February 06, 2005

3 priests quietly dismissed

Philadelphia Inquirer

By David O'Reilly
Inquirer Staff Writer

The Archdiocese of Philadelphia dismissed three priests in November - quietly.

Months earlier, two of the priests had stepped down as pastors after they were accused of sexually abusing minors, which they denied.

But on Nov. 22, when the church removed them from ministry, effectively ending their careers, it made no announcement outside their parishes, and last week provided little additional information.

The three men removed from ministry were the Rev. John P. Schmeer, pastor of St. Martin of Tours parish in New Hope since 1991; the Rev. David C. Sicoli, pastor of Holy Spirit parish in South Philadelphia since 1999; and the Rev. James T. Henry, parochial vicar at Christ the King parish in Philadelphia since 2000.

Their exits were in contrast with the archdiocese's public announcement of the dismissals of four priests for sex-abuse charges in 2003. The church identified the priests by name - suggesting a new transparency after decades of secrecy.

On Dec. 18, 2003, the archdiocesan newspaper reported that the church review board had "determined that allegations of sexual misconduct with teenagers against [the] four priests are deemed credible."

Posted by kshaw at February 6, 2005 05:16 AM