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35 Priests Linked to Sex Abuse, Philadelphia Archdiocese Says

February 23, 2002|Associated Press

PHILADELPHIA — The Archdiocese of Philadelphia said Friday it has found "credible evidence" that 35 priests sexually abused children over five decades and relieved several of them of their duties.

About 50 children were victims, diocesan spokeswoman Catherine Rossi said.

Rossi could not say how many of the 35 names had been given to police when the allegations were made. She said the archdiocese followed state law.

The archdiocese will not turn over the names of the priests now because the statute of limitations has expired in all of the cases, she said.

She said that fewer than 10 priests had faced "credible" abuse allegations years ago and had been working in administrative jobs since then.

The others were either relieved of their duties, retired, left the priesthood or died, Rossi said.

One priest, Father Michael Swierzy, 53, pleaded guilty in 1998 to one count of corrupting the morals of a minor.

The archdiocese said it reviewed records dating to 1950.

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