18 May 2011

Philadelphia cardinal and bishops hid problem priests from clergy abuse review board, put church law before civil law

Fox News   -   May 13, 2011

Philly diocese's sex-abuse chair blasts cardinal

by Associated Press

PHILADELPHIA – The head of the Philadelphia Archdiocese's panel on priest sex-abuse is assailing the cardinal's response to the pedophilia crisis and pulling back the curtain on the panel's long-secret operations.

Cardinal Justin Rigali and his bishops "failed miserably at being open and transparent," review board chairwoman Ana Maria Catanzaro wrote this week in the lay Catholic magazine Commonweal.

"What will it take for bishops to accept that their attitude of superiority and privilege only harms their image and the church's?" Catanzaro wrote in an article titled, "The Fog of Scandal."

A grand jury this year criticized the panel and church officials for leaving dozens of problem priests in ministry.

But Catanzaro said the lay board was never informed about most of them because the archdiocese pre-screened which cases they reviewed.

Rigali initially said he knew of no priests working in the archdiocese with "an admitted or established allegation of sexual abuse" against them. Yet he later suspended about 24 priests.

The Philadelphia grand jury charged two priests, an ex-priest and a teacher with rape, and a monsignor with endangering children through priest transfers. All plan to vigorously fight the charges. At least six civil priest-abuse lawsuits have since been filed.

Catanzaro, who has spent eight years on the review board, which makes recommendations about whether priests should remain in ministry, faulted church officials for focusing on lawsuits and liability concerns instead of ridding the church of pedophiles.

The archdiocese did not immediately respond to a call for comment Friday.

Catanzaro also complained that the panel is told to weigh church law on the subject of sexual abuse, not civil law, leading to what she called heated arguments between panel members and three church lawyers who assist the panel.

"We should expect better from the church and from our bishops. Although concerns about liability can be legitimate, addressing the abuse scandal from a legalistic perspective focused on protecting the archdiocese from liability is simply wrong," she wrote.

Catanzaro earned a Ph.D. in nursing at Catholic University and a master's degree in moral studies from St. Charles Borromeo Seminary, which is run by the archdiocese. She directs the graduate nursing program at Holy Family University. She did not return messages from The Associated Press on Friday.

Former Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua named her to the review board in 2002, when U.S. bishops ordered that lay panels be formed to address the abuse problem. She remains the Philadelphia panel's chairwoman, despite what she called soul-searching this year by her and other panel members about whether to resign.

This article was found at:


Credibility of US bishops' reformed child protection policies challenged by Philadelphia clergy abuse scandal

Five Philadelphia archdiocese defendants on trial for child rape and endangerment now charged with conspiracy

A Catholic describes the spiritual turmoil and loss of trust in the church caused by the Philadelphia clergy abuse scandal

Many Catholic families have ceremonial photos that include pedophile priests due to cover up by Philadelphia Cardinals

Four Philadelphia priests and teacher charged for child rape and conspiracy make first court appearance

Man suing Philadelphia archdiocese for neglect and cover-up says priest targeted him in the cradle

Suspended Philadelphia priests continue to deny child rape and cover-up allegations, attack credibility of victims

Philadelphia archdiocese suspends 21 active priests identified in grand jury report as credibly accused of child abuse

Philadelphia archdiocese investigating but not publicly naming dozens of active priests credibly accused of child abuse

Philadelphia archdiocese reopens 37 credible cases of child abuse by active priests reported by grand jury

Three Philadelphia priests and teacher charged with raping boys, Monsignor charged with failing to protect children

Inquiry finds US Catholic hierarchy still endangering children and fighting justice for clergy abuse survivors

Washington archbishop claims Catholic clergy abuse is all historic, abusive priests now dealt with appropriately, but church still fights victims

Hundreds of admitted or credibly accused pedophile priests who escaped justice are unsupervised by church or police

Wisconsin diocese follows child protection protocol after credible abuse allegations made, suspend priest and notify police


  1. Allentown bishop at meeting where cardinal ordered sex abuse memo shredded, according to court claim

    Lehigh Valley Express-Times February 25, 2012

    Bishop Edward P. Cullen was in on a 1994 meeting in which Philadelphia Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua ordered a list of 35 problem priests destroyed, according to a court filing.

    Cullen, who served as bishop of the Diocese of Allentown from 1998 to 2009 and still lives in the Allentown area, had previously served as top aide under Bevilacqua.

    Matt Kerr, a spokesman for the Allentown diocese, referred requests for comment to the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

    In Philadelphia, Monsignor William Lynn is facing trial in a priest-abuse scandal; jury selection is under way. Lynn is the first U.S. church official charged for allegedly keeping predator-priests in ministry.

    Lynn asked Friday to have his conspiracy and child-endangerment case thrown out based on new evidence of the list, which Lynn contends corroborates his claims that efforts to conceal clergy sex abuse were orchestrated at levels above him.

    The Philadelphia Inquirer reported Lynn’s filing claims Bevilacqua discussed the memo in a March 15, 1994, meeting with Monsignor James Molloy, the assistant vicar for administration, and Cullen, who was then the cardinal's top aide.
    After the meeting, Bevilacqua allegedly ordered Molloy to shred the memo, which Lynn had produced.

    Lynn in 1992 began combing the secret personnel files of hundreds of priests to gauge the scope of misconduct involving children, the Inquirer reported based on the court filing. He did it, his lawyers said, because he “felt it was the right thing to do,” the newspaper reported.
    Bevilacqua, who died last month, was never charged in the clergy sex-abuse scandal.

    Cullen, who also was never charged, testified before a Philadelphia grand jury in 2005 that Bevilacqua was insistent in all cases that parishioners not be told the truth about abusive priests.


  2. Philly judge denies monsignor's bid to drop case

    The Associated Press February 27, 2012

    PHILADELPHIA — A Philadelphia monsignor will go on trial on child endangerment charges despite new defense evidence that he says shows an archbishop was calling the shots.

    Monsignor William Lynn says the late Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua (beh-vih-LAH'-kwah) had a list of accused, still-active priests destroyed in 1994 — a decade before the sex abuse scandal exploded.

    Lynn asked a judge to dismiss the felony child endangerment and conspiracy charges he's facing. He says a grand jury might not have pursued him if it had seen the memo about the cardinal ordering his aides to destroy the list.

    Judge M. Teresa Sarmina refused Monday to drop the case against Lynn. Prosecutors had blasted the last-minute defense filing Friday.

    The first potential jurors are being questioned Monday. Testimony is set to start March 26.


  3. Ex-Philly priest pleads guilty to sex-abuse charge

    By MARYCLAIRE DALE The Associated Press March 22, 2012

    PHILADELPHIA — A defrocked Philadelphia priest pleaded guilty Thursday to sexually abusing an altar boy in a church sacristy, days before he was to go on trial with two other priests in a landmark child sex-abuse case. 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. "In the end, every human being proceeds on this earth as a flawed human being. Father Avery has made some horrible mistakes in his life," defense lawyer John P. Donohue said at the brief hearing.

    The charges stem from Avery's abuse of an altar boy at St. Jerome's Parish in northeast Philadelphia in 1999, when Avery was 57 and the boy 10. Two other priests are still set to go on trial Monday. They include Monsignor William Lynn, the first U.S. church official ever charged with endangering children for allegedly failing to oust accused predators from the priesthood or report them to police.

    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. Avery's accuser told authorities in recent years that he had been raped by two priests and his sixth-grade teacher at St. Jerome's. A second grand jury report on priest abuse issued last year charged all three of them with sexual assault and alleged two attacks by Avery.

    "When Mass was ended, Fr. (Edward) Avery took the fifth-grader into the sacristy, turned on the music, and ordered him to perform a 'striptease' for him. ... When they were both naked, the priest had the boy sit on his lap and kissed his neck and back, while saying to him that God loved him," the grand jury report. Oral sex and digital penetration followed, the report said.

    Avery said little Thursday and offered no apology to the victim, who was not believed to be in court. "It's something I have discussed and decided to do," said Avery, who has 10 days to report to prison. His conspiracy plea could be important in the case against Lynn, the secretary of clergy in Philadelphia from 1992 to 2004. Avery did not indicate Thursday whether he will testify against Lynn, and a gag order prevents lawyers from discussing the case. However, he agreed to a series of damaging facts about the archdiocese.

    Avery agreed that Lynn and the archdiocese knew of the 1992 abuse complaint filed against him. The teen told Lynn that Avery had molested him after he helped the priest work as a DJ at a West Philadelphia nightclub. Avery also acknowledged that he was never supervised when he later interacted with altar servers and parish children at St. Jerome's, and that the archdiocese knew he was still working as a disc jockey, which put him around young people. Lynn, 61, is charged with two counts each of conspiracy and child endangerment. He faces up to 28 years in prison if convicted. Lynn has said he was following orders from the late Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua and other superiors. Bevilacqua died this year, but his videotaped deposition could still be used at trial.

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    A second accuser alleges that the Rev. James Brennan, 48, assaulted him in 1996, when the boy was 14 and Brennan was on leave from the church after telling Bevilacqua he needed to deal with his own child-sexual abuse. Both accusers in the case have criminal records and a history of drug addiction. Defense lawyers plan to attack their motives, arguing that they are out for money or want to explain away their troubled lives. That strategy frustrates Barbara Blaine, president of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. "As someone said, you can't expect (them) to go through hell and come out like an angel," Blaine said.

    Avery's accuser could still be called to testify against Lynn, and would seemingly need to testify in the later trial of his two other alleged molesters, the Rev. Charles Engelhardt and former teacher Bernard Shero. They are being tried separately because neither was an archdiocesan priest reporting to Lynn. All four remaining defendants have pleaded not guilty.

    About 500 Roman Catholic priests in the U.S. have been convicted of criminal sexual abuse through either guilty pleas or verdicts, according to Terry McKiernan, the founder of BishopAccountability.org. That's still a fraction of the suspected abusers in the church, he said. "Very few have even faced criminal charges, obviously because of the archaic statute of limitations and, usually, the superb cover-up job that church officials have done for decades," McKiernan said.


