Latest News 2010 December Sexual Abuse Allegation Prompts Priest Removal

Sexual Abuse Allegation Prompts Priest Removal

Reverend William G. Ayres has been removed from his two parish posts by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia due to an allegation of sexual abuse, as reported by the Philadelphia Inquirer on November 23. 

The alleged abuse, involving a minor, took place in the 1990s.

Ayres, 39, was asked by the diocese to step down from both St. Michael parish in North Philadelphia, where he served as pastor since 2007, and from Immaculate Conception parish, where he served as parochial administrator since 2006, per archdiocese spokeswoman Donna Farrell. 

Neither of the two parishes have a school on their property.

In turning the case over to the Philadelphia District Attorney's office to investigate the allegation as soon as it was received, Farrell said, "We do not investigate these cases ourselves, we leave it to the District Attorney's Office to determine if the charges are credible."

A spokeswoman for the District Attorney's Office declined to comment on the ongoing investigation.

Ayres will now be staying at a retirement home for archdiocesan priests, Darby's Villa St. Joseph, and is forbidden from exercising his priestly ministry in public while the allegations are being investigated.

A reporter contacted Villa St. Joseph and a man that answered the phoned refused to allow him to reach Ayres for comment. 

Farrell said that members of both St. Michael parish and Immaculate Conception parish were informed during their Sunday Masses of Ayres' suspension.

The same archdiocese relieved another pastor of his duties, Reverend Gerald J. Pinero, during the same week they relieved Ayres.  Pinero was removed as pastor of Our Lord parish in Olney.  Federal agents from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, ICE, raided Pinero's parish and seized his computer.  ICE has refused to make the reasons for the raid public.

Farrell has stated that this is the first time Ayres, who graduated from St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Wynnewood, and was ordained in 1999, has been accused of any type of abuse.

Before he entered seminary, Ayres attended St. France de Sales Elementary School and West Catholic High School.

During the 1990s, Ayres spent some time at Mount St. Angels Seminary in St. Benedict, Oregon.

Ayres served at Philadelphia's Incarnation of Our Lord Parish until 2002, Chester's St. Katherine Drexel parish from 2002 to 2003, served as coordinator of Laotian Apostolate from 2001 to 2003 and also served as the director for the Office for Pastoral Care of Migrants and Refugees from 2003 to 2007.

The Archdiocese of Philadelphia has set up a Victim Assistance Office for people that would like to contact the archdiocese about any matters relating to sexual abuse.  The archdiocese can be reached via it's website at or by calling 1-888-800-8780.

Have you been abused by a member of the clergy?  Or, do have a loved one that was a victim?  Click here to contact a personal injury lawyer from our directory to help you.

Categories: Sexual Abuse