The Archdiocese of Philadelphia has announced it is seeking topermanently remove the Rev. John H. Mulholland from priesthood afterfinding credible evidence that he sexually abused a minor in themid-1970s.
Mulholland was removed from active ministry in September 2005, soonafter a Philadelphia grand jury report on clergy sex abuse in thearchdiocese reported that Mulholland had a history of sadomasochisticactivity with teenage boys in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
His case now goes before the Vatican, which can decide to laicize him.
Donna Farrell, spokeswoman for the archdiocese, could notimmediately confirm Friday whether Mulholland had admitted havingsexual contact with a minor.
Mulholland's whereabouts could not be determined Friday.
In 2004, the archdiocese opened its own investigation intoMulholland. It concluded that although several letters he wrote in 1968describing acts of bondage and submission were "quite disturbing," ithad no evidence he had engaged in sexual abuse.
He was kept on as a chaplain at a nursing home until the grand jury report of September 2005.
Weeks after the report, however, the archdiocese "received anallegation dating back to the mid-1970s that Father Mulholland hadsexually abused a minor."
In a statement released this week, the archdiocese said itimmediately reported the allegation to civil authorities and began itsown investigation.
The statement said also that the Archdiocesan Review Board hadrecently advised Cardinal Justin Rigali that there was sufficient causeto recommend Mulholland's removal from priesthood.
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