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Priest accused of molesting child in Elizabeth 50 years ago


Priest accused of molesting child in Elizabeth 50 years ago

Sunday, Aug. 17, 2014, 2:36 p.m.
Updated 21 hours ago

From the link: http://triblive.com/news/adminpage/6631140-74/diocese-allegation-authorities#axzz3AgK0m4OO

Pedophile Father John P Carroll

Pedophile Father John P Carroll

 

The Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh began informing parishioners of an allegation of sexual abuse of a minor nearly 11 years after its leaders learned of the accusation.

“For a decade, church officials have disclosed abuse reports only when they’re forced to and have kept them secret as long as they possibly could,” said David Clohessy, executive director of the Chicago-based Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. “I strongly suspect the Pittsburgh Diocese realizes the secret is out so they have to act so they can seem like they’re being responsible.”

SNAP raised an alert in June that a former priest in the Pittsburgh Diocese, the Rev. John P. Carroll, was accused in the Archdiocese of Boston of sexually abusing a minor while he was at St. Michael Parish in Elizabeth between 1962 to 1963.

Pittsburgh Bishop David Zubik announced on Sunday that he warned members of St. Michael and the other parishes where Carroll worked of the allegation against him. The diocese was responding because the Boston Archdiocese notified church officials on Aug. 5 that it had taken steps to dismiss him from the priesthood.

Asked why the diocese waited to send out letters about Carroll, the Rev. Ronald Lengwin, a spokesman, said: “We’re talking about something that happened 11 years ago. It was off our radar screen.”

Lengwin said that the Boston Archdiocese first notified Pittsburgh diocese leaders on Dec. 9, 2003. Boston church officials are handling the investigation.

At the time that the diocese was informed, Lengwin said the church considered child sexual abuse as a “moral defect,” as it did with alcoholism, rather than a disease.

“You can’t say you made a mistake that you didn’t understand fully,” Lengwin said. “I would say we learned how to do things better.”

Former Pittsburgh Bishop Donald Wuerl, now Archbishop of Washington, developed a no-tolerance policy here that was later adopted by Catholic bishops at their 2002 conference in Dallas.

About a year ago, the Pittsburgh diocese began a policy of informing all parishes where a priest accused of abuse worked.

In keeping with its own policies and that of Catholic bishops nationally, the Pittsburgh Diocese notified civil authorities of the allegation. Mike Manko, a spokesman for District Attorney Stephen A. Zappala Jr., said he could not comment until Monday.

Pedophile Pimp of the Roman Catholic Church, Bishop David Zubik

Pedophile Pimp of the Roman Catholic Church, Bishop David Zubik

“I urge anyone who has been abused by any person representing the church to notify civil authorities and to contact the diocese to obtain assistance with counseling to help with recovery from abuse,” Zubik wrote in a letter to Carroll’s former parishes.

Terrence Donilon, a spokesman for the Boston Archdiocese, wrote in an email that Carroll has been restricted from ministry but would not elaborate.

Carroll worked in the Pittsburgh Diocese from 1962 to 1972, including his stint at St. Michael. He also worked at St. Isaac Jogues in Elrama, St. Margaret in Green Tree, St. Susanna in Penn Hills, St. Alphonsus in Springdale and St. Denis in Versailles, now called St. Patrick in McKeesport.

On Aug. 3, the diocese announced that Zubik had placed the Rev. John Fitzgerald, 66, the pastor of Our Lady of Peace Parish in Conway, on administrative leave pending investigation into an allegation of sexual abuse of a minor.

This year, the diocese disclosed that 22 victims had made complaints against nine Marianist brothers at the former North Catholic High School.

Bill Zlatos is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7828 or bzlatos@tribweb.com.

PA- Victims condemn Pittsburgh bishop for “11 yrs of secrecy”


PA- Victims condemn Pittsburgh bishop for “11 yrs of secrecy”

For immediate release: Monday, Aug. 18, 2014

Statement by Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, Outreach Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 503 0003, SNAPdorris@gmail.com)

From the Link: http://www.snapnetwork.org/pa_victims_condemn_pittsburgh_bishop_for_11_yrs_of_secrecy

Pedophile Father John P Carroll

Pedophile Father John P Carroll

For 11 years, Pittsburgh Catholic officials hid the fact that Fr. James P. Carroll is a credibly accused child molester. Yesterday, they finally “came clean” about his crimes. But Pittsburgh church staff said nothing about their callous cover up.

