Category Archives: Archbishop Charles J. Chaput
Editorial: Rep. Rozzi, HB 1947 not going away
The Archdiocese of Philadelphia is learning that while a key aspect of House Bill 1947 might be going away, its biggest booster is not.
State Rep. Mark Rozzi, D-126, of Berks County, the man who authored the controversial language in the bill that would have retroactively extended the window for victims of child sexual abuse that occurred decades ago to sue the molesters and those that employed them, took his case to the church this week.
Rozzi knows a little something about the church and sexual abuse. He was an altar boy and a victim decades ago. Now he’s a state representative.
His colleagues in the House gave HB 1947 a stunning, resounding victory in a 190-15 vote to extend the age when victims could sue their tormentors and those who employed them or enabled them from age 30 to age 50.
Gov. Tom Wolf indicated he supported the controversial language in the bill, which would also lift the statute of limitations for criminal charges in such cases. Wolf said if it wound up on his desk, he would sign it.
The bill then went to the Senate. That’s when opponents of the measure, most notably the Catholic Church, in particular the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, rolled up their sleeves and went to work.
Archbishop Charles Chaput sent a letter that was either read or mentioned at every Mass in every parish in the archdiocese. Chaput did not mince words, characterizing the legislation as no less than an attack on the church. He urged parishioners to contact their state senator and oppose the measure, in large part because of a belief that it would treat victims of public institutions differently unfairly than those of private institutions, and questioning the constitutionality of the retroactive language that had been penned by Rozzi.
Several members of the Delaware County House delegation found themselves feeling heat, both from the archdiocese and their local parish priests. State Rep. Nick Miccarelli, R-162, of Ridley Park actually had his name casually dropped in the parish bulletin with a friendly reminder to the faithful that he had supported the bill.
The church, clearly taken aback by the surprising approval in the House of an idea that had long been opposed in Harrisburg, was not taking any chances. It put on a full-court press, making a passionate argument against retroactivity in a hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Its prayers were answered. The bill passed the Senate, but only after the language that would allow past victims to file suit was modified. Victims would have until age 50 to file civil actions against their molesters, but only in cases that occurred after the bill becomes law. It’s not back in the House.
The latest battle over such legislation was fueled by still another damning grand jury report, this time from the Johnstown-Altoona archdiocese.
An outraged Rozzi led the charge to give past victims their day in court. And he has no intention of stopping now, despite the setback in the House.
The state rep stood on the steps of the Basilica of SS. Peter & Paul, the downtown headquarters of the archdiocese, and tossed copies of grand jury reports of sexual abuse by priests. He vowed to rewrite the House bill and once again include a two-year window for past victims to file suit.
“One of my main messages today was it’s not over by any means,” Rozzi said. “For over 50 years, this institution, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, and its leadership, the archbishops and in fact all Roman Catholic dioceses across the state of Pennsylvania believed they were above the law, that they didn’t have to abide by our laws. And now they hide behind our laws.”
Of course, state representatives don’t have that luxury. They now are wearing a bull’s eye and no doubt will feel the heat once again generated by those who oppose Rozzi’s plan, most notably the archdiocese, the National Catholic Conference and the insurance industry.
Rozzi, who said he was motivated to visit the basilica because of Chaput’s opposition to his bill, was joined by several activists as well as Marci Hamilton, a lawyer who has represented clergy abuse victims. She urged elected to “start representing the common good,” while reminding those gathered – and those not in attendance – of the separation of church and state.
“They’re supposed to serve the people, and not just one set of wealthy religious lobbyists,” she said.
Rozzi said he would re-introduce his legislation in the fall, including the push to once again allow those abused decades to seek their day in court today.
The sides in this epic battle have been clearly defined, with Rozzi, other victims and their advocates on one side, and the church on the other. In the middle will be state House members, wrestling with a most prickly legal and societal issue at the very time they are campaigning for re-election.
The fight over House Bill 1947 is not over, not by a long shot.
Mark Rozzi is not going away. If nothing else, he made that crystal clear this week.
Catholic parishioners urged to help defeat SOL reform; one parishioner walks out of Mass
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on June 06, 2016 at 5:20 PM, updated June 07, 2016 at 6:55 PM
From the Link: http://www.pennlive.com/news/2016/06/catholic_child_sex_crimes_law.html#comments
Catholic parishioners across the state this past weekend were read a letter urging them to encourage their state lawmakers to defeat a bill that would amend the state’s child sex crime laws. House Bill 1947, which is now in the hands of the Senate, would reform the statute of limitations.
At 72, Nancy O’Brien has been a devout Catholic all her life.
On Sunday, O’Brien walked out of Mass in disgust. She did so after her priest at St. Anthony of Padua in Ambler, just outside Philadelphia, read a letter from the head of the archdiocese encouraging parishioners to help defeat a proposed legislation that would reform the state’s child sex crimes.
St. Anthony’s wasn’t the only parish to receive the letter. All 219 parishes across Philadelphia were read the letter from Archbishop Charles Chaput urging them to contact their lawmakers by mail or telephone and encourage them to vote against House Bill 1947, which would reform the statute of limitations.
“It was bull (expletive),” O’Brien said on Monday. “I don’t have to listen to this bull (expletive) anymore. I’ve been a practicing Catholic all my life. I’m not going to be anything else. I thought it was an insult. I know what’s been going on.”
House Bill 1947, which was approved in the House by a near-unanimous vote in April, is slated to be taken up for a hearing by the Senate Judiciary Committee next Monday.
In his letter, which was provided in English and Spanish, Chaput argues that the bill “poses serious dangers” to all parishes, ministries, charities and schools. He urges parishioners to write or telephone their local state senator and members of the state Senate Judiciary Committee to vote against HB 1947, especially any retroactivity provision in the civil statute of limitation covering sexual abuse.
“All of us are rightly angered by the crime of sexual abuse,” Chaput writes. “Over the past decade the Church has worked very hard to support survivors in their healing, to protect our children and to root this crime out of Church life. But HB 1947 and bills like it are destructive legislation being advanced as a good solution. The problem with HB 1947 is its prejudicial content. It covers both public and religious institutions — but in drastically different and unjust ways. The bill fails to support all survivors of abuse equally, and it’s a clear attack on the Church, her parishes and her people.”
In addition, parish priests also distributed inserts in both languages, explaining the statute of limitations issue, as well as steps the Philadelphia Archdiocese has taken to address clergy sex abuse and the needs of victims. The second document outlined the negative impact the bill would have on parishes, schools, and charitable ministries.
Ken Gavin, spokesman for the archdiocese, said the reading of the letter was not a mandate.
“The Archbishop requested that pastors do this and strongly encouraged it, but he did not mandate it,” he said.
The main provisions of House Bill 1947 include:
- The elimination of criminal statutes on future sex crimes against children;
- A 20-year extension to the current civil time limit (to age 50 for victims under 50)
- The waiving of sovereign immunity for state and local public institutions (such as public schools) in cases of gross negligence.
- A retroactive component that would allows past victims of child sex abuse to file civil claims up to the age of 50. (Under current law, victims of child sexual abuse are barred from seeking civil action after they reach the age of 30.)
Gavin said efforts by the Catholic Church to reform the law and to help victims are often overlooked in the conversation on reform.
“As people learn more about HB1947 and what the Church has done for more than a decade to help survivors of abuse and prevent child abuse, they’re seeing that the Church has done more in these areas of reform than any other private or public institution,” he said. “They’re also seeing that the currently proposed legislation excludes the many victims who suffered abuse in public institutions and that it holds public and private institutions to drastically different standards for the same bad acts.”
Requests for information from the Harrisburg Diocese and the Altoona-Johnstown Diocese were not immediately granted Monday.
Monsignor Stephen P. McHenry, senior pastor at St. Anthony of Padua, said he read the archbishop’s message because he agrees that the legislation is flawed – primarily its lack of uniformity in its retroactive provisions.
“I don’t think that’s fair legislation,” McHenry said. “I don’t think it’s a good bill. If abuse is as bad as it is and it is, everybody should have coverage.”
McHenry said he has been dealing with the clergy sex abuse scandal since 2002, the year of the first grand jury report showing widespread clergy sex abuse and its cover-up by church officials.
“I know some of those priests and the people abused,” he said. “It’s been a very, very bad period for over 10 years but I do think we are trying to do things to be helpful. I think there is need for legislation but I don’t think this is the legislation.”
McHenry has written to the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee Sen. Stewart Greenleaf, asking him to amend the bill so it has a wider scope or write new legislation.
He said he is aware that some of his parishioners feel strongly about reform.
“I think some of my parishioners have experience with the people that were abused,” McHenry said. “They would like the church to have to pay big penalties so that it understands it did a very bad thing. I understand that viewpoint but this viewing of only singling out certain groups and not extending it to every child, I don’t think it’s good.”
In his letter, Chaput echoes a long-held stance by the church – particularly its legislative branch, the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference – that the bill would have a catastrophic financial impact on the archdiocese.
Private and religious entities, he argued, would face “unlimited liability for exactly the same evil actions,” and not just going forward, but also in the past.
“This is not justice,” Chaput writes. “In fact, HB 1947 actually excludes most victims. And it also targets innocent Catholic parishes and families, like your own, who will bear the financial burden of crimes committed by bad individuals in the past, along with the heavy penalties that always result from these bad bills.”
The archdiocese, like scores of other dioceses across the country, was rocked by grand jury investigations that found decades of widespread clergy sex abuse and its cover-up by church officials. Earlier this year, the Altoona-Johnstown Diocese became the latest diocese in Pennsylvania to be investigated for allegations of clergy sex abuse. A grand jury investigation out of the diocese found patterns now similar across other diocese – that of years of the abuse of children at the hands of diocesan priests and the cover-up of the abuse by church leaders.
O’Brien, a member of Voice of the Faithful, a reform advocacy group, anticipates the church is not going to let up trying to defeat the bill. She said she would continue going to Mass – noting that attendance at her parish is on the decline.
“They say we are so afraid we won’t be able to help the poor,” she said. “Give me a break. They could care less about the poor. I’ve seen so many people get hurt by their refusal to do anything.”
The Catholic Church’s pressure campaign on sex-abuse bill has crossed the line: John L. Micek
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on June 09, 2016 at 7:09 PM
From the Link: http://www.pennlive.com/opinion/2016/06/i_would_much_rather_be_chastis.html
As they work their way through the thicket of complicated legislation that routinely comes before them, state lawmakers face constant pressure from the legion of clout-wielding lobbyists and impassioned advocates who prowl the halls of the state Capitol.
