Archdiocese suspends ex-pastor of Northeast church

A former Far Northeast Catholic pastor who resigned last month after allegations surfaced that he had molested a minor more than 40 years ago has been placed on administrative leave by the city’s archdiocese.

While on leave, the Rev. John Paul, who had been Our Lady of Calvary pastor for 13 years, may not have any public ministry, according to an archdiocesan statement released Sunday. He also may not administer any of the sacraments, wear clerical attire or present himself as a priest while church officials investigate him. The archdiocese on Sunday also announced it had resolved the cases of seven other priests it had been investigating because of allegations of sexual misconduct following the release of a February 2011 Philadelphia grand jury report.

The Church said Paul’s case is not related to the other cases. On Nov. 10, archdiocesan spokesman Ken Gavin said the Church had received allegations Paul, 67, had sexually abused minors during his time as a seminarian. He said the priest had denied the allegations. Before coming to Our Lady of Calvary in Millbrook, Paul had served in several suburban parishes and high schools, including Archbishop Wood in Warminster.

The archdiocese said Paul’s case was referred to the DA’s office. Last month, Tasha Jamerson, the DA’s spokeswoman, said she couldn’t comment on cases unless charges are filed, but she added that the DA couldn’t file charges anyway since the allegations are 45 years old and the statute of limitations would have run out. In November, Gavin said the archdiocese had not concluded its investigation of Paul. On Sunday, the archdiocese announced it had finished going over allegations against seven other priests, finding five of them to be “unsuitable for ministry.” The archdiocese did not release details of the allegations.

The Church found an allegation that the Rev. Francis J. Schlett sexually abused a minor was unsubstantiated and that he was suitable for ministry. Schlett, 70, retired in 2005. He had served in several suburban parishes, including Our Lady of Grace in Penndel, since his 1970 ordination. Although the archdiocesan investigation revealed the Rev. Zachary Navit “more likely than not” violated the Church’s Standards of Ministerial Behavior and Boundaries, “there is no evidence that he poses a danger to children, and there is no indication he would engage in a pattern of behavior that would necessitate his removal from ministry.” Since his 1994 ordination, Navit had served in several city and suburban parishes, including St. John Bosco in Hatboro, Nativity B.V.M. in Warminster and Our Lady of Guadalupe in Doylestown.

The five found to be unsuitable for ministry after investigation are:

• The Rev. Michael Chapman. The archdiocese found an allegation Chapman sexually abused a minor to be substantiated. Chapman, 58, has served in many parishes throughout Philadelphia and its suburbs since his 1982 ordination. He was chaplain of Little Flower High School from 1983 to 1985.

• The Rev. Mark Fernandes, 40, who served in a few suburban parishes since his 2004 ordination, violated the Standards of Ministerial Behavior and Boundaries.

• The Rev. Joseph Glatts, 75, was ordained in 1966 and served in many parishes and three high schools in and around Philadelphia and also was a U.S. Air Force chaplain for 23 years. An allegation he violated the church’s behavioral standard was substantiated, the archdiocese said.

• The Rev. Stephen Perzan, 75, who served twice at Visitation B.V.M. in Kensington as well as many city and suburban parishes, was found to have violated the behavioral standards. However, an allegation he sexually abused a minor was not substantiated by archdiocesan investigators.

• The Rev. Peter Talocci, 54, was viewed similarly. Investigators substantiated an allegation he violated the behavioral standards, but did not substantiate an allegation he sexually abused a minor. Since his 1986 ordination, Talocci had served as several suburban and Philadelphia parishes, including St. Martin of Tours and Our Lady of Calvary in the Northeast. Talocci also had served at St. Francis Cabrini in Fairless Hills and was chaplain of Bishop Conwell High School from 1989 to 1990.

Other than Paul, the priests had been on administrative leave since 2011. Only one case remains to be decided. ••