ERIE, PA. Diocese removes priests from duty

The priests will be given room and board by the church.
ERIE, Pa. (AP) -- The Roman Catholic Diocese of Erie has removed an undisclosed number of priests from active duty after a review of 25 years of church records that was spurred by the child-abuse scandal involving priests at the Archdiocese of Boston.
Erie Bishop Donald W. Trautman would not reveal how many priests were removed, but said the incidents were not widespread.
"We are talking a couple of cases where I have made a judgment call on an individual," Trautman said. "I said for the good of the church, for the good of that person, you are not going to function."
Trautman said the actions in Erie were to ensure no priest or deacon alleged to have sexually assaulted children is in active service.
He said none of the allegations involved episodes in the past 12 years while he has headed the diocese.
"I am dealing with allegations from the past -- 20, 30, 40 years ago," Trautman said.
Nationwide review: The review of Erie priests mirrors those under way nationwide. In the Archdiocese of Boston, Cardinal Bernard Law admitted he had evidence that a former priest molested children for years but was allowed to serve anyway.
At least 58 priests in Pennsylvania have faced credible accusations of abuse over the past several decades, officials in five of the state's eight dioceses disclosed in early March. Priests in the Erie diocese are not included in that count.
Last week in Greensburg, five priests were either removed or disciplined based on alleged sexual abuse of boys. And on Monday, nine priests were suspended from Cleveland's diocese pending an investigation by prosecutors.
Trautman said the review in Erie showed no evidence that any priests accused of sexual abuse were shuttled from parish to parish.
The priests removed from churches will be barred from taking part in any celebrations, such as Mass. They will still be given room and board by the church, Trautman said.
"As a bishop and a priest, my interest is helping the victim as well as the perpetrator. I look for the restoration and healing of both individuals and to the protection of children," Trautman said.

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