But what happens when one of those lobbyists also, theoretically, has the power of the Creator of the Universe on their side?
Roman Catholic lawmakers who supported a state House bill that eliminates the statute of limitations for criminal cases of child sex abuse and extends the window for civil lawsuits until the victim is 50 years old, are finding out firsthand.
Take, for example, Rep. Nick Miccarelli, a Delaware County Republican, who was called out by name in the parish bulletin for St. Rose of Lima church in Eddystone, Pa.
“JUST SO YOU AWARE,” the update tucked among the routine church notices read, “State Rep. Nick Miccarelli voted in favor of House Bill 1947 which states that private institutions can be sued as far as 40 years ago for millions of dollars, while public institutions may not be sued for any crimes committed in the past.”
Miccarelli, who’s been attending the church for years, said he was shocked by the very public scolding.
And he took to Facebook to complain about it:
“There is no one, and I mean no one, with any understanding of the law who would claim, “public institutions may not be sued for any crimes committed in the past.” Google “Jerry Sandusky Penn State Lawsuit” if you need to see evidence that public institutions can be sued,” he wrote. “What this bill did, was to expand the statute of limitations for claims of child molestation. Put simply, it allows those people who are raped as children, more time to face those who raped them.”
And in a business where where advocacy groups routinely seek out meetings and call lawmakers to talk about their issues, Miccarelli said his hometown pastor hadn’t reached out to him at all to discuss any concerns.
“Pope Francis can go to [U.S.] House of Representatives, and my parish priest can’t give me a call?” he marveled.
Miccarelli estimates that about a dozen of his fellow House lawmakers, who were among the 180 who voted in April to approve the bill sponsored by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Ron Marsico, R-Lower Paxton Twp., have been targeted in the lobbying action.
The scoldings, which are apparently being coordinated by Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput, and sit just this side of the kind of electioneering activity that would likely violate the church’s nonprofit status, are not only wrong, they’re barefaced in their arrogance and hypocrisy.
That’s because this bill wouldn’t exist were it not for – and there’s no polite way to put it – the Catholic Church’s systemic cover-up of years upon years of child rape that wrecked the lives of countless thousands of children, mostly young men.
State lawmakers are not only cleaning up the church’s mess, they’re providing additional recourse to others who have been preyed upon by monsters who have no place in our midst.
But facing potentially ruinous lawsuits for hideous crimes that never should have happened in the first place, the church is pushing back with the most potent weapon in its arsenal:
Good, old-fashioned Roman Catholic guilt.
“The problem with [the legislation] is its prejudicial content,” Chaput wrote in a June 6 letter obtained by The Morning Call of Allentown. “It covers both public and religious institutions — but in drastically different and unjust ways. The bill fails to support all survivors of abuse equally, and it’s a clear attack on the Church, her parishes, her schools and her people.”
The only problem is – it’s not true.
The legislation applies “equally to private and public institutions going forward. Due to the sovereign immunity protections afforded to state institutions by the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, it appears that this reform cannot apply retroactively to them,” The Call reported, citing a fact sheet put together by a group called the Foundation to Abolish Child Sex Abuse.
The fact sheet was sent to members of the Senate Judiciary Committee ahead of a meeting Monday where the panel will take up the House legislation.
A spokesman for Chaput, Ken Gavin, told The Philadelphia Inquirer that pastors “in many instances” last weekend told their parishioners how some lawmakers had voted on the House bill.
“The bill is public and the voting records are public,” Gavin told the newspaper. “There’s nothing wrong with sharing that information. Obviously, parishioners are very concerned about this legislation. For those constituents to contact elected officials to voice such concern is a very normal thing.”
Which, of course, is nonsense.
When a powerful institution like the Catholic Church starts breathing on you, the effect is anything but benign. That’s especially true when, like Miccarelli and others, you’re one of 203 House members who are up for re-election in November.
And that’s just the way Chaput wants it.
That’s because he played a similar brand of hardball when he was Archbishop in Denver and worked to defeat a similar bill there, The Inquirer reported.
And it was part of a pattern of behavior on other issues.
“Chaput championed elected officials bringing their faith into political life — rebuking, for example, Catholic officeholders who declared themselves pro-choice,” Philadelphia Magazine observed in a piece published last August. “He lambasted Notre Dame in 2009 for awarding pro-abortion Barack Obama an honorary degree. He spoke out nationally against gay marriage and stem-cell research.”
All of which is within his right as a spiritual leader.
But it’s just another instance of the troubling conflation of religion and politics which seems so much a part of our contemporary debate.
And while each lawmaker will have to wrestle with his or her own conscience and beliefs when it comes to certain votes, that’s their business – and their business alone.
Because, the church should remember lawmakers also serve the entirety of the Commonwealth – not just one narrow slice of it. And those interests may not always be consonant with those of the church.
“Frankly, I would much rather be chastised from the altar, than to be damned for not allowing justice to be done,” Miccarelli wrote on Facebook.
And if the church would like to continue to dabble in Harrisburg politics, then perhaps it’s worth taking a closer look at how often its activities cross the line into outright electioneering.
If it’s happening, maybe they shouldn’t be tax exempt at all.
And just think of how much money cities, towns and the state could raise with all those properties back on the tax rolls.
To ALL the Roman Catholic Pedophile Lovers and Defenders coming to my blog and being PIGS
Honestly? I could give two flying shits less, what you scumbag, pedophile loving, pew polishing, demonic shit stains on the underwear of humanity of the Unholy Roman Catholic Cult say, or whether YOU like what I am doing here or not. And I am DAMN SURE YOU are not going to like what I am going to say in this posting, but again, I could give two flying shits less if YOU do or not.
Plain and simple, rabid dogs deserve more mercy than any of you shit stain scumbags of this cult of pedophiles. A rabid dog does NOT know what it is doing. But all your disgusting, demonic, scumbag Pedophile Pimps do. All of you do. Each and every one of you low-life, scumbag pedophiles? Each and every one of your Pedophile Pimps? Each and every one of you retarded, brain-dead, brain-washed, pieces of shit pew polishers who defend them?
ARE ALL DESERVING OF DEATH, AND A DEATH THAT WILL INCLUDE YOU SCUMBAGS BEING TORTURED WITH YOUR OWN TOOLS OF YOUR INQUISITIONS, BEFORE WE CUT YOUR FUCKING HEADS OFF, PUT THEM ON PIKES IN FRONT OF YOUR VATICAN AND YOUR CHURCHES WITH THE WARNING THIS IS WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO ANY OF YOU SCUM WHO MESS WITH OUR CHILDREN.
I agree with your Saint Peter Damian when he said the following all the way back in 1049:
“Listen, you do-nothing superiors of clerics and priests. Listen, and even though you feel sure of yourselves, tremble at the thought that you are partners in the guilt of others; those, I mean, who wink at the sins of their subjects that need correction and who by ill-considered silence allow them license to sin. Listen, I say, and be shrewd enough to understand that all of you alike are deserving of death, that is, not only those who do such things, but also they who approve those who practice them.”
Letter 31, the Book of Gomorrah [Liber Gomorrhianus], containing the most extensive treatment and condemnation by any Church Father of clerical pederasty
YOU ALL CALL YOURSELVES THE ONE TRUE CHURCH OF JESUS, THE ONE HE OFFICIALLY STARTED. YOU CALL YOURSELVES THE HOLY ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH AND THEN WITH ALL THAT YOU HAVE DONE TO CHILDREN AND TEENS? RAPING THEM? BRUTALIZING THEM? BEATING THEM? ENSLAVING THEM? USING THEM AS MEDICAL EXPERIMENTS INCLUDING FORCED STERILIZATIONS AND ABORTIONS? AND EVEN MURDERING THEM? THEN YOU GOT THE UNMITIGATED BALLS TO STATE TO ALL OF US HOW YOU ARE THE PROTECTORS AND DEFENDERS OF CHILDREN BECAUSE OF YOUR STANCE AGAINST ABORTION AND CONTRACEPTIVES?
WHO THE HELL DO YOU THINK YOU ARE TRYING TO FOOL OR CON?
THEN? YOU FUCKING ATTACK US? YOU INSULT US? YOU DENIGRATE US? YOU CALL US THE LIARS, THE GOLD DIGGERS OUT LOOKING FOR A PAYDAY?
OR BECAUSE WE SPEAK OUT AGAINST THE CRIMES…NOT THE SINS….COMMITTED AGAINST US, HUNDREDS AND HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF US? HELL MILLIONS OF US ALL THROUGH THE HISTORY OF YOUR DAMNABLE CULT? YOU DARE CALL US ANTI-CATHOLIC BIGOTS AND HATERS OUT TO DESTROY YOUR CHURCH?
OR SHIT STAINS LIKE BILL PIG FACE DONOHUE OF THE CATHOLIC LEAGUE SAYS BECAUSE WE DID NOT PUNCH OUR RAPISTS IN THE FACE, THAT MEANS WE WANTED IT, WE ENJOYED IT AND WE ARE HOMOSEXUALS BECAUSE OF IT?
OR THAT WE SEDUCED OUR RAPISTS?
OR ALL THE OTHER EVIL, DISGUSTING, SHITTY THINGS YOU SAY AGAINST US?
HOW FUCKING DARE YOU!!! HOW FUCKING DARE YOU ATTACK US AND DEFEND YOUR CRIMINALS? HOW FUCKING DARE YOU DO THIS TO US? WHO SUFFERED INCREDIBLE HORRORS, PAIN AND SUFFERING BECAUSE YOUR SHIT STAIN PRIESTS, BROTHERS, NUNS AND SISTERS FUCKED US, RAPED US, TORTURED US, BEAT US, BRUTALIZED US AND MURDERED US!!!!
WHO THE FUCK DO YOU THINK YOU ARE? WHY I KNOW WHO THE FUCK YOU ARE.
YOU ARE SCUM, YOU ARE FUCKING DEMONS IN HUMAN FLESH, YOU ARE THE LOWEST FORM OF HUMAN LIFE ON THE EARTH, YOU DESERVE NO RIGHTS, YOU DESERVE NO MERCY, YOU DESERVE NO COMPASSION, YOU DESERVE NOTHING BUT FUCKING DEATH!!
