A Catholic priest who served in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia since 1974 has been placed on leave after credible sexual abuse allegations against him were made. The news of Rev. Steven Marinucci follows an investigation that found two other Philadelphia-area priests “unfit for ministry” due to abuse complaints against them. A third priest, who was credibly accused of abusing a minor in the 1980s was also placed on leave in January. Recently, the Archdiocese disclosed the allegations targeting Marinucci to the parish of St. Matthew in Northeast Philadelphia. He served the parish for nearly 20 years and worked in a variety of schools within the Archdiocese. Marinucci is being accused of sexually abusing minors in the late 1970s.
Priests who are placed on administrative leave may not serve in their ministry and cannot appear in any parishes or schools. Currently, at least three priests within the Archdiocese are on administrative leave from their positions as a result of credible sexual abuse allegations.
Administrative leave does not mean that the priest will not receive monthly payments through the Archdiocese. The priest remains a clergy member but cannot serve in public as a priest. In order for priests to be officially defrocked, and stripped of their duties and any associated compensation, the Pope must approve the process, also known as laicization. Statistics show that laicization occurs infrequently in the Catholic church, with a mere 850 priests removed from the priesthood across the world. Many times, church dioceses may be reluctant to remove priests suffering from old age and medical issues. They may be able to retire with a bishop’s consent and continue to receive funds from the church as part of their retirement.
As a result of the publication of the August, 2018 Pennsylvania grand jury report, many abusive clergy members have been identified with the crimes they have committed. Priests who engage in the sexual abuse of minors must be held accountable for their actions. Survivors of clergy abuse deserve the justice they have been denied for many years.
If you or someone you love experienced horrific abuse by a clergy member, we will dedicate ourselves to fighting for your rights. Please call our Pennsylvania clergy abuse attorneys at Williams Cedar at 215-557-0099 or contact us online. We represent clients nationwide and in South Jersey and Pennsylvania including the cities of Allentown, Scranton, Pittsburgh, Harrisburg, Greensburg, Johnstown, Erie, and Wilkes-Barre from our offices in Haddonfield, New Jersey and Philadelphia.