Instances of priests being removed from parishes for past sexual
offenses against minors are receiving media coverage across the country. A
sampling of these cases follows:
The Chicago Tribune reported June 23 that Chicago
Cardinal Francis George has removed eight priests from ministry for acts of sex
abuse of minors. Five of the priests have said they will appeal Georges
action to the church tribunal, which most often handles annulment proceedings.
One of those priests is Fr. John Calicott, pastor of Holy Angels Parish in
Chicago, who was removed for abusing two 15-year-old boys in 1976. He was
suspended from ministry after that offense became known and received an
extensive psychiatric evaluation. He was reinstated in 1995 by Georges
predecessor in Chicago, Cardinal Joseph Bernardin, after Calicotts
doctors determined he was no longer a significant risk to children. Some Holy
Angel parishioners told the Tribune they plan to fight Calicotts
removal. If necessary, were going to get a group to Rome, because
this is a witch hunt, said Juanita Whiteside, who has attended the parish
for 27 years.
Like Calicott, Frs. Daniel Buck, John Keehan and William
Lupo were removed from parishes. Frs. James Ray, Thomas Swade and Richard Bartz
were removed from other archdiocesan positions. Fr. Daniel Holihan, 72 and
previously retired, held no active position. The other four priests appealing
their removals are Keehan, Buck, Ray and Swade.
A June 17 New York Times story reported that Fr. Thomas
DeVita was suspended from ministry at St. Mary of the Lake Parish in New
Buffalo, Mich., June 16 for sexual abuse of an altar boy in 1978. The priest
had previously been evaluated at a psychiatric facility and judged to be of no
danger to children. He publicly admitted to the crime four years ago and had
been forgiven by many parishioners and church leaders at that time.
In a widely reported story, Fr. Michael Allen was told he would
be removed from St. Peters Church in Celestine, Ind., June 20 for sexual
abuse of a 16-year-old boy committed in 1976. Allen received psychiatric
treatment after the abuse became known, was later deemed of no further danger
and returned to parish work. At St. Peters he apologized to parishioners
for the offense. Evansville Bishop Gerald Gettelfinger had previously said he
wanted to keep Allen in ministry, citing his repentance and strong leadership,
but removed him following the passage of the charter.