Five Philadelphia priests were removed and one was placed on leave due to sexual abuse and misconduct allegations.
Early Sunday afternoon, the Archdiocese announced that Rev. Michael A. Chapman, Rev. Stephen B. Perzan, Rev. Peter J. Talocci, Rev. Mark E. Fernandes and Rev. Joseph M. Glatts were all removed from the archdiocese. The removals were the results of an investigation sparked by the February 2011, Grand Jury report.
Shortly after, the Archdiocese announced that another priest was placed on leave due to allegations of sexual abuse. Reverend John P. Paul, 67, was placed on administrative leave after several accusations were made that he sexually abused minors over 40 years ago. The Archdiocese says, however, that his leave was not connected to the Grand Jury investigation.
Chapman, 58, was first placed on leave in March 2011 for allegedly violating standards of ministerial behavior and boundaries. A subsequent investigation found him suitable for ministry.
But new allegations that he sexually abused a minor were reported in May of 2012 as he prepared to return to a Philadelphia parish. The archdiocese said it immediately reported the claims to law enforcement and church officials later suspended the priest a second time.
Chapman was ordained in 1982 and served at several parishes and schools prior to his suspension, including Saint Bonaventure, Little Flower High School and Ascension of Our Lord, Philadelphia.
Perzan, 68, of St. Helena Parish in Philadelphia and Talocci, 54, of St. Patrick’s in Malvern, are also accused of sexually abusing a minor. However, the review board could not substantiate the sex-abuse allegations against them and they were removed instead for allegedly violating the “standards of ministerial behavior and boundaries."
Fernandes, 40, previously of St. Agnes Parish in Sellersville and Glatts, previously of SS. Simon and Judge in West Chester, were not accused of sexual misconduct but instead of violating church standards.
Two other priests, Rev. Zachary W. Navit and Rev. Francis J. Schlett were cleared to return to their positions after the review board was unable to substantiate the allegations against them.
Both late last year and earlier this year, the Archdiocese received allegations that Father Paul, 67, sexually abused minors over 40 years ago while he was a seminarian. The Archdiocese reported the allegations to police which sparked a lengthy investigation.
During the investigation, Paul's ministry was restricted and he was not allowed to have unsupervised contact with any minors. On November 6 of this year, Paul resigned as pastor of Our Lady of Calvary Parish, Philadelphia, where he had served since 2000.
After his resignation, the Archdiocese says they received new allegations that Paul sexually abused minors over 30 years ago. The allegations were then reported to the District Attorney's Office.
The Archdiocese says Paul will remain on administrative leave pending any action by law enforcement and a full internal investigation.
First published December 15 2013, 7:25 PM