Philly Archdiocese Suspends 21 Priests on Sex Charges

Move follows grand jury findings last month
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 8, 2011 4:24 PM CST
A file photo of Archbishop of Philadelphia Justin Rigali.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – The Catholic Church in Philadelphia has put 21 priests accused of molesting minors on administrative leave, reports the Inquirer. The archdiocese removed them from ministry after a damning grand jury report last month alleged that abuse remained rampant among local priests—and that the diocese seemed more concerned about covering up allegations than rooting out offenders.

"We understand that accusations are not proof," wrote the grand jury at the time, "but we just cannot understand the archdiocese's apparent absence of any sense of urgency." Archbishop Justin Rigali, who initially disputed the contention that pedophile priests were still in ministry, was more contrite today: "I know that for many people their trust in the Church has been shaken," he said. "I pray that the efforts of the archdiocese to address these cases of concern and to re-evaluate our way of handling allegations will help rebuild that trust in truth and justice."

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