  5. Landmark Philly church sex abuse case begins

    By MARYCLAIRE DALE - Associated Press March 25, 2012

    PHILADELPHIA -- A landmark church sex abuse case that rocked the Roman Catholic Church went to trial Monday, marking the first time a U.S. church official faced a jury on allegations he endangered the welfare of children by covering for predator priests inside the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

    Monsignor William Lynn and the Rev. James Brennan entered their pleas before the jury Monday morning following a brief delay. The start of the trial came after weeks of jury selection and legal wrangling.

    Attorneys for Lynn and Brennan are expected to attack the credibility of the priests' troubled adult accusers, but that strategy took a hit last week when defrocked priest Edward Avery entered a last-minute guilty plea, confirming one accuser's account of a brutal 1999 sexual assault inside a church sacristy.

    All three priests were to be tried together before Avery pleaded guilty Thursday to charges related to an assault on a then-10-year-old altar boy. Lynn, 61, handled priest assignments for the archdiocese as secretary for the clergy from 1992 to 2004. He is the first U.S. church official ever charged with endangering children. Prosecutors say he failed to act to try to remove Avery and Brennan from ministry despite prior child sex complaints.

    Avery agreed to serve 2 1/2 to five years in prison for involuntary deviate sexual intercourse and conspiracy to endanger a child's welfare. He also acknowledged that the archdiocese kept him in parish work despite knowing of the earlier complaint.

    Lynn remains the focal point of the trial. He faces a long prison term if convicted. He has argued that he prepared a list of 37 accused priests in 1994 and sent it up the chain to Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua - only to have Bevilacqua have it shredded. The cardinal died this year, but his videotaped deposition could be played at trial.

    The trial will be closely followed by Catholics across the country, including some who say their lives were destroyed. Philadelphia prosecutors blasted Bevilacqua, Lynn and other church officials for hiding scores of complaints that streamed into the archdiocese over several decades. Prosecutors detailed their findings in a 2005 grand jury report but said they couldn't charge anyone because the statute of limitations had expired.

    But last year, they filed a second grand jury report based on recent complaints filed within newly expanded time limits. Avery's accuser said he was passed around by two priests and his Catholic schoolteacher at St. Jerome's Parish.

    "When Mass was ended, Fr. (Edward) Avery took the fifth-grader into the sacristy, turned on the music, and ordered him to perform a 'striptease' for him. ... When they were both naked, the priest had the boy sit on his lap and kissed his neck and back, while saying to him that God loved him," the report alleges, adding that the kissing was followed by oral sex and penetration.

    Lynn could get up to 28 years in prison if convicted of two counts each of conspiracy and child endangerment. Defense lawyers plan to argue that the accusers are out for money or hope to explain away their troubled lives. Both accusers have criminal records and a history of drug addiction.


  6. Church official called keeper of secrets in U.S. abuse case

    By Dave Warner, Reuters March 27, 2012

    PHILADELPHIA - One of the most closely watched child sex abuse trials involving the Roman Catholic Church began on Monday with a prosecutor asserting that Monsignor William Lynn was the "keeper of secrets" and his lawyer countering that he alone tried to stop the abuse.

    At the center of opening arguments in the case against Lynn, the most senior cleric to stand trial in the church's sex abuse scandal, was the Philadelphia Archdiocese's "secret archive" of files containing information about hundreds of suspect priests.

    Lynn, 61, is charged with endangering the welfare of children and conspiracy for covering up allegations against priests. He faces a maximum of 28 years in prison if convicted of all counts.

    Lynn served as secretary of the clergy under the late Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua, Philadelphia's archbishop from 1988 to 2003. That made Lynn, in effect, the personnel director for 800 priests, responsible for investigating sex abuse claims.

    His lawyer said on Monday that Lynn tried to stop the abuse, going so far as to comb through the "secret archive" to make a list of 35 clergy who were involved in abusive conduct or were classified with a sexual disorder.

    Lynn gave that list to Bevilacqua in 1994, only to have his boss order it shredded, defense attorney Thomas Bergstrom told the jury in Common Pleas Court. He said the real criminals in the cover-up were Bevilacqua and his top advisers, who carried out the shredding.

    "I think the evidence in this case is that he is the one, and he was alone, in trying to correct it," Bergstrom said.

    The prosecution, however, said Lynn's chief concern was "to keep a lid on scandal" and "the furthest thing from defendant Lynn's mind" was keeping children safe.

    "The defendant is the keeper of secrets," Assistant District Attorney Jacqueline Coelho said in her opening statement.

    Bevilacqua, who died in January at age 88, left behind videotaped testimony that could be introduced during the trial.

    The Vatican is closely watching the criminal trial involving the sixth largest diocese in the United States, said Terry McKiernan, co-director of BishopAccountability.org, a watchdog group.

    "This is cause for major anxiety in the church," McKiernan said.

    Four others were indicted with Lynn, including Reverend James Brennan, 49, who is charged with child abuse and is on trial with Lynn. Defrocked priest Edward Avery, who was to go on trial with Lynn too, pleaded guilty last week to sexually assaulting a 10-year-old altar boy at church in 1999.

    Another priest and a former archdiocese school teacher will be tried at a later date.

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    A grand jury in January 2011 indicted Lynn, after the statute of limitations was expanded in response to a 2003 grand jury that was unable to bring charges against priests because the alleged sexual assaults had occurred years earlier.

    "Over the past two decades, Msgr. Lynn has put literally thousands of children at risk of sexual abuse by placing them in the care of known child molesters. We believe that legal accountability for Msgr. Lynn's unconscionable behavior is long overdue, and that he should be prosecuted for endangering the welfare of the victims in these cases," the grand jury said in its 2011 report.

    Other criminal cases against senior officials have ended in plea bargains, effectively eliminating the chance for probing questions to be asked in open court.

    The cost of the scandal - particularly from settling a flood of victim lawsuits - has already bankrupted eight diocese, most recently the Archdiocese of Milwaukee as well as the diocese of Wilmington, Delaware, which has sought Chapter 11 protection.

    Lawsuits against the Philadelphia Archdiocese have been filed on behalf of six alleged victims of sex abuse by priests, but those cases have not yet gone to trial.

    Perhaps the highest-profile case to date occurred in 2002 in Boston, where hundreds of people said they had been molested by priests and ultimately Cardinal Bernard Law lost his job as the head of the archdiocese.

    (Editing by Barbara Goldberg and Eric Walsh)


  8. Priests struggled with sexual sobriety

    By MARYCLAIRE DALE, Associated Press March 28, 2012

    PHILADELPHIA — A string of Roman Catholic priests testified Wednesday in a landmark clergy-abuse case, saying they reported fellow priests to the archdiocese after finding them with pornography or in unhealthy relationships with children.

    The priests, uncomfortably, are prosecution witnesses in the trial of a longtime supervisor in the Philadelphia archdiocese, Monsignor William Lynn. The former secretary for clergy is charged with endangering children by allegedly helping the church cover up abuse complaints.

    The Rev. Joseph Okonski told jurors Wednesday that he found pornographic magazines and videos, and a sexually explicit letter to a seventh-grade boy, in another priest's bedroom in 1995.

    The graphic letter, which purported to be from a classmate, asked if the boy wanted oral sex. The author said he fantasized about seeing the boy getting spanked by his father. The boy was told to write "Yes" on a bulletin board at the parish school if he wanted to engage in sex acts with his "secret lover."

    Okonski said his housemate admitted writing the letter and soon left the parish. But the next trial witness said the priest landed at his rectory, where he worked with altar boys and had no restrictions on his ministry.

    Prosecutors argue that predator-priests were, at best, transferred if they got in trouble, then left to seek out new victims.

    The witnesses, on cross-examination, said the archbishop had the final say in priest transfers. Lynn could make recommendations, but the late Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua or his successor, retired Cardinal Justin Rigali, made the decision, they said.

    "Inevitably, any movement of priests is done by the archbishop," Okonski said.

    The priests testified that they were put in awkward positions by the behavior of men with whom they lived and worked.

    A Levittown pastor said he was tasked with finding out which priest had ordered the X-rated movies that showed up on their cable bill.

    Another priest called the Office for Clergy because his North Philadelphia pastor had an all-consuming relationship with a young teen. Father Michael Hennelly said he was concerned, especially after hearing about the pastor's last such relationship, when a fallout with the boy was said to have ended violently. Hennelly soon asked for a transfer.

    "For my well-being, I couldn't live and work there," he said.

    Hennelly later joined the Office of Clergy staff in 2004, the same year Lynn finished his 12-year stint as its director. He described working with priests trying to achieve what he called "sexual sobriety."

    St. John Vianney, a church-run hospital in Downingtown, had "Sexaholics Anonymous" meetings devoted exclusively to priests. Others attended "Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous," Hennelly said.

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    There are about 800 priests in the Philadelphia archdiocese. More than 60 have been accused of molesting children since 1948, although only a few have ever been charged. About 500 Catholic priests in the U.S. have been convicted of sexual-abuse charges, according to the advocacy group BishopAccountability.org.

    But no church supervisors were ever charged for mishandling abuse complaints until Lynn.

    Prosecutors in Philadelphia issued two explosive grand jury reports on priest sexual abuse in 2005 and 2011. They blasted Rigali and Bevilacqua but concluded they could not make a case against either, in part because of legal time limits.

    New accusations led Lynn to be charged last year with felony child endangerment and conspiracy. He faces up to 28 years if convicted. Prosecutors call the archdiocese an unindicted co-conspirator in his case.

    Four others were charged in the same indictment with sexually assaulting boys. The Rev. James Brennan is on trial with Lynn. Defrocked priest Edward Avery will serve 2-1/2 to five years after pleading guilty last week to sexual assault and conspiracy. And the Rev. Charles Engelhardt and former Catholic school teacher Bernard Shero are set for trial later this year. They are accused of raping the same boy that Avery assaulted.

