Cardinal Justin Rigali announced March 30 that he has placed two retired priests on administrative leave effective immediately. The action is a result of the continuing dialogue with the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office following the Grand Jury Report issued Feb. 10.

In its ongoing response to concerns raised by the district attorney’s office, the Archdiocese conducted an initial review that resulted in the administrative leave of the two priests pending a more thorough, independent investigation.

Consistent with the Cardinal’s previous statement, these steps are interim measures and are not final determinations or judgments.

Cardinal Rigali’s actions today and on March 8 when he placed 21 priests on administrative leave were based upon recommendations by Gina Maisto Smith, a former child abuse prosecutor with the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office for nearly two decades.

As previously announced, Smith is conducting an initial review of cases of concern.

The cases of administrative leave will be more fully investigated by Smith and a team of experts including a pediatrician with expertise in the field of child abuse, a forensic psychiatrist and psychologist, an expert from the child advocacy community and other experts.

Both priests placed on administrative leave March 30 are retired and live in private residences. One retired in 2005 and due to health reasons is not currently serving in any public ministry.

The other priest retired in 2006 and has assisted at parishes in another diocese. The bishop of the diocese where he resides has been informed.