Consider the Source: Archdiocesan Press Release Short on Facts

As we predicted, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia waited until late Friday afternoon, a dead-zone in the news cycle, to issue a revised press release about three priests removed from ministry.

We alerted the Office of Communications to specific inaccuracies in their press release a week prior. Even though we provided corrections, they needed a lot of time to confirm the truth. Go to Google and people in the pews if you want clergy sex abuse facts.

As was likely intended, local new sources relied upon and quoted the inaccurate and incomplete press release during the week it remained unrevised. Read the updated press release here.

Rev. Raymond Smart’s parish service has been updated. The date of the sexual abuse of a minor allegation is also revised.

Negligent or Deliberate?

In an email regarding the inaccuracies, Ken Gavin, of the Office of Communications, explained his office used the official clergy personnel assignment list. This means, that despite three separate investigations since 2011, the Archdiocesan Office for Clergy didn’t have accurate records of Father Smart’s living arrangements and ministry for the past 16 years. Or, they didn’t pass on complete information to the Office for Communications.

Maybe a bishop’s after-dinner drink spilled and damaged pages? Maybe a clergy office staffer lost a few pages after tripping over the cot we suspect is set up for Father Joseph Gallagher, an alleged abuser who is M.I.A. We will never know. We’re just really glad we could help update their records.

The Archdiocese was also off by an entire year in regard to when the allegation was received. It stands to reason it would be the Office for Investigations responsibility to ensure the accuracy of allegation dates.

In the past, clergy suspension and removal announcements have been coordinated between the Office of Investigations and the Office of Communications. We know this because an investigator once hit “reply all,” forgetting to remove us from an email thread.

It’s still unclear when the allegation concerning Father John Meyers was received by John Delaney, Delegate of Archdiocesan Investigations. He has not replied to our emails.

Scooby Doo Where Are You?

We will publish a separate post this week on the now twice-removed Msgr. Joseph Logrip. His assignment record in the press release still does not show where he resided between 1983 and 1990, nor does it indicate his many years serving as St Aloysius Academy’s chaplain.

A few years ago, we shared troubling information about an Archdiocesan priest with the police and the Archdiocesan Investigations office. When we followed up with the police, they said the Archdiocese told them the priest was in his 90’s and living in a private residence. We knew this was wrong based on our limited information and were quickly able to estimate his age based on his ordination date and a newspaper article found online. Why were we able to land within one year of his actual age but the Archdiocese was off by decades? Also, the priest wasn’t living in a private residence.

The Archdiocese had supplied the police information on an elderly relative of the priest, who happened to share the same name. The detective said the Archdiocese should hire us.

But does the Archdiocese of Philadelphia really want accuracy and transparency?

The Waiting Game

Within minutes of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia issuing the press release announcing that three priests were removed from ministry, it was obvious to anyone capable of doing a Google search that the information contained in the statement was not accurate. The press release of January 13, 2019 can be read here: http://archphila.org/archdiocese-of-philadelphia-places-one-priest-on-administrative-leave-and-announces-two-others-have-been-found-unsuitable-for-ministry/.

While we wait for the Archdiocese to correct the inaccuracies, we’ll take a closer look at  one removed priest, Fr John Meyers, and some information we found of interest. Fr Meyers resigned his position as pastor of St Martin of Tours parish for health reasons in January 2017 and was assigned as a parochial vicar to St Anthony of Padua parish.  Just a few months later in June of 2017 he was assigned as Rector pro tem of  the Malvern Retreat House.  Somehow, even though Fr Meyers needed to resign from his parish just a few months earlier due to health reasons, he was able to take on the position as Rector of the largest retreat house in the country.  Even more interesting is that Fr Meyers was replacing the former rector of the retreat house who needed to step down due to his own health issues. In this case the former rector truly did have health issues, but why would the Archdiocese replace him with Meyers who had his own “health issues?”