    All but Avery have pleaded not guilty.


  10. Jurors Told That Church Put Off Abuse Complaints

    By JON HURDLE, New York Times April 3, 2012

    PHILADELPHIA — A victim of alleged sexual abuse by a Roman Catholic priest told a court on Tuesday that church officials took more than 10 years to resolve his complaint that he had been molested at a summer camp.

    Walter J. Daly, 64, told jurors at the landmark trial of a senior church official and another priest that he wrote to the Archdiocese of Philadelphia in October 1992 complaining that he had been abused by the Rev. John Cannon, a priest who ran the camp in Lancaster County, Pa., where Mr. Daly went as an elementary and high school student.

    In response, Mr. Daly was invited to a meeting in November 1992 with three church officials, including Msgr. William J. Lynn, the former secretary for clergy at the archdiocese and the first senior church official in the United States to be tried on charges that he endangered children by placing priests in positions where they were able to molest them.

    The officials listened to Mr. Daly’s description of having been abused an estimated 25 times over successive summers at the camp but did not appear to resolve his complaints and did not seem very sympathetic, he told the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas.

    “Was defendant Lynn asking a lot of questions?” asked an assistant district attorney, Jacqueline Coelho.

    “It was a very formal business meeting,” Mr. Daly replied.

    Mr. Daly said he spent parts of his summers at the camp between 1956 and 1965, first as a camper and then as a counselor.

    When he was in seventh or eighth grade, he said, Father Cannon would come to his bed in the middle of the night. “I would be awakened in the night by the fact that someone would be touching me inappropriately,” Mr. Daly said in a sometimes shaky voice.

    Asked by Ms. Coelho whether the priest would do “more than just touching,” Mr. Daly replied, “He would take my hand and put it on his penis to force me to fondle him.”

    Mr. Daly said he signed a statement for church officials confirming what had happened to him but did not hear anything more, so in 2002 he made another complaint, this time to the bishop of Harrisburg.

    “In 10 years, you would expect to hear something,” Mr. Daly said. “In my mind, it was never resolved.”

    In 2003, he was finally approached by an archdiocese investigator who appeared to be taking his complaints seriously. Asked by Ms. Coelho whether there was a difference between his meeting with the investigator and that when he made his first complaint in 1992, Mr. Daly said, “I felt that there was a willingness to listen to me.”

    Father Cannon retired in 2004.

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    Under questioning by Thomas Bergstrom, a lawyer for Monsignor Lynn, Mr. Daly said that he recalled first being abused as a fifth grader, and that he had the same experience every year for 10 years at the camp but did not tell his parents or anyone else in authority.

    In testimony earlier Tuesday, Mr. Bergstrom sought to establish that the church’s response to abuse allegations was directed not by Monsignor Lynn, now 61, but by the late Cardinal Anthony J. Bevilacqua or other officials more senior than the defendant.

    After investigating allegations of abuse by another priest, the Rev. Stanley Gana, Monsignor Lynn recommended that any decision to allow him to resume work as a priest would depend in part on the cardinal’s acceptance of a report on Father Gana’s treatment at a rehabilitation center in Ontario, Mr. Bergstrom said. Confidential memos outlining allegations against Father Gana were read to jurors.

    Church officials, including Bishop Edward Cullen and the cardinal, decided that the archdiocese would not prevent Father Gana taking a post in another diocese, but that policy was not the responsibility of Monsignor Lynn, Mr. Bergstrom said.

    “Monsignor Lynn did not recommend that the archdiocese shift Father Gana to some other diocese,” Mr. Bergstrom said. “The recommendation came from Bishop Cullen and was approved by Cardinal Bevilacqua.”

    The trial, now in its second week, is also hearing the case of the Rev. James J. Brennan, 49, who is accused of trying to rape a 14-year-old boy in 1996.


  12. At priests’ trial, ex-altar boy details alleged abuse

    By John P. Martin, PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER STAFF WRITER April 04, 2012

    During three hours of emotional and sometimes contentious testimony, a former Bucks County altar boy Wednesday described how a priest in the landmark child-sex abuse and conspiracy trial molested him during an overnight visit when he was 14.

    The man, now 30, broke down several times recounting the alleged 1996 assault by the Rev. James J. Brennan that he said plunged him into a spiral of drugs and crime and still haunts him.

    He said Brennan, his onetime parish priest and a longtime family friend, showed him online sex-chat rooms, proposed they masturbate, then ordered him into a bed where, clad in plaid boxer shorts, the cleric pulled him close and pressed his private parts against the boy.

    "He kept pulling me forward, forward, forward," the witness said, fighting tears. "I couldn't get off the bed. I still feel the sensation today. It's horrible."

    The testimony did not stand unchallenged.

    The priest's lawyer, William Brennan, who is no relation to his client, repeatedly asked the accuser to explain inconsistencies in accounts he gave authorities over the years, reminded jurors about his convictions, and highlighted a lawsuit he filed that demands money from the church.

    Wearied after two hours of cross-examination, the witness, who was identified in the grand jury report as "Mark," pleaded with Common Pleas Court Judge M. Teresa Sarmina to break for the day. "I can't do any more," he said.

    With the lawyers' consent, Sarmina halted the proceedings.

    The witness' name is being withheld by The Inquirer because of the nature of his allegations.

    The developments marked the most dramatic - and likely the most significant - since the trial began last week for Brennan and Msgr. William J. Lynn, the former secretary for clergy for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

    A nearly packed courtroom listened as the man outlined the details of an alleged assault that he said pushed him to the brink of suicide, and then watched as the lawyers parsed his words, drew anatomical sketches for jurors, and quibbled over the definition of spooning in bed.

    The jury had already heard from four other alleged abuse victims, but each had described being molested decades ago by priests who have been defrocked, died or are not charged in the case.

    Unlike those claims, the Bucks County man's allegation fell within a newly amended criminal statute of limitations for child-sex crimes and became a cornerstone of the February 2011 grand jury report that led to the trial against Lynn and Brennan.

    Prosecutors say Lynn, as the official who recommended archdiocesan priests' assignments and investigated their misconduct, enabled or covered up abuse by failing to act against priests suspected or known to abuse children. One such priest, they say, was Brennan, who has been on restricted ministry since the accusation emerged in 2006.

    He and Lynn have denied any wrongdoing. A third defendant, defrocked priest Edward Avery, pleaded guilty to related charges before trial.

    The 30-year-old witness said that he came from a devout Catholic family and that Brennan, once his parish priest at St. Andrew's Church, was a fixture at his house. The priest drank with his mother, took him and his brother golfing, and showed the teens how to smoke, he said.

    "He was like an uncle," he said. "We called him Jim. Everyone thought he was cool."

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    According to Mark, Brennan was on a leave from the archdiocese when he invited the boy, then 14, to spend the night at his West Chester apartment in the summer of 1996. Mark said he was eating his favorite cereal, Crunchberries, when, as a joke, he used cereal pieces to form a phallic symbol on the table.

    Mark said he was confused when Brennan looked at the symbol and told him: "If you want to stop this, we can stop this now."

    The priest then showed him an Internet sex-chat room, began asking about his private parts, and masturbated in a corner, he said. Then he directed Mark to join him in the bed.

    Assistant District Attorney Mark Cipolletti asked why he obeyed.

    "I was afraid, if I said no, he would kill me," Mark testified. "I was a little boy. I didn't know what to do."

    As Brennan wrapped his hands more tightly around him on the bed, Mark said, he closed his eyes, prayed for it to end, and fell asleep.

    He conceded he couldn't be sure what happened next. He said he recalled telling his mother the following day that Brennan molested him. Mark said his parents confronted the priest, but Brennan downplayed the incident as a misunderstanding.

    In the ensuing years, Mark said, he began using drugs and racked up convictions for theft, identity theft, receiving stolen property, and making false statements to police.

    He acknowledged attempting suicide three times - including once while in the Marines - and repeatedly undergoing treatment for substance abuse and mental health problems, including a hospital stay that ended late last month.

    But conflicting signs have emerged about his account. The grand jury report and a lawsuit filed by the man said that Brennan had anally raped him, an accusation that led prosecutors to charge Brennan with involuntary deviate sexual intercourse.

    Late last year, they amended that charge to attempted rape, and a prosecutor last week told jurors that Mark was wearing underwear when the assault occurred.

    In court filings, defense lawyers William Brennan and Richard Fuschino described him as "a serial confabulator" and urged the judge to let them interrogate him on the details of his record, which they say includes "colorful, elaborate lies" to law enforcement.

    She denied that request. Still, William Brennan spent two hours of cross-examination trying to chip away at the witness' credibility, challenging his memory and suggesting his story keeps changing.

    He noted that Mark remembered the attack vividly, but couldn't recall what day or even month it occurred.

    "Have you ever had a trauma?" the witness shot back, saying that doctors have told him it was common to block out the insignificant details of such an experience. "When a trauma happens, you focus on the trauma."

    Several times, the witness complained that the lawyer was being combative, aggressive, or unprofessional.

    Brennan said he was trying to defend his client. "Please, I'm trying to work with you here," he told the witness.

    "No," Mark said, "you're not."

    The exchange is scheduled to resume Thursday.


  14. Witness says she was told not to ask questions about priest,

    By Joseph A. Slobodzianand John P. Martin, INQUIRER STAFF WRITERS April 09, 2012

    Sister Joan Scary said she got one clear instruction when the Rev. Edward M. DePaoli arrived at St. Gabriel Catholic Church in September 1995: Don't ask questions.

    Though she had been director of religious education at the Pottstown-area church since 1989, Scary told a Philadelphia jury Monday that St. Gabriel's pastor, the Rev. James Gormley, warned her that if she talked about DePaoli, "I could pack my bags and leave."

    But Scary testified that she remembered that DePaoli had been arrested for something 10 years earlier and kept trying to find out what. Eight months later, Gormley angrily confronted her and reminded her about "spreading rumors about Father DePaoli. . . . He told me to get the hell out of here."

