Accused priest is removed from ministry

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The ex-Devon Prep teacher, suspected of sex assault in the 1990s, was working in the Philippines. He is now in supervised therapy. (The religious order is the Piarists, or the Order of Poor Clerics Regular of the Mother of God of the Pious Schools. Can ya stand it?)

The religious order that let one of its priests relocate to the Philippines after he allegedly sexually assaulted a 13-year-old Devon Prep student in the 1990s says it has removed him from active ministry, almost two decades after the attack.

The Rev. Theodore Podson relocated last month to a residential therapy center and “is being submitted to a carefully controlled supervision,” a Rome-based spokesman for the Piarists order said Friday.

The move came after The Inquirer reported that Podson, 64, was working as a priest and promoting himself as a teen mentor 20 years after officials at the Main Line boys school and the Archdiocese of Philadelphia concluded he had sexually abused a minor.

The order’s spokesman, Giorgi Pezza, declined to identify where Podson was transferred but said the setting includes “integral supervision” by superiors in his order.

He also said Podson has no interaction with boys. “He was strictly forbidden to do so,” Pezza said in an e-mail.

Podson’s name and history as a suspected pedophile emerged in secret church files introduced during the child sex-abuse and endangerment trial of two archdiocesan priests this year.

He was one of seven religious-order clerics whom Msgr. William J. Lynn, a former ranking aide to Cardinal Anthony J. Bevilacqua, had included on a 1994 list of dozens of area priests who had admitted or were suspected of sexually abusing minors.

The list was among thousands of documents introduced at Lynn’s landmark child-endangerment trial.

The seven priests worked at Catholic high schools and celebrated Masses in the region, but some, including Podson, had never before been publicly identified as abusers because they were outside the authority of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

Podson, a native of the area, was a Devon Prep alumnus who joined the staff in 1985 after teaching at Calasanctius Prep, a now-defunct Piarist school in Buffalo.

He was a “cool” and popular teacher at Devon Prep, according to several former students who asked not to be identified. Podson also regularly ran summer trips for the boys to destinations across the country and the world.

One was a June 1993 trip to Greece. After that trip, a student on it reported to school officials that Podson had sexually assaulted him.

The boy also told Ellen Murphy, a chaperone on the trip. In an interview last month, Murphy recalled that the boy told her Podson had abused him more than once.

Complete Article HERE!

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