Monsignor on trial for protecting abusive priests

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    Monsignor on trial for protecting abusive priests

    In a case so far downplayed by our most righteous contributor in these parts, a trial jury in Philadelphia is hearing evidence about how abusive Roman Catholic priests were allegedly protected by their supervisor in the diocese. [ Joann Loviglio, Associated Press, Philadelphia jury hears memos in sex-abuse case against Catholic monsignor, WTOP (Washington, DC), April 4, 2012, at ]

    Msgr. William Lynn, who was Secretary for Clergy under the late Cardinal Bevilacqua, is on trial for child endangerment, accused of protecting priests who he knew, or should have known, were engaged in sexual abuse of children, allowing those priests continued contact with children while avoiding scandals. [ Maryclaire Dale, Associated Press, Philadelphia abuse trial offers window into Church practices, ABC News, March 25, 2012, at ]

    The connection with Boston is an assertion by prosecutors that Msgr. Lynn failed to act until the publicity about sexual abuse of children in the Boston diocese became too intense and widespread to ignore. His lawyers say that Msgr. Lynn notified Cardinal Bevilacqua in 1994 about 37 priests likely to have abused children, only to have the cardinal shred his communications and block action on them.

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    Philadelphia priest accused of attempted child rape

    On trial with Msgr. Lynn in Philadelphia is a priest of the diocese, Rev. James Brennan, who is accused of attempted child rape and described by prosecutors as one of the priests protected by Msgr. Lynn. Testimony by an alleged victim on Wednesday, April 4, recalls similar cases several years earlier in the Boston diocese. [ Dave Warner, Reuters, Former Marine testifies about alleged sex abuse by priest, April 4, 2012, at ]

    Somewhat resembling descriptions of Paul Shanley, a former priest at St. Jean's in Newton, MA, convicted of child rape in 2005, Mr. Brennan, who was a priest at St. Andrew in Newtown, PA, is described as being "a guy who rode a a cool uncle."

    As happened with Paul Shanley, the defense is trying to undermine credibility of the main witness--not identified in AP reports but publicized in the Philadelphia area--who acknowledges a trail of problems with the law. [ R. Seth Williams, District Attorney of Philadelphia, Report of County Investigating Grand Jury XXIII, January 21, 2011, at ]

    The report of the Philadelphia grand jury details, among other matters, how the Philadelphia diocese handled reports about Rev. James Brennan in canonical proceedings. [pp 106-109]

    Previous testimony by priests serving in the Philadelphia diocese described "predator-priests [who] were, at best, transferred if they got in trouble, then left to seek out new victims." [ Maryclaire Dale, Associated Press, Priests testify for prosecution in clergy-abuse case, MSNBC, March 29, 2012, at ]

    The Boston Globe has some stories about this trial available from its Web site but has not been placing them where readers are likely to notice.

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    Kansas City bishop to be tried for protecting priest

    In a case somewhat similar to the Philadelphia trial of Msgr. William Lynn and Rev. James Brennan, a state trial is expected for Most Rev. Robert Finn, bishop of the Roman Catholic diocese of Kansas City and St. Joseph, MO, together with Rev. Shawn Ratigan, a priest in the diocese. Bishop Finn is accused of protecting Rev. Ratigan, who is faces child pornography charges and is in jail. [ Bill Draper, Associated Press, Judge won't dismiss charge against Missouri bishop, WTOP (Washington, DC), April 6, 2012, at ]

    According to news reports, like former priest Paul Shanley in the Boston area and Rev. James Brennan in Philadelphia, Rev. Ratigan is another "liberated," motorcycle-riding priest. After learning of his alleged involvement with child pornography, Bishop Finn sent him for counseling and ordered him to stay away from children. After learning that Rev. Ratigan had violated the order, Bishop Finn reported him to police.

    The case in Kansas City is much less grave than the one in Philadelphia, lacking the element of direct injury to children. Bishop Finn did eventually report Rev. Ratigan to police but has been charged under a Missouri law requiring "immediate" reporting. Violations of that law can result in fines up to $1,000 and jail sentences up to one year. Bishop Finn's lawyers tried to claim that Missouri law is unconstitutionally vague and that the diocese has assigned reporting duties to a vicar and not the bishop.

