While no charges have been filed against a priest of the Philadelphia Archdiocese under investigation for alleged misconduct with minors, Father Armand D. Garcia has been placed on administrative leave effective Friday, March 16.
The pastor of St. Martin of Tours Parish in the Oxford Circle neighborhood of Northeast Philadelphia had cleared criminal background and child abuse protocols and had completed safe environment training courses, according to Ken Gavin, archdiocesan spokesman. Clearing the checks and training is standard procedure for all clergy serving in the archdiocese.
“On the morning of March 16,” Gavin said in a statement, “the archdiocese was notified by the Philadelphia Police Department that a report had been received regarding possible alleged misconduct with minors on the part of Father Garcia. In conjunction with this report, law enforcement executed a search warrant in the parish rectory that same day.
“Archbishop Chaput took immediate action in response to the concerns which arose regarding Father Garcia’s suitability for ministry by placing him on administrative leave. He has not been present at the parish since March 16 and his status is pending the outcome of this matter.”
Gavin added that the archdiocese and St. Martin Parish are cooperating fully in what remains an active criminal investigation. “There is no additional information at this time and no charges have been filed against Father Garcia,” Gavin said.
The priest, who was ordained in 2005, was named parochial administrator of St. Martin of Tours in May 2017 and was formally installed as pastor of the parish last November.