PLAIN AND SIMPLE, YOU GODDAMN PEDOPHILE PIMPS, YOU POPE FRANCIS, YOU POPE EMERITUS BENEDICT XVI, YOU PEDOPHILE CARDINALS, BISHOPS AND ARCHBISHOPS, YOU PEDOPHILE PRIESTS, BROTHERS, NUNS AND SISTERS AND ALL OF YOU SCUMBAG PEW POLISHERS WHO STAND UP AND DEFEND THEM AND ATTACK US? ARE FUCKING DESERVING OF DEATH, JUST LIKE YOUR SAINT PETER DAMIAN PROCLAIMED IN 1049.
SO FUCK YOU ALL.
OH AND I TRULY WISH YOU ASSHOLE, SCUMBAG, PEDOPHILE LOVING AND DEFENDING SHITSTAIN ROMAN CATHOLIC PEW POLISHERS WHO SPEW YOUR SHIT TO ME, WHO THREATEN ME WITH DEATH? WHO SAY I SHOULD BE RAPED? WHO SAY I AND MY SONS SHOULD BE PUT TO DEATH FOR SPEAKING OUT?
WELL I FUCKING WISH, I REALLY WISH, WITH ALL OF MY HEART AND SOUL, WITH ALL OF MY BEING, YOU WOULD HAVE THE BALLS TO SAY YOUR SHIT TO MY FACE, IN PERSON, BECAUSE FUCKING TRUST ME IF YOU DID?
YOU WOULD FIND OUT IF YOUR GOD AND JESUS ARE REAL, CAUSE I WOULD HAVE NO FUCKING PROBLEM….IN BEATING YOU TO DEATH WITH MY FISTS AND FEET RIGHT ON THE SPOT THE MOMENT YOU OPEN YOUR PEDOPHILE LOVING OUTHOUSE PIEHOLES TO ME.
SO FUCK YOU.
The Catholic Church’s defiance and obstruction on child sex abuse
From the Link: https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/defiance-and-obstruction-on-child-sex-abuse/2016/04/19/22efc3de-0351-11e6-9d36-33d198ea26c5_story.html
IN THREE years at the helm of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis has been a source of inspiration for millions of faithful around the world. In one critical respect, however, he has fallen short of his own promise: to come fully to terms with decades of child sex abuse by clergymen and the institutional cover granted to them by bishops and cardinals.
Francis has pledged “the zealous vigilance of the Church to protect children and the promise of accountability for all.” Yet there has been scant accountability, particularly for bishops. Too often, the church’s stance has been defiance and obstruction.
In his trip to the United States in the fall, Francis told victims that “words cannot fully express my sorrow for the abuse you suffered.” Yet his initiative to establish a Vatican tribunal to judge bishops who enabled or ignored pedophile priests has come to naught. Not a single bishop has been called to account by the tribunal, which itself remains more notional than real.
Meanwhile, church officials have fought bills in state legislatures across the United States that would allow thousands of abuse victims to seek justice in court. The legislation would loosen deadlines limiting when survivors can bring lawsuits against abusers or their superiors who turned a blind eye. Many victims, emotionally damaged by the abuse they have suffered, do not speak until years after they were victimized; by then, in many states, it is too late for them to force priests and other abusers to account in court.
Eight states have lifted such deadlines, known as statutes of limitations, for victims who are sexually abused as minors. Seven states have gone further, enacting measures allowing past victims — not just current and future ones — to file lawsuits in a finite period of time, generally a two- or three-year window.
A typical case is Maryland, where bills to extend the statute of limitations until the alleged victim turns 38 have failed even to come to a vote, owing to opposition from House of Delegates Judiciary Committee Chairman Joseph F. Vallario Jr. (D-Prince George’s) and the Catholic Church, among others.
In his trip to the United States, Pope Francis praised bishops for what he called their “generous commitment to bring healing to victims” and he expressed sympathy for “how much the pain of recent years has weighed upon you.” Yet by its actions, the church’s “commitment to bring healing” has seemed far from generous. And it seemed perverse to address the bishops’ “pain” when the real suffering has been borne by children.
The Catholic Church’s Secret Sex-Crime Files
How a scandal in Philadelphia exposed documents that reveal a high-level conspiracy to cover up decades of sexual abuse
| September 6, 2011
The five co-defendants sit close enough to shake hands in the Philadelphia courtroom, but they never once acknowledge one another. Father James Brennan, a 47-year-old priest accused of raping a 14-year-old boy, looks sad and stooped in a navy sweater, unshaven and sniffling. Edward Avery, a defrocked priest in his sixties, wears an unsettlingly pleasant expression on his face, as though he’s mentally very far away. He and two other defendants – the Rev. Charles Engelhardt, also in his sixties, and Bernard Shero, a former Catholic schoolteacher in his forties – are accused of passing around “Billy,” a fifth-grade altar boy. According to the charges, the three men raped and sodomized the 10-year-old, sometimes making him perform stripteases or getting him drunk on sacramental wine after Mass.
Heinous as the accusations are, the most shocking – and significant – are those against the fifth defendant, Monsignor William Lynn. At 60, Lynn is portly and dignified, his thin lips pressed together and his double chin held high. In a dramatic fashion statement, he alone has chosen to wear his black clerical garb today, a startling reminder that this is a priest on trial, a revered representative of the Catholic Church, not to mention a high-ranking official in Philadelphia’s archdiocese. Lynn, who reported directly to the cardinal, was the trusted custodian of a trove of documents known in the church as the “Secret Archives files.” The files prove what many have long suspected: that officials in the upper echelons of the church not only tolerated the widespread sexual abuse of children by priests but conspired to hide the crimes and silence the victims. Lynn is accused of having been the archdiocese’s sex-abuse fixer, the man who covered up for its priests. Incredibly, after a scandal that has rocked the church for a generation, he is the first Catholic official ever criminally charged for the cover-up.
The deluge of sexual-abuse cases in America’s largest religious denomination began in 1985, when a Louisiana priest was sentenced to 20 years in prison after admitting to sexually abusing 37 boys. But it wasn’t until 2002, when civil suits in Boston revealed that Cardinal Bernard Law had shielded rapist priests, that the extent of the scandal became widely known. In Germany, the church is overwhelmed by hundreds of alleged victims, and investigations are under way in Austria and the Netherlands. In Ireland, the government recently issued a scathing report that documents how Irish clergy – with tacit approval from the Vatican – covered up the sexual abuse of children as recently as 2009.
Battered by civil suits and bad press, the church has responded with a head-spinning mix of contrition and deflection, blaming anti-Catholic bias and the church’s enemies for paying undue attention to the crisis. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops helped fund a $1.8 million study of sex-abuse cases against priests, but the results read like a mirthless joke: To lower the number of clergy classified as “pedophiles,” the report redefines “puberty” as beginning at age 10 – and then partially blames the rise in child molesting on the counterculture of the 1960s. The church also insists that any sex crimes by priests are a thing of the past. “The abuse crisis,” the study’s lead author concluded, “is over.”
That echoed statements by Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York, who went on 60 Minutes declaring the scandal “nothing less than hideous” and then, with a sweep of his hand, announced, “That’s over with!” Dolan, in turn, sounded a lot like Bishop Wilton Gregory, the former president of the USCCB, who framed the lie more eloquently: “The terrible history recorded here is history.” That was in 2004, seven years ago.
Given how the innermost workings of Catholic culture have long been cloaked in secrecy, the case in Philadelphia offers a rare opportunity to understand why the cover-up of sexual abuse has continued for so long, despite the church’s repeated promises of reform. The answer, in large part, lies in the mindset of the church’s rigid hierarchy, which promotes officials who are willing to do virtually anything they’re told, so long as it’s in God’s name. “It’s almost like the type of stuff you see in cult behavior,” says a former Philadelphia priest who asked not to be identified for fear of retribution. “Someone on the outside would say, ‘That’s crazy.’ But when you’re on the inside, you say, ‘It’s perfectly right, because everything is divinely inspired.’ If you have a monopoly on God, you can get away with anything.”
Long before he became the guardian of the church’s secrets, Bill Lynn was a boy with a higher calling. In the fall of 1968, after graduating from Bishop McDevitt High School in the suburbs of Philadelphia, Lynn arrived at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary, a stately campus whose soaring chapels, somber libraries and marble sculptures with heads bowed in prayer gave off an aura of reverence, history and costly precision. Lynn, a friendly, overweight boy whose acne-scarred face was topped with jet-black hair, was ready to begin his eight-year path to priestly ordination, a process the church calls “formation.”
At St. Charles, Lynn was plunged into an environment in which every moment was accounted for. Strict rules governed all aspects of life, especially the personal. Besides the obvious prohibitions on sexual contact – including with oneself, or even in one’s imagination – no seminarian was allowed to get too close with his peers, since he was to concentrate on developing bonds with God and the church. Seminary is a form of military-style indoctrination, molding men to think institutionally, not individually. “It’s like a brainwashing, almost,” says Michael Lynch, who attended St. Charles for nine years but was rejected for priesthood after repeatedly butting heads with his superiors. Lynch recalls a priest barking at his class, “We own you! We own your body, we own your soul!”
The goal of priesthood is a lofty one: a man placed on a pedestal for his community to revere, an alter Christus – “another Christ” – who can literally channel the power of Jesus and help create the perfect society intended by God. To model that perfection and elevate themselves above the sinful laity, clergy adopt a vow of celibacy, which has served as a centerpiece of Catholic priesthood since the 12th century. It’s a tall order to sculpt chaste, living incarnations of Jesus out of the sloppy clay of your average 18-year-old male. Even many of those who wind up being ordained fail to maintain their chastity: According to a 1990 study by psychologist Richard Sipe, only half of all priests adhere to their vows of celibacy. It is not just the sex-abuse epidemic the church seeks to deny, but sex itself.
“The real secret here is the sexual life of cardinals and bishops,” says Sipe, a former Benedictine monk who specializes in treating clergy and who has followed the case against Lynn. “If you pull the string in a knitted sweater, you’ll unravel the whole thing. This will unravel all the way to Rome.”
Many seminarians dropped out of St. Charles; others, informed that they weren’t priestly material, were “invited” to leave. Those who remained were the ones willing to surrender to the process of formation: men prepared to bend to the will of their higher powers, both earthly and divine. Such intensive focus on preparing for one’s “priestly burdens,” however, often meant that men emerged from the incubator of seminary ill-prepared for the complexities of life itself. In 1972, while Lynn was still at St. Charles, a landmark study called “The Catholic Priest in the United States: Psychological Investigations” found that three-fourths of all American priests were psychologically and emotionally underdeveloped, or even “maldeveloped.” The attitudes of these grown men toward sex, the study concluded, were on par with those of teenagers or even preteens.
