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.

Benefit of the Doubt

What does “engaged in inappropriate behavior with minors mean?”

What does “credibly accused” mean?

What are the exact guidelines for placing a priest on administrative leave?

What is meant by “interim measure?” Will these priests see their day in court to be cleared or charged? If so, when?

Why won’t the Philadelphia Archdiocese share the allegations so we know who is accused of what?

These are my questions. A family friend, Father David W. Givey, was placed on administrative leave yesterday. I found out from a TV reporter before an interview and was devastated. It takes awhile to digest news like that.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reported, “The Archdiocese of Philadelphia announced today that two retired priests have been placed on administrative leave while it reviews allegations that they have engaged in inappropriate behavior with minors. Donna Farrell, spokeswoman for the archdiocese, declined to name the two. The Inquirer has identified one as the Rev. David Givey, 67. Givey was editor of the Catholic Standard & Times from 1985 to 1992 and served in numerous parishes and chaplaincies since his ordination in 1971.”

My personal experiences with Father Dave were wonderful. I don’t know what the allegations are. Nothing has been disclosed. I’m upset the Philadelphia Archdiocese has left so many of us wondering about the priests in our lives.

Here’s an explanation of the removal process but it still leaves many unanswered questions.

“There were 37 priests, according to a scathing report by the grand jury, which was released last month. Shaken by accusations that it was trying to keep abusers in ministry without telling parishes, the archdiocese moved quickly: It hired Gina Maisto Smith, a former prosecutor with a specialty in child sex abuse cases, to investigate further. The church soon put 21 clergy on administrative leave,” as reported by Barbara Bradley Hagerty for National Public Radio. The number went to 23 yesterday.

By not releasing names or allegations, The Philadelphia Archdiocesan Church leaders prove they are not interested in transparency.

Regardless of my own feelings regarding Father Givey, anyone credibly accused with substantial evidence should be removed from ministry. That’s what happens with these types of accusations in other walks of life. Supervisors would remove an accused coach, teacher, Scout leader, etc.

I’ve contacted both the Archdiocesan Office for Communications and a Bishop in regard to Father Dave. I”ll report on their reply in a future post.