    The essence of these two cases is the same, in that civil law in the U.S. is beginning to extend to the supervisors of predators within a religious organization. Moreover, prosecutions are being conducted by state governments, who are the usual law enforcers in such areas, and not only through some unusual confections of federal agencies and laws.

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    Progress, not speculation

    The previous reader expresses a foolish, millenarian outlook. If the U.S. had actually operated in the way proposed, instead of prosecuting cases starting with Gilbert Gauthe in Louisiana in 1984, we would be frozen in time--ignoring torrents of abuse, not just within Catholic churches but also within day care centers, public and private schools, youth groups such as Scouting, and other religious denominations--waiting for a toothless, impotent foreign organization to do something of which it has proven incapable.

    There is unlikely ever to be a perfect resolution of social problems. If that were possible, problems would not happen in the first place. It has taken over a quarter century from starting to prosecute predators to move off the dime and hold their supervisors accountable. So far, despite abuse publicized in Massachusetts for over 20 years, little like that has happened here, but this year it is happening in Pennsylvania and in Missouri. That is genuine progress. We need more of it--not more speculation and armchair posturing.

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    Many victims but little justice

    Although some anti-Roman Catholic zealots disparage their efforts, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops is continuing its program to stop sex abuse of children that has been associated with Roman Catholic churches, schools, dioceses and orders and to report on instances of abuse that have been discovered. Its efforts in that cause appear stronger than those of most other organizations that work with young people, but the intensity of its problems may also be worse. [ Andrew Stern, Reuters, Catholic Church says child abuse cases rose in 2011, Chicago Tribune, April 11, 2012, at,0,1575130.story ]

    Dimensions of problems in the U.S. were measured last year in a report commissioned by the Conference, partly funded by the U.S. Department of Justice and by other Catholic organizations, performed by a team at CCNY John Jay College of Criminal Justice and released in May, 2011. [ available from the Conference at under the title, "The Causes and Context of Sexual Abuse of Minors by Catholic Priests in the United States, 1950-2010" ]

    Boston is about to see another episode in the long-running scandal that began to be publicized by the Boston Globe in January, 2002. The third sentence of the first of many Globe reports said, "...Cardinal Bernard F. Law knew about Geoghan's problems in 1984...yet approved his transfer to St. Julia's parish in Weston." [ Matt Carroll, Sacha Pfeiffer, Michael Rezendes and Walter V. Robinson, Church allowed abuse by priest for years, January 6, 2002, at ]

    Boston lawyer Mitchell Garabedian, who typically has pressed the Boston diocese harder over the years than has law enforcement, is about to describe two more former priests who he says were predators. [ Lisa Wangsness, Settlements are reached in clergy sex abuse cases, Boston Globe, April 11, 2012, at ]

    The instances being detailed by Mr. Garabedian are probably not counted among "489 people [who] reported credible allegations of abuse by priests or deacons in 2011," as listed by the Conference, since Conference information is coming from Church officials. Terrence C. Donilon, employed as secretary for communications by the Boston diocese, is reported as stating that "archdiocesan investigations were inconclusive because both involved a single victim who professed to have been abused more than 40 years ago by a priest who died before he could answer the allegations."

    There are many avenues to conduct thorough investigations, but the Boston diocese and its neighbors in Fall River, Springfield, Worcester, Providence, Bridgeport, Hartford, Norwich and Manchester have all tended to offer repeated excuses as to how nothing could be done. In the case of Cardinal Law, clearly implicated in abuses by the late, former Rev. John J. Geoghan, little was ever done by law enforcement to hold either the cardinal or the other supervisors of the diocese accountable for child endangerment. Cardinal Law has now quietly retired as pastor of the Basilica of St. Mary Major in Rome. [ Sarah Delaney, Catholic News Service, Vatican replaces Cardinal Law as archpriest of Rome basilica, National Catholic Reporter, November 21, 2011, at ]

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    Justice abandoned in Massachusetts

