Thursday, October 27, 2005


Priest, accused in report, quits Drexel U. post

Aston, Penn. - A priest accused of molesting a Delaware County teenager has resigned his administrative post at Drexel University.

The Daily News first reported three weeks ago that James M. Iannarella was working as assistant vice president in Drexel's Office of Government and Community Relations, despite being one of 63 priests named in last month's graphic grand jury report on clergy sexual abuse.

Iannarella allegedly molested a 17-year-old female parishioner in 1999 at St. Joseph Church in Aston, Delaware County, where he was parochial vicar, according to the report.

Iannarella, who has worked for Drexel since 2001, quit this week, a Drexel spokesman said. Although still a priest, the Vatican is considering a laicization petition to defrock him. He has not returned telephone calls to the Daily News.

"He resigned and the university has accepted his resignation," Drexel spokesman Philip Terranova said.

In his Drexel post, Iannarella served as liaison to the Miss Philadelphia Organization's beauty pageant last year, where he mingled with dozens of teenage stunners.

Terranova declined to comment on why or how Drexel chose him for that role, saying: "I have nothing more to add to this story."

The District Attorney's Office did not file criminal charges against Iannarella - nor any of the priests listed in its report, except one - because statutes of limitations had expired.

See also, the never-ending chronicle of church-related crime.

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