Philly priests found unfit to minister

April 8, 2013 at 1:07 AM

PHILADELPHIA, April 8 (UPI) -- The Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia said Sunday two active priests and one retired priest accused of child sex abuse have been found unfit to serve.

The archdiocese said in a statement posted on its website that Archbishop Charles J. Chaput has decided the Rev. Father Joseph J. Gallagher and the Rev. Mark S. Gaspar "are unsuitable for ministry due to substantiated violations of The Standards of Ministerial Behaviors and Boundaries."

Separately, the archbishop also found that retired Monsignor Richard T. Powers was found unsuitable to serve because of "a substantiated allegation of sexual abuse of a minor that occurred approximately 40 years ago outside the Archdiocese of Philadelphia."

The archdiocese went on to say the two active priests, who were placed on administrative leave in March 2011, will have no public ministry in the archdiocese. The priests can appeal to the pope.

Chaput said he "relied closely" on a review board and advisory panel in reaching his decision.

"The counsel provided by these experts, who have devoted their careers to combating sexual abuse, is key to this work," Chaput said. "I'm grateful for their efforts. After reviewing all the facts, as well as recommendations from competent external authorities, I made the decisions I feel are right and just."

Last year, Chaput announced seven other priests placed on administrative leave were found unsuitable for ministry, while eight were allowed to continue. A 16th priest had died.

Several other cases are still pending "for a variety of reasons," the archdiocese said.

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