The Archdiocese of Philadelphia suspended 21 priests on Tuesday after they were named in a grand jury report released last month that alleged sexual abuse.
Cardinal Justin Rigali, the archbishop of Philadelphia, said the priests have been removed from ministry while their cases are reviewed.
“These have been difficult weeks since the release of the Grand Jury Report: difficult most of all for victims of sexual abuse, but also for all Catholics and for everyone in our community," said Rigali, according to MyFoxPhilly.com.
The grand jury investigation spanned two years and resulted in charges against two priests, a former priest and a Catholic school teacher.
They stand accused of raping young boys, reported the Associated Press. A former high-ranking church official was also accused of transferring problem priests to new parishes without warning anyone of prior sex-abuse complaints.
The Archdiocese of Philadelphia currently has 482 active priests.
“I wish to express again my sorrow for the sexual abuse of minors committed by any members of the Church, especially clergy,” said Rigali. “I am truly sorry for the harm done to the victims of sexual abuse, as well as to the members of our community who suffer as a result of this great evil and crime.”
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