Archdiocese of Philadelphia Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap. has found former St. James High School faculty member Rev. John P. Paul not suitable for ministry following a substantiated allegation that he sexually abused a 17-year old minor over 40 years ago.
In 2012 and 2013 the Archdiocese received allegations that Paul had sexually abused minors during his time as a seminarian.
Consistent with the Archdiocesan Policy for the Protection of Children and Young People published in October 2012, these allegations were reported to law enforcement, which, after a lengthy investigation, declined to press charges.
The allegations were also reviewed by the Archdiocesan Office of Investigations, the Office for Child and Youth Protection and the Office of the Vicar for Clergy. Those offices made a joint recommendation, approved by the Archdiocesan Professional Responsibility Review Board, and presented to the archbishop, who decided to restrict Paul’s ministry so that he would have no unsupervised contact with minors pending the outcome of the internal archdiocesan investigation that was in progress.
Notification of his restrictions was made to administrators at the parish and the parish school. A monitoring and support plan was implemented and followed throughout that time.
On Nov. 6, 2013, Paul resigned as pastor of Our Lady of Calvary Parish in Philadelphia, where he had been serving since 2000. He came to that decision of his own accord during the course of the archdiocesan investigation regarding the alleged abuse.
Paul, 67, was ordained in 1972. In addition to other assignments, he was a faculty member at the now closed St. James High School for Boys in Chester from 1986-1990.
Following Chaput’s determinations of Paul’s unsuitability for ministry, he will not have public ministry in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. Paul has the right to appeal the decision to the Holy See in Rome. If an appeal is not made, or if an appeal is unsuccessful, he could be laicized (removed from the clerical state) or live a life of prayer and penance.
Announcements were previously made at the parishes where Paul last served when he was placed on administrative leave. Follow up announcements were made last weekend regarding the final decision. Counselors were made available for parishioners.