WASHINGTON — The grand jury report alleging past sexual abuse by clergy and other church personnel in the Philadelphia Archdiocese “puts a cloud over everything” the church is doing to prevent abuse, says Teresa Kettelkamp, executive director of the U.S. bishops’ Secretariat of Child and Youth Protection.

In the wake of the archdiocese placing 21 priests on administrative leave in its ongoing response to the grand jury inquiry, Kettelkamp said people want to know what happened, how it happened and what can be learned from it.

She does not attribute any failure in responding to claims of abuse to the “Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People,” adopted by the U.S. bishops in 2002 at their Dallas meeting. The charter is meant to put a system in place to stop abuse.

What needs to be examined, said Kettelkamp, is the extent to which dioceses are following the “spirit and the letter” of the charter.

When the Philadelphia grand jury released its report, it called for the archdiocese to “review all of the old allegations against currently active priests and to remove from ministry all of the priests with credible allegations against them.”
Among other initiatives the archdiocese pledged a re-examination of the cases of 37 priests.

The grand jury also handed down five criminal indictments.