We strongly suspect that Fr. Carroll has spent the past decade living among unsuspecting neighbors who see him as a charming, safe, “grandfatherly” figure. We hope he hasn’t assaulted more kids over these 11 years.

No matter how Catholic officials try to spin it, this is irresponsible and inexcusable. It’s a clear violation of the promises made by Catholic officials – in Pittsburgh and at the national level – to be “open” about clergy sex crimes. Even worse, Pittsburgh Catholic officials, by keeping silent about a potentially dangerous cleric, may have enabled him to hurt more kids.

Two months ago, we disclosed (at a news conference) that Fr. Carroll was a credibly accused child molester.

At that time, back in June, like they have done for years and still do, Pittsburgh Catholic officials said nothing.

Bishop David Zubik’s PR man claims that in 2003, he and his well-educated staff “considered child sexual abuse as a ‘moral defect,’ as it did with alcoholism, rather than a disease,” (according to the Tribune Review). That is insulting baloney.

In 2003, Zubik and other top Pittsburgh Catholic officials knew child sex abuse was a crime. They knew it was apt to be repeated. They knew that citizens have a duty to help police catch criminals. They knew that if they told the truth about Fr. Carroll, more victims might step forward and file charges and Fr. Carroll might be convicted and imprisoned. But they chose – for more than a decade – to stay silent and endanger kids.

Shame on every single current and former Pittsburgh diocesan staffer who knew about the allegations against Fr. Carroll and chose to protect him, not children.

And now, we beg every single person who saw, suspected or suffered clergy sex crimes and cover ups in Pittsburgh to call police, expose predators, protect kids and start healing. 

(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We’ve been around for 25 years and have more than 20,000 members. Despite the word “priest” in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)

Contact – David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, davidgclohessy@gmail.com), Barbara Dorris (314-503-0003 cell, SNAPdorris@gmail.com), Judy Jones 636-433-2511, SNAPjudy@gmail.com)

Former Tyler priest sentenced to prison


Former Tyler priest sentenced to prison

Published on Thursday, 13 February 2014 10:05 – Written by From Staff Reports

From the link: http://www.tylerpaper.com/TP-News+Local/194544/former-tyler-priest-sentenced-to-prison#.U7q_orGn-Yh

This undated photo released by the U.S. Marshal service shows Robert Poandl. Poandl, a Roman Catholic priest, was sentenced to seven and a half years in prison Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2014,  after being convicted of taking a 10-year-old boy to West Virginia for sex more than two decades ago. (AP Photo/U.S. Marshal Service)

This undated photo released by the U.S. Marshal service shows Robert Poandl. Poandl, a Roman Catholic priest, was sentenced to seven and a half years in prison Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2014, after being convicted of taking a 10-year-old boy to West Virginia for sex more than two decades ago. (AP Photo/U.S. Marshal Service)

 

An Ohio priest who served in the Catholic Diocese of Tyler from 1994 and 1999 was sentenced Wednesday to seven and a half years in prison.

Robert Poandl was convicted of taking a 10-year-old boy to West Virginia for sex in 1991. He was sentenced in federal court in Cincinnati on one count of transporting a minor in interstate commerce with the intent of engaging him in sex.

Prosecutors say the priest, from the suburban Cincinnati-based Glenmary Home Missioners, took the boy to Spencer, W.Va., in 1991 and raped him while visiting a church there.

Catholic officials in Tyler say that no one has come forward claiming abuse by the priest since his indictment in March of 2010, and maintains a page on the Diocese website about Poandl and how to report abuse.

“We encourage people to come forward who have ever been victimized by anyone,” said the Rev. Gavin Vaverek, promoter of justice for the diocese. “That’s our ongoing policy.”

