Three more priests accused of sexually abusing children have been defrocked, bringing to 17 the number of priests in the Philadelphia Archdiocese who have been defrocked since the clergy abuse scandal broke four years ago.

The Vatican defrocked Edward V. Avery, Stanley M. Gana and James E. McGuire over credible allegations of abuse, the archdiocese announced in a notice Thursday inside its weekly newspaper, the Catholic Standard & Times.

None of the 17 priests faces criminal charges because of Pennsylvania's statute of limitations for prosecuting sex crimes. Avery, Gana and McGuire were named in a grand jury report released in September that identified 63 archdiocesan priests as abusers.

"This does nothing to address the broader issue that they broke the law and they escaped prosecution because the statute of limitations is so short," said John Salveson, a leader of the national advocacy group Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests and Other Clergy.

Avery, Gana and McGuire were stripped of their ministries in 2002 and 2003. They could not be located for comment.

According to the grand jury report, McGuire was found to have molested at least three boys, starting from when he was a seminarian in 1966. Avery allegedly abused a 12-year-old boy in the late 1970s. Gana, at one time a chaplain for the Boy Scouts of America, allegedly had so many victims that the grand jury could characterize the number only as "countless."

An archdiocese spokeswoman declined to comment.