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Philadelphia Archdiocese Suspends 21 Priests over Sex Abuse Report

George Doyle/Thinkstock(PHILADELPHIA) -- The Archdiocese of Philadelphia placed 21 priests on administrative leave Tuesday following a grand jury report that found over three dozen priests allegedly behaved inappropriately with minors.

The priests, who were not named, were removed from their positions while the cases against them are investigated.  The cases range from allegations of sexual abuse of a minor to boundary issues with minors.

"As we strive to move forward today, I wish to express again my sorrow for the sexual abuse of minors committed by any members of the Church, especially clergy," Cardinal Justin Rigali said in a statement.  "I am truly sorry for the harm done to the victims of sexual abuse, as well as to the members of our community who suffer as a result of this great evil and crime."

In February, the grand jury report found 37 cases of concern.  Shortly after, three priests were placed on administrative leave, adding onto the 21 that were placed Tuesday.  Five others who would have faced the same action were either already on leave, not in active ministry or no longer in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.  The remaining eight priests were spared from leave as reviews of their cases found no further investigation was necessary.

"I know that for many people their trust in the Church has been shaken," said Rigali. "I pray that the efforts of the Archdiocese to address these cases of concern and to re-evaluate our way of handling allegations will help rebuild that trust in truth and justice."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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