Within a few months Meyers went from a pastor, to a parochial vicar, to the rector of a retreat house.  We have repeatedly emailed John Delaney, Delegate of Investigations, asking him to clarify when the allegation of sexual abuse of a minor involving Meyers was received by the Archdiocese.  No answer so far from Delaney and the questions about Meyers continue. Did the Archdiocese allow Meyers to act in the role of rector of the Malvern Retreat House while an allegation of sexual abuse of a minor was being investigated?  Many Archdiocesan students attend the overnight Kairos retreats at Malvern Retreat.  Is this a new low, even for the Archdiocese?

Another interesting twist is that when Fr Meyers resigned from St Martin of Tours parish in January 2017, he was replaced by Fr Armand Garcia. Garcia is now on administrative leave after the police searched the parish rectory last year, investigating him for possible misconduct with minors..  We broke that story after we were tipped off that Garcia was removed from the parish.  An announcement had been made at the parish but no statement issued from the Archdiocese or notification to Garcia’s past assignments.

Folks, you simply can’t make this stuff up.  We will post the corrected press release from the Archdiocese when it becomes available.  For now, we wait.

Putting the Pieces Together

Much of today was spent sifting through the Archdiocese of Philadelphia’s press release regarding three priests removed from ministry. The following are some initial thoughts and findings. We will update as more information becomes available.

Father Raymond Smart

The press release claimed that Father Raymond Smart “has not served in any school or parish since 1995 due to poor health. He has been retired and living in a private residence since 2002.”  While this may paint a picture of a priest who has long been away from ministry and living at the local Korman Suites, the truth tells another story.

  • We confirmed that Father Smart was acting as a weekend assistant priest at St Teresa of Calcutta parish as recently as 2016;
  • The parish bulletin of St. Philip Neri, Pennsburg, has Father Smart listed as Retired; resident, as recently as 2015.  In 2014, he is listed as being the celebrant of the Monday, Tuesday, and Saturday daily Masses. In December 2015, he was hearing Christmas confessions;
  • From the press release we know that Father Smart was investigated three times since 2011. However, the two prior investigations and resolutions were never announced by the Archdiocese. Father Smart had his faculties restricted in 2017 and this was not even shared with the priests of the Archdiocese. The announcement of the final removal included the information of the prior investigations.

His case raises many important questions:

  • Is a parish rectory considered a private residence?
  • Is being listed as a weekend assistant priest in a parish bulletin not considered serving at a parish?
  • If the Archdiocese wants to protect children, then why not release the information of every parish where he has resided or assisted? Transparency or technicality, which one will it be?
  • Does the Archdiocese realize that the internet exists and everyone can put the pieces of together?

Father John Meyers

Father Meyers may have had the quickest resolution in Archdiocesan history if the timeline is to be believed. The press release states, “in late 2018, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia placed Reverend John F. Meyers on administrative leave following receipt of an allegation that he had sexually abused a minor in the 1980’s.” He was placed on administrative leave in late 2018.

However, the press release fails to state when the allegation was actually received. If the allegation was truly first known in late 2018 and the case is resolved and already in the hands of the Vatican, that’s quicker than the case of Msgr. Hugh Campbell, who admitted committing abuse. His case still took another five months for resolution. Maybe the Archdiocese has implemented a fast pass – like the Disney World ride fast pass?  How much time elapsed between receiving the allegation and removing Father Meyers from the Malvern Retreat House?

Father Meyers was the rector at the Malvern Retreat House, where many Archdiocesan students attend the Kairos retreats. The students spend a few nights at the retreat house without their mobile phones or outside contact.  High school staff helps supervise, but discovering the rector of the retreat house was a predator sent chills down the spines of parents and kids.

We are looking to John Delaney, Delegate of Investigations, to provide an honest answer to these kids.

Was Father Meyers left at the Malvern Retreat for even one day after the Archdiocese received the allegation?

We have not had a chance to review Msgr. Logrip’s case. Logrip was placed on administrative leave for the second time after an allegation of sexual abuse of a minor. That’s next.

If you would like to share information in regard to the recently removed priests, please message us through the contact link or email Kathy: kmkane242@gmail.com.

