Complaints Involved 169 Priests

By Craig R. McCoy
Philadelphia Inquirer
September 25, 2005

The details of the sex assaults were horrific. The access to the church's Secret Archive, extraordinary.

In hundreds of unrelenting pages, the report by a Philadelphia grand jury into sexual abuse by clergy in the archdiocese mounted a blistering denunciation of both the abusive priests and a hierarchy it said sheltered them.

The report identified 63 priests as abusers but took pains to say that there were more.

In all, the report said, victims and others had leveled complaints against 169 priests who have served in the archdiocese since 1967.

"These are not necessarily the worst offenders with the most victims," the report says of the 63. But it said that "their cases provide the most complete picture" available of the scandal within the diocese.

The church's shoddy investigation and inadequate records - and its use of euphemisms such as "boundary violations" to disguise the nature of attacks - helped block investigators from identifying all abusers, the report said.

While repeatedly apologizing to victims, the archdiocese has condemned the report, calling it a "vile, mean-spirited diatribe" in which prosecutors tried "to convict in the court of public opinion those whom it does not indict in a court of law."

In particular, the church said the report was wrong in saying its leaders participated in a cover-up.

The church also said the report had failed to pay attention to the numerous reforms it has enacted since the national scandal broke in 2002, including the creation of a special panel to review abuse allegations, a pledge to always alert police to complaints, and special training for both its staff and for young people.

Of the total clergy in Philadelphia facing allegations in the grand jury report, 121 were archdiocesan priests; the remainder belonged to orders, but worked within the archdiocese.

The 121 archdiocesan priests represented at least 5.5 percent of all such clerics who served in the archdiocese in those years - and probably a far higher percentage, based on the figures for the total number of priests over the last half-century.

Neither the church nor prosecutors could provide figures to permit a precise calculation of the percentage represented by the abusers since 1967.

The Philadelphia abuse rate was certainly higher than that of the nation as whole.Nationwide, 4 percent of priests faced abuse allegations in the last half-century, according to an official church survey.

What follows are capsule descriptions of the 63 priests named as abusers, as described in the grand jury report.

A few notes:

The grand jury list did not include two other known abusers who served in the archdiocese: the Rev. James J. Behan, who was convicted this year of abusing a teenager; and former nun Eileen Rhoads, who was convicted in Virginia of sex abuse and who has admitted abusing children in Philadelphia while teaching for the archdiocese.

Information in this list for the priests' assignments is limited to the period when the abuse took place.

Under rules of the grand jury, those identified in the report could send in public statements challenging the material. Only two did so; their comments are included under their names below.


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