2 Philadelphia Priests Punished in Sexual Abuse Cases
By JON HURDLE
Published: May 21, 2012
The archdiocese said Sunday that it had substantiated allegations of sexual abuse of a minor against Msgr. George J. Mazzotta, 73, and Msgr. Hugh P. Campbell, 77, who were ordained in the 1960s and held a series of positions in Philadelphia-area parishes and hospitals.
Monsignor Mazzotta has not been permitted to work or present himself as a priest since May 2010, when the archdiocese received the abuse allegation against him and reported it to law enforcement.
Monsignor Campbell has been on administrative leave since December, when he reported having sexually abused a minor, the archdiocese said.
Both men agreed to accept a supervised life of prayer and penance, and the findings were announced over the weekend to members of their most recent parishes, the archdiocese said. The priests are entitled to appeal the archdiocese’s findings to the Vatican.
Parishioners were told that the abuse had occurred about 40 years ago.
The two priests are not among the 26 who have been under investigation since a 2011 grand jury report accused the archdiocese of covering up sexual-abuse allegations against dozens of priests.
Archbishop Charles J. Chaput said on May 4 that 5 of the 26 priests had been judged unsuitable for ministry and would be barred from working as priests unless they successfully appealed the findings to the Vatican. Ultimately, they may be “defrocked,” or laicized. Three other priests were cleared, and 17 cases are still being investigated. One accused priest has died since the inquiry began.
The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, a victims’ advocacy group known as SNAP, said the latest findings were another indication of the archdiocese’s failure to respond promptly to abuse allegations.
“How do Philly Catholic officials explain keeping an admitted pedophile priest’s secret hidden for six months?” SNAP said in a statement on Monsignor Campbell.
The group argued that delaying action gave abusive priests the opportunity to cover their tracks by intimidating victims or destroying evidence.
News of the latest findings came amid the criminal trial of Msgr. William J. Lynn, the archdiocese’s former secretary for clergy, who is charged with child endangerment and conspiracy on allegations that he allowed accused priests to remain in positions where they could continue to abuse children. Monsignor Lynn has denied the charges.
A version of this article appeared in print on May 22, 2012, on page A18 of the New York edition with the headline: 2 Philadelphia Priests Punished in Sexual Abuse Cases.