Breaking News: Priests Removed From Ministry in the Philadelphia Archdiocese

Closeup of the neck of a priest wearing a black shirt with cassock and white clerical collar

The Archdiocese of Philadelphia has announced the following three clergy status updates.

Msgr. Joseph Logrip has been placed on administrative while being investigated for a new allegation of sexual abuse of a minor.

Father John Meyers and Father Raymond Smart have been found unsuitable for ministry based on substantiated allegations that they abused minors in the early 1980s.


The following was excerpted from the “Flock Note” sent to Philadelphia archdiocesan priests and deacons today.

“Today, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia announced that Reverend Monsignor Joseph L. Logrip has been placed on administrative leave and that his priestly faculties have been restricted following an allegation that he sexually abused a minor in the early 1980s. This allegation has been forwarded to law enforcement and the Archdiocese will cooperate with authorities in the course of the investigation.

The Archdiocese also announced that Reverend John F. Meyers and Reverend Raymond W. Smart previously had their priestly faculties restricted. Both have been found unsuitable for ministry based on substantiated allegations that they sexually abused minors in the early 1980s. In both of those cases, law enforcement declined to press criminal charges.

The determinations regarding their suitability for ministry were made by Archbishop Chaput following the required canonical investigations and recommendations from the Archdiocesan Professional Responsibilities Review Board.

Their cases will now be forwarded to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith at the Vatican in keeping with procedure for the formal canonical process.”


Click here to read today’s Philadelphia Archdiocesan Press Release.

Window To Justice: Will PA Senate Support Victims Or Child Predators?

Pennsylvania senators must decide whose interests they’ll represent. Will it be the victims and children or will it be the predators, their enablers and insurance companies?

When the PA Grand Jury Report revealed 1,000 victims of Catholic clergy child sex abuse and that it had been covered up, there seemed to be a bi-partisan wake-up call. Yet, there’s been no progress in the senate. Where is the humanity and common sense?

Pennsylvania’s legislative shortfalls enable child rapists and molesters to live among us – unnamed, unpunished and undeterred.

Current law allows child sex abuse victims to pursue criminal charges against abusers until age 50; they can file civil lawsuits until age 30. The grand jury recommended eliminating the statute of limitations for prosecutions, noting that “no piece of legislation can predict the point at which a victim of child sex abuse will find the strength to come forward.”

Eliminating the statutes of limitation for child sex abuse is smart, but it wouldn’t be retroactive. Marci Hamilton, an expert in constitutional law and CEO of Child USA, explained to CNN in a recent article, that US Supreme Court precedent prohibits extending criminal liability after a case’s statute limit expires. So, even if a bill passed in Pennsylvania, it would not apply to any victim age 51 or older.

And worse, the limits for child sex abuse cases used to be five years for prosecution and two years for civil suits. Think of the thousands of victims silenced due to that short time frame. If that doesn’t grab you, think of all their anonymous abusers.

The solution is to eliminate the statutes of limitation for child sex abuse AND pass limited window legislation to clean up the past and prevent abuse.

A two- or three-year window would allow victims, who aged out of previous statutes of limitation, to file civil lawsuits. Arguments that a window is unconstitutional have been refuted by Attorney General Josh Shapiro, who references ample precedent in other states, including Delaware. He is confident that window legislation will survive legal challenges.

WHAT YOU CAN DO NOW

Every Pennsylvania parent, grandparent, person who cares about kids should let their state senator know they support this solution.

Download the Excel spreadsheet compiled with the help of attorney Slade McLaughlin. It provides insight to each PA senator’s stance on window legislation as well as contact information. Please tell them you want them to open a window to justice and send them pictures of the kids they should be representing.

With more feedback, we will continue to update spreadsheet.

Father John Paul: Still More Questions Than Answers

One of the most common search terms that leads people to this site is the name of the laicized priest Father John Paul. It seems that many in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia still have questions concerning the John Paul case… we do, too.

Many C4C followers may remember the Paul case. He was allowed to stay in ministry as pastor of a parish for a year while being investigated for historical allegations of child sex abuse. The investigation was kept secret from the parishioners.