Lynn thrived in seminary, where he made an impression as an affable guy who always toed the line. At his ordination, he took a solemn oath of obedience to the bishop, sealing himself into the church’s vertical framework, in which everyone is bound to the strata above them. He was assigned first to a parish in Philadelphia, then to a wealthy church in the suburbs. His parishioners liked him, and Lynn’s deference to his senior pastor made an impression on the archdiocese. In 1984, when a job as dean of men opened up at St. Charles, Lynn was plucked to fill it. “The dean is there to make sure you’re being formed properly,” explains a former Philadelphia priest familiar with the appointment. “A dean is also the type of person you want your students to want to be. We wanted to replicate priests in the model we had already been creating – nice, compliant, faithful priests. So we put Bill Lynn there: a nice, compliant, faithful priest we wanted young men to look up to.”
Over the next eight years, Lynn was a hands-on adviser. He’d wake seminarians who overslept for Mass, take them to task for missing household chores and monitor their spiritual progress. Lynn proved himself to his superiors as someone who didn’t disrupt the status quo, someone who could be trusted. In 1992, at age 41, he was named secretary of the clergy, a position that effectively made him the human-resources director for the 400 or so priests in greater Philadelphia. It was a job that required the utmost loyalty and discretion. Lynn now reported directly to Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua. If a priest broke the rules or stepped out of line in any way, it would be Lynn’s job to discipline him and inform his superiors. That, says the former priest familiar with St. Charles, is precisely why Lynn was chosen for the job: “They sure as hell weren’t going to pick someone who was going to send priests to jail.”
Every Catholic diocese has Secret Archives files – it’s mandated by canon law as a repository for complaints against priests so scandalous that they must be kept out of the regular personnel files. Few outsiders know the secret archives exist, and only the most trusted clergy have access to them. In Philadelphia, the sole keyholders were the cardinal and his closest aides. The files were kept in a row of unlabeled, gray-green cabinets in a windowless room on the 12th floor of the archdiocese’s Center City office tower. Inside was an exhaustive compendium of scandals dating back more than 50 years: priests with drinking problems, priests who had gotten women pregnant, aging stacks of confiscated pornography. Then there were the reams of carefully typed memos that discussed priests with what the archdiocese delicately referred to as “unnatural involvements” or “unusual patterns.” Priests, in other words, who had sexually abused the children in their care.
One memo directed to Cardinal Bevilacqua in 1989 described a pedophile priest’s evaluation at an archdiocese-owned hospital, in which the doctor “is of the very strong opinion that Father Peter J. Dunne is a very sick man” who should be removed from ministry; the memo warned that Dunne’s problem was so acute “that we are sitting on a powder keg.” Another file began with a sheaf of letters that Father Joseph Gausch, an active pastor, had sent another priest detailing his sex with an eighth-grade boy in 1948, three years after his ordination. Gausch called it “the closest approximation to an old-fashioned roll that I have had in years… and the subject was oh-so-satisfactory and (this is what makes the story) willin’.” In both cases, the response from the cardinal was the same: secret therapy, then reassign the offending priest to a new parish and pretend nothing had happened.
In the thick file devoted to Father Raymond Leneweaver, who had been moved to four different parishes after admitting to molesting at least seven boys, officials fretted in 1980 that they had run out of places to send him “where his scandalous action would not be known.” Scandal is a word that pops up throughout the Secret Archives files. The officials writing the internal memos almost never express concern for the victims – only concern over the risk to the church’s reputation. If the risk was deemed low, an offending priest was simply reassigned to a different parish. If the risk was high, priests were shipped to a far-off diocese with the permission of the reigning bishop, a practice known as “bishops helping bishops.”
Even in rare cases where word of a priest’s crimes leaked out, the cardinal was reluctant to expose the priest. Leneweaver was such a case; his ministry career ended only after he resigned. “His problem is not occupational or geographical,” wrote the cardinal at the time, “and will follow him wherever he goes.” Having acknowledged the severity of Leneweaver’s compulsions, the cardinal released him from the clergy but still chose not to inform law-enforcement officials of his crimes. With his clean record, Leneweaver, an admitted child-rapist, went on to take a job as a teacher at a public middle school in suburban Philadelphia.
Bill Lynn understood that his mission, above all, was to preserve the reputation of the church. The unspoken rule was clear: Never call the police. Not long after his promotion, Lynn and a colleague held a meeting with Rev. Michael McCarthy, who had been accused of sexually abusing boys, informing the priest of the fate that Cardinal Bevilacqua had approved: McCarthy would be reassigned to a “distant” parish “so that the profile can be as low as possible and not attract attention from the complainant.” Lynn dutifully filed his memo of the meeting in the Secret Archives, where it would sit for the next decade.
Over the 12 years that he held the job of secretary of the clergy, Lynn mastered the art of damage control. With his fellow priests, Lynn was unfailingly sympathetic; in a meeting with one distraught pastor who had just admitted to abusing boys, Lynn comforted the clergyman by suggesting that his 11-year-old victim had “seduced” him. With victims, Lynn was smooth and reassuring, promising to take their allegations seriously while doing nothing to punish their abusers. Kathy Jordan, who told Lynn in 2002 that she had been assaulted by a priest as a student at a Catholic high school, recalls how he assured her that the offender would no longer be allowed to work as a pastor. Years later, while reading the priest’s obituary, Jordan says it became clear to her that her abuser had, in fact, remained a priest, serving Mass in Maryland. “I came to realize that by having this friendly, confiding way, Lynn had neutralized me,” she says. “He handled me brilliantly.”
In his very first year on the job, Lynn received a letter from a 29-year-old medical student that would trigger the events that led to his arrest 19 years later. The student – whom the grand jury would call “James” – reported that as a teenage altar boy he had been molested by his priest, Father Edward Avery. The popular and gregarious Avery, nicknamed “The Smiling Padre,” was considered hip for a priest; he moonlighted as a DJ at weddings and invited lucky boys for sleepovers at his house at the Jersey Shore. The med student included a copy of a letter he had written to Avery. “I have let too much of my life be controlled by this terrible wrong you committed,” it read. “You had no right to hurt me the way you did. You have no right to hurt anyone else this way.”
This was a code-red situation that Lynn had to get under control. He began by interviewing James, who described how Avery had molested him at the beach house, at the parish rectory and on a ski trip to Vermont, sometimes after plying him with beer. James said he wasn’t looking for money – only an assurance that Avery would no longer be a threat to children. That was surely a relief: the risk of scandal was clearly low. Next, Lynn confronted Avery, whom he’d known in seminary. According to Lynn’s memo, the priest admitted that some of the allegations “could be” true – but insisted it had been “strictly accidental” and that he had been so drunk at the time, he couldn’t recall exactly what had happened.
According to church protocol, an admission of any kind meant a priest must be sent for medical care. So Lynn recommended that Avery seek treatment at St. John Vianney Hospital, a facility in the leafy Philadelphia suburb of Downingtown that maintained a discreet inpatient program that treats sexually abusive priests. Cardinal Bevilacqua approved the request, but the bureaucratic wheels moved slowly: Avery remained in the pulpit for another 10 months before he was hospitalized for his secret therapy. After his release, his doctors prescribed that he be monitored by an aftercare team consisting of Lynn and two other priests. But the church did not take the recommendation seriously. The team did not meet for more than a year – one priest later testified that he didn’t even know he was on the team.
Avery’s doctors also recommended that he be kept away from teens and other “vulnerable” populations. Instead, the church assigned Avery to a new residence with plenty of exposure to kids: St. Jerome, a parish in northeast Philadelphia that included an elementary school. (The rectory had an empty bed because its previous resident, Rev. Bill Dougherty, had been quietly moved to another parish after being accused of abusing a high school girl.) Officially speaking, Avery didn’t work at the parish – he simply lived there, with an assignment as a chaplain at a nearby hospital. With encouragement from Lynn, he became a regular presence at St. Jerome, serving Mass and hearing confessions. He took on more DJ jobs than ever, booking gigs almost every weekend. “He seemed mesmerized, focused, as if he became a different person DJ’ing,” recalls Rev. Michael Kerper, who split shifts with Avery at the hospital. Kerper, under the impression that Avery had been moved to a low-pressure chaplain job after a nervous breakdown, worried that Avery was risking another collapse by spreading himself so thin. One day, when Avery failed to show up at the hospital while on call, Kerper wrote the archdiocese to express his concern. He addressed his letter to Monsignor Lynn.
Lynn surprised Kerper by calling him directly and telling him to mind his own business. “You’re not going through the proper channels,” Lynn snapped. “You’re not his supervisor.” Avery was permitted to continue working as a DJ and pitching in at St. Jerome. The following year, according to the grand jury, Lynn received an e-mail from James, who was looking for assurance that Avery had been reassigned to “a situation where he can’t harm others… for my peace of mind, I have to know.” Lynn reassured James that the archdiocese had taken proper steps. Then Lynn met with Avery and instructed him to be “more low-keyed.” In doing so, says the grand jury, Lynn helped set the stage for the horror that came next.
“Billy” was a 10-year-old student at St. Jerome School in 1998, and an altar boy just like his older brother before him. A sweet, gentle kid with boyish good looks, Billy was outgoing and well-liked. One morning, after serving Mass, Rev. Charles Engelhardt caught Billy in the church sacristy sipping leftover wine. Rather than get mad, however, the priest poured Billy more wine. According to the grand jury, he also showed him some pornographic magazines, asking the boy how the pictures made him feel and whether he preferred the images of naked men or women. He told Billy it was time to become a man and that they would soon begin their “sessions.”
A week later, Billy learned what Engelhardt meant. After Mass, the priest allegedly fondled the boy, sucked his penis and ordered Billy to kneel and fellate him – calling him “son” while instructing him to move his head faster or slower – until Engelhardt ejaculated. The priest later suggested another “session,” but Billy refused and Engelhardt let him be.
A few months later, while Billy was putting away the bells following choir practice, he was taken aside by another priest: Father Avery. According to the grand jury, Avery told Billy that he had heard all about the boy’s “session” with Engelhardt – and that Avery’s own “sessions” with him would soon begin. Billy pretended not to know what Avery was talking about, but his stomach lurched. Later, after Billy served a morning Mass with Avery, the priest led him to the sacristy, turned on some music and told him to do a striptease. When Billy dutifully started shedding his clothes, Avery instructed him to dance to the music while undressing. Then the Smiling Padre sat back and watched the awkward performance before taking off his own clothes and ordering the naked boy onto his lap. He kissed Billy’s neck and back, telling him that God loved him. Then he allegedly fondled the boy, fellated him, and commanded Billy to return the favor, culminating in Avery’s ejaculating on Billy and congratulating him on a good “session.” A second session allegedly followed weeks later when Avery, finding Billy cleaning a chalice after a weekend Mass, ordered the boy to strip. The priest then fellated Billy while making the boy masturbate him to climax.