    What Scary learned was that DePaoli, a moral and ethics teacher in a local Catholic high school, had been arrested on child pornography charges in 1985, convicted, and sentenced to probation.

    Scary was the first witness to testify before a Philadelphia Common Pleas Court jury Monday as prosecutors began the third week of the trial of a church official and priest in the landmark clergy sex-abuse case involving the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

    On trial is Msgr. William J. Lynn, the former church official in charge of investigating wayward priests and the first church official criminally charged with enabling or covering up sexual abuse of minors by priests.

    Lynn's codefendant, the Rev. James J. Brennan, is charged with attempting to rape a 14-year-old boy in 1996.

    Both have denied the allegations.

    Scary did not implicate Lynn or Brennan in her testimony. Instead, Assistant District Attorney Jacqueline Coelho used her testimony to build a record prosecutors say will show a pattern of Lynn and other church officials protecting sexually abusive priests.

    DePaoli's assignment to St. Gabriel's seemed unusual, Scary said, because "he didn't really have duties. . . . He didn't do anything other than just be there."

    Scary said she saw DePaoli hear confessions twice and celebrate one Mass when a blizzard made it impossible for Gormley or a retired priest to get to the church.

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    A few months after DePaoli's arrival, Scary testified, mail for him was delivered to her address at the parish building where she had an apartment rather than the rectory where DePaoli lived.

    It was addressed to DePaoli but did not use his clerical title, Scary said. The mail was from Denmark and contained computer disks and magazines with sexually graphic content.

    Scary said she put one of the magazines in an envelope addressed to then-Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua, the archbishop of Philadelphia. She said she included an anonymous note that read: "Is that anything that a Catholic priest should be getting?"

    Scary said she also called a county church official to say she worried about DePaoli's assignment at St. Gabriel's, given that the Montgomery County District Attorney's Office was investigating child pornography.

    Scary was fired by Gormley on May 30, 1996.

    DePaoli was defrocked by the church in 2005, the same year the District Attorney's Office made public its first grand jury investigation of clergy sexual abuse.

    A second witness, Shirley Birmingham, a parishioner at St. Gabriel's, testified that she and another congregation member were counting the Sunday collection in the parish center in April 2002 when she noticed a mail package addressed to DePaoli. The package, from a studio in California, was slightly torn, she said. Inside was an unmarked videotape.

    Birmingham recalled that Scary had told her about DePaoli's background and said she decided to tell Msgr. John Marine, the archdiocese's vicar for Montgomery County, about the package.

    "Knowing his past, it was just a nagging feeling that I had that I should do something about this, so that nothing happens to any of our kids," she told jurors.

    But the vicar seemed most interested to hear that DePaoli had been giving homilies, Birmingham testified.

    Under cross-examination from Jeffrey Lindy, one of Lynn's lawyers, Birmingham like Scary before her acknowledged she had never before met or seen the former secretary for clergy.


  16. Mother of alleged abuse victim testifies at trial

    By JOANN LOVIGLIO, The Associated Press April 11, 2012

    PHILADELPHIA — A woman whose son gave emotional testimony about his alleged abuse at the hands of a Roman Catholic priest took the stand herself Wednesday at a landmark trial in the priest abuse scandal and said she regrets maintaining contact with the priest for years afterward.

    The woman said the Rev. James Brennan was like a brother to her, a confidant and spiritual adviser at a vulnerable time when she was caring for her terminally ill mother and raising three young children, so she remained friendly with him even after her son told her "something weird" happened on an overnight trip with the priest.

    "Regrettably, I did not," she replied Wednesday when asked if she cut ties with Brennan after the alleged 1996 molestation, "and I'll never forgive myself for it."

    Brennan is on trial with Monsignor William Lynn, the first Roman Catholic official in the U.S. charged with endangering children for allegedly shifting priests suspected of molestation from parish to parish without warning anyone of prior sex-abuse complaints. Both have pleaded not guilty.

    The Associated Press is not naming the woman because doing so would identify her son, who is an alleged sex abuse victim. The AP generally doesn't name accusers in abuse cases.

    The woman said she remained friendly with Brennan after he left their parish, St. Andrew in the Philadelphia suburb of Newtown, and last spoke with him in 2005 at a time when her family was having financial troubles and her son was "not doing well." Brennan asked what was going on the young man.

    "'It always comes back to you. It always comes back to you, Jim,'" she said she replied. "And that's the last time I ever talked to him."

    The accuser, now 30, testified last week that he was molested at age 14 by Brennan and the trauma led to drug addition, mental illness, crime and suicide attempts. He is the only accuser at the trial so far whose allegations fall within the statute of limitations for bringing charges.

    The woman said after her son "closed down" when asked what allegedly happened between himself and Brennan, saying only that they slept in a bed together. She and her husband met with Brennan at a hotel to discuss what happened but the priest was short on specifics too.

    "He said something inappropriate happened and it will never happen again," she said. "It was a stalemate, nothing more was said and the meeting ended."

    Defense attorney Bill Brennan, no relation to his client, suggested that what happened was her son wanted to look at pornography online at the priest's apartment and he wanted the boy to tell his parents. Bill Brennan also asked the woman about financial assistance she received from the archdiocese since her son's abuse complaint and told the jury that she and her husband had filed for bankruptcy in 2005.

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    Prosecutors presented evidence earlier Wednesday that a priest facing complaints of abuse was transferred at least eight times, each without a warning to the parish.

    The priest, the Rev. Francis Trauger, had denied allegations of abuse for decades before admitting what he did, according to a document in the church's secret archives from before he was defrocked in 2005. Trauger told an archdiocesan investigator that he never suspected that abuse of children by clergy was widespread until the priest abuse scandal broke in Boston a few years earlier and spread elsewhere.

    "He thought he was the only priest involved in this type of behavior," the investigator wrote. "After the abuses in Boston and beyond surfaced, Trauger realized he was part of a worldwide problem."

    Trauger is not a defendant but his case and others are being used by prosecutors in their case against Lynn, a high-ranking archdiocesan official who was entrusted with investigating abuse complaints against priests.

    His attorneys insist that Lynn tried to oust predator priests but his efforts were hindered by his superiors, including then-Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua, who died this year. They also contend that many of the cases being presented by the district attorney's office took place years before Lynn had the job, which he held from 1992 to 2004.

    Also taking the stand Wednesday was Bishop Robert Maginnis, who was asked by prosecutors about a priest under his purview as suburban Montgomery County's vicar in 1996. That priest was the Rev. Edward DePaoli, who was defrocked in 2005 after decades of complaints.

    Maginnis testified that he didn't remember specifics of a nun's complaints about DePaoli in 1996. In letters to other church officials at the time, however, he suggested the sister was trying to "stir up some conflict" and "cast doubt on Father DePaoli's credibility." The nun was fired from her job at the school after she reported her concerns to Bevilacqua.


  18. Shredding list of 35 accused Philadelphia priests obstruction of justice cubed: trial expert

    by MARYCLAIRE DALE, The Associated Press April 13, 2012

    A trial expert angrily called it “obstruction of justice, cubed” for a Roman Catholic archbishop to have shredded a list of 35 active priests accused of molesting children.

    Defence lawyers for Monsignor William Lynn say he prepared such a list in 1994 based on secret archives at the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and gave it to the late Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua. Bevilacqua ordered his top aides to destroy it, according to church documents aired in court.

    The Rev. Thomas Doyle, an expert on Roman Catholic or “canon” law, testified at Mr. Lynn's child-endangerment trial Thursday. Mr. Lynn, 61, is the first Catholic church official in the U.S. charged with child endangerment for allegedly failing to protect children from suspected priest-predators.

    Church law requires church officials to investigate the complaints, Rev. Doyle said. And the archbishop — following the teachings of Christ — should have sought out victims to offer pastoral care, he added.

    “He's got a list of men who are sexually abusing children, and he's going to shred it?” an incredulous Rev. Doyle asked on cross-examination from defence lawyers.

    His advice to Mr. Bevilacqua, a friend and fellow canon lawyer, would have been to take off his ring, robe and other clerical garb “and go and see these families.” But Mr. Bevilacqua never called for that advice, he said.

    Mr. Bevilacqua died at 88 in January, a few weeks after giving a videotaped deposition that may still be used at trial. He had been suffering from cancer and dementia, and Mr. Lynn's lawyers have suggested he had little recall of events surrounding the priest sexual-abuse crisis.

    Philadelphia prosecutors excoriated Mr. Bevilacqua and his successor, Cardinal Justin Rigali, in two grand jury reports, but said they could not charge them because of legal time limits. But they have called the archdiocese and others “unindicted co-conspirators” in Mr. Lynn's unprecedented trial.

    Rev. Doyle has researched priest sexual abuse within his church since the early 1980s, and admits he once thought known abusers could remain priests in restricted ministry. But he reversed himself in about 1985, after becoming convinced the recidivism rate was too high for predators, and the risk to children too great. His research shows the church has been struggling with the problem since its earliest days, he said.

    Mr. Bevilacqua led the Philadelphia archdiocese from 1987 to 2003, and the Pittsburgh diocese before that. Church documents obtained by prosecutors show the archdiocese during his tenure kept dozens of suspected predators in ministry, sending them for inpatient treatment at times, but later transferring most of them to new jobs in new areas. Prosecutors say the church thereby fed predators a steady stream of new victims.

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    The Rev. Edward Avery was on the 1995 list that Mr. Lynn prepared. Mr. Lynn had deemed him “guilty” of a teen's 1992 complaint that Avery had molested him. The list shredded, Rev. Avery remained a priest until about 2005.

    Rev. Avery, now 69 and defrocked, admitted last month that he had sexually assaulted an altar boy in a church sacristy in 1999. He was supposed to go on trial with Mr. Lynn, but is instead serving a two and a half to five-year prison term.

    If Mr. Doyle's testimony appeared to help the defence, prosecutors also scored some points with their witness. On redirect, they asked Mr. Doyle about the defence suggestion that bishops are like monarchs with absolute power.