John Paul garnered, quite possibly, the most bizarre article ever written on Catholic Philly, where his retirement and travel plans were detailed along with the news that he was being investigated for child sexual abuse.

This article written only after he surprised the Archdiocese with a letter to his parish that he was resigning for “physical and spiritual” health reasons. He pulled a fast one on the Archdiocese with the letter and they were none too pleased. However, he still seemed to receive special treatment and was only placed on administrative leave after multiple individuals came forward to file reports of past abuse against him.

We announced John Paul’s administrative leave on C4C in November of 2013. The Archdiocese waited another month before making the announcement.

Paul was found unsuitable for ministry in February 2014 and was voluntarily laicized in June 2015. His name was finally added to the Archdiocese website section of  “clergy laicized for credible allegations of sexual abuse of a minor,” in late 2018 – three full years later.

There are many questions that remain about the John Paul case, ranging from what some feel is an inaccurate assignment record, to also hearing that not all cases filed against him may have made it to the Archdiocese of Philadelphia Review Board. The Archdiocese has not responded to our most recent questions about the John Paul case.

Please feel free to reach out if you have your own questions, would like to be in contact with others who reported abuse allegations by John Paul to the Archdiocese, or have any information you would like to share from his 40 years in ministry.  Together maybe we can all get the answers we are searching for in the curious case of John Paul.

You can reach us through the contact link on the home page or email Kathy Kane.

Abuse Talking Points Interrupt God’s Word

If the hierarchy put Jesus in the driver’s seat, they wouldn’t have to worry about steering the clergy abuse conversation. Instead, they craft messaging to deflect criticism and distract Catholics.

Because of this, some were re-gifted canned talking points during the Christmas homily. This was the case across the Archdiocese of Chicago, where the Illinois state attorney general recently uncovered hundreds of previously unreported priest abuse accusations. Bishop Ronald Hicks, an aide to Cardinal Blase Cupich, sent a letter to archdiocesan priests on how to address the unfolding scandal during holiday masses and conversations.

Here’s a talking point from the letter obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times: Let people know the archdiocese has been “working to develop strong policies and procedures to heal victims and prevent abuse since 1992.” 

Shouldn’t reporting abuse accusations to the police should have been the starting point back in 1992. It seems they’re still “working to develop” that policy and procedure more than 25 years later. No rush. Take your time. It’s only children at risk.

Read the Chicago Sun-Times article here.

Pulpit Public Relations In Philadelphia Archdiocese

Talking points made their Philadelphia debut when the late Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua hired the Tierney Group, a public relations firm to handle his image. The faithful should have been more concerned that their shepherd needed to invest so heavily in spin. Since then, archdiocesan leadership continues to manage messaging – with less success.

In one instance, Leslie Davila, director of the office for child and youth protection, emailed United States Catholic Conference of Bishops (USCCB) talking points to her staff when the movie “Spotlight” was released in 2015. The Oscar-winning film chronicles the investigative reporting of Boston Globe journalists whose groundbreaking coverage in 2002 exposed that archdiocese’s clergy child sex abuse coverup.

In her email, Davila wrote that the movie could “stir things up” in victims, survivors and the community. She reminded staff to remember the good work they do. Maybe she thought seeing the movie would cause a few archdiocesan employees to quit? It’s a reasonable assumption.

USCCB introduction: “In our experience, Catholics and others will take the movie as proof of what is happening today, not what happened in the past. Do not let past events discourage you. This is an opportunity to raise the awareness of all that has been done to prevent child sexual abuse in the Church. There is much good news to share.”

Much good news to share? Such as the news shared in 2018 Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report?

The final bulleted talking point reads: “Remember that if someone is calling to make a new report they need to be referred to the Office for Investigations 1-888-930-9010.” 

How about telling abuse victims to call the police! The USCCB does not include this instruction in their talking points. This was sent to staff members of the OFFICE FOR CHILD AND YOUTH PROTECTION!

But the real bulls#@! can be shoveled out of the “additional information section.”