At the time of the indictment in 2010, the bishop at the time of the Tyler Diocese, The Most Rev. Alvaro Corrada, issued a request in parish bulletins for any victims who may be in Tyler to step forward.

Poandl served in a parish in Pittsburg while with the Diocese of Tyler. He was convicted in September and continued to maintain his innocence Wednesday.

“I have never ever abused anyone, ever,” the 72-year-old priest told the judge prior to sentencing.

Representatives at the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) say that the kind of cooperation they received from the Tyler diocese is unusual, and still urge anyone in the Tyler Diocese to come forward with any information. Those who wish to come forward may contact law enforcement or SNAP.

“It’s never too late to share what you know or suspect with law enforcement officials,” said Judy Jones of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. “It’s up to us to pass on information. And it’s up to police and prosecutors to determine what will help them prosecute a criminal.”

Besides Texas, he worked at churches and church assignments in Pennsylvania, Oklahoma, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri and Georgia.

“He has been transferred roughly 30 times in 44 years. That alone is a serious red flag,” said David Clohessy of SNAP in the written release.

Poandl also said that he believes his accuser has convinced himself and his family that the abuse occurred and they believe him.

He said he would pray for the accuser and his family.

The victim, who now is in his 30s, also spoke in court prior to sentencing, saying that the priest had “put hate into my heart.”

The accuser, looking directly at Poandl much of the time, said that the abuse caused him years of anger and shame.

“It is time for justice to finally be served,” he told the court.

The Associated Press generally doesn’t identify people who say they were sexually abused.

The accuser, now in his 30s, didn’t tell West Virginia law enforcement officials until 2009 that he’d been abused. Poandl was indicted there on charges accusing him of sexually abusing the boy, but a judge dismissed those charges in 2010.

Prosecutors said at the trial that the priest told the boy’s parents he needed someone to ride with him to keep him awake and navigate and then raped the boy after they arrived at the West Virginia church. The priest then told the boy that they had sinned and needed to pray for forgiveness, prosecutors have said. The defense argued that the accuser’s story changed through the years and was full of inconsistencies.

Poandl’s attorney, Stephen Wenke, in asking the court for a lesser sentence, noted that the priest has been diagnosed with late-stage cancer of the kidney and is likely to die before the end of the year. He asked the court to take that into account with Poandl’s age and years of community service.

Wenke declined to comment Wednesday after the sentencing other than to confirm that they are appealing.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Christy Muncy had requested the maximum sentence, telling the judge that Poandl abused the trust placed in him by the victim and the victim’s family. She later said she thought the sentence was fair.

“I would just encourage anyone who has been the victim of sexual abuse to come forward and have faith that justice will be served,” she said.

Poandl’s accuser left the court without commenting.

Members of Poandl’s family were crying afterward, with some calling out “love you Bob,” as the priest left the court in handcuffs.

The Glenmary religious order, which isn’t associated with the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, is a society of priests and brothers who dedicate themselves to establishing a Catholic presence in rural areas and small towns. The group removed Poandl from ministerial duties in 2012.

Pennsylvania Priest To Spend Eight Years In Prison For Child Pornography


Pennsylvania Priest To Spend Eight Years In Prison For Child Pornography

Sorensen, 63, was arrested by Allegheny County authorities in December 2011 after an employee at St. John Fisher Parish found him looking at a photo of a young boy sans underpants on his computer. An arrest affidavit said the female employee saw the image appeared to be a five to 10-year-old boy under the caption “Hottie Boys” on the priest’s computer in his residence.

Sorensen, 63, was arrested by Allegheny County authorities in December 2011 after an employee at St. John Fisher Parish found him looking at a photo of a young boy sans underpants on his computer. An arrest affidavit said the female employee saw the image appeared to be a five to 10-year-old boy under the caption “Hottie Boys” on the priest’s computer in his residence.

After all of the stories of Catholic priests being accused of child abuse, among other atrocities, you would think they would have learned by now. Apparently for one Roman Catholic in Pennsylvania, the point hadn’t been driven home yet.

A suspended Pittsburgh-area priest will be sent to prison for more than eight years after having been discovered in possession of thousands of images of child pornography on his computer, books, and compact discs. Rev. Bartley Sorensen received more than the five-year mandatory minimum Wednesday but less than the 10-year maximum he faced, according to Yahoo News.