    Who was the Massachusetts attorney general when evidence appeared in the Boston Globe, showing that Cardinal Bernard F. Law knew in detail about child sex abuse committed by former priest John Geoghan at the time the cardinal reassigned Geoghan to St. Julia's in Weston, where Geoghan remained for eight years, engaging in many more crimes of abuse? [ Matt Carroll, Sacha Pfeiffer, Michael Rezendes and Walter V. Robinson, Church allowed abuse by priest for years, January 6, 2002, at ]

    It was Thomas F. Reilly, who remained in the attorney general post for another five years, during which he failed to bring Cardinal Law and other supervisors of Geoghan to justice for conspiracy in child sex abuse. Mr. Reilly is a graduate of Cathedral High School in Springfield and Boston College Law School.

    Mr. Reilly served as Middlesex County district attorney for eight years before winning the post of attorney general, so he was familiar with criminal law in the state. In 2003, his office released a report estimating that "more than 1,000 children were abused by priests in the Boston archdiocese in the last 60 years." [ Robert O'Neill, Associated Press, Former priest John Geoghan was center of church abuse scandal, Boston Globe, August 23, 2003, at ]

    Mr. Reilly subpoenaed Cardinal Law and other bishops in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston before a grand jury in 2002, but there were no prosecutions of those who supervised priests in that diocese known to have committed abuses. [ Dahlia Lithwick, Why isn't Bernard Law in jail?, Slate, December 19, 2002, at ]

    Ms. Lithwick wrote in 2002, "Law admitted in a deposition that he was aware that John Geoghan had reportedly raped at least seven young boys in 1984 yet nevertheless approved the transfer of Geoghan to another parish, working with other boys. Other documents revealed that Law similarly knew of and ignored decades of reported child abuse by [former priest] Paul Shanley, placing Shanley in ministries with access to other children."

    Mr. Reilly has never explained in any credible way why he failed to bring Cardinal Law and other church supervisors to justice for their conspiracy in crimes of abuse. According to evidence available to Mr. Reilly in 2002, Cardinal Law appeared to conspire with former priests Geoghan and Shanley, allowing them repeated opportunities to commit crimes of abuse. If Mr. Reilly had followed a course now taken by R. Seth Williams, Philadelphia district attorney, Cardinal Law would have stood trial together with former priests Geoghan and Shanley as a conspirator in the crimes of abuse for which they were convicted and jailed.

    Msgr. William Lynn is now on trial in Philadelphia together with Rev. James Brennan for conspiracy in the abuse with which Brennan is charged. Of the charges against Msgr. Lynn, Mr. Williams has said, "...rapist priests we accused were well known to the secretary of clergy, but he cloaked their conduct and put them in place to do it again." [ Larry Miller, Cleric seeks limits in sex abuse case, Philadelphia Tribune, January 23, 2012, at ]

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    As our most righteous contributor in these parts is reminding most days, actions have consequences. It looks as though Catholics in Philadelphia have been reacting to sex abuse crimes conducted in the Church there, by passing on the collection plate and ignoring the special fund appeals. In January, Most Rev. Charles Chaput, the new archbishop, announced that 48 Catholic schools would close. Emulating "Chainsaw" Al Dunlap, who dismembered Sunbeam, Archbishop Chaput is busy wrecking decades of loyalty. [ Victoria A. Brownworth, Archdiocese guts Philadelphia schools, Germantown Chronicle (Philadelphia, PA), January 19, 2012, at ]

    The fire-bombing of Philadelphia schools in 2012 does not have a close parallel. In Boston, Milwaukee and elsewhere, mostly parish-run schools have closed, one by one, as their central support funds withered. [ Michele Kurtz and Anand Vaishnav, Catholic schools struggle in the city, Boston Globe, March 9, 2003, at ]

    Some of the remaining Philadelphia schools, which are caught in a vicious spiral of higher tuitions and lower enrollments, are similarly threatened. In Boston, in 2004, rather than close a bevy of schools, the new Archbishop O'Malley announced 67 of 357 parishes would close. That has failed to repair the losses of revenue and stem the attrition of active priests. The latest plan would consolidate 291 parishes into 120 of fewer. [ Jay Lindsay, Associated Press, Boston Archdiocese may radically regroup parishes, USA Today, June 3, 2011, at ]

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    Voices from the past

    Anyone listening to Boston radio Sunday mornings in the 1950s or 1960s will surely remember the inimitable, sometimes well lubricated Richard Cardinal Cushing, intoning a rosary: "Hail!...Mairee!...Fulla graise!...De Lard is wit Dee!...Blessidart Dhou amonk wimin...." Anxious accolytes struggled to say responses within the few seconds left. Who would ever have thought that the revered archbishop of Irish Boston was secretly protecting sexual predators of children?

