January 05, 2006

Hospice operator fires counselor

Philadelphia Inquirer

By David O'Reilly
Inquirer Staff Writer

A local hospice provider yesterday dismissed a Catholic priest it had hired as a bereavement counselor, saying it did not know he was an accused sex abuser.
Odyssey HealthCare of Philadelphia Inc., based in Blue Bell, said it immediately removed the Rev. Anthony J. Eremito, who is about 63, after learning that he had been suspended from ministry nearly four years ago by the Archdiocese of New York.
"He was in our employment for about three months as a bereavement counselor or coordinator," said Brad Bickham, general counsel for Odyssey's parent company, based in Dallas.
Bickham said Odyssey had conducted standard background checks on Eremito before hiring him but found no evidence of wrongdoing "because he was never criminally charged" with sex abuse.
"Unfortunately, this kind of conduct is not easily ascertainable," Bickham said.

Posted by kshaw at January 5, 2006 08:36 AM