Sorensen, 63, was arrested by Allegheny County authorities in December 2011 after an employee at St. John Fisher Parish found him looking at a photo of a young boy sans underpants on his computer. An arrest affidavit said the female employee saw the image appeared to be a five to 10-year-old boy under the caption “Hottie Boys” on the priest’s computer in his residence.

Allegheny County police arrested Sorensen and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh removed him from active ministry and placed him on leave.

FOX News reports that Federal officials took over the investigation after a search revealed thousands of child pornography images, some of them sadomasochistic.

Sorensen pleaded guilty in May, expressing remorse to everyone but the young boys depicted in images on his computer. He is scheduled to appear in court this Friday on Federal charges.

Sorry, Reverend, God may forgive you, but the courts and likely thousands of others feel otherwise.
Read more at http://www.inquisitr.com/467033/pennsylvania-priest-to-spend-eight-years-in-prison-for-child-pornography/#zJPrL4LlZygt3JXf.99

Father John P. Connor


Father John P. Connor

From the link: http://www.bishopaccountability.org/reports/2005_09_21_Philly_GrandJury/Philly_05_08_Connor.pdf

Father John P. Connor
Father John P. Connor, an admitted child molester in his home diocese of Camden, New Jersey, served from 1988 until 1993 as assistant pastor of Saint Matthew parish in
Conshohocken.
He did so thanks to an understanding described by Cardinal Bevilacqua’s assistant from his tenure in Pittsburgh as a “tradition of bishops helping bishops.” That “tradition” led Cardinal Bevilacqua to help his friend, Bishop George H. Guilfoyle of Camden, by assigning Fr. Connor to a diocese where parishioners did not know that the priest had molested a 14-year-old student.
Bishops Guilfoyle and Bevilacqua agreed to place Fr. Connor first in the diocese of Pittsburgh and later, after Bevilacqua’s transfer, in Philadelphia, each time with access to a fresh group of children unprotected by informed parents.
When Archbishop Bevilacqua assigned Fr. Connor to duties at Saint Matthew Church, it was with the directive to “educate youth.”
Cardinal Bevilacqua tried to justify his actions to the Grand Jury by claiming that he first learned that Fr. Connor’s 1984 arrest was for sexual abuse of a minor by reading about it in a newspaper in April 2002. The Grand Jury finds that this testimony was untruthful.
In 1985, before he accepted the priest into the Diocese of Pittsburgh, then-Bishop Bevilacqua handwrote on a memo that Fr. Connor could present a “serious risk” if assigned there.
In 1993, when Fr. Connor’s New Jersey victim threatened to sue the Camden diocese and expose Fr. Connor’s abuse, Cardinal Bevilacqua was fully aware of the potential scandal and acted quickly to have Fr. Connor transferred out of the Philadelphia Archdiocese and back to Camden.
Cardinal Bevilacqua’s decision to place this dangerous New Jersey priest in a Philadelphia-area parish, coupled with his refusal to inform its pastor or parishioners of the priest’s predilections, certainly put the children at Saint Matthew at “serious risk.”
Indeed, a year after Fr. Connor returned to Camden, a priest and a teacher from Saint Matthew warned Secretary for Clergy William J. Lynn that Fr. Connor was continuing a “relationship” he had developed with an 8th-grade boy at the Conshohocken parish.
Monsignor Lynn acted promptly – notifying the Chancellor in Camden and the Archdiocese’s attorney, John O’Dea. He did not notify the boy’s mother who, in 1994, had no way of knowing the priest she trusted with her son was an admitted child molester.
Father Connor is arrested in 1984 in New Jersey for molesting a minor.
Ordained in 1962, Fr. John Connor was a 52-year-old theology teacher and golf coach at Bishop Eustace Preparatory School in Pennsauken, New Jersey, when he was arrested for molesting a 14-year-old student in October 1984. According to an article in The Philadelphia Inquirer, Fr. Connor befriended the victim, “Michael,” when he was a freshman honors student at Bishop Eustace. The priest invited the boy to Cape May for a weekend to play golf and help repair the roof on Fr. Connor’s trailer. The boy’s mother agreed, she said, because “he was a priest.”
The priest and student played a round of golf and then went to Fr. Connor’s trailer. There, the priest served beer to the 14-year-old and announced he was about to have a “religious experience.” Michael described the experience to prosecutors as mutual masturbation.
When the priest attempted another sleepover the next weekend, Michael’s mother alerted police. With Michael’s assistance, they caught the priest in a sting operation and recorded an incriminating phone call with the boy. Father Connor was arrested in the principal’s office at Bishop Eustace.
The priest did not, however, go to jail or even trial. Lawyers for the Diocese of Camden negotiated a pretrial intervention with the Cape May Prosecutors’ Office. The terms of the deal Connor cut were that he would admit molesting the boy in exchange for having the record of his arrest erased if he were not rearrested within one year.
Michael’s mother later complained to a newspaper reporter that, while Fr. Connor’s life and career went on as if nothing happened, her son was so humiliated that he fled school, changed his name, and moved far away. In the April 21, 2002, Philadelphia Inquirer article, she referred to the year of his abuse as “the year my son died.”