Billy never told anyone what had happened. But from then on, he made sure to trade assignments with other altar boys to avoid serving Mass with Father Avery. After summer break, when Billy returned to St. Jerome and entered the sixth grade, he was assigned a new teacher, Bernard Shero. His abuse seemed to be a thing of the past, something best forgotten.
One day, according to the grand jury, Shero offered Billy a ride after school. Instead, they stopped at a park about a mile from Billy’s house. “We’re going to have some fun,” Shero told him. He ordered Billy into the back seat, helped him undress, and then allegedly fellated and anally raped him, managing to insert his penis only partway because of Billy’s screams of pain. Then Shero made Billy perform the same acts on him. “It feels good,” he repeated over and over. Afterward, he made Billy get out of the car and walk home.
Before long, Billy began to change in disturbing ways. He often gagged or vomited for no reason and became increasingly sullen and withdrawn. He stopped hanging out with his friends and playing sports. He started smoking pot at 11; by his late teens, he was addicted to heroin. Billy spent his adolescence cycling in and out of drug-treatment programs and psychiatric centers, once spending a week in a locked ward after a suicide attempt. His parents, who later took out a mortgage on their home to pay for Billy’s care, were beside themselves, clueless as to what had sent their sunny child into such a downward spiral.
When his mother found two books about sexual abuse stashed under his bed, Billy brushed off her suspicions. The books were for an assignment at school, he told her, and refused to say anything more.
Billy’s alleged abuse at the hands of the Philadelphia priests might have remained a secret, if not for the church’s inept attempt at spin control. After the abuse scandal in Boston broke open in 2002, every Catholic diocese in America had rushed to reassure its parishioners. Philadelphia was no different: Cardinal Bevilacqua declared that in the previous 50 years, his archdiocese knew of only 35 priests who had been credibly accused of sexual abuse. That was news to Lynne Abraham, the city’s district attorney at the time, since not a single one of those 35 cases had been reported to her office. When Abraham asked the archdiocese’s law firm for details, it refused to cooperate. In the face of stonewalling, Abraham moved for a grand-jury investigation and assigned a team of prosecutors nicknamed “The God Squad” to probe the archdiocese’s handling of sex-abuse claims.
The God Squad had no idea what they were in for. The archdiocese fought the investigation at every turn. “It was like trying to infiltrate a racketeering organization,” recalls former Assistant District Attorney Will Spade. “Most of these guys just seemed to be in the wrong professions. They weren’t kind or understanding or any of the things a priest should be. They were just thugs.”
The grand jury subpoenaed the church’s internal records. Compelled by the court, the church’s lawyer began meeting with prosecutors at a Dunkin’ Donuts midway between the archdiocese’s headquarters and the DA’s office, handing over the Secret Archives files piece by piece. “I felt like I was living in a detective novel,” says Spade. Though the prosecutors had been anticipating some sort of internal records, they were taken aback at the very existence of the secret files. “I always thought it was funny, them calling it the Secret Archives files,” he says. “You morons! If they’re so secret, why are you even calling it that?”
When the secret archives were finally unlocked, prosecutors were stunned to find thousands of documents that detailed the hundreds of victims who had allegedly been abused by 169 priests. “There was so much material, we could still be presenting information to the grand jury today if we followed every lead,” says Charles Gallagher, a former Philadelphia deputy district attorney who supervised the investigation. “We ultimately had to focus.”
In 2005, the grand jury released its 418-page report, which stands as the most blistering and comprehensive account ever issued on the church’s institutional cover-up of sexual abuse. It named 63 priests who, despite credible accusations of abuse, had been hidden under the direction of Cardinal Bevilacqua and his predecessor, Cardinal Krol. It also gave numerous examples of Lynn covering up crimes at the bidding of his boss.
In the case of Rev. Stanley Gana, accused of “countless” child molestations, Lynn spent months ruthlessly investigating the personal life of one of the priest’s victims, whom Gana had allegedly begun raping at age 13. Lynn later helpfully explained to the victim that the priest slept with women as well as children. “You see,” he said, “he’s not a pure pedophile” – which was why Gana remained in the ministry with the cardinal’s blessing.
Then there was Monsignor John Gillespie, who was not sent for medical evaluation until six years after Lynn began receiving complaints about him. Therapists subsequently reported that Gillespie was “dangerous” – but Lynn was more concerned about the priest’s insistence on apologizing to his victims. To keep the scandal from becoming public, Gillespie was ordered to resign for “health reasons.” Cardinal Bevilacqua then honored the priest with the title of pastor emeritus – and allowed him to hear the confessions of schoolchildren for another year.
“In its callous, calculating manner, the archdiocese’s ‘handling’ of the abuse scandal was at least as immoral as the abuse itself,” the grand jury concluded. Immoral didn’t mean illegal, however, and the grand jury found itself unable to recommend any prosecutions, in part because the statute of limitations on all of the abuse cases had run out. But the nightmare had been revealed, and the Philadelphia faithful recoiled in shock.
Perhaps no one was more disturbed than the new parishioners of Lynn, who had been quietly reassigned to a plum job as pastor of St. Joseph’s, a rich suburban parish. The job was essentially a promotion: Lynn’s predecessor had just been ordained a bishop and given a diocese of his own. A kind and jocular pastor, Lynn had swiftly become beloved in the parish, always happy to pitch in at events held by the Home & School Association or to host dinner parties in his rectory. Stunned by the grand-jury report, parishioners were at a loss to square the unfeeling church official who had manipulated innocent victims with the compassionate pastor whom they knew. In the rectory dining room, one woman confronted Lynn in tears.
“How did you do this?” she demanded, sobbing. “Why did you do this?”
Lynn looked her right in the eye. “Don’t believe everything you read,” he said firmly. “I put them in treatment. I took care of the families.”
The first of the 63 priests listed in the grand jury’s catalog of abusers was Father Avery. By then, Avery had been placed on administrative leave – but he still remained in the ministry, more than a dozen years after the allegations of sexual abuse against him had first surfaced.
Once again, it was the most powerful word in the secret archives – scandal – that spurred the church to take action. As the grand jury was preparing to release its report, Cardinal Justin Rigali “urgently” petitioned Rome to take the extreme step of defrocking Avery against his will. “There is a great danger of additional public scandal so long as Father Avery remains a cleric,” he wrote, explaining that accusations against Avery had been in the papers and that his files had been subpoenaed. The Vatican needed to remove Avery from the priestly rolls, the cardinal urged, to avoid “additional scrutiny.”
Rigali needn’t have worried. According to the grand jury, Avery was persuaded to request a voluntary defrocking, thanks to a severance payment of $87,000. The laicization process of transforming a priest back into an ordinary civilian, which usually takes years of canonical trials, was completed in less than six months.
With Avery disposed of, Cardinal Rigali went about calming Philadelphia Catholics. The archdiocese retained a consultant to help it improve the handling of victim complaints. A centerpiece of the reform was an independent clergy-review board that evaluated accusations of abuse. It was a terrific idea, one that would inject transparency and accountability into the process by taking cases out of the shadowy archdiocese and putting them into the unbiased hands of others. In practice, however, the archdiocese simply cherry-picked cases to send to the board – a fact that board members themselves learned only after the secrecy was revealed by the grand jury last February. “The board was under the impression that we were reviewing every abuse allegation received by the archdiocese,” board chair Ana Maria Cantazaro complained in an essay for the Catholic magazine Commonweal.
In the few cases that were actually submitted to the panel, the grand jury found that “the results have often been worse than no decision at all.” Using lax standards developed in large part by the canonical lawyers, the board dismissed even highly credible allegations. The results of those decisions could be devastating. In 2007, a man named Daniel Neill complained that he had been abused as an altar boy by Rev. Joseph Gallagher. According to a lawsuit filed against the archdiocese, Neill gave three statements to an archdiocese investigator – only to be informed that the review board didn’t believe him. Devastated, Neill killed himself in 2009. After the grand-jury report, the archdiocese finally reversed itself by suspending Gallagher.
Under another reform instituted by the archdiocese – the Victim Assistance Program – abuse survivors like Neill could receive counseling paid for by the church. “I urge anyone who was abused in the past to contact our Victim Assistance Coordinators, who can help begin the healing process,” Cardinal Rigali declared. In reality, the grand jury found, the program was used as a way to discourage victims from calling the police and, even more insidiously, to extract information that could later be used against the victim in court. In a recent lawsuit against the archdiocese, one victim recounts how, in return for any assistance, the church pressured him to sign an agreement that “prohibited” the archdiocese from reporting the abuse to law enforcement. “All along, they were acting like they wanted to help me,” says the victim, “but really they just wanted to help themselves.”
When Billy, the altar boy allegedly passed around by Avery and others, sought help in 2009, the archdiocese’s victim coordinators once again took measures to protect the church. Instead of immediately offering to take the case to the police, the grand jury found, a coordinator named Louise Hagner and another staffer showed up at Billy’s house, where they pressured him into giving a graphic statement. Returning to her office, Hagner wrote up her notes – including her observation that she thought Billy had pretended to cry – and informed the church’s lawyers that Billy intended to sue.
At least one good thing came out of Billy’s case: When his allegations were finally brought to the district attorney’s office, his case, which falls within the statute of limitations for criminal prosecution, became the foundation of the grand jury’s current investigation. Even the Vatican itself appeared to take drastic action: On September 8th, Cardinal Rigali will be replaced by Charles Chaput, the charismatic archbishop of Denver. The Vatican insists, however, that Rigali’s resignation has nothing to do with the scandal. Indeed, Pope Benedict XVI has shown nothing but support: In April, when the pontiff needed a special envoy to appear on his behalf in the Czech Republic, he chose none other than Rigali for the honor.
As for Cardinal Bevilacqua, under whose watch Billy and other children were allegedly abused, the grand jury regretfully noted that it could not recommend criminal charges in the current case, since it lacked direct evidence against the cardinal. Bevilacqua, now 88, has rejected responsibility for the abuses that occurred during his tenure. When he testified before the grand jury in 2003, Bevilacqua conceded that any move involving the reassignment of accused priests was “ultimately my decision.” But he was quick to stress who was really at fault: In every instance, he insisted, he had “relied on my secretary of the clergy’s recommendations if anything was necessary to be done.” With Bevilacqua insulated from prosecution, the district attorney grabbed at a lower-level bureaucrat, one the cardinal himself had hung out to dry: Monsignor Bill Lynn.
