Priests from Kennedy Catholic, Cambridge Springs removed after alleged misconduct

HERMITAGE, PA. is reporting that two priests have been removed from the ministry by the Diocese of Erie and are prohibited from any contact with minors.

The move came today after diocesan investigations into alleged misconduct, Erie Catholic Bishop Lawrence Persico told the Erie Times-News.

Kennedy Catholic High School

The Rev. Sean Kerins, 27, was removed from his roles as chaplain at Kennedy Catholic High School in Hermitage, Pa., and from the Church of the Good Shepherd Parish in West Middlesex, Pa., after the diocese determined he sent a series of inappropriate text messages to a Kennedy Catholic student.

Also removed as pastor of St. Anthony of Padua Parish in Cambridge Springs is the Rev. David Poulson, 64, after the diocese received what it believes to be “credible allegations against Father Poulson regarding the sexual abuse of minors,″ Bishop Persico said.

Diocesan officials told the Times the two situations are unrelated.

“My heart aches for the victims and their families,″ Persico said in a news release issued Tuesday afternoon by the diocese. “Priests are rightly held to a high standard, so it was especially devastating for me to learn of both situations. I know all Catholics, including our priests, are deeply wounded by this behavior.″

Diocesan officials said a preliminary investigation against Poulson is ongoing, and that the investigation has been turned over to law enforcement.

The Diocese of Erie Catholic Schools Office was informed in late January by Kennedy Catholic High School officials of possible inappropriate communications between Kerins and the Kennedy Catholic student, The Times reports.

Following school and diocesan policy, ChildLine and law enforcement were informed, and a preliminary independent investigation was initiated.

At that time Kerins was put on temporary administrative leave, officials said.

After completing a preliminary investigation, Diocese of Erie officials determined that the series of text messages sent by Kerins to the student was inappropriate according to diocesan and school standards, and in violation of diocesan policy, the Times reported.

Persico removed Kerins from his assignments at Kennedy Catholic High School and Good Shepherd Parish. Kerins is prohibited from all public ministry and is prohibited from having any contact with minors while law enforcement continues its investigation.

Hermitage Police Department is handling the investigation of Kerins, but did not release any information today on their probe, the Times reported.

Professional counselors from Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Erie were made available Tuesday to students, faculty and staff at Kennedy Catholic High School.

The Times reports that in a letter to Kennedy Catholic High School families, the Rev. Jason Glover said, “As painful as the news is, we took swift and decisive action in this matter. We are committed to maintaining your trust in the Kennedy Catholic Family of Schools and its commitment to the safety and well-being of our students.″

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