St. Eleanor's In-Residence Priest Among 21 Placed on Administrative Leave

Parishioners told Wednesday about the Rev. Robert Povish.

The Rev. Robert W. Povish, who is in residence at in Collegeville, is one of the 21 priests in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia who has been placed on administrative leave. Those on leave face accusations of inappropriate behavior or boundary issues with minors, or of more serious abuse, according to archdiocesan Director of Communications Donna Farrell.

A grand jury report released last month stated dozens of priests remained in active ministry even though what the jury deemed credible allegations had been lodged against them.

"In each case, the next step is a thorough indepedent investigation," according to a press release from the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

Povish's leave was announced today at Ash Wednesday Masses at St. Eleanor's.

The statement included portions of yesterday's press release, including Cardinal Rigali's emphasis that "administrative leaves are interim measures. They are not in any way final determinations or judgments."

"I know that for many people their trust in the Church has been shaken," Rigali stated in the press release. "I pray that the efforts of the Archdiocese to address these cases of concern and to re-evaluate our way of handling allegations will help rebuild that trust in truth and justice."

This reporter spoke conversationally with two St. Eleanor's Mass attendees after the announcement. One woman described the news as "disturbing," and both agreed the situation "was a shame."

Read the grand jury report here. KYW has published a list of those on leave.

St. Eleanor's Church cannot comment on the situation. Farrell said the Archdiocese cannot comment on the nature of the accusations specifically against Povish, or when they were made.

Editor's Note: Donna Farrell contacted Perkiomen Valley Patch after this story was posted. The first paragraph has been changed to reflect the varying severity of the accusations.

Jessica White March 09, 2011 at 11:22 PM
Wow, he worked at my high school as a teacher and served as our school priest while I was a student there - disturbing, indeed.
Judy Block-Jones March 10, 2011 at 03:27 AM
We urge anyone who has knowledge or may have been harmed by any of these priests who are on this list, to call police officials or Philadelphia prosecutor Seth Williams, not church officials. Sex crimes, however old, should be investigated by the independent professionals in law enforcement, not the biased amateurs in church offices. Keep in mind your silence only hurts, but by speaking up there is a chance for healing, exposing the truth, and therefore protecting others. Also, know that you are not alone, and there is help and healing. Judy Jones, SNAP Midwest Associate Director, 636-433-2511 snapjudy@gmail.com "Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests" http://www.snapnetwork.org/
kathleen kelly March 10, 2011 at 03:43 AM
I am angry from the Pope down to the Archbishop....they knew and kids suffered.
Judy Block-Jones March 10, 2011 at 04:09 AM
Kathleen, I am so sorry, I know how you feel... Judy Jones, SNAP Midwest Associate Director, 636-433-2511 snapjudy@gmail.com "Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests" http://www.snapnetwork.org/
Kay Goodnow March 10, 2011 at 09:54 AM
This bishop should be held in contempt of court for so many reasons I cannot name them all. He should then be jailed for the rest of his life. New suits are being filed everyday and many states and Guam are following the Delaware lead in dealing with the SOL laws that have protected pedophiles. Truth and justice will prevail and in the meantime, although I am a survivor, I am glad to be alive to see the institutional church collapse into the quicksand of it's own making. Rigali has dementia? Yeah, right! Thanks to all who stand in support of the children and vulnerable adults.


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