Lynn stands in the courtroom in Philadelphia, having been sworn in by Judge Renée Cardwell Hughes. Hands clasped, his face pulled into a frown of concentration, the monsignor proceeds to answer a series of routine questions: He holds a master’s degree in education. He takes medication for high blood pressure. He has never been treated for mental illness or substance abuse. He understands that the charges against him carry a maximum penalty of 28 years in prison.
Then the judge comes to what she considers the most pressing point: Does Lynn truly understand the risk he faces by allowing the church to pay his legal fees? If Lynn’s attorneys are paid by the archdiocese, their loyalty to their benefactor may put them at odds with his needs as a defendant in a criminal trial.
“You have been charged. You could go to jail,” Hughes says gravely. “It may be in your best interest to provide testimony that is adverse to the archdiocese of Philadelphia, the organization that’s paying your lawyers. You understand that’s a conflict of interest?”
“Yes,” Lynn replies.
The judge massages her temples and grimaces, as though she can’t believe what she’s hearing. For 30 minutes straight, she hammers home the point: Do you understand there may come a time that the questioning of archdiocese officials could put you in conflict with your own attorney? Do you understand that you may be approached by the DA offering you a plea deal, in exchange for testimony against the archdiocese? Do you realize that is a conflict of interest for your lawyers?
“Yes, Your Honor,” Lynn continues to insist cheerfully, though his voice grows fainter as the minutes tick by. In one final plea for rationality, the judge asks if Lynn would like to consult with an independent attorney for a second opinion. He declines and returns to his seat, looking flushed and unhappy.
Lynn’s lawyers, citing a gag order on the parties in the case, declined to allow him to comment for this article. The archdiocese also refused to comment, citing its emphasis on what it calls “moving forward.” So far, Lynn’s attorneys have simply argued that the case should be dismissed: Because charges of child endangerment are normally reserved for people directly responsible for kids – parents, teachers – Lynn’s remove from the victims means his prolonged efforts to cover up the crimes were not technically illegal.
The court has rejected that argument, and the trial against Lynn and his co-defendants – all have pleaded not guilty – is scheduled to begin this winter. It may include videotaped testimony from Cardinal Bevilacqua, as well as the release of some 10,000 potentially incriminating documents. Lynn must know on some level that the church could be using him as a shield one last time in its systematic campaign to hide decades of monstrous abuses against children. But his willingness to sacrifice himself – his unswerving obedience to his superiors, even in the face of criminal charges – is what makes him such a loyal and devoted servant, all the way to the bitter end.
This is from the September 15, 2011 issue of Rolling Stone.
Reflecting on the human cost of abuse and its prevention By Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap.
Reflecting on the human cost of abuse and its prevention
EDITORS NOTE: In July 2012 when Archbishop Chaput’s investigation cleared one accused priest, SNAP reacted with sharp criticism of Chaput’s procedure, saying decisions were “held in secrecy for months or weeks until the archbishop and his public relations staffers deem it’s most advantageous to disclose them. Chaput continues to act recklessly and selfishly … with little or no regard for children’s safety.” At the same time, SNAP also called “again” on Archbishop Chaput to proceed to defrock Lynn after his conviction; and for “eliminating Pennsylvania’s archaic, arbitrary, predator-friendly statutes of limitations”. In January 2014, the archdiocese, prominently defended by Chaput, posted bail for Lynn. In April 2015 the state supreme court upheld the initial conviction and revoked Lynn’s bail. He was returned to serve the balance of his 3-to-6 year term. PLEASE read the Editors Notes following the end of the story.
The hypocrisy of Archbishop Charles J. Chaput in the following story is incredibly revealing.
Now from Archbishop Charles J. Chaput’s own hypocritical words:
Throughout the weeks of April, our Commonwealth, along with the rest of the country, has been focused on National Child Abuse Prevention and Awareness Month.
Here in Pennsylvania, our people have come through a very difficult decade on this issue. But the abuse problem is much wider than any one state, profession or demographic group. It cuts through every level of society. Child abuse is an ugly crime; abusing children sexually compounds the evil. Every year we see many thousands of cases of child sexual abuse across the country in a full range of institutions, public and private, religious and secular.
In response, Pennsylvania legislators have passed 20 new laws aimed at preventing child abuse and providing better support for survivors. In doing so, they’ve offered a model for the nation. We owe them our gratitude for their good work. And it’s important to stress that as a Catholic community, we too are committed — just as everyone should be — to ensuring safe environments for children and young people.
The Archdiocese of Philadelphia has a zero tolerance policy for clergy, lay employees and volunteers who engage in sexual misconduct with children. If an accusation of this nature is made, we take immediate action by reporting the matter to law enforcement and cooperating with authorities fully in the course of their work.
We’re committed to educating all those who work with children, as well as the children in our schools and parish religious education programs, so they can recognize signs of abuse and make a report.
As we come to the end of April, it’s worth highlighting some key archdiocesan statistics:
* More than 280 designated Safe Environment Coordinators are now working in our parishes, schools and youth ministries to ensure compliance with state laws and archdiocesan safety policies.
* More than 92,000 adults have received training to recognize, respond and report child abuse since 2003.
* Nearly 30,000 adults have received mandatory reporter training.
* More than 100,000 children have received age-appropriate abuse prevention education.
* The archdiocese has invested more than $2.4 million in education and training aimed at preventing and reporting sexual abuse since 2006.
In addition, the archdiocesan Victim Assistance Program offers compassionate and substantial assistance to individuals and families every year. During the 2013-14 fiscal year alone, the Church in Philadelphia dedicated more than $1.6 million to various modes of assistance including counseling, medication, and vocational support for survivors and their families.
To put it simply: The Philadelphia Catholic community is, and will remain, fully committed to helping survivors of childhood sexual abuse and their families heal, no matter who committed the crime against them or when the crime occurred.
Evil actions in the past can’t be erased and shouldn’t be forgotten. Over the decades sexual abuse has wounded hundreds of innocent lives, both within and outside the Church in Pennsylvania. But the sins of the past need not determine the present or future.
The Catholic Church in the Greater Philadelphia region is dedicated to protecting our young people and families from sexual predators and the suffering they cause — now and always.
EDITORS NOTE: The Archdiocese of Philadelphia did NOT dedicate itself to protecting young people from sexual predators, nor did they do anything about the suffering of the victims. This is extremely well documented.
Cardinals John Krol and Anthony Bevilacqua covered up for their pedophile priests.
Bishop Joseph Cistone also participated in the cover ups, including silencing a nun who tried to alert parishioners at St. Gabriels parish of an abusive priest. Cistone also covered up for other priests and showed himself he was more concerned with the public relations than the sexual abuse of children.
Bishop William Lynn, who was eventually convicted in his part for covering up for “Father” James J. Brennan among others. “According to a scathing grand jury report, Lynn, as secretary of clergy for the archdiocese, concealed the crimes of accused priests and put them in positions in which they could harm more children.
Lynn figured prominently in a scathing 2005 grand jury report that found 63 priests in the archdiocese had been credibly accused of child sexual assault over several decades while local church officials turned a blind eye..
Some of the pedophile priests they covered up for were:
1. “Father” John McDevitt, a religion teacher at Father Judge High School for Boys, abused Richard Green for six months in 1990 and 1991. At the time, the victim’s uncle, Cardinal John Joseph O’Conner served as Archbishop of New York.
2. “Father” Edward Avery, 69, known for his moonlighting work as a disc jockey, pleaded guilty to involuntary deviate sexual intercourse and conspiracy to endanger the welfare of a child. He was immediately sentenced to 2½ to five years in prison. The charges stem from Avery’s abuse of an altar boy at St. Jerome’s Parish in northeast Pennsylvania in 1999, when Avery was 57 and the boy 10. Avery was at St. Jerome’s despite a credible 1992 complaint that led him to undergo psychological testing at an archdiocesan-run psychiatric hospital, according to a 2005 grand jury report. He was pulled from his parish, put on a so-called “health leave” and then reassigned in 1993, the report said.”
3. “Father” James J. Brennan: Brennan is accused of the 1996 rape of a 14-year-old boy.
The Diocese of Allenstown PA had 22 pedophile priests: Thomas J. Bender, Luis A. Bonilla Margarito, Bernard A. Flanagan, Stephen Forish, Francis (Frank) J. Fromholzer, James F. Gaffney, Edward R. Graff, Richard Gulliani, Leo Houseknecht, William E. Jones, Michael S. Lawrence, James J. McHale, Francis J. McNelis, James J. Mihalak, Gabriel M. Patil, Joseph A. Rock, John Paul Sabas, William J. Shields, David Soderland, A. Gregory Uhrig, Andrew A. Ulincy, Ronald J. Yarrosh.
The Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown PA had 27 pedophile priests: Joseph J. Bender, Harold N. Biller, John J. Boyle, Martin A. Brady, James F. Bunn, Andrew Campbell, Thomas M. Carroll, Athanasius C. Cherry, Dennis E. Coleman, Alvin T. Downey, Elwood F. Figurelle, Joseph Gaborek, Bernard V. Grattan, Leonard Inman, Robert J. Kelly, George D. Koharchik, William Kovach, Thomas M. Lemmon, Anthony B. Little, Francis E. Luddy, Thomas K. Mabon, Joseph D. Maurizzo, Francis Mcaa, Martin D. McCamley, William A. Rosensteel, James F. Skupien, Joseph J. Strittmatter.
The Diocese of of Erie PA had 11 pedophile priests: Michael G. Barletta, Donald Bolton, Robert F. Bower, Chester J. Gawronski, H. Desmond McGee Jr., William F. Presley, Samuel B. Slocum, Thomas E. Smith, Daniel J. Taylor, and two un-named priests.
The Diocese of Greenburg PA had 6 pedophile priests: Dennis Dellamalva, Mark F. X. Gruber, Francis M. Lesniak, Gregory F. Premoshis, Roger A. Sinclair, Roger J. Trott.
The Diocese of Harrisburg PA had 7 pedophile priests: John G. Allen, John R. Bostwick Jr., Augustine Giella, David M. (H?) Luck, Guy D. Marsico, Joseph M. Pease, Patrick J. Shannon.