Possible Words to those Harmed by Abuse: The movie, Spotlight, is likely to remind you of the pain and suffering you have endured at the hands of someone you had every right to trust, a member of the Catholic priesthood.” 

Member of the Catholic priesthood? Why not just say Catholic priest? The USCCB intentionally uses this wording to create distance from the problem. The priesthood doesn’t have members – it has priests. “That pedophile is just a ‘social’ member, not a full member.” Well… maybe it is like a country club.

“Express great sorrow and profound regret for what they have endured. Apologize for the grave harm that has been inflicted.”

To borrow a phrase from my kids. WTF? Do they really have to instruct human beings who work for the Catholic Church on how to be human? That line had to be written by a sociopath and intended for other sociopaths.

“Words alone cannot express our sorrow, shame and disappointment. So, it is our prayer and hope that through our actions you will find the healing you so richly deserve.”

Bishops hired lobbyists to prevent survivors from having their day in court. And, who says “you so richly deserve” in conversation? Bishops. That’s who. We hope and pray that complicit bishops get what they so richly deserve.

“Over the past years the Church has worked towards both healing and preventing abuse. Our endeavors may be seen in the twelve years of Annual Reports based on the implementation of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People and independent audits.”

Parallel universe?

“The Church strives to put the child in the center of the room when making decision about children…”

That poor kid. My kindergarten teacher did that to me once. She sat me in a chair in the center of the room so she could keep an eye on me. The other kids were outside at recess.

“….and she will not be finished with this issue until child sexual abuse is no longer a part of society or our churches.”

She quickly forgot about me and went to lunch. I was left sitting there in the center of the room. The bishops have left for lunch. Until Pope Francis takes a long hard look at clericalism that child will cools his or her heels in the center of an empty room.

“Words Reaffirming our Commitment to the Charter:….Twelve years later we remain committed to the principles of that Charter and we ask for your continued help, support and prayers as we: promote healing and reconciliation with victims/survivors of sexual abuse, respond effectively to allegations of sexual abuse, become accountable for our procedures, and protect the faithful in the future.”

Kathy, after countless calls and emails, have you heard back in regard to your personal experience with the lack of archdiocesan accountability for boundary violations? Nope. I didn’t think so.

“What the Church is doing now: It has been twelve years since the Charter for the Protection of Children was approved in Dallas. The Charter is a comprehensive set of procedures established by the USCCB in June 2002 for addressing allegations of sexual abuse of minors by Catholic clergy. It also includes guidelines for reconciliation, healing, accountability, and prevention of future acts of abuse. The Charter directs action in all the following matters: Creating a safe environment for children and young people;

Now potentially dangerous mommy volunteers take classes and prove they don’t have criminal records.

Healing and reconciliation of victims and survivors;

Anyone here healed? Reconciled? Anyone?

Making prompt and effective response to allegations;

Did the bishops misplace their copies of the Charter?

Cooperating with civil authorities;

When forced by law.

Disciplining offenders;”

Offenders is a nice soft word for men who raped, molested and abused kids. But not as soft as the discipline. Say three Hail Marys and 10 Our Fathers. Some have been issued three demerits, a full pension and a Vatican assignment.

“Child sexual abuse is a scourge on society. Figures show that 25% of woman and 16% of children are victimized by the time they are adults. Sadly, the Church did not recognize the possibility it could be a part of our communities as well.”

The secret archives tell a different story. The Church knew about clergy child sex abuse for decades and actively covered it up.

“But now we know and the Church will keep up its efforts to prevent child sexual abuse in all areas of society.”

The bishops expensive lobbying efforts against statute of limitations reform hinders justice for ALL victims of sexual abuse – those abused by a coach, uncle or neighbor. With no prosecution and no civil lawsuit, a perp can score a free pass and anonymity. Is one living in your community? You wouldn’t know. So much for prevention.

Speaking The Truth

To end on a more optimistic note, there were priests in Chicago and at least one archdiocesan staff member in Philadelphia who rejected the above supplied talking points and spoke their own truth.

There’s only one message the pope, cardinals and bishops should be spreading. It’s called the word of God.