Church sex abuse scandal: Three priests suspended, others under review

Archbishop Cardinal Justin Rigali today announced that he has suspended three priests and ordered the “reexamination” of other priests still in active ministry who have been accused of molesting children in their charge.

The announcement came one week after a damning grand-jury report that charged the Archdiocese with covering up clergy sex-abuse. In last week’s indictment, two priests, a defrocked priest and a lay teacher were charged with rape, while a monsignor accused of shielding the men from detection was charged with endangering the welfare of children.

“Many people of faith and in the community at large think that the Archdiocese does not understand the gravity of child sexual abuse. We do,” Rigali said. “The task before us now is to recognize where we have fallen short and to let our actions speak to our resolve.”

Placed on administrative leave today were the Revs. Joseph L. DiGregorio, Joseph J. Gallagher and Stephen B. Perzan.

Rigali also announced today that the Archdiocese has hired Gina Maisto Smith, a partner at the Ballard Spahr law firm, to review the cases of all accused priests still in active service to determine their suitability for continued service. Smith is a former Philadelphia assistant district attorney who prosecuted child sexual assault cases for nearly 20 years.