    “All the orders in the world don't mean anything unless someone carries them out?” Assistant District Attorney Patrick Blessington asked.

    “That's right,” Mr. Doyle answered.

    Priests, if asked to do something illegal, “cannot perform that action, even if he told you to do it,” Mr. Doyle said.

    Jurors also heard excerpts Thursday from Mr. Lynn's 2002 grand jury testimony. Mr. Lynn testified that his office had never referred any of the complaints to local authorities despite a 1995 state law that added clergy to a list of mandated reporters of suspected child abuse.

    Mr. Lynn believed the law only required reporting if a “child” had made the report. That rarely if ever happened. The reports were coming in from adults who said they were abused as children, or occasionally from parents of minors, he testified.

    There is no trial testimony on Fridays, so the trial resumes for its fourth week on Monday.


  20. Bishop Denies Testimony Alleging He Abused Youth

    By JON HURDLE, New York Times April 19, 2012

    PHILADELPHIA — A Roman Catholic bishop from West Virginia denied on Thursday that he had ever sexually abused children, as alleged by a witness in the trial of two other priests here who are accused of abusing children or failing to stop the abuse.

    Bishop Michael J. Bransfield of the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston issued a statement saying that to hear the “horrific” allegations against him was “unbelievable and shocking.”

    Bishop Bransfield, 68, a native of Philadelphia, was formerly a priest in the city’s archdiocese, which grand juries in 2005 and 2011 said had failed to stop the widespread abuse of children by its clergy. He was named the bishop for the West Virginia diocese in 2004.

    A man alleging sexual abuse by a member of the clergy testified in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas on Wednesday that Stanley Gana, a former priest in the city, once told him that Bishop Bransfield was having sex with a teenage boy. The conversation occurred when the man was in high school.

    The man, who is now 48, described Bishop Bransfield as a “personal friend” of Father Gana’s. He said he had been working on Father Gana’s farm in upstate New York when Bishop Bransfield drove up with several teenage boys in his car.

    The witness said he asked Father Gana who was in the car, according to a trial transcript. “He said, ‘Oh, they’re his fair-haired boys.’ ”

    Asked by the assistant district attorney Patrick Blessington what Father Gana meant by that, the witness replied, “He said the one that was in the front seat he was having sex with,” according to the transcript.

    The witness also said he had been abused by Father Gana during a visit to Bishop Bransfield’s house on the Jersey Shore, the court records show.

    He was the second witness this week to tell the court that Bishop Bransfield knew about Father Gana’s abuse of minors.

    Bishop Bransfield said in the statement on the diocese’s Web site Thursday that he had been “deeply saddened” by reports of abuse by Catholic priests and that he had openly advocated for its eradication.

    “To be now unfairly included in that group and to hear the horrific allegations that are being made of me is unbelievable and shocking,” he said. “I have never sexually abused anyone.”

    He also denied knowing about the alleged abuse by Father Gana at his shore house and said he was not present when it is said to have happened. Father Gana was defrocked in 2002 and two years later started a rehabilitation program under church supervision.

    David Clohessy, director of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, criticized the bishop for issuing a written statement rather than taking questions openly and for questioning the court testimony under oath of two alleged victims.

    The Philadelphia trial, which has now ended its third week of testimony, is also hearing the case of Msgr. William J. Lynn, the former secretary for clergy at the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. He is charged with child endangerment and conspiracy, accused of allowing accused priests to remain in positions where they could abuse children.

    Monsignor Lynn, whose duties included investigating abuse accusations, is the most senior Catholic Church official in the United States to be tried on criminal charges relating to the sex abuse scandal.


  21. Triple accuser in Philadelphia clergy-abuse case testifies to priest abuse, drug addiction

    By Associated Press, Published: April 25

    PHILADELPHIA — A young man told a jury in a criminal priest-abuse case Wednesday that he was sexually assaulted as an altar boy by two Philadelphia priests and that he soon turned to drugs for relief.

    The witness, a policeman’s son, said he started smoking marijuana the summer he turned 11 to deal with the abuse, and has since tried drug treatment 23 times to battle addictions to heroin, painkillers and other drugs.

    The 23-year-old testified at the trial of Monsignor William Lynn, a former secretary for clergy at the Philadelphia archdiocese who is charged with child endangerment for helping keep accused priests in ministry.

    The witness told jurors that parish priest Edward Avery twice raped him after Mass in 1999, when he was a 10-year-old altar boy.

    Jurors weren’t told that Avery, Lynn’s former co-defendant, has pleaded guilty to the crime. And defense lawyers chose not to cross-examine the accuser, despite vigorous pretrial attacks on his account. The judge had said she might allow Avery’s plea to be disclosed if they challenged the man’s credibility.

    Nor did the jury hear the witness say he had also been raped by his fifth-grade teacher from the parish school, as he alleged in his 2010 grand jury testimony.

    One juror fought back tears as the witness described closed-door “sessions” with Avery.

    The young man — who has brooding eyes, a buzz cut and closely-cropped facial hair — came to court in a dark suit and tie. Prosecutors earlier showed school photographs of him as a sunny, slightly-built boy in a parochial school uniform and as an altar boy, sporting a floor-length white cassock and gold cross.

    The witness said Avery put on church music and made him do a striptease in a small anteroom inside St. Jerome’s Church in northeast Philadelphia in 1999, then engaged in mutual oral sex and masturbation. He said he once had to use his shirt to wipe the priest’s semen off of him before walking home.

    He said he never told anyone until group therapy at a drug treatment program years later.

    “I thought I did something wrong — and it’s a priest,” he testified. “I didn’t think anyone would believe me.”

    He said his 14-year-old brother — who did not know about the alleged abuse — introduced him to marijuana and alcohol at a party that summer. He got high nearly every day for 10 years, he said.

    He contacted the archdiocese in 2009. The Associated Press generally does not name people who say they were sexually abused.

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    Earlier Wednesday, a 49-year-old doctor testified that Avery fondled him in bed when he was 15 and 18. The first time, he was drunk after helping the priest work as a DJ at a city nightclub. The second time, he was sober. They were sharing a bedroom on a ski trip while Avery’s brother had the other bedroom. Both times, he pretended to be asleep, and never told anyone.

    “I felt betrayed,” he said. “I really admired this guy. I hero-worshipped him.”

    He told the archdiocese about the abuse in 1992, when he was 28. He said he wasn’t seeking money or publicity; he just wanted to know it wouldn’t happen again.

    “Will the diocese vouch for the safety of its children? For my peace of mind, I need to know,” the doctor wrote in his March 1992 letter. About five years later, he wrote again, still trying to learn what had become of the priest. Avery was back at work after a year of treatment, although the witness wasn’t told that.

    On cross-examination, the North Carolina doctor acknowledged that Lynn responded to his letter after becoming secretary for clergy in mid-1992 and helped arrange a 1993 confrontation with Avery at a church-run treatment center. Lynn also wrote him to explain in January 1993 that Lynn’s mother had been ill and died, causing him to fall behind at work.

    The hundreds of church documents read in court this month show Lynn to be a fastidious correspondent and record keeper. The recovered memos show him documenting when he missed someone’s call, what time he called the person back, what was said and what recommendations he made to supervisors, including Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua. Other memos record meetings between Bevilacqua, Lynn and the cardinal’s handful of other top aides.

    Prosecutors have shown jurors more than 1,700 exhibits — mostly internal church memos, letters and reports — in the trial’s first five weeks. The church’s byzantine record-keeping helped them build their case against Lynn, and issue two damning grand jury reports on predator-priests since 2005.

    But Lynn’s lawyers hope the records will also show the steps he took to address the festering child sex-abuse problem. The question for jurors will be, did he do enough?

    Avery, 69, pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting the St. Jerome’s boy days before trial and is serving a 2 1/2- to five-year term.

    His victim accepted hugs of relief from family members after his hour-long testimony Wednesday. But he is not finished yet.

    He will have to testify when the other priest and teacher charged with assaulting him go on trial. The Rev. Charles Engelhardt and Bernard Shero are being tried separately because neither was an archdiocesan priest under Lynn’s control.


  23. Pa. accuser unleashes fury at Catholic Church

    By MARYCLAIRE DALE, Associated Press April 30, 2012

    PHILADELPHIA (AP) - A 47-year-old man unleashed his fury Monday at the Roman Catholic Church, staring down a church official in a Philadelphia courtroom as he described being forced as a child to engage in sex acts with a priest.

    The man glared Monday at Monsignor William Lynn at the defense table and complained that only one church representative, a priest friend, had ever apologized.

    "It always felt wrong. A man should not touch a child," said the man, the ninth of 10 children in his Levittown family.

    Testifying in the sixth week of a clergy abuse trial focusing on the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, the man broke down when he recalled telling his mother in 1998 about being abused by defrocked priest David Sicoli in the late 1970s.

    Sicoli molested him at the priest's shore home in Sea Isle, N.J., in the priest's red-and-white sports car and on other occasions, the man testified. Like other accusers who have testified, the boy worked at the rectory, and his mother had hopes of him becoming a priest.

    The Associated Press generally doesn't name people who say they have been sexually abused.

    A 2005 grand jury report alleged that Sicoli abused at least a dozen boys and said the archdiocese had suspicions about the priest before he was sent to Levittown. A phone number for Sicoli in Sea Isle couldn't be found.

    The 61-year-old Lynn is charged with endangering children by keeping accused priests in ministry after reviewing abuse complaints kept in secret archives when he served as secretary for clergy from 1992 to 2004. His lawyers argue that he took orders from the cardinal.

    Lynn is on trial with the Rev. James Brennan, who is charged with the attempted rape of a 14-year-old in 1996, when Brennan was on voluntary leave and the boy slept over at his West Chester apartment.

    Brennan's lawyer raised questions Monday about his client's accuser.

    During a 2008 church trial on the sex assault charges, the accuser dropped an allegation that Brennan had abused him years later when he was doing court-ordered community service, according to testimony.