    He likely was. In February, 1960, Cardinal Cushing sent the former Rev. Paul Shanley to St. Patrick's in Stoneham. Withing weeks, Shanley was abusing young boys there. [ Laurence E. Hardoon of Brody, Hardoon, Perkins & Kesten to Wilson D. Rogers, Jr., representing the Archdiocese of Boston, Bishop Accountability, January 20, 1998, at ]

    In 1964, Cardinal Cushing was contacted by Marshfield parishioners complaining about abuse of their son and several other altar boys by the late Rev. Eugene M. O'Sullivan of St. Ann's. There is no record showing the cardinal took any action to investigate the incidents. [ Redacted to Cardinal Cushing, August 1, 1964, Boston Globe, at ]

    During Cardinal Cushing's leadership of the Boston diocese, complaints of sex abuse also rose against the late Rev. Richard J. O'Donovan at St. Colman's in Brockton. Again, there is no record of response from the cardinal. [ Sex abuse claim against former Brockton priest settled, Brockton Enterprise, April 11, 2012, at ]

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    Victims and abusers

    Annual reports organized by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops on sex abuse of children by Roman Catholic priests and by ordained members of Roman Catholic orders in the U.S. seem to have been interpreted by some as evidence that those abuses are rapidly waning but by others as evidence that they are continuing or even increasing. Neither interpretation agrees well with the reports as they are written, but news about these reports in general media has been largely scattershot.

    The Conference set an arbitrary time horizon at 1950 and later, although there is evidence that such abuses occurred long before. The senses of guilt and shame by participants appear so strong that few incidents are on the record from before 1960, when attitudes in the U.S. began to change, and when some topics considered off-limits in most circumstances became more widely talked about.

    Most of the abusers newly counted in recent Conference reports are being cited for abuses of many years ago. That makes it hard to accept reports of recent incidents as representative, since it might also take many years for recent victims to speak up. One clear lesson that can be drawn from the reports is to reject myths about supposed purity in earlier times, as least for the 1950s.

    Some incidents that have not yet been counted in Conference reports are found in continuing lawsuits filed on behalf of individual victims and settlements of those lawsuits. Boston lawyer Mitchell Garabedian has been particuarly active in representing victims of alleged abuses and has, within the past year, announced settlements involving several priests and ordained members of orders not previously reported as abusers.

    One was Rev. Leonard Walsh, who ministered from 1950 until he died in 1954 at St. Francis Friary, 49 Rawson Rd., Brookline, MA--where he is accused of committing sex abuse of a child in 1953. Mr. Garabedian has recently announced a financial settlement with the order that operated the St. Francis Friary on behalf of his client. [ Teddy Applebaum, Late Brookline friar accused of sex abuse, Brookline (MA) Tab, April 18, 2012, at ]

    The Brookline friary, although independent of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston, was closely connected. Its premises were previously the Brookline home of William Cardinal O'Connell, who was the first archbishop of Boston to be created a cardinal--in 1911, by Pope Pius X. His successor, Richard Cardinal Cushing, was archbishop of Boston, prior to being created a cardinal, at the time of the alleged abuse by Rev. Walsh, and he was a member of the Third Order of St. Francis in Brookline, which operated the friary then. [ Mary Rita Grady, CSJ, Journeying Together, Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston, 2008, at ]

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    Re: Monsignor on trial for protecting abusive priests