Cardinal Bevilacqua, then Bishop of Pittsburgh, agrees to accept Father Connor into the Pittsburgh Diocese to accommodate Bishop Guilfoyle of Camden, New Jersey.
After his arrest, Fr. Connor spent much of the following year in treatment at the church-affiliated Southdown Institute outside of Toronto. As the priest’s release neared, Fr. Connor’s bishop in Camden, Bishop Guilfoyle, wrote to Bevilacqua, who was then Bishop of Pittsburgh. In a confidential letter of September 5, 1985, Bishop Guilfoyle asked Bishop Bevilacqua whether he would consider accepting into the Pittsburgh Diocese a priest who had been arrested and was coming out of Southdown Institute, a facility that treated sexual offenders. He stated in the letter that he would call Bishop Bevilacqua with details. Bishop Guilfoyle explained to Bishop Bevilacqua later that he could not keep Fr. Connor in Camden because of scandal.
According to documents from the Pittsburgh Diocese, Bishop Bevilacqua consulted with his personnel aide, Fr. Nicholas Dattilo, and showed him Bishop Guilfoyle’s letter. Father Dattilo raised several appropriate concerns about bringing Fr. Connor to Pittsburgh. In a memo dated September 11, 1985, Fr. Dattilo told Bishop Bevilacqua that they needed more information about the nature of Fr. Connor’s “problem.” Assuming there must be “scandal to necessitate an assignment outside the diocese,” Fr. Dattilo wanted to know, “what happened?” He noted that “if the problem is homosexuality or pedophilia we could be accepting a difficulty with which we have no post-therapeutic experience.” He concluded: “If, after you have talked to Bishop Guilfoyle you believe there is no serious risk in accepting Fr. Connor, we will do everythi ng we can to keep the tradition of bishops helping bishops intact.” (Appendix D-16)
After speaking to Bishop Guilfoyle, Bishop Bevilacqua wrote on Fr. Dattilo’s memo: “I cannot guarantee that there is no serious risk.” Despite this acknowledgement, and after receiving reports from Southdown that spoke of Fr. Connor’s “sexual preference for late adolescent males,” Bishop Bevilacqua agreed to give Fr. Connor an assignment in Pittsburgh.
The file contains no further detail about the basis for his decision, and Cardinal Bevilacqua could provide none when the Grand Jury questioned him about the matter. Rather, the Cardinal tried to place blame on Fr. Dattilo (who died recently, after becoming Bishop of Harrisburg): “It’s the responsibility of the Clergy office to follow up any kind of concerns.” Memos from Pittsburgh’s files, however, suggest that Fr. Connor was hired at Bishop Bevilacqua’s insistence. Father Dattilo said in his memo of September 11, 1985, to Bishop Bevilacqua: “If, after you have talked with Bishop Guilfoyle you believe there is no serious risk….” Father Dattilo’s “recommendation” to accept Fr. Connor, written one day after his bishop responded, “I cannot guarantee there is no serious risk,” was less than enthusiastic. Father Dattilo listed, prominently, among the reasons for the recommendation, “what [he] perceive[d] as [Bishop Bevilacqua’s] inclination to assist Bishop Guilfoyle and Fr. Connor.”
Cardinal Bevilacqua also refused to admit in his Grand Jury testimony that he was aware of the nature of Fr. Connor’s crime at the time he hired him. But the Southdown Institute report, which Bishop Bevilacqua received, specifically warned against giving the priest responsibility for adolescents. Father Dattilo’s September 18, 1985, “recommendation” cited the “serious consequences of a recurrence” given “the nature of the incident for which he was apprehended.” Bishop Bevilacqua initialed this memo, adding a note that: “He must al so be told that his pastor/supervisor will be informed confidentially of his situation.” There is, therefore, excellent reason to believe that Cardinal Bevilacqua did know the nature of Fr. Connor’s crime when he agreed to accept him.
Father Connor stays in Pittsburgh only so long as Bishop Bevilacqua is there; Archbishop Bevilacqua then finds a parish for him in Conshohocken.
Father Connor began work in Pittsburgh in October 1985 after his release from Southdown. He remained there three years, first in a hospital chaplaincy, then in a parish. From the start he was anxious to return to Camden, but, as reflected in a May 12, 1986, memo from one of Bishop Guilfoyle’s aides, Msgr. Buchler, to his bishop, Bishop Guilfoyle repeatedly put him off.
Efforts to find other dioceses willing to take Fr. Connor were unproductive. As noted in the same memo: “Ordinaries of dioceses are beginning to become somewhat ‘gun shy’ about accepting priests from other dioceses. The potential for legal ramifications are becoming more and more prohibitive.” September 1986 memos from Bishop Guilfoyle’s aides, Frs. Frey and Bottino, to their bishop recorded that some dioceses, such as Baltimore, were so wary of taking on Fr. Connor that they said they would require the extraordinary protection of an “indemnity agreement” whereby the Camden diocese would agree to “exonerat[e] them from any incident and damages caused by any acts of Pedophilia on the part of Father Connor . . ..” After Bishop Bevilacqua left Pittsburgh, Fr. Dattilo revoked Fr. Connor’s assignment. A 1988 letter from Fr. Connor to Bishop Guilfoyle recorded that Fr. Dattilo cited “legal complications” and suggested Fr. Connor apply to Philadelphia since Archbishop Bevilacqua had been willing to accept the priest before.
TO FINISH READING THE REPORT PLEASE CLICK ON THE FOLLOWING LINK:

http://www.bishopaccountability.org/reports/2005_09_21_Philly_GrandJury/Philly_05_08_Connor.pdf

The Church’s Errant Shepherds


Op-Ed Columnist

 

The Church’s Errant Shepherds

 

BOSTON, Philadelphia, Los Angeles. The archdioceses change but the overarching story line doesn’t, and last week Milwaukee had a turn in the spotlight, with the release of roughly 6,000 pages of records detailing decades of child sexual abuse by Roman Catholic priests there, a sweeping, searing encyclopedia of crime and insufficient punishment.

But the words I keep marveling at aren’t from that wretched trove. They’re from an open letter that Jerome Listecki, the archbishop of Milwaukee, wrote to Catholics just before the documents came out.

“Prepare to be shocked,” he said.

What a quaint warning, and what a clueless one.

Quaint because at this grim point in 2013, a quarter-century since child sexual abuse in the Catholic Church first captured serious public attention, few if any Catholics are still surprised by a priest’s predations.

Clueless because Listecki was referring to the rapes and molestations themselves, not to what has ultimately eroded many Catholics’ faith and what continues to be even more galling than the evil that a man — any man, including one in a cassock or collar — can do. I mean the evil that an entire institution can do, though it supposedly dedicates itself to good.

I mean the way that a religious organization can behave almost precisely as a corporation does, with fudged words, twisted logic and a transcendent instinct for self-protection that frequently trump the principled handling of a specific grievance or a particular victim.