    Monsignor Kevin Quirk, a canon lawyer who presided at the church trial, read Brennan's 2008 testimony aloud. He admitted showing the boy pornography and sharing a bed but denied any sexual contact.

    On cross-examination, a defense lawyer asked why Quirk never questioned Brennan about another accusation of an assault in a garden shed.

    "The accuser ... had withdrawn that portion of the accusation," Quirk said.

    The outcome of Brennan's church trial remains clear, but the 48-year-old remains a priest.

    The late Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua noted in a file that Brennan sought leave in 1996 to deal with his own childhood sexual abuse. Brennan later denied saying that.

    He has pleaded not guilty to the criminal charges, which include attempted rape.

    Brennan met the accuser in about 1990 when he worked at a parish in Newtown, Bucks County. He worked at Cardinal O'Hara High School from 1991 to 1996.


  24. 5 Priests Face Defrocking After Investigation

    3 Return To Ministry; 17 More To Learn Fate Soon

    May 4, 2012,

    PHILADELPHIA - Five priests accused of sexually abusing children cannot continue to serve, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia announces due to a 15-month investigation that is still ongoing.

    In all, 26 priests have been awaiting word on their fate since being placed on leave by Cardinal Justin Rigali, the former leader of the archdiocese, back in February 2011.

    On Friday, the current leader of Philadelphia Catholics said the church's review of the accusations is "largely complete," and he was ready to announce the disposition of nine out of the 26 cases.

    "Three priests have been found suitable for ministry," Chaput told assembled reporters. "Five priests will not return to ministry, although they retain the right to appeal this decision to the Holy See (The Vatican). A ninth priest is now deceased, and his case cannot be concluded."

    Chaput said the remaining 17 cases "cannot be announced today."

    Explaining why, the archbishop said the task of investigating past allegations of sexual misconduct is complex and time-consuming.

    "It cannot be hurried or abbreviated without violating the whole purpose of the review," Chaput said, noting that the church has been very limited as to what it can say by legal proceedings and a gag order put in place to protect those proceedings.

    "We cooperate fully with law enforcement, and we refer all of our local cases to the local district attorney," Chaput said. "Six of the 26 cases have not yet been cleared by law enforcement, so our own internal investigation has not begun. In two more of the 26 cases, we just recently received clearance from law enforcement, and our internal investigation is now proceeding."

    As for the last nine cases, all of those investigations are complete.

    "The cases are either awaiting examination by the archdiocesan review board or a decision by me. As a result, these will be announced very soon," Chaput said.

    The archdiocese called its process "thorough, impartial and fair," saying its investigative team has reviewed more than 400,000 documents and interviewed 227 witnesses.

    Chaput said he cannot provide more detail out of respect to victims, FOX 29's Sean Tobin reported.

    Church officials reiterated that the priests who face potential defrocking can appeal. If that is unsuccessful that may live under some form of supervision or live a life of prayer.


  25. Church lawyer: Somebody lied to me about list of priests suspected of abuse

    By Sarah Hoye, CNN May 15, 2012

    Philadelphia (CNN) -- A lawyer for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia testified Monday that church officials lied to him about the whereabouts of a hidden list of 35 priests suspected of sexually abusing children.

    "Everyone I spoke to said they didn't know where it was," Timothy Coyne, former director of legal services for the archdiocese, told jurors at the landmark child sexual abuse and conspiracy trial of two Philadelphia priests. "Somebody lied to me."

    Jurors also heard from two priests and a paralegal from the law firm representing the archdiocese regarding items found in two separate locked safes.

    One safe drilled open by a locksmith contained an accordion-style file folder that housed a memo ordering the shredding of the list of 35 Catholic priests accused or found guilty of sexual misconduct, the list of priests and other personnel documents.

    The archdiocese's director of operations testified Thursday she discovered a locked safe on top of a file cabinet in 2006. Coyne was searching for the list of priests in 2004.

    Once professionals drilled it open in early 2006, Louise Sullivan took a lone accordion-style file folder from inside and placed it on a conference table. "At the time, this was a very insignificant task," Sullivan told jurors. "No one ever discussed what was in the safe."

    Both the memo and list were in the safe. That memo remains a contested piece of evidence in the child sexual abuse and conspiracy trial of two Philadelphia priests. It was discovered in February, shortly after Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua died in January.

    The fate of one of them, Monsignor William Lynn, may depend on whether jurors believe the list he compiled proves he transferred suspected priests or, as the defense claims, he informed his superiors that clergy members were assaulting children.

    Monday played out like the board game Clue, as archdiocese employees pointed a finger at each other about who knew about the memo, the list and where it was located.

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    On trial are the Rev. James Brennan, who is accused of the attempted rape of a 14-year-old, and Lynn, who is accused of covering it up.

    Lynn is the first high-ranking church figure charged with child endangerment.

    Both men have pleaded not guilty.

    In February, attorneys for Lynn asked the court to throw out charges against their client based on a 1994 memo -- found inside the safe -- showing Cardinal Bevilacqua ordered a list of 35 suspected abusive Catholic priests to be destroyed.

    Prosecutors are using the memo, the list of priests -- and testimony from a host of witnesses with allegations against priests who are not on trial -- to build their case that Lynn knowingly shuffled predator priests to unwitting parishes.

    Lynn's attorneys said the documents show that Lynn had informed his superiors -- including Bevilacqua -- that priests in the archdiocese were assaulting children.

    "The recent unexpected and shocking discovery of a March 1994 memorandum composed by Monsignor James Molloy, Monsignor Lynn's then-supervisor, on the topic of this review, clearly reveals that justice demands that all charges against Monsignor Lynn be dropped," Lynn's attorneys said in a filing.

    As revealed in court papers filed in February, Molloy's handwritten memo dated March 22, 1994, informed Bevilacqua that the secret list of 35 priests had been shredded per his instructions.

    "On 3-22-94 at 10:45 AM I shredded, in the presence of Reverend Joseph R. Cistone, four copies of these lists from the secret archives," Molloy's memo stated. "The action was taken on the basis of a directive I received from Cardinal Bevilacqua at the Issues meeting of 3-15-94 ...."

    Included on the list was defrocked priest Edward Avery, who was slated to go on trial with Lynn and Brennan.

    Avery pleaded guilty to involuntary deviant sexual intercourse and conspiracy to endanger the welfare of a child after admitting that he sexually assaulted a 10-year-old altar boy during the 1998-99 school year. Avery, 69, was sentenced to two-and-a-half to five years in prison.

    The trial represents the first time that U.S. prosecutors have charged not just the priests who allegedly committed the abuses, but also an official who stands accused of failing to stop the assaults. Lynn had been responsible from 1992 until 2004 for investigating reports that priests had sexually abused children.

    The grand jury alleged that Lynn knowingly allowed dangerous priests to continue in the ministry in roles in which they had access to children.

    A gag order imposed by a Philadelphia judge in the case remains in effect, barring all parties involved in the criminal case from talking to the media.

    CNN's George Lerner contributed to this report.


  27. Philadelphia priest: Not archdiocese's policy to tell police about abuse reports

    By Sarah Hoye, CNN May 23, 2012

    Philadelphia (CNN) -- A priest who assisted Monsignor William Lynn investigate clergy sex abuse claims testified Tuesday that it was not the archdiocese's policy to contact law enforcement or other victims of abuse.

    "Our legal counsel said there was not a requirement to report," Monsignor Michael McCulken told jurors.

    The defense called its first three witnesses Tuesday in the child sexual abuse and conspiracy trial of two Philadelphia priests, after the prosecution rested last week.

    On trial are the Rev. James Brennan, who is accused of the attempted rape of a 14-year-old, and Monsignor William Lynn, who is accused of knowingly allowing dangerous priests to continue in the ministry in roles in which they had access to children.

    Lynn is the first high-ranking church figure charged with child endangerment for allegedly shuffling predator priests from parish to parish.

    Defrocked priest Edward Avery was due to also go on trial with Brennan and Lynn, but pleaded guilty in March to involuntary sexual deviate sexual intercourse after admitting to sexually assaulting a 10-year-old altar boy during the 1998-1999 school year at St. Jerome Parish.

    Lynn, who was the secretary for clergy under former Philadelphia Archbishop Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua, is accused of knowingly allowing Avery and Brennan access to children despite allegations of sexual abuse of minors. From 1992 until 2004, Lynn was responsible for investigating reports that priests had sexually abused children.

    Both Brennan and Lynn have pleaded not guilty.

    Also taking the witness stand was Monsignor William Beisel, who was Lynn's assistant from 1993-1994. Beisel and Lynn drafted an infamous list of 35 priests suspected of sexually abusing children

    Beisel told jurors that he and Lynn reviewed the files of priests accused of sexual misconduct to draft the list.

    "We did this after 5 o'clock. It seemed like forever, but took about two weeks," he said. "I was happy the project was over."

    The list was later found inside a locked safe that was drilled open in 2006. Still, the list of 35 Catholic priests accused or found guilty of sexual misconduct, plus a memo ordering the shredding of the list of priests plus other personnel documents, did not come to light until February.

    Although Beisel remembered penning the list, he confirmed for jurors that he told the grand jury in 2004, "I don't recall seeing a priest that was guilty of sexual misconduct."

    Included on the list was defrocked priest Avery, categorized as "guilty of sexual misconduct with a minor."

    Avery, 69, was sentenced to two-and-a-half to five years in prison after his guilty plea.

    "Are you trying to help your friend?" Assistant District Attorney Patrick Blessington asked Beisel.

    "Am I trying to help my friend? No. I'm trying to help get to the truth," Beisel said, adding that he left his position as Lynn's assistant because he "did not like the job."

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    Two separate grand jury reports accused the archdiocese of failing to investigate claims of sexual abuse of children by priests.

    A 2011 report led the Philadelphia district attorney's office to criminally charge four Philadelphia priests and a parochial school teacher with raping and assaulting boys in their care, while Lynn was accused of allowing the abusive priests to have access to children.

