21 Philadelphia Priests Suspended

Following a grand jury report issued February 10 accusing the Archdiocese of Philadelphia of covering up sex abuse of minors by priests, the city's church jurisdiction announced on Tuesday that it had forced 21 priests to leave active ministry, validating some of the charges issued last month. The church jurisdiction found eight of the original accused 37 priests not guilty, while three were placed on administrative leave, and five others who would have been placed on leave had they not already resigned. Others believed to be in some way connected to the assaults were also forced to leave the ministry. Cardinal Justin Rigali, the archbishop of Philadelphia, said the suspensions were temporary until their cases were investigated further. He also apologized for the priests’ actions, after having initially responded to the grand jury report by saying there were no priests “who have an admitted or established allegation of sexual abuse of a minor against them.”