Kennedy Catholic Chaplain removed, prohibited from contact with - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Kennedy Catholic Chaplain removed, prohibited from contact with minors

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Left: Father David Poulson, Right: Father Sean Kerins. Courtesy of WICU Left: Father David Poulson, Right: Father Sean Kerins. Courtesy of WICU
HERMITAGE, Pa. -

The Diocese of Erie has removed two priests, one from Kennedy Catholic High School, both now prohibited from contact with minors and prohibited from any public ministry.

According to a press release sent to our NBC affiliate WICU and other media outlets Tuesday, Father Sean Kerins, 27, was removed as chaplain at Kennedy Catholic High School in Hermitage.

He was also assigned to Church of the Good Shepherd Parish in West Middlesex.

Diocese officials said the Catholic Schools Office of the Diocese was informed late last month by Kennedy Catholic of a possible inappropriate communication from Father Kerins to a student at Kennedy.

Following school and diocesan policy, ChildLine and law enforcement were informed, and a preliminary independent investigation also was initiated.

At that time, Father Kerins was put on temporary administrative leave.

Now that the preliminary investigation has concluded, the diocese has determined that the series of text messages in question were inappropriate according to diocesan and school standards, and in violation of diocesan policy, according to the press release.

Bishop Persico has removed Father Kerins from his assignments to Kennedy Catholic High School as well as Good Shepherd Parish.

Father Kerins is prohibited from all public ministry and has been informed that he is to have no contact with minors while law enforcement continues its own investigation.

In an effort to help students, faculty, and staff at KCHS deal with the removal, professional counselors from Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Erie were made available at the school Tuesday. 

In a letter to KCHS families, Father Jason Glover, president, said, “As painful as the news is, we took swift and decisive action in this matter. We are committed to maintaining your trust in the Kennedy Catholic Family of Schools and its commitment to the safety and well-being of
our students.”

The other priest removed from his post was Father David Poulson, 64, pastor of St. Anthony of Padua Parish in Cambridge Springs, Crawford County.

The diocese received what it believes to be credible allegations against Father Poulson regarding the sexual abuse of minors.

A preliminary independent investigation is still ongoing, and the matter has been turned over to law enforcement. 

Both incidents involving Father Kerins and Father Poulson are unrelated, according to the release.

The Diocese of Erie encourages anyone who may have knowledge of either situation or who have been affected by similar improprieties, to use any of the options below.

To report abuse to the independent investigators retained by the Diocese of Erie, email ErieRCD@KLGates.com. 

In addition, victims or concerned individuals can report abuse to ChildLine, an outreach of the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services, by calling 800-932-0313. The line is open 24/7, and callers may choose to remain anonymous. 

Counseling assistance is available for victims and/or their families through the diocesan victim assistance coordinator, Dr. Robert Nelsen, who can be reached at 814-451-1521.

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