21 priests suspended in Philadelphia after being accused of sexually abusing minors

Twenty-one priests from Philadelphia have been suspended from active ministry by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia due to sexual abuse accusations involving minors, reports The New York Times. The archdiocese made the announcement on Tuesday.

According to the report, Bishop Accountability President Terence McKiernan described the mass suspension as the single-most sweeping in the history of the sexual-abuse scandal in the Roman Catholic Church in the US.

The archdiocese’ announcement came after a grand jury report issued last month that accused the archdiocese of covering up the actions of predatory priests for decades. The report said 37 priests remained active in the ministry despite "credible accusations" made against them.

According to the NY Times, three others were earlier placed on administrative leave, and five would have been suspended as well but three are no longer active and two are no longer with the Philadelphia Archdiocese. "The church said that in eight cases, no further investigation was warranted," reports the NY Times.

The church did not identify the priests who were accused of "sexual abuse of a minor to boundary issues with minors."

The NY Times reports that the church could face legal settlements with millions of dollars in payouts if the accusations are upheld.

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