Sunday, November 28, 2010

Priest accused

Philadelphia priest accused of sexual abuse of child
Philadelphia Daily News 215-854-5255

The Archdiocese of Philadelphia announced yesterday that a 39-year-old priest has been removed from his duties at two parishes amid an allegation that, while attending seminary, he sexually abused a child.

The news follows Friday's announcement that the Rev. Geraldo Pinero had stepped down as pastor of Incarnation of Our Lord Parish in Olney after U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents produced a search warrant at the parish rectory.

Yesterday, the Archdiocese said the Rev. William G. Ayres, pastor of St. Michael parish in North Philadelphia, had recently been accused of abusing a minor in the mid-1990s while Ayres was attending St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Overbrook.

An announcement was made over the weekend at St. Michael, on 2nd Street near Jefferson, and at Immaculate Conception parish, at Front and Allen streets, Northern Liberties, where Ayres served as parochial administrator, that he had been removed from both posts.

Archdiocese spokeswoman Donna Farrell said the Archdiocese had notified the District Attorney's Office, but she declined to comment on the specifics of the allegation.

Ayres was moved on Friday from St. Michael's to Villa Saint Joseph, in Darby, a home for retired priests, including some who have been accused of sexual abuse.

Ayres, who was ordained in 1999, served at Incarnation of Our Lord from 1999 to '02, at St. Katharine Drexel in Chester in '02 and '03, and in the Office for Pastoral Care of Migrants and Refugees from '03 to '07. He also was coordinator of the Laotian Apostolate from '01 to '03.

The Daily News was unable to reach him for comment yesterday, and a monsignor at Villa Saint Joseph declined to relay a message to him.

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