The Diocese of Philadelphia had 133 pedophile priests: Edward V. Avery, William G. Ayers, Phillip R. Barr, James J. Behan, Michael C. Bolesta, John F. Bowe, H. Cornell Bradley, Michael J. Bransfield, James J. Brennan, Robert L. Brennan, Leonard W. Broughan, Craig F. Brugger, James A. Brzyski, George B. Cadwallader, Raymond J. Cahill, Hugh P. Campbell, John A. Cannon, Paul A. Castellani, Pasquale R. Catullo, Gerard W. Chambers, Michael A. Chapman, Arthur B. Chappell, John A. Close, Richard J. Cochrane, James J. Collins, Michael F. Conroy, James J. Coonan, George A. Costigan, Nicholas V. Cudemo, John J. Delli Carpini, Edward M. DePaoli, Joseph L. DiGregorio, Richard D. Dolan, Michael J. Donofrio, John C. Dougherty, William J. Dougherty, Phillip J. Dowling, Peter J. Dunne, Ernest A. Durante, Thomas J. Durkin, James M. Dux, Charles F. Engelhardt, Francis S. Feret, Mark E. Fernandez, Leonard F. Furmanski, Robert W. Gaghan, Francis J. Gallagher, Joseph J. Gallagher, Joseph P. Gallagher, Stanley M. Gana, Stephen M. Garrity, Mark S. Gaspar, Joseph P. Gausch, Francis A. Giliberti, John E. Gillespie, Charles Ginn Jr., David W. Givey, Joseph M. Glatts, Thomas J. Grumm, David I. Hagen, Steven Harris, James T. Henry, Robert J. Hermley, Gerard J. Hoffman, Daniel J. Hoy, John F. Hummell, James M. Iannarella, Stanley Janowski, Richard G. Jones, William T. Joseph, William N. Killian, John Kline, Thomas M. Kohler, Matthew J. Kornacki, Albert T. Kostelnick, Edward P. Kuczynski, Dexter A. Lancetot, David T. Lawlor, Raymond O. Leneweaver, John R. Liggio, Joseph L. Logrip, Joseph E. Macanga, Nilo C. Martins, George J. Mazzota, Joseph F. McCafferty, Michael J. McCarthy, John F. McCole, Charles P. McColgan, Andrew D. McCormick, James J. McGinness III, Joseph M. McKenzie, Richard J. McLoughlin, Donald J. Mills, Joseph R. Monahan, John H. Mulholland, John J. Murray, Michael G. Murtha, Zachary Navit, Henry “Harry” J. Nawn, Charles Newman, John P. Paul, Stephen B. Perzan, Leonard Peterson, Terrance Pinkowski, Ted (Theodore) Podson, Robert Povish, Richard T. Powers, John D. Reardon, Francis P. Rogers, Thomas Rooney, Gerald J. Royer, Joseph F. Sabadish, William L. Santry, Martin J. Satchell, Charles J. Schaeflein, John P. Schmeer, Thomas F. Shea, David C. Sicoli, Charles J. Siegle, Edward J. Smith, Thomas J. Smith, DePaul Sobotka, Louis M. Steingraber, Michael W. Swierzy, Peter Talocci, Carmen F. Taraborelli, Joseph W. Thomas, Francis X. Trauger, Alyosius M. Vath, David E. Walls, Sylwester Wiejata, Thomas J. Wisniewiski.
The Diocese of Pittsburgh PA had 42 pedophile priests: Alvin J. Adams, Jerome Binder, Robert J. Castelucci, Mauro J. Cautela, Charles J. Chatt, Anthony J. Cipolla, M. Eric Diskin, Jason R. Dolan, Richard J. Dorsch, David F. Dzermejko, Ralph J. Esposito, John P. (Jack) Fitzgerald, Richard Ginder, James G. Ginder, James G. Graham, Bernard Joseph Hartman, William Charles Hildebrand, John (Jack) S. Hoehl, Edward G. Huff, Joseph G. Karabin, John Keegan, William Kiefer, James Kline, Henry R. Krawcyzk, John Lukasik, Julius F. May, William J. McCashin, Francis Meder, Ralph Mrvanitz, Lawrence O’Connell, George J. Parme, Francis Pucci, Edward Smith, James E. Somma Jr., Bartley A. Sorenson, Andrew J. Suran, Daniel J. Tisak, Alberta Veri (nun), John W. Wellinger, Joseph Wichmanowski, George Wilt, Robert G. Wolk, Richard “Sade” Zulu.
The Diocese of Scranton PA had 23 pedophile priests: Phillip A. Altavilla, Robert J. Brague, Francis Brennan, Robert N. Caparelli, Christopher Clay, J. Peter Crynes, Eric Ensey, Robert J. Gibson, Unkown First Name Hazzouri, Albert M. Liberatore Jr., James M McAuliffe, Neil P. McLaughlin, Russell E. Motsay, Father Ned, W. (William) Jeffery Paulish, Edward J. Shoback, Thomas P. Shoback, Thomas D. Skotek, Virgil Bradley Tetherow, Robert M. Timchak, Carlos Urrutigoity, Lawrence P. Weniger, Steven J. Wolpert.
THESE ARE CRIMES, NOT SINS, GET IT RIGHT ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH!!!
By Frank J LaFerriere
Dear Roman Catholic Church,
When YOU assholes call what you all did to us? When YOU call crimes such as child abuse, child rape, child slavery and yes, child murder just sins? YOU lessen the impact of these crimes.
Get it through your sick and twisted disgusting heads right now.
1. Raping children is a CRIME.
2. Covering up the rapes of children is a CRIME.
3. Enslaving children in your Magdalene Laundries is a CRIME.
4. Murdering children and victims, by their suicides, is a CRIME.
5. Gang raping and gang beating children, like you all did in your Industrial Homes, like the one at Artane, is a CRIME.
6. Standing up and defending these kinds of CRIMES makes YOU an accomplice.
Asking for victims of your crimes to forgive you is WRONG!!! We did absolutely nothing wrong, YOU DID. Why should we even accept YOUR FAKE APOLOGIES when YOU STILL blame US and attack US for your crimes against US? Why do YOU feel we should forgive YOU when you continue to do the following against us:
1. DENYING US JUSTICE FOR THE CRIMES YOU COMMITTED AGAINST US.
2. BLAMING US FOR THE CRIMES THAT WERE COMMITTED AGAINST US.3. ATTACKING US AS THE EVIL ONES FOR STANDING UP AND CRYING OUT ABOUT THE CRIMES YOU COMMITTED AGAINST US.
4. DECLARING US THE EVIL ONES FOR SPEAKING OUT AGAINST THE CRIMES COMMTTED AGAINST US BY YOUR PSYCHOTIC PEDOPHILE PIMPS, YOUR PSYCHOTIC PEDOPHILE AND ABUSIVE PRIESTS, YOUR PSYCHOTIC PEDOPHILE AND ABUSIVE NUNS.
5. USING YOUR SCUMBAGS PSYCHOS LIKE BILL DONOHUE OF THE CATHOLIC LEAGUE TO INSULT AND DENIGRATE US.
You all deserve to be arrested for your crimes against us. You all deserve to pay for your crimes against us, including the murder of us. For when ANY victim of your pedohiles have committed suicide, that is murder and YOU should be charged for it.
YOU DO NOT DESERVE TO BE CALLED HOLY MEN OF GOD. YOU DO NOT DESERVE DIGNITY AND RESPECT. YOU DO NOT DESERVE ANYTHING LESS THAN TO BE CALLED FOR WHO AND WHAT YOU ARE….
YOU ARE DISGUSTING CHILD RAPISTS. YOU ARE DISGUSTING PEDOPHILES. YOU ARE DISGUSTING PEDOPHILE PIMPS. YOU ARE DISGUSTING CHILD MURDERERS.
YOU HAVE RAPED HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF CHILDREN. YOU HAVE ENSLAVED THOUSANDS MORE IN YOUR LAUNDRIES. YOU HAVE BEATEN AND TORTURED AND BRUTALIZED THEM. YOU HAVE DESTROYED THEIR LIVES. YOU DO NOT DESERVE PRAISE AND WORSHIP FOR THIS, YOU DESERVE CONDEMNATION AND OSTRASIZATION FOR THIS. YOU DESERVE TO BE ARRESTED AND TRIED AND UPON CONVICTION FOR YOUR CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY AND THE CHILDREN OF THE WORLD, EXECUTED FOR YOUR CRIMES. NO GREATER CALL FOR A DEATH PENALTY PUNISHMENT THAN THE BRUTAL RAPES, BEATINGS, ENSLAVEMENT AND MURDER OF CHILDREN THAT YOU ALL HAVE DONE AND ARE GUILTY FOR SHOULD BE CALLED FOR. YOU DESERVE TO BE EXECUTED ACTUALLY, IN MY OPINION USING THE VERY TOOLS OF THE INQUISITIONS THAT YOU USED TO EXECUTE OTHERS!!!
Each and every one of the following named individuals, have overwhelming, convincing and clear evidence against, that they were in fact, Pedophile pimps, in that they moved dangerous pedophile priests, from one parish to another, covering up for the rapes and abuses of children by these disgusting pedophiles and then they raped and abused even more children.
THERE IS OVERWHELMING EVIDENCE AGAINST EACH AND EVERY FOLLOWING NAMED INDIVIDUAL, THEY PLACED THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH, ITS PEDOPHILE PRIESTS AND NUNS, IT’S PSYCHOTIC, ABUSIVE PRIESTS AND NUNS, BEFORE THE SAFETY AND PROTECTION OF CHILDREN.
There is clean and convincing evidence, against each and every following named individual, that they are part of the larger organization, The Roman Catholic Church and that worldwide, have committed atrocities and crimes against the children of the world and humanity that are overwhelming provable:
About 35,000 children and teenagers who were orphans, petty thieves, truants, unmarried mothers or from dysfunctional families were sent to Ireland’s network of 250 Church-run industrial schools, reformatories, orphanages and hostels from the 1930s up until the early 1990s. For six decades, priests and nuns terrorised boys and girls in the workhouse-style schools with sexual, physical and mental abuse.
This does NOT include the crimes against children and humanity, where ever these Roman Catholic Churches institutions were found, from Belgium, France, Italy, Australia, New South Wales, Germany, United States, Canada, and the world over.
EACH AND EVER ONE OF THE FOLLOWING PEDOPHILE PIMPS SHOULD BE ARRESTED AND TRIED FOR THEIR
CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY AND THE CHILDREN OF THE WORLD!!!
