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."
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.