It is one thing to punish a priest for his crimes and misdeeds he committed while wearing the collar. It is quite another to wash your hands of him, knowing full well what he has done and will likely continue to do, and consider the matter resolved. The Archdiocese of Philadelphia acted irresponsibly with their handling of Fr. David Sicoli in the past. They are acting negligently with regard to Sicoli now.
Sicoli, who was known to the Archdiocese of Philadelphia to have molested at least 12 boys during his career as a priest, was quietly defrocked from the church in 2008. Today, he lives across the street from the largest playground in Sea Isle City, NJ. The Archdiocese has unleashed him on a new hunting ground in a new state. This is outrageous.
We call on Archbishop Chaput to use all of his resources to warn parents and parishioners in New Jersey of the crimes that Sicoli committed in Philadelphia. He should also provide a dossier on Sicoli to Diocese of Camden Bishop Joseph Galante, and Bishop Galante should take every possible step to ensure that Sicoli has not victimized any more children in his diocese.
This situation is an example of one of the many pitfalls associated with the cover-ups that have long gone on with clergy sex abuse. The Archdiocese covered up Sicoli’s crimes for so long they were outside the statute of limitations, allowing this predator to escape without having to register as a sex offender. In turn, he is now able to move wherever he wants, as close to schools or daycares as he wants, and parents are none the wiser. We hope that legislators in Pennsylvania and New Jersey will see the dangers that the ineffective statute of limitations poses, and will work to reform these predator-friendly laws in order better protect children everywhere.