    Bopope is just off his rocker. The standard of proof of protection is too high for a good reason. All administrators are given managerial protection. Does not matter church or not. As a manager you have information but not facts. Things you understand are not legal facts. But to use your understanding exposes you to legal threat from the employee. Always in the middle. If you do have a fact, is it enough? Courts throw out facts all the time in prosecution. What is a middle manager to do? Go to the police? Cannot do that. Exposes you to civil liability.
     So many claims of injury are clearly fraudulent. A manager is in the middle at the time of people who will not or cannot talk to him/her. Any action either way exposes the manager to a civil lawsuit. So documentation is the only defense. But the triple threat is documentation may be taken to civil court where the burden of proof is so low as to be a joke.
     This is the issue with all of Bofrauds clients legal cases that his money grubbing civil lawers deal with. Just soak the environment with ill will and reap the settlement cash. It is worse than the late nite lawyers on TV. Just disgusting.
     None of his histrionics protects the 99% of children abused today. He cares nothing about child sexual abuse, just the fees his lawyers collect.
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    Crimes and punishments

    The previous comment seems to be a remnant from another era, sometimes known sarcastically as the "daycare sex-abuse hysteria" of the 1980s. The former Fells Acre Day Care Center in Malden generated the best known nearby example, starting in 1984. A 1995 column in the Wall Street Journal described how testimony from claimed child victims had been manipulated. [ Dorothy Rabinowitz, A darkness in Massachusetts, January 30, 1995, available at ]

    Despite reversals of convictions by one judge and sentence reductions by another, on two occasions the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court stepped in, affirming the Fells Acre case convictions and sentences. Nevertheless, over twenty years of legal controversies have left issues in that case still murky for many people, and it sets an example mainly for the maxim "Hard cases make bad law."

    Some cases involving abuses by religious figures are not nearly so opaque. The first well known case in the U.S. was that of former Rev. Gilbert Gauthe in Louisiana, also starting in 1984. When originally reported that year, few outside the state took notice. Bishops of the Church successfully promoted a view that the case was exceptional and unrepresentative of Roman Catholic priests.

    Jason Berry, who first reported the case through the weekly Times of Acadiana, in Lafayette, LA (circulation about 40,000), gradually became convinced otherwise. [ The tragedy of Gilbert Gauthe, May 23 and 30, 1985, available at ] As he looked into hints of problems in several parishes over the next eight years, Mr. Berry discovered about 400 other Catholic priests known or widely suspected to have been involved in sex abuses. [Jason Berry, Lead Us not into Temptation, Doubleday, 1992]

    A key difference in abuse occurring in religious as compared with secular settings has been the degree of trust placed in those committing abuse in religious settings. The reader styled "Bopanopawitz" here appears to be making a mistake, not in strong views about such situations, but in a recently advocated remedy that would invoke a largely impotent international organization rather than the traditional agencies of law enforcement, which have--belatedly--begun to do their jobs.

    An example is the case now being prosecuted by the state district attorney for Philadelphia. [ Maryclaire Dale, Associated Press, Trial of priest in Philadelphia painful, poignant for Catholics, WTOP (Washington, DC), April 22, 2012, at ]

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    Reports of crimes and thwarted justice

    Although our most righteous contributor in these parts seems to prefer sensationalized "Fox" News versions, more informative stories about the Philadelphia trial are from Maryclaire Dale of Associated Press. She has provided consistent and informative reports throughout the trial and its preliminary stages. Yesterday's article was notable for its responsible style but thorough coverage. [ Maryclaire Dale, Associated Press, Pennsylvania priest labeled pedophile stayed in job, April 24, 2012, available from WTOP (Washington, DC), at ]

    Boston Globe editors do not appear to feel that this unprecedented trial matters--not only of perpetrators but also of their supervisors and protectors in the Church. The few reports carried by the Globe have been buried in obscure places and maintained on view for only a few hours. An apt comparison can be found in the lavish coverage by the Globe, during the 1980s, of the Fells Acre sex-abuse scandal and trial--which also involved both accused perpetrators and a supervisor--and of its long legal aftermath.

    The Globe of those days aimed at comprehensive national and some international reportage but did not report to any meaningful extent the nearly contemporaneous scandal and trial of the former Rev. Gilbert Gauthe in Louisiana, whose horrible record of child sex-abuse resembled that attributed to the late Rev. Peter Dunne in the Philadelphia area.

