PHILADELPHIA – Three more priests were permanently removed from ministry by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia on Sunday, including one whose accuser killed himself after his allegation was dismissed by church officials.
The Revs. Joseph Gallagher and Mark Gaspar were suspended following a scathing 2011 grand jury report that ultimately led to the landmark conviction of a high-ranking archdiocese official on child endangerment charges. Two other priests and a Catholic schoolteacher were also convicted.
The February 2011 grand jury report prominently named Gallagher as a priest who remained in ministry despite apparently credible allegations of abuse. The grand jury said the archdiocese had found the allegation against him unsubstantiated despite the accuser’s “obvious credibility.”
“Our only problem is that it took so long,” Marci Hamilton, the attorney for the family of Daniel Neill, said Sunday. Neill committed suicide in 2009, less than a year after being told his allegation couldn’t be substantiated.
A third priest, Monsignor Richard Powers, was not among the priests suspended following the grand jury investigation. The archdiocese said he was suspended last year after his name surfaced on a list of priests previously accused of sexual abuse.
SALT LAKE CITY – Elder Eldred G. Smith, the oldest Mormon church general authority and oldest known Utahn, has died at the age of 106.
Smith, who was born in Lehi, died Thursday night.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints issued a statement praising him as a “valued friend” and “respected leader.”
During his 32 years as church patriarch, he traveled to every continent and gave more than 18,000 blessings. He had been an emeritus church patriarch since 1979.
Two children trapped in dirt likely dead
DENVER, N.C. – Two young children trapped when dirt fell on them at a home construction site Sunday were not expected to be found alive and crews expected to work through the night to recover their bodies, a fire official said.
A father of one of the children called 911 at about 6 p.m. to report what happened, Lincoln County Emergency Services spokesperson Dion Burleson said. Crews were on the scene in minutes, but couldn’t get to the 7-year-old boy and 6-year-old girl, Burleson said.
Americans’ bodies found after plane crash
WELLINGTON, New Zealand – New Zealand navy divers have recovered the bodies of American wireless executive Eric Hertz and his wife, Kathy, after their small plane crashed in the South Pacific.
Divers recovered a second body Sunday from the wreck of the couple’s twin-engine Beechcraft Baron at a depth of 184 feet. They recovered the first body Saturday near Kawhia Harbour, about 90 miles south of Auckland.
Hertz radioed authorities March 30 to say the engine had failed. The couple had left from an airport near Auckland bound for the South Island town of Timaru.
Hertz, 58, had been chief executive of New Zealand’s Two Degrees Mobile since 2009. He’d previously been chief executive at Seattle’s Zumobi and held senior positions at Western Wireless, AT&T Wireless, Bell South, CellularONE and McCaw Cellular.