Two priests have been removed from the Philadelphia Archdiocese following allegations of child sexual abuse.
Reverend James J. Collins, 75, and the Reverend John P. Paul, 67, are both accused of sexually abusing a 17-year-old over 40 years ago. Archbishop Charles J. Chaput determined that both priests are not suitable for ministry due to the substantiated allegations, according to an Archdiocese spokesperson.
Collins was placed on administrative leave in May of last year when the allegations first surfaced. He was ordained in 1964 and had served as a faculty member at Holy Family University since 1976. He retired from his position last year.
Paul was placed on administrative leave in December of last year when the allegations were first made against him. He was ordained in 1972 and most recently served at Our Lady of Calvary, Philadelphia before he was placed on leave. The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that Paul was allowed to work in his parish for nearly a year after the accusations against him first surfaced.
The allegations against both priests were reported to the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office. Local authorities declined to pursue criminal charges because the statute of limitations had expired, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. The Archdiocese Office of Investigations began their own investigation
The results of the investigation were then submitted to the Archdiocesan Professional Responsibility Review Board (APRRB), comprised of 12 men and women, both Catholic and non-Catholic, with experience in child sex abuse investigations. The group then recommended that the priests be removed and Archbishop Chaput made the final decision.
Neither Father Collins nor Father Paul will have public ministry in the Archdiocese. Both men have the right to appeal. If they don’t appeal or if an appeal is unsuccessful, they could be removed from the clerical state or “live a life of prayer and penance,” according to an Archdiocese spokesperson.
The Archdiocese have not yet revealed specific details about the accusations against the two priests or the exact day they were removed.
Stay with NBC10.com for more details on this developing story.