St. Louis, MO. – The pope has defrocked three priests who served in St. Louis and who have been accused of sexual abuse.
The move announced Friday means Michael McGrath, Donald Straub and Robert Yim are no longer priests.
Previously the three men had been removed from active ministry.
Archdiocese spokesman Jamie Allman says today's action goes a step further.
"This essentially means there is no way, no chance, no how that these individuals can ever be priests again," Allman said. "They have been permanently returned to the lay state, and rightly so because of the credible allegations of sexual abuse against them.
David Clohessy, with the victims' group SNAP, says the move provides some relief for victims.
"Many of these dangerous men used their collar and title to get access to vulnerable kids, and presumably it's going to be a little harder for them to molest without that title and that collar," Clohessy said. "More parents are apt to let their son or daughter go to the movies with a priest than with a plumber."
But Clohessy also says only a prison sentence will insure that the men no longer abuse children.
McGrath faces more than a dozen lawsuits from people who claim abuse. Yim and Straub are also being sued.