Pope Emeritus Benedict
Cardinals: Adam Maida, Agostino Vallini, Angelo Scola, Angelo Sodano, Anthony Bevilacqua, Bernard Law, Dominik Duka, Donald Wuerl, Franc Rode, Francis George, Francisco Javier Errazurtz Ossa, George Pell, Godfried Danneels, Hans Groer, Humberto Mederios, John Cody, John Krol, Joseph Bernardin, Juan Cipriani, Justin Rigali, Keith O’Brien, Leonardo Sandri, Ludwig Mueller, Marc Ouellet, Norberto Rivera, Oscar Andres Rodriguez Maradiaga, Partick O’Malley, Peter Turkson, Raymond Burke, Richard Cushing, Roger Mahony, Sean Brady, Silvio Oddi, Tarcisio Bertone, Thomas Winning, Timothy Dolan, Vinko Puljic, Wilfred Fox Napier, William Levada.
Archbishops: Andre Richard, Anthony Sablan, Charles J Chaput, Denis Hart, Diarmuid Martin, Ernest Leger, Frank Little, Gerhard Ludwig Muller, Harry Flynn, Jerome Hanus, Jerome Listecki, John Charles McQuaid, John Clay Neinstedt, John Meyers, John Roach, Jose Horacio Gomez, Josef Wesolowski, Luciano Storero, Mario Conti, Peter Gerety, Peter Sartain, Pio Laghi, Rembert Weakland, Ricardo Ezzati Andrello, Robert Carlson, Silvano Tomasi, Theodore McCarrick, Valery Vienneau, William Cousins, Ricardo Ezzati Andrello.
Bishops: Peter Anthony Libasci, A.J. Quinn, Andrew Cozzens, Anthony O’Connell, Antonio Sarto, Bill Wright, Carl Mengeling, Christopher Foster, David M O’Connell, David Zubik, Donald Kettler, Edward Cullen, Eugene Laroque, Gabino Miranda, George H. Guilfoyle, George Leo Thomas, Gerard Frey, Henry Kennedy, Howard Hubbard, James Garland, James Hoeppner, James Kavanagh, James Murray, James Timlin, John B McCormack, John Doerfler, John Magee, Joseph Cistone, Joseph Devine, Joseph Imesch, Joseph V Adamec, Kieran Thomas Conry, Kenneth Povish, Laurence Glenn, Leo Clarke, Louis E. Gelineau, Marco Antonio Ordenes, Michael Bransfield, Michael Jarrell, Michael John Browne, Michael Malone, Patrick Cooney, Patrick Cotter, Peter Conners, Raphael Michael Fliss, Raymond Lahey, Richard Sklba, Robert C. Evans, Robert E. Mulvee, Robert Finn, Robert Rose, Roger Vangheluwe, Rogello Livieres, Seamus Hegarty, Thomas Curry, Thomas Daily, Thomas J. Tobin, Vincent Leonard, William Lynn, Wilton Gregory, Wojeciech Polak, Maurice Schexnayder.
Pope Francis asked us survivors of priest rape and nun abuse of the Roman Catholic Church to forgive him the other day.
After talking to quite a few of my brother and sister survivors well….we find it rather insulting. These are the reasons why.
1. To be forgiven you MUST repent. Even Jesus Christ says this. To repent means you turn away from the evil you are asking forgiveness for. So has the Roman Catholic Church and Pope Francis and those whom committed either the crimes of cover ups and moving around of pedophile priests, or the priests themselves whom raped and abused us, and thus destroying our faiths, our lives, truly repented? In the opinions of the majority of priest and nun abuse survivors the answer is a resounding NO.
To truly show repentance, the Roman Catholic Church and Pope Francis must show real concrete action in cleaning this mess up and not just lip service and more empty promises to us.
Pope Francis MUST immediately fire and prosecute to the fullest extent the law allows and give the harshest penalties to all credibly accused Cardinals, Bishops and Archbishops whom there is overwhelming evidence against they participated in these cover ups. We have positive proof many Cardinals, Bishops and Archbishops did in fact cover up these crimes against us. Through their own words, through Church documents, through whistleblower accounts by the likes of Father Thomas Doyle and other brave priests, nuns and yes, leaders whom find this evil just as disgusting as we do and a cancer destroying this church, we do in fact have overwhelming evidence, that if these people were brought before a court of law, they would be convicted of their crimes of cover ups. 80% of the Cardinals and other leaders currently in the United States participated in this cover up, there is more than enough evidence against them to prove this.
Their excuses are weak, they did not know this was a crime is one of the biggest insults that can be said to us. This has been said by many of those whom covered up these crimes, or that they were ill prepared to deal with this. Well to the victims of these crimes..this is just another example of hey…we know what we did was wrong, but we will make any excuse to cover our butts.
2. Another priest was found whom raped children and is now safely in Paraguay. His name is Father Carlos Urrutigoity. This is just one more of dozens of other priests whom have still escaped justice through the help of the Roman Catholic Church along with such Cardinals as Bernard Law.
Again, despite the clear warning, and complaints of sexual misconduct against him, Urrutigoity was allowed to continue living and working in the Diocese of Scranton. Two years later, he was being accused of sexual misconduct again, this time in court.
In a 2002 lawsuit against Urrutigoity, and another priest Eric Ensey and the Diocese of Scranton, the two priests were accused of a pattern of sexual misconduct. Urrutigoity was accused of giving alcohol and cigars to teenagers, sharing beds and sleeping bags with seminarians and inappropriately touching at least two young men. The alleged acts were cloaked in a bizarre dogma upon which Urrutigoity and Ensey had founded their society.
One former member of the Society of St. John said in a deposition that he slept in the same bed as Urrutigoity after the priest said it would help him overcome his “puritanical attitude.” After a few months of their sharing a bed, the seminarian woke one night to find the priest’s hand first on his abdomen, then on his penis.
In a deposition for the lawsuit, a former seminarian in Minnesota said Urrutigoity asked him to insert anal suppositories in front of him. When he refused, the young man said in a deposition, Urrutigoity was furious, calling the act a betrayal. Urrutigoity at least twice invited him to sleep in the same bed, the man said in the deposition. One night, he woke up to find Urrutigoity was molesting him, the seminarian said.
The Diocese of Scranton settled the lawsuit in 2004 for more than $400,000. It also sent Urrutigoity and Ensey to The Southdown Institute, an organization in Canada, for a detailed psychological evaluation.Instead he should have been defrocked and turned over to the police for prosecution.
Following that evaluation, the Diocese of Scranton’s Independent Review Board made its recommendation, which was noted in the confidential minutes of the board meeting:
“In view of the credible allegation from the seminarian, his admitted practice of sleeping with boys and young men, and the troubling evaluation by the Southdown Institute, Father Carlos Urrutigoity should be removed from active ministry; his faculties should be revoked; he should be asked to live privately.”
A criminal investigation launched by the Lackawanna County district attorney was stymied by a lack of cooperation from St. Gregory’s and Pennsylvania’s short statute of limitations on sex crimes, said Tom Dubas, the lead investigator on the case. Dubas wanted to launch a grand jury investigation, but never had the chance.
“As soon as it got out that I was interested in a grand jury, both priests just disappeared,” Dubas said. “We never did convene one.”
Then, in 2008, Urrutigoity began making headlines again, this time in far eastern Paraguay in the den of iniquity known as the Tri-Border Area.
In 2008, Javier Miranda, a Ciudad del Este resident who was once an active volunteer at local churches, learned of a recent influx of international priests. He decided to research the newcomers.
It didn’t take Miranda long to unearth the scandals that had followed Urrutigoity. Immediately, he protested against the priest’s presence in the diocese, and was soon joined by dozens more local volunteers and even a group of 12 local priests, who in 2009 signed a letter denouncing Urrutigoity as a divisive figure.
The bishop of Ciudad del Este, Rogelio Ricardo Livieres Plano, responded with a spirited defense of Urrutigoity, The priest had been slandered and persecuted, Livieres said. Miranda and other critics should join with the church in praying for a peaceful end to the controversy, he wrote on the diocese’s website.Miranda said far from being welcomed, he and the other vocal critics were ostracized by the church. Undeterred, Livieres continued to support Urrutigoity, not only was Urrutigoity active in the Catholic church in Paraguay, but he had been promoted to the position of vicar general, essentially the second most powerful post in the diocese of Ciudad del Este.
This rapist priest is still protected by the church. There are dozens and dozens more just like him, still protected and defended by those of the Roman Catholic Church.
This priest and all the others, including Cardinals like Bernard Law, whom is still protected by the Vatican, should be immediately fired, defrocked and prosecuted.
3. The church must stop hiding behind the statue of limitations they use against victims to avoid taking responsibility for their actions and paying for their crimes against us and make things right with the victims. Anything less would be pure hypocrisy.
They MUST keep their words and promises to us they signed onto with their Pledge to Protect and Promise to Heal charters with the Attorney Generals of each state.
The disgusting attacks against the priest rape victims MUST END. No more telling us because we did not punch our priests, we were responsible for our own rapes, or that we wanted to be raped and we enjoyed it and we are homosexuals because of it. No more blame games being put upon the victims of these evil crimes.
This is NOT a homosexual problem, this is a pedophile, hebephile and ephebophile problem. This is not just a sin, this is a crime, a FELONY crime and should be looked upon as such and these people whom have committed these crimes should be prosecuted. Just because they are the religious leaders of your church that does NOT give you the right to avoid prosecution for crimes you have committed, especially ones of rape, abuse and torture of children and teens. No more telling us priest rape survivors that we must forgive but must NEVER seek prosecution because that is Anti-Catholic and bigoted of us. Yes this problem exists in other denominations and other sections of the population. We find all of these crimes evil, disgusting and anyone whom rapes a child or covers it up should be arrested and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, and this means EVERYONE whom commits these crimes, whether they be a Roman Catholic or anyone else. Just because you wear a religious robe should NOT give you an out from being prosecuted for your crimes. If anything, they should be prosecuted with that much more vigor because these people portray themselves to be the moral leaders, the spiritual leaders, the head of the church. Jesus Christ would condemn them, so why should not we? Jesus Christ would say they should be prosecuted…for did he not say render unto God that which is Gods and render unto Man that which is Man’s? That means not only are we supposed to follow Gods laws, but mans laws to. Raping children and covering up these crimes are not only contrary to Gods laws, but man’s laws too.
In conclusion…if Pope Francis and the Roman Catholic Church wishes for us survivors of these evil, disgusting crimes against us, then they must first truly repent. This means doing all that I have described. If we were to forgive this, right now, without true repentance shown on your part Pope Francis then that would make us hypocrites.
For even Jesus Christ said…to be forgiven of your sins. you must first truly repent of your sins.