    On May 4, Archbishop Charles J. Chaput announced resolutions to eight of the 26 cases of priests on administrative leave as a result of the February 2011 grand jury report.

    Yet, the archdiocese announced Sunday it ousted two priests -- not connected to those cases -- due to allegations of sexual abuse of minors.

    The trial represents the first time that U.S. prosecutors have charged not just the priests who allegedly committed the abuses, but an official who stands accused of failing to stop the assaults. Lynn had been responsible from 1992 until 2004 for investigating reports that priests had sexually abused children.

    A gag order barring all parties involved in the criminal case from talking to the media imposed by a Philadelphia judge remains in effect.


  29. Catholic child abuse cover-up case heads to jury

    From Sarah Hoye, CNN June 1, 2012

    Philadelphia (CNN) -- Jury deliberations could start Friday in Philadelphia in the landmark trial of Monsignor William Lynn, the highest-ranking cleric charged with endangering children by allegedly helping cover up sexual abuse.

    Lynn, a defendant with another Philadelphia priest, is accused of knowingly allowing dangerous priests to continue in the ministry in roles in which they had access to children.

    Also on trial is the Rev. James Brennan, who is accused of the attempted rape of a 14-year-old. Both Brennan and Lynn have pleaded not guilty.

    Closing arguments in the case concluded Thursday.

    Lynn's defense team argues that the monsignor repeatedly sent word of child sex abuse up the chain of command.

    He operated under strict orders from the late Archbishop Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua, and never had the power to remove a priest from ministry, the defense team argues.

    It said Lynn was never formally trained to handle child sex abuse allegations and learned on the job.

    "The allegation is that he did nothing, but he didn't do nothing," said Thomas Bergstrom, Lynn's defense attorney
    "They want you to convict him for their sins. He held more than a candle to their shame, he put a spotlight on their shame," Bergstrom told jurors.

    Lynn donned his clerical garb, surrounded by numerous family members, priest friends and parishioners inside the courtroom.

    Lynn is the first high-ranking church figure charged with child endangerment for allegedly shuffling predator priests from parish to parish.

    If convicted, he faces up to 21 years in prison.

    Now-defrocked priest Edward Avery was due to go on trial with Brennan and Lynn, but he pleaded guilty in March after admitting to sexually assaulting a 10-year-old altar boy during the 1998-1999 school year.

    Avery, 69, was sentenced to two-and-a-half to five years in prison.

    More than 60 witnesses and alleged victims of clergy abuse have testified since the criminal trial began March 26.
    Accusers for Brennan and Avery have claims that fall within the statute of limitations.

    Brennan's accuser, now in his 30s, was a former altar boy who cried on the stand weeks earlier as he described the incident. The man, a former Marine, was discharged because of mental health issues.

    "He will say anything at all to get what he wants," Brennan's attorney, William Brennan, no relation to the defendant, told jurors about the accuser. "Plug that into your credibility meter."

    Brennan was removed from active ministry in 2006 after his accuser first came forward. He admitted in 2008 that he allowed the then-14-year-old to view pornography and sleep in the same bed with him during an overnight visit in 1996, according to testimony given to church investigators.

    Brennan did not testify at the trial.

    His attorney urged jurors to use their "common sense" once they begin deliberations.

    "It's a mistake, it's poor judgment," Brennan told jurors of the sleepover. "I can't believe a jury would destroy this man's life over that."

    A 2011 grand jury report led the Philadelphia district attorney's office to criminally charge four Philadelphia priests and a parochial school teacher with raping and assaulting boys in their care, while Lynn was accused of allowing the abusive priests to have access to children.

    The trial marks the first time U.S. prosecutors have charged not just the priests who allegedly committed the abuses, but an official -- Lynn -- who stands accused of failing to stop the assaults.

    A gag order bars all parties involved in the criminal case from talking to the media.


  30. Lynn guilty in clergy sex-abuse trial

    By John P. Martin and Joseph A. Slobodzian, PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER STAFF WRITERS June 22, 2012

    Jurors have reached an unprecedented decision in the landmark sex-abuse and child endangerment trial of two Archdiocese of Philadelphia priests.

    Msgr. William J. Lynn, found guilty on one count of child endangerment, is the first church official nationwide to be convicted for enabling or covering up clergy-sex abuse. He faces up to seven years in prison.

    Lynn was acquitted of two other charges, one of conspiracy and a second count of endangerment.

    The jury was deadlocked on attempted rape and endangerment charges against his codefendant, the Rev. James J. Brennan.

    The jury was excused by Common Pleas Court Judge M. Teresa Sarmina, so the trial is over, with a mistrial on the Brennan charges.

    Prosecutors could decide to try him again.

    Sarmina revoked Lynn's bail and immediately remanded him into custody. He was led out of the courtroom by two sheriff's deputies to a cell holding area in the back.

    She said she would consider a motion for house arrest.

    Bail was denied for Lynn, 61, who will remain in custody until sentencing, slated for Aug. 13.

    The judge sided with assistant district attorney Patrick Blessington who argued, "This is a case that is going to call for a tough jail sentence. Let's start today. Today, to jail, that's justice."

    Defense attorney Jeffrey M. Lindy pushed hard for his release. "You can't seriously think that Monsignor Lynn, after being investigated after 10 years, is going to flee," he told the judge.

    Afterward, jury foreman Isa Logan, 35, a 6-foot-6 father of three, said the deliberations were tough, but jurors followed the law as the judge instructed.

    The trial woke him up to dangers in the world for children, said Logan, a deacon at a nondenominational West Philadelphia church who works in customer service for a bank.

    None of the other jurors wanted to talk.

    The announcements came down shortly after 2 p.m. in Courtroom 304 at the Criminal Justice Center.

    The panel of seven men and five women met for more than two hours on their 13th day of deliberations in the landmark case before breaking for lunch around noon.

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    Lynn was accused of recommending that Brennan and another priest, Edward Avery, be allowed to live or work in parishes in the 1990s despite signs that they might abuse minors.

    Defendant Brennan, 48, was accused of child endangerment and attempting to rape a 14-year-old boy in 1996. Avery pleaded guilty before the trial to sexually assaulting the 10-year-old altar boy in 1999 and is serving 2-1/2 to 5 years in state prison.

    The jurors got the case June 1 after an 11-week trial that shined a spotlight on thousands of confidential church records and years of abuse complaints against priests in the five-county archdiocese. Many of the records had been locked away for years in the so-called Secret Archives, church files that cataloged misconduct by priests.

    The deliberations spanned 13 days over three weeks, with jurors sending out more than two dozen questions.

    On Wednesday, jurors declared they were deadlocked on all but one count. Judge Sarmina instructed them to keep talking, and, after an off day Thursday, they returned to agree on two additional charges this morning.

    Nearly 20 victims testified at the trial, some describing in graphic detail how parish priests had groped, molested or raped them when they were young and how the abuse shaped their lives. Two witnesses described being abused by Avery. Another testified that Brennan tried to rape him when he was 14.

    Lynn, who spent 12 years as Bevilacqua's adviser and chief investigator on clergy misconduct, was never accused of touching a child.

    Prosecutors asserted that as clergy secretary he failed to take adequate steps to remove pedophile priests and that his conduct showed he cared more about protecting the church than children.

    Lynn, they said, lied to some victims, never sought out others, and, in a few cases, suggested to admitted sex abusers that they may have been seduced by their young accusers.

    In a key ruling, Sarmina allowed the district attorneys to introduce claims of abuse against 21 other priests who were not defendants in the case. The allegations against them were too old to be prosecuted in court but had been detailed in confidential church records.

    Prosecutors argued Lynn's decisions in those cases reflected part of a longstanding pattern or practice by church officials to hide the attacks from the public. They said jurors needed to hear about those complaints to get a "complete picture" of how the church dealt with sexually abusive priests.

    Both prosecutors and defense attorneys seized on what they called "a smoking gun" in the case: a list Lynn compiled in 1994 naming 37 archdiocesan priests, including some still working in parishes, who had been diagnosed as pedophiles, had admitted or were suspected of abusing children or teens. Some remained in active ministry for years after the list was drawn up.

    One of the priests on the list was Avery, who had been classified as "guilty of sexual misconduct" in 1994 but was allowed to live and celebrate Mass at a Northeast Philadelphia parish where he later assaulted an altar boy.

    Lynn had long acknowledged creating the list, but he and church lawyers said they didn't know where it was.

    Prosecutors intimated that church leaders wanted the research because they were girding up for a wave of lawsuits by abuse victims.

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    Weeks before trial, a new team of church attorneys turned over a copy of the missing document, which they said had been locked in safe in church offices. They also gave prosecutors a handwritten memo from a now deceased church official that suggested Bevilacqua ordered the list shredded.

    Lynn contended the list was proof that he, more than any other church officials, was trying to get a grasp on the larger problem of clergy sex abuse.

    During three days of testimony, he said he had decided to review the files and create the list after discovering that one priest had been the subject of multiple complaints.

    Lynn accused prosecutors of twisting his words and misconstruing his memos. He said medical experts had advised him not to try to contact other potential victims, because they might not want to discuss or confront the abuse.

    He also said he tried anything he could to coax an abusive priest out of ministry and into treatment - even suggesting that the priest may have been seduced.

    He and his lawyers repeatedly argued that only Bevilacqua had the ultimate authority to remove predator priests.

    "I did my best with what I could do," Lynn testified.

    Jurors never heard from the cardinal himself. The judge compelled Bevilacqua to answer questions in a closed hearing in November, but neither prosecutors nor defense lawyers showed his seven-hour testimony to jurors. Bevilacqua died in January.

    Lynn left the clergy office in 2004 to be pastor of St. Joseph Church in Downingtown. He was placed on administrative leave from that post after his arrest last year. The archdiocese paid for his defense.

    Avery was defrocked in 2006. Now 69, he pleaded guilty before the trial to sexually assaulting the 10-year-old altar boy in 1999 and is serving 2-1/2 to 5 years in state prison.

