Father John Paul has chosen voluntary laicization. It’s a quiet end to a situation that enraged parents and those who came forward with allegations. Due to Pennsylvania’s Statute of Limitations for Child Sex Abuse, he can not be charged with any crimes.
In November of 2013, Father Paul resigned as pastor of Our Lady of Calvary Parish in Philadelphia for “physical and spiritual” health reasons. It was revealed that those “health” issues stemmed from two separate allegations of child sex abuse. At the time, we were outraged that the Archdiocese permitted him to remain as pastor for over a year while he was secretly investigated. When the information became public with his retirement, the Archdiocese suspended him.
The archdiocesan official statement stated, “Father Paul remained in ministry at the parish since that time in a restricted capacity ‘in that he had no unsupervised contact with minors.’ Appropriate notification of his restrictions was made to pertinent parties and a monitoring and support plan was implemented and followed.” He was a pastor running a parish and school. How does one avoid children in that position? Pertinent parties did not include parents. That shows very little respect for families. Maybe our archdiocese leadership will attend some helpful workshops during the World Meeting.
The resulting news coverage in 2013 prompted over a dozen alleged victims to come forward. Many had been students from high schools where he taught. Several were from Bishop McDevitt during the 1980s.
This cover up took place in 2013 – not in the distant past. Parents must continue to be concerned and aware.