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March 05, 2019

Philly priest arrested, charged with rape following year-long investigation

Armand D. Garcia recently served at St. Martin of Tours in Northeast Philly and Immaculate Heart of Mary in Roxborough

Investigations Priest Abuse
Saint Martin of Tours Screenshot/Google Street View

Saint Martin of Tours in Northeast Philadelphia, where Armand Garcia served from 2017 to 2018.

The Rev. Armand D. Garcia, a Philadelphia priest who was placed on leave last March, has been arrested and charged with rape, corruption of a minor, and sexual abuse of a minor, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia announced Tuesday.

Garcia, 49, allegedly raped and sexually abused a minor between 2014 and 2017, according to the archdiocese. Garcia most recently served at St. Martin of Tours in Northeast Philadelphia, from 2017 to 2018.

Garcia also was a priest at Immaculate Heart of Mary in Roxborough from 2011 to 2017; Our Lady of the Assumption in Tredyffrin in 2011; St. Katherine of Siena in Northeast Philly from 2009 to 2010; St. Eleanor in Collegeville from 2008 to 2009; and St. Joseph in Downingtown from 2005 to 2008. He was ordained in 2005.

The Archdiocese said in a release Tuesday that information about Garcia’s arrest will be shared with parishioners at St. Martin of Tours Parish and Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish.

“These charges are serious and disturbing,” the archdiocese said in the release. “The Archdiocese is cooperating fully with law enforcement regarding this matter and remains fervently committed to preventing child abuse as well as protecting the children and young people entrusted to its care.”

When Garcia was accused of misconduct with a minor last March, the archdiocese said Garcia possessed clear criminal background checks and child abuse clearances, and had completed safe environment training courses.

During his year on administrative leave, the archdiocese said, Garcia wasn’t allowed to exercise public ministry or present himself publicly as a priest.

The arrest comes seven months after a Pennsylvania grand jury report revealed accusations of sexual abuse against more than 300 priests from dioceses across Pennsylvania, not including the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

In November, the archdiocese joined other Roman Catholic dioceses in the state in establishing a compensation fund for surviving victims of clergy sexual abuse.

Earlier this year, more than 180 former New Jersey clergy were accused of sexual misconduct with minors.

In September, New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal launched a task force to investigate sexual abuse by clergy members in that state.

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