    Brennan has denied the allegations that he tried to rape a 14-year-old boy in 1996, when he was on leave from the archdiocese and living in a West Chester apartment. He did not testify, although jurors heard parts of the testimony he gave in a confidential 2008 canonical hearing on the allegations. He has been on restricted ministry since 2006.

    His lawyer asserted that Brennan's accuser made up the allegation to get a settlement from the church.

    The prosecutors, defendants and defense lawyers have been barred from publicly commenting during the trial. Sarmina is expected to lift that gag order once the verdict is announced.


  33. Two Philadelphia priests barred amid sexual abuse probe

    By David Ariosto, CNN July 6, 2012

    The Archdiocese of Philadelphia barred two more priests from ministry on Friday amid allegations of child sexual abuse, bringing the tally to nine clergymen banned from the embattled church since May.

    Archbishop Charles Chaput said Rev. John Bowe, 64, and Rev. David Givey, 68, did not sexually abuse minors, but violated what the church defines as the "boundaries of appropriate behavior in all interactions with children and young people."

    "We're not commenting on specifics for what could be a variety of reasons," said archdiocese spokesman Kenneth A. Gavin, who declined to elaborate.

    Bowe and Givey, who both have served as clergymen for nearly four decades, have the right to an appeal. They could not be immediately reached for comment Friday.

    The announcement leaves 12 pending cases of the 26 Philadelphia priests suspended following a February 2011 grand jury investigation into the archdiocese's handling of child sex abuse allegations.

    The report determined that at least 37 priests had been permitted to keep working "despite reports that they have engaged in improper behavior with minors."

    In May, five priests were barred from ministry following a church investigation into accusations of child sex abuse. Less than three weeks later and in a separate probe, two others were barred due to allegations of sexual abuse of minors.

    With nearly 1.5 million members, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia is one of the largest in the nation.

    Friday's announcement comes exactly two weeks after Monsignor William Lynn was convicted of child endangerment in the landmark case. The jury was unable to bring a verdict against his co-defendant, the Rev. James Brennan, who was charged with attempted rape of a 14-year-old altar boy and endangering the welfare of a child.

    Defrocked priest Edward Avery was due to also go on trial with Brennan and Lynn, but pleaded guilty in March to involuntary deviate sexual intercourse after admitting to sexually assaulting a 10-year-old altar boy during the 1998-99 school year at St. Jerome Parish.


  34. Authorities reopen 2007 fondling complaint against West Virginia bishop

    Associated Press, July 14, 2012

    PHILADELPHIA – Authorities have re-opened a 2007 fondling complaint against a priest who taught at a suburban Philadelphia high school and is now the Roman Catholic bishop of West Virginia.

    The complaint stems from Bishop Michael Bransfield's days at Lansdale Catholic High School in the 1970s. The Philadelphia Archdiocese said it did not find the complaint credible at the time, and passed it on to Montgomery County authorities.

    But the archdiocese said last week that the complaint has been reopened.

    "The Archdiocese of Philadelphia promptly reported the allegation against Bishop Bransfield to the Montgomery County D.A.'s office in 2007. ... The situation is again being reviewed by law enforcement authorities," spokesman Kenneth Gavin said in an e-mail.

    The development comes with the recently completed Philadelphia priest-abuse trial in which a witness testified that a priest who abused him told him that Bransfield was sexually involved with a young teen. The witness also said he was raped by the priest at Bransfield's beach house.

    Bransfield, who has led the West Virginia diocese since 2005, says he wasn't home at the time, and denies ever abusing anyone.

    The trial ended with Monsignor William Lynn convicted of endangering children as secretary of clergy, and the jury deadlocked on sex abuse charges against the Rev. James Brennan.

    Assistant District Attorney Patrick Blessington disclosed in a sidebar conversation, made public since the June 22 jury verdicts, that Bransfield himself was under investigation for a complaint that stems from his teaching stint at Lansdale Catholic.

    The statute of limitations may have been tolled, or stopped, when Bransfield left the state in about 1980 to work at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C., Blessington said.

    At the time of the incriminating testimony regarding Bransfield, the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston called the trial "a circus" and said Philadelphia prosecutors were trying to "smear individuals not on trial ... to bolster their persecution of the church." Last week, the diocese said a recent Philadelphia Inquirer report on the fondling complaint was "old news" and referred reporters to an April statement.

    "I have never sexually abused anyone," Bransfield said at the time.

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    During the trial, a 48-year-old Philadelphia man testified that the Rev. Stanley Gana raped him at Bransfield's beach house in Brigantine, N.J. Bransfield acknowledged letting Gana, a seminary friend, use the house, but Bransfield said he was not there at the time.

    The witness said he once saw Bransfield at Gana's mountain house with a car full of boys. Gana referred to the youngsters as Bransfield's "fair-haired boys" and said Bransfield was having sex with one of them, the witness testified.

    A second Gana accuser testified that Gana once put him on the phone with Bransfield and said Bransfield joked that he wanted to meet the boy.

    "I'm going to have Stanley put you on the train to come down and see me sometime," Bransfield allegedly told the boy.
    Gana was defrocked but never criminally charged. A current phone number for Gana could not be found.
    Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Ferman has confirmed to The Intelligencer of Doylestown that she has reopened the 2007 fondling complaint.

    "Based on the statute of limitations and the victim's unwillingness to talk to investigators, we did not have a sufficient basis at that time to move forward," Ferman told the newspaper on July 9. "Within the last month, new information has come forward to cause us to re-examine the older complaint."

    Ferman did not return messages from The Associated Press.

    Although the Philadelphia Archdiocese suspended about two dozen accused priests in 2011, the national "zero tolerance" policy for accused priests apparently did not reach Bransfield.

    Bransfield is from a prominent family of Philadelphia clerics. A nephew, the Rev. Sean P. Bransfield, is a judicial vicar and vice chancellor at the Cardinal's Residence in Philadelphia. Another relative, Monsignor J. Brian Bransfield, works for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in Washington.


  36. Philadelphia monsignor gets 3-6 years in sex abuse cover-up

    L.A. Times Associated Press July 24, 2012

    A Roman Catholic monsignor who became the first U.S. church official branded a felon for covering up sex abuse claims against priests was sentenced Tuesday to three to six years in prison.

    Monsignor William Lynn of Philadelphia, the former secretary for clergy at the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, handled priest assignments and child sexual assault complaints from 1992 to 2004.

    Judge M. Teresa Sarmina said Lynn enabled "monsters in clerical garb ... to destroy the souls of children, to whom you turned a hard heart."

    She added: "You knew full well what was right, Monsignor Lynn, but you chose wrong."

    A jury convicted him last month of felony child endangerment for his oversight of now-defrocked priest Edward Avery, who is serving a 2½- to five-year sentence after pleading guilty to sexually assaulting an altar boy in church.

    Lynn's lawyers sought probation, arguing that few Pennsylvanians serve long prison terms for child endangerment and their client shouldn't serve more time than abusers. Defense attorneys, who have vowed an appeal of the landmark conviction, said the seven-year maximum term advocated by the commonwealth "would merely be cruel and unusual."

    The 61-year-old Lynn was acquitted of conspiracy and a second endangerment count involving a co-defendant, the Rev. James Brennan. The jury deadlocked on a 1996 abuse charge against Brennan, and prosecutors said Monday that they would retry him.

    In 1992, a doctor told Lynn's office that Avery had abused him years earlier. Lynn met with the doctor and sent Avery for treatment — but the church-run facility diagnosed him with an alcohol problem, not a sexual disorder. Avery was returned to ministry and sent to live at the northeast Philadelphia parish where the altar boy was assaulted in 1999.

    The judge said Lynn "helped many, but also failed many in his 36 year-church career."

    Lynn said: "I did not intend any harm to come to (Avery's victim). My best was not good enough to stop that harm."

    Prosecutors who spent a decade investigating sex abuse complaints kept in secret files at the archdiocese and issued two damning grand jury reports argue that Lynn and unindicted co-conspirators in the church hierarchy kept children in danger and the public in the dark.

    Lynn's attorneys have long argued that the state's child endangerment statute, which was revised in 2007 to include those who supervise abusers, should not apply to Lynn since he left office in 2004.


  37. Devon case shows how religious orders evade scrutiny in priest abuse cases

    By John P. Martin, Philadelphia Inquirer Staff Writer August 19, 2012

    At first glance, the photo seems heartwarming: a man in his 60s, wearing a Santa suit and a grin as he wraps his arms around a boy.

    In a different light, the image is unsettling. The man in costume is the Rev. Ted Podson, a former teacher at Devon Prep, an all-boys school on the Main Line.

    Podson left the school in 1993 after allegedly sexually assaulting a boy. He was not publicly identified, charged, or barred from ministry.

    Instead, Podson resurfaced as a parish pastor in Texas. In 2002, as the clergy sex-abuse scandal erupted, he again pulled up stakes, moving halfway around the world.

    Now 64, Podson lives on a remote Philippines island, promoting himself as a mentor and renting an apartment he shares with teens. The Santa photo was taken last year.

    The landmark sex-abuse trial that unfolded this spring exposed how the Archdiocese of Philadelphia failed to remove suspected pedophile priests. Lost in the spotlight were similar claims about other area priests, like Podson.

    He was one of five religious order priests identified as "guilty of sexual misconduct with a minor" on a list compiled in 1994 by Msgr. William J. Lynn, then the secretary for clergy under Cardinal Anthony J. Bevilacqua. Two other so-called extern priests were listed as suspected child abusers.

    Each belonged to independent orders that for decades have staffed schools and parishes around Philadelphia. The orders are outside the control of the archdiocese, and accusations against their members, as Podson's case suggest, at times draw less scrutiny than those involving priests from major dioceses.

    "It is so much easier to deal with the dioceses than with the religious orders," said Thomas S. Neuberger, a Delaware lawyer who has represented clergy-sex abuse victims in claims against the Wilmington Diocese, as well as two orders, the Norbertines and Oblates of St. Charles.

    Neