2 Priests “Unsuitable,” 4 Can Work Again

Decisions are announced on the fate of six more priests under investigation in the Philadelphia Archdiocese. Four can stay. Two must go.

Archbishop Charles Chaput announced the fate of six more priests under investigation -- four can stay and two were found "unsuitable" for ministry.

These are the four priests who were investigated and will now be able to return to work because the allegations against them were found to "unsubstantiated":

  • Rev. Leonard Peterson
  • Rev. Paul Castellani
  • Rev. Msgr. John Close
  • Rev. Steven Harris

The two priest found "unsuitable":

  • Rev. John Bowe
  • Rev. David Givey

The two priests found unsuitable for their vocation were not involved in cases of alleged sexual abuse.

Father Bowe, 64, served at Saint Agnes in West Chester from 1973-1977; Saint Bridget in Philadelphia from 1977-1982; John W. Hallahan Catholic Girls' High School from 1980-1982, Blessed Virgin Mary in Darby from 1982-1987, Chaplain for the Pa. National Guard From 1983-2004, Holy Martyrs in Oreland from 1987-1989, Saint Agnes in Sellersville from 1989-2005, Saint Joseph in Warrington from 2005-2011 until he was placed on administrative leave following the February 2011 Grand Jury report.

Father Givey, 68, served at Saint Katharine of Siena in Way from 1971-1973, Archbishop Carroll High School in Radnor from 1971-1973, The Catholic Standard and Times from 1973-1974, 1976, 1984-1991 Pontifical University in Rome from 1973-1976, Temple University from 1976-1978, Archbishop Prendergast High School in Drexel Hill from 1978-1984, Sisters of Mercy Convent in Merion from 1980-1984, Saint Agatha/Saint James in Philadelphia from 1994-1996, Our Lady of Peace in Milmont Park from 1996-2001 when he was placed on administrative leave.

Monsignor Close was the only priest in the group who was accused of having sex with a minor. The other five were investigated for violations of the Catholic church's Standards of Ministerial Behavior and Boundaries, according to Chaput.

"In making these decisions I relied on the counsel of numerous experts in two separate bodies -- the Multi-Disciplinary Team and the Archdiocesan Revie Board. . .The experience of these doctors, police officers, former prosecutors, victims' advocates and others in dealing with the broad societal problem of sexual abuse was crucial to our work," Chaput said in a statement.

Twelve cases remain under investigation.

So far, nine priests are "unsuitable" for vocation after their investigations. The others were announced earlier this year:

The same February 2011 grand jury report that led to Msgr. William Lynn's recent trial and conviction also alleged that dozens of accused priests were still active in Philadelphia, despite a zero-tolerance policy among U.S. bishops. The accusations ranged from sexual abuse to inappropriate boundary issues. Some of those cases are still in different stages of investigation.

SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, responded to Chaput's latest decisions with this statement: 

Archbishop Charles Chaput continues to selfishly disclose decisions at his convenience with little or no regard for children's safety.

Just last year, prosecutors concluded that 37 accused Philly priests were still on the job. So it's very hard to have any faith whatsoever in secretive internal church procedures run by a few Catholics hand-picked by complicit church officials.

The real and urgent remedy is still eliminating Pennsylvania's archaic, arbitrary, predator-friendly statutes of limitations. When the courthouse doors, long slammed in victims' faces, are cracked open, the truth about these abuses and cover up reports can be better revealed and children can be better protected.

Again, we stress that decisions about possible predator priests should be announced as soon as they are made, not held in secrecy for months or weeks until the archbishop and his public relations staffers deem it's most advantageous to disclose them. Chaput continues to act recklessly and selfishly.

And again, we urge Chaput to start defrocking Msgr. William Lynn, a convicted criminal.

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