Were you or a loved one sexually abused by Father John P. Paul, a Catholic priest in Northeast Philadelphia? We believe you, and we believe your voice deserves to be heard.
You are not alone. Dozens of former students, seminarians and parishioners have come forward to accuse Father Paul of sexual abuse. Allegations against the priest stem back nearly 40 years, to his time as a seminarian at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary.
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Assault claims have cast a shadow over the priest's tenure as a teacher at Bishop McDevitt High School, Archbishop Kennedy High School, Kennedy-Kenrick High School and Archbishop Wood High School.
Father Paul retired in 2012 and was voluntarily removed from the clerical state in 2015. Unfortunately, the vast majority of his alleged victims have never seen a shred of justice, since their claims date back decades, far outside the criminal statute of limitations.
Change may be on the way. Inspired by the Catholic Church sex abuse crisis, lawmakers in Pennsylvania are considering new measures that would dramatically extend or eliminate the statute of limitations for civil and criminal lawsuits. Very soon, hundreds of sexual abuse survivors may win the right to pursue justice by filing lawsuits of their own against priests, Catholic dioceses and church leaders who have covered up abuse.
If you or a loved one were abused by Father John Paul, our experienced sexual abuse attorneys are here to help. We understand that the idea of coming forward may seem terrifying. Abuse survivors often struggle to deal with powerful emotions of anger, grief, shock, sadness and shame. These are natural reactions to a terrible trauma, but you are not alone.
Some sexual abuse survivors may have powerful legal options. We believe that dozens of Father Paul's alleged victims may have the right to pursue financial compensation and accountability by filing a private PA sexual assault lawsuit. You can stand up and raise your voice. Learn more about your options in a free, confidential consultation today.
Father John P. Paul served numerous assignments throughout his 40 year tenure as a priest in Northeast Philadelphia:
Father John P. Paul was suspended in December 2013, after officials for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia received reports that the priest had sexually abused children over 35 years ago. Father Paul was placed on administrative leave by Archbishop Charles J. Chaput. In a press release, the Archdiocese said that it had received sexual abuse allegations in 2012, and then again in early 2013. The allegations reportedly stemmed from Father Paul's time as a seminarian at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary. The priest was ordained in 1972.
At the time, the Archdiocese said that it had reported the complaints to law enforcement officials, in line with an archdiocese policy implemented in October 2012. Police conducted a lengthy investigation, Catholic Philly reports, but did not press charges against Paul.
Despite the allegations against him, that he had molested two young boys, Father Paul was allowed to remain the head of Our Lady of Calvary, a fact that enraged parents and victims at the time.
Simultaneous to the criminal investigation, officials for the Philadelphia Archdiocese's Office of Investigations, the Office for Child and Youth Protection and the Office of the Vicar for Clergy conducted their own investigation, ultimately recommending that Father Paul be restricted in his access to minors. Eventually, Archbishop Chaput decided to restrict Paul's ministry so that he had no further unsupervised contact with children.
In late 2012, administrators at Our Lady of Calvary Parish and the parish school were notified of Father Paul's new restrictions. There is no evidence that church officials notified or warned parish parents of the change. A "monitoring and support plan" was put in place to track Paul's activities.
Even so, Father Paul resigned as the church's pastor on November 6. "He came to that decision of his own accord during the course of the archdiocesan investigation regarding this alleged abuse," the Archdiocese said in a press statement.
Father Paul moved out of Our Lady of Calvary's rectory and took up private residence. At the time, Paul expressed his interest in studying spirituality in Kentucky, taking a retreat to Italy or working in Malawi, Africa.
Soon after his resignation, a spate of new allegations were reported to the archdiocese, as multiple abuse survivors claimed that Father Paul had abused them over 30 years ago.
Catholic Philly reports that these new allegations were forwarded to the appropriate law enforcement authorities. Father Paul was then suspended from ministry and barred from wearing clerical attire pending the results of a renewed criminal investigation. The archdiocese also committed itself to a full internal investigation.
Press coverage surrounding the priest's suspension set off a new flurry of reports. Soon, more than a dozen alleged victims had stepped forward to accuse Father Paul of abuse. According to Catholics4Change.com, several of the complaints came from people who had been students of Paul at high schools in the Philadelphia area, including Wyncote's Bishop McDevitt. Reports suggest that many of the reports stemmed from alleged abuse committed in the 1980s.
Father Paul chose laicization in 2015. He was voluntarily removed from the clerical state in June of that year.