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    Bishop of Armagh helped conceal crimes in Ireland

    Bishops most responsible for concealing sexual abuse of children by priests in Boston and Philadelphia died before perpetrators of those crimes were called to justice. While cases in Boston have gone cold, some in Philadelphia are still ongoing. [ Maryclaire Dale, Associated Press, Pennsylvania accuser unleashes fury at Catholic church, April 30, 2012, WTOP (Washington, DC), at ]

    In Ireland, however, a key bishop, still active, has been implicated in an episode of scandals over child sex-abuse in the Roman Catholic Church of Ireland, now going on over 20 years. Sean Cardinal Brady, the archbishop of Armagh and primate of Ireland, has admitted a role in concealing notorious crimes during the 1970s by a priest, the late, former Rev. Brendan Smyth, who turned out to be a serial pedophile. [ Shawn Pogatchnik, Associated Press, Top Irish Catholic faces new abuse cover-up claims, Yahoo News, May 2, 2012, at ]

    Then a priest teaching at St. Patrick's in Cavan, Rev. Brady told his bishop about his knowledge of Smyth but did not inform police. Smyth was transferred repeatedly between posts and continued abuses in Ireland, Wales, Italy and the United States for another 16 years, until he was arrested and charged in 1991. The cascade of scandal has had a drastic effect on the Irish Church. Mr. Pogatchnik reports that "barely a third of Catholics still attend weekly Mass, down from 90 percent before the era of scandals began."

    For all the outcry over Cardinal Brady's role in concealing Smyth's crimes, the greater burden belongs to Smyth's order, the Order of Canons Regular of Premontre, known in Ireland as Norbertines, after the order's founder. Smyth's supervisors among the Nobertines had known about his crimes since the 1940s, without withdrawing him from ministry or informing police. [ Gerry Moriarty, Evil spirit of a ruined church, Irish Times (Dublin), March 3, 2010, at and available at ]

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    Philadelphia diocese responded to financial transgressions but not sex abuse

    Testimony continues in the Philadelphia trial of  Msgr. William Lynn, accused of protecting priests involved in sex abuse of children, and of Rev. James Brennan, accused of attempted child rape and said to have been protected by Msgr. Lynn. [ Maryclaire Dale, Associated Press, Philadelphia church mum on priest until donor complained, Miami Herald, May 15, 2012, at ]

    In 1986 and 1991, Church records say that former Rev. Michael McCarthy was accused of abusing youngsters at Cardinal O'Hara High School in Springfield, PA, where he taught from 1972 to 1992, and that the late Anthony Cardinal Bevilacqua, then archbishop of Philadelphia, was informed. According to the former Philadelphia district attorney, the cardinal "received allegations that the priest had regularly taken students from Cardinal O'Hara High School to his beach house, plied them with liquor" and practiced sex abuse. [ Lynn Abraham, District Attorney, County Investigating Grand Jury of September 17, 2003, p. 37, 2 MB available at ]

    McCarthy was rewarded rather than sanctioned for such behavior. In 1992, Cardinal Bevilacqua made him pastor of St. Patrick's in Norristown, PA. He finally got serious attention after a parishioner, whose family was a major donor, complained that McCarthy was running a travel agency and taking business from her. That provoked the cardinal to action and soon led to McCarthy's downfall.

    The report of the 2003 grand jury in Philadelphia indicates that the reassignment of McCarthy to another location in the diocese was typical of the way complaints were handled during the Bevilacqua administration and that the attention eventually paid to McCarthy was the exception rather than the norm. The main concerns of Cardinal Bevilacqua and his staff appeared to focus on avoiding adverse publicity.

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    Hard cases make bad law

    Strong verdicts are starting to look improbable from the trial for sex abuses in the Roman Catholic diocese of Philadelphia. On a defense motion, the trial judge dismissed charges of conspiracy at the close of the prosecution's case. [ Max Kennerly, What did the prosecution prove about Monsignor Lynn?, Priest Abuse Trial (PA), May 19, 2012, at ]

    The unusual aspect of this case was bringing a church supervisor to trial for child endangerment. Apparently Msgr. Lynn has been accused because in 1994 he prepared a list of 35 priests in the diocese with documented accusations of sex abuse and delivered it to Cardinal Bevilacqua and three other supervisors. Testimony and documents from the grand jury and the trial say that Cardinal Bevilacqua ordered the list destroyed and that copies left in his hands and those of the three other supervisors were shredded. However, at least one copy survived and was obtained by lawyers for the diocese; it had been maintained by one of the five supervisors.

