Archbishop Charles J. Chaput on Sunday reinstated a priest on leave since 2011, ending what had been an unprecedented investigation into more than two dozen clergy members over child sex abuse allegations.
Chaput said an archdiocesan investigation found no evidence to substantiate claims that Msgr. Joseph L. Logrip sexually abused minors more than two decades ago.
Chaput's decision frees Logrip to again present himself as a priest and resume his role in the ministry.
Logrip was one of 26 Catholic clerics put on administrative leave by Cardinal Francis Rigali after a February 2011 grand jury report. His was the last case to be resolved.
Of those priests put on administrative leave, 14 were found unsuitable to return to the ministry, 11 were permitted to return, and one died before a full investigation was conducted.
In December, Chaput permanently removed five priests based on allegations that ranged from sexual abuse of a minor to misconduct. The archdiocese did not provide details of the evidence in those cases, some of which stretched back 30 years.
Allegations of widespread sex abuse by archdiocesan priests were made public in 2005 with a grand jury report that accused then-Cardinal Anthony J. Bevilacqua and other church leaders of covering up the wrongdoing. A separate grand jury report in 2011 set in motion the investigation of the 26 priests, including Logrip.
The report recommended criminal charges against Msgr. William Lynn, who had served as secretary of the clergy for the archdiocese. The report alleged that to avoid scandal, Lynn would simply transfer priests accused of abuse.
Lynn was convicted in July 2012 of child endangerment, but that was reversed in December 2013 by a Superior Court panel. Last month, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court agreed to review the case.
The allegations against Logrip, 67, were never made public by the archdiocese but were provided to local prosecutors, who declined to press charges.
Ordained in 1972, Logrip has served in numerous parishes over the years, most recently St. Stanislaus in Lansdale.
Before he was placed on leave, Logrip had risen in the archdiocesan hierarchy to serve as a regional vicar.