The Milwaukee documents underscore this, especially in the person of Cardinal Timothy Dolan, now the archbishop of New York, previously the archbishop of Milwaukee from 2002 to 2009 and thus one of the characters in the story that the documents tell. Last week’s headlines rightly focused on his part, because he typifies the slippery ways of too many Catholic leaders.

The documents show that in 2007, as the Milwaukee archdiocese grappled with sex-abuse lawsuits and seemingly pondered bankruptcy, Dolan sought and got permission from the Vatican to transfer $57 million into a trust for Catholic cemetery maintenance, where it might be better protected, as he wrote, “from any legal claim and liability.”

Several church officials have said that the money had been previously flagged for cemetery care, and that Dolan was merely formalizing that.

But even if that’s so, his letter contradicts his strenuous insistence before its emergence that he never sought to shield church funds. He did precisely that, no matter the nuances of the motivation.

He’s expert at drafting and dwelling in gray areas. Back in Milwaukee he selectively released the names of sexually abusive priests in the archdiocese, declining to identify those affiliated with, and answerable to, particular religious orders — Jesuits, say, or Franciscans. He said that he was bound by canon law to take that exact approach.

But bishops elsewhere took a different one, identifying priests from orders, and in a 2010 article on Dolan in The Times, Serge F. Kovaleski wrote that a half-dozen experts on canon law said that it did not specifically address the situation that Dolan claimed it did.

Dolan has quibbled disingenuously over whether the $20,000 given to each abusive priest in Milwaukee who agreed to be defrocked can be characterized as a payoff, and he has blasted the main national group representing victims of priests as having “no credibility whatsoever.” Some of the group’s members have surely engaged in crude, provocative tactics, but let’s have a reality check: the group exists because of widespread crimes and a persistent cover-up in the church, because child after child was raped and priest after priest evaded accountability. I’m not sure there’s any ceiling on the patience that Dolan and other church leaders should be expected to muster, especially because they hold themselves up as models and messengers of love, charity and integrity.

That’s the thing. That’s what church leaders and church defenders who routinely question the amount of attention lavished on the church’s child sexual abuse crisis still don’t fully get.

Yes, as they point out, there are molesters in all walks of life. Yes, we can’t say with certainty that the priesthood harbors a disproportionate number of them.

But over the last few decades we’ve watched an organization that claims a special moral authority in the world pursue many of the same legal and public-relations strategies — shuttling around money, looking for loopholes, tarring accusers, massaging the truth — that are employed by organizations devoted to nothing more than the bottom line.

In San Diego, diocesan leaders who filed for bankruptcy were rebuked by a judge for misrepresenting the local church’s financial situation to parishioners being asked to help pay for sex-abuse settlements.

In St. Louis church leaders claimed not to be liable for an abusive priest because while he had gotten to know a victim on church property, the abuse itself happened elsewhere.

In Kansas City, Mo., Rebecca Randles, a lawyer who has represented abuse victims, says that the church floods the courtroom with attorneys who in turn drown her in paperwork. In one case, she recently told me, “the motion-to-dismiss pile is higher than my head — I’m 5-foot-4.”

Also in Kansas City, Bishop Robert Finn still inhabits his post as the head of the diocese despite his conviction last September for failing to report a priest suspected of child sexual abuse to the police. This is how the church is in fact unlike a corporation. It coddles its own at the expense of its image.

As for Dolan, he is by many accounts and appearances one of the good guys, or at least one of the better ones. He has often demonstrated a necessary vigor in ridding the priesthood of abusers. He has given many victims a voice.

But look at the language in this 2005 letter he wrote to the Vatican, which was among the documents released last week. Arguing for the speedier dismissal of an abusive priest, he noted, in cool legalese, “The liability for the archdiocese is great as is the potential for scandal if it appears that no definitive action has been taken.”

His attention to appearances, his focus on liability: he could be steering an oil company through a spill, a pharmaceutical giant through a drug recall.

As for “the potential for scandal,” that’s as poignantly optimistic a line as Listecki’s assumption that the newly released Milwaukee documents would shock Catholics. By 2005 the scandal that Dolan mentions wasn’t looming but already full blown, and by last week the only shocker left was that some Catholic leaders don’t grasp its greatest component: their evasions and machinations.

