Our Lady of Calvary pastor resigns after molestation allegations probed

Parishioners of Our Lady of Calvary Roman Catholic Church in the Far Northeast were informed during Sunday’s Masses that their pastor, the Rev. John Paul, had been accused of molesting minors and voluntarily had resigned the post he had held for 13 years.

“Earlier this year, the archdiocese received allegations that Father Paul had sexually abused minors more than 40 years ago during his time as a seminarian,” archdiocesan spokesman Ken Gavin stated in a Nov. 10 email to the Northeast Times. He said Paul had denied the allegations.

Gavin said the archdiocese followed its own policies and immediately referred all information about the allegations to law enforcement, which he said declined to press charges.

“We don’t comment on cases unless charges are filed,” said Tasha Jamerson, the district attorney’s spokeswoman. That being said, she added, given that the allegations are 45 years old, the DA wouldn’t have been able to prosecute anyway because the statute of limitations would have run out.

Gavin said the archdiocese had not yet concluded its own investigation of the allegations against Paul.

Earlier last week, an announcement of the priest’s decision to leave was posted on the parish school’s website. (See http://userweb.nni.com/OLC/ and click on “notes from the principal” on the left.) The website didn’t specify what the allegations were other than they involved sexual abuse of minors.

In a statement released Monday, Karen Polesir, local director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, said the alleged abuse involved two minors. She accused the archdiocese of not thoroughly investigating Paul.

“Philly Catholic officials — despite repeated pledges to be ‘open’ — are continuing to pretend to do quiet, internal investigations into accused predator priests without warning parents,” Polesir stated.

“The safety and well-being of our children and young people is of the utmost concern to the Archdiocese. Father Paul was allowed to remain at the parish during this time only after careful consideration of all available facts by the Archdiocesan Review Board, the Vicar for Clergy, the Director of Investigations, the Director of the Office for Child and Youth Protection and the Archbishop,” Gavin stated. “Throughout this time, and as a matter of precaution, Father Paul’s ministry had been restricted in that he had no unsupervised contact with minors. Appropriate notification of his restrictions was made to pertinent parties and a monitoring and support plan was implemented and followed.”

Gavin said Archbishop Charles Chaput appointed the Rev. John Babowitch pastor of Our Lady of Calvary. He will assume his new post Dec. 2. ••