    Of the supervisors in the diocese who had access to the list of suspected abusers, only Msgr. Lynn has been charged. Cardinal Bevilacqua and Msgr. James E. Molloy, a former assistant vicar for administration, have died. However, Most Rev. Joseph R. Cistone, a former assistant vicar for administration and now bishop of Saginaw, MI, and Most Rev. Edward P. Cullen, a former vicar for administration and now retired as bishop of Allentown, PA, are still living. [ Ralph Cipriano, All the cardinal's men, Priest Abuse Trial (PA), May 20, 2012, at ]

    All three Church supervisors still living had evidence of suspected crimes. None reported them to law enforcement. None is known to have taken positive action to prevent further crimes by those suspected. Bishop Cullen admitted to a grand jury that he had a role in hiding from a parish formerly served by one suspect that the suspect had been sent away for psychiatric evaluation.

    Why were the other supervisors, bishops Cullen and Cistone, not charged along with Msgr. Lynn? Could it be that they have become bishops? Mr. Cipriano, a former Philadelphia Inquirer religion reporter and subsequent National Catholic Reporter correspondent, relies on William R. Spade, a former assistant district attorney. He suggests that Lynne Abraham, the Jewish former Philadelphia district attorney who convened the first grand jury to investigate the cases, was afraid of Cardinal Bevilacqua and would not seek the indictments, regardless of the evidence. He does not explore why the Catholic current Philadelphia district attorney, Seth Williams, has not brought indictments of the other supervisors.

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    Wheels of justice

    In the previous comment, our most righteous contributor now advocates a more practical approach to action, with remarks echoing Gary Wills--hardly a "free thinker." In a recent article. Prof. Wills wrote, "...the Vatican says that nuns are too interested in 'the social Gospel' (which is the Gospel), when they should be interested in Gospel teachings about abortion and contraception (which do not exist)." [ Bullying the nuns, New York Review 59(10):64, 2012, at ]

    Writing in the Philadelphia Inquirer, John P. Martin recently summarized testimony in the trial of a priest and a supervisor in the Philadelphia diocese for sex abuse, child endangerment and conspiracy. He recounts a "culture of secrecy" in which ample and growing knowledge about abuses, held by some Church supervisors, was routinely compartmentalized and hidden from victims, parishioners, law enforcement and other supervisors. [ Evidence in clergy abuse trial shows a culture of secrecy, Philadelphia Inquirer, May 21, 2012, at ]

    As secretary for clergy for the late Cardinal Bevilaqua, Msgr. Lynn did intervene to remove at least one abusive priest: former Rev. Stanley Gana, who was directly accused of abuse in meetings Msgr. Lynn held with a victim. After failing to persuade Gana to resign, Msgr. Lynn persuaded Cardinal Bevilaqua to remove him. None of the complaints of abuse were referred by any supervisor in the diocese to law enforcement. [ Nancy Phillips, Craig R. McCoy and John P. Martin, What Lynn told grand jury on abuse, Philadelphia Inquirer, September 2, 2011, at ]

    When eventually removed from active ministry in 2002, former Rev. Gana had become an egregious case, comparable to the late, former Rev. Geoghan in the Boston area, Sex-abuse scandals in the Boston diocese were prominent in national news, and Cardinal Bevilacqua had strong cause to be frightened about the potential for similar news from his diocese. [ Unattributed, Father Stanley Gana, Bishop Accountability, 2005, at ]

    Most Rev. Michael J. Bransfield, now bishop of Wheeling and Charleston, WV, has been deeply implicated in abuses connected with fomer Rev. Gana. So far, no investigation has been reported. [ Joseph A. Slobodzian, Priest trial witness cites report on West Virginia bishop, Philadelphia Inquirer, April 19, 2012, at ]