I invite you to visit my blog at http://bruni.blogs.nytimes.com/ , follow me on Twitter at twitter.com/frankbruni and join me on Facebook.

Priest charged with child porn after removal from Pittsburgh Catholic Diocese


Priest charged with child porn after removal from Pittsburgh Catholic Diocese

By Andrew Del Greco  10:22 PM EDT May 20, 2013
 
 

Lawyer says David Dzermejko, former pastor at Mary, Mother of the Church in Charleroi, will plead not guilty

The Rev. David Dzermejko posted these signs on a church building in Charleroi after someone vandalized it in 2007.

The Rev. David Dzermejko posted these signs on a church building in Charleroi after someone vandalized it in 2007.

PITTSBURGH —A Catholic priest who was removed from public ministry after an allegation of past child sex abuse was deemed “credible” by the Pittsburgh diocese has now been indicted on a federal charge of possessing child pornography.

The indictment announced on Monday doesn’t specify how much porn the Rev. David Dzermejko allegedly had on his computers in January. The 64-year-old man, who now lives in Braddock, was the pastor of Mary, Mother of the Church in Charleroi when he was removed in 2009.

Dzermejko was first put on administrative leave after a diocesan spokesman said there appeared to be “some semblance of truth” to the abuse allegations, and he was eventually removed from public ministry after Bishop David Zubik said the allegations were deemed “credible.” But Dzermejko was never criminally charged with the alleged abuse, which dated back to the 1980s and involved another parish.

Defense attorney John Knorr said prosecutors have provided few details about the new child porn allegations so far. He said that Dzermejko has pleaded not guilty “and we’re expecting that he’ll persist in that.” Records show that the indictment was returned on May 7 and unsealed on Friday, and that Dzermejko is free on $50,000 unsecured bond.

The one-count indictment only says that Dzermejko possessed an unspecified number of photographs in computer graphic files featuring “minors engaging in sexually explicit conduct.” The conduct isn’t detailed in the indictment, which also seeks the forfeiture of his laptop computer, a personal computer, an external hard drive and a smartphone.

“I have pledged to civil authorities the full cooperation of the Diocese of Pittsburgh in the investigation of David Dzermejko. The alleged behavior is heinous and the community — and the children of our community — must be protected,” Zubik said in a written statement.

The diocese had “no knowledge” of the alleged porn possession, according to Zubik, who said child porn is “a criminal act for which society will rightly hear no excuse, accept no extenuating circumstances or grant any mercy. It is criminal in the eyes of society; it is criminal in the eyes of the Church. In society, viewing child pornography means imprisonment; in the Church viewing child pornography is a crime in Church law that means destruction of a priestly vocation and being permanently barred from ministry.

The Diocese housed Dzermejko until January when federal authorities were tipped off to the allegations of child pornography.

“These charges we just heard about today are result of them visiting his apartment January of this year and that was unexpected by us, we didn’t know until it happened,”said Pittsburgh Diocese Spokesperson Father Ron Lengwin.

The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, say this raises questions about why accused priests are still housed and supported by the church.

The diocese says it makes more sense than putting the accused in local neighborhoods, but SNAP says the Diocese’s monitoring of the former priest, is not enough.

 
“If they are in Diocesan building and it’s owned by the Diocese, and nobody is monitoring that accused pedophile, he comes and goes as he pleases and it’s proof right now this man had access to child pornography and nobody caught it,” said Pittsburgh-area SNAP representative Frances Samber.

Dzermejko moved out of the Diocesan housing after the federal raid of his bedroom. He now lives in this Braddock home. Braddock neighbors said they were surprised to learn of these charges and past allegations.

“If he was on some kind of sex offender list, and he was in someone’s neighborhood, people could have access to that list and see who is living amongst them,” said Samber. 

The Diocese says it is doing its part to find predators, sending letters asking people to report these abusers.

“We sent letters to every parish, saying if you’ve ever been abused by priest, contact the Diocese or the state, and that’s how these allegations come in,” said Father Lengwin.