

    They knew. They knew and said nothing. They peddled Sacraments to the masses…all the while holding their secrets. They are slippery.

    • Katherine FitzGerald Reply February 24, 2014 at 11:20 pm

      “Slippery,” too, are the 400+ priests in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia who remain silent through all of the deception, who make the deceptive announcements at Mass, and who insert the deception in church bulletins. Gophers in a corrupt hierarchical system. “Good priests”? Name one.

  7. Kathy, not sure if this is an irregularity or not – but I have a question regarding Fr. Roebuck, the priest arrested for the incident at the YMCA in January. He is no longer listed as parish staff on the St. Stan’s website (he was listed when story first broke), yet Msgr. Logrip is listed with “on administrative leave” next to his name. The Arch website still has Fr. Roebuck listed as a priest in good standing, yet his address is listed as c/o Vicar for Clergy at 222. Maybe just until his case goes to court, then they will make a decision about removing him? Although since he already admitted guilt, why wait?
    Also, no announcement was made about the two removed priests at my parish. Were all parishes to be notified?

    • Catholicmom ,I will forward your questions on to Ken Gavin. Very good questions. I think Roebuck admitted to touching the man but did not admit guilt if that makes sense..no guilty plea entered..the court date was delayed.

      • Until Roebuck enters a plea, in the eyes of the Court he is innocent until proven otherwise regardless of Police Report. No announcement may ever be made on Msgr. Logrip , but I can tell you he does not live at St. Stans.

    • catholicmom..did you say his Roebuck’s name was listed as care of clergy yesterday? When I just checked to verify that it has been removed..I found this

      Roebuck, Rev. John H., MDiv (1976)
      Saint Stanislaus Rectory 215-855-3133
      51 Lansdale Avenue 215-368-0220
      Lansdale, PA 19446

  8. Drumroll please…and the prize of the day goes to ‘catholic mom” for noticing that Roebuck’s name was still on the clergy list. His faculties have been restricted and his name is being removed from the list. I just love how informed people are to ask these questions!!!

    • Kathy – I’ll admit I don’t understand these lists. It seems there is a “limbo” list for priests!

      So why aren’t Paul and Collins on the Archdiocesan Clergy whose ministry has been restricted and faculties withdrawn due to credible allegations of sexual abuse of a minor – either Pending Canonical Process or Permanently Restricted?

      When a priest is removed from the ministry – does he still receive a paycheck? Is he still covered on the group health insurance plan?

      • OWLFAN-
        This list from the diocese is not updated. ABUSEDINPHILADELPHIA or BISHOPSACCOUNTABILITY has a more accurate list. When a priest is defrocked, they still are able to keep their pension. When they accept a life of prayer and penance, they basically retire quietly in Darby with healthcare and pension and they are free to travel etc.

        • So because of the crappy SOL legislation currently in place, these guys get a free pass. Even laicization is not enough of a penalty to prevent them from getting jobs around children again. They never get to a sex offender database and have no criminal record. At least if there was a civil lawsuit, there is a long public paper trail to follow them around for the rest of their lives.
          Support the change in SOL legislation!

          • Michael McDonnell February 26, 2014 at 8:17 pm

            Michele- SOL is vital! Any background check will show civil suits, just like bankruptcy, judgements and divorce etc. One of my abusers, now defrocked, was listed as a proctor for High School entrance exams and PSAT-SAT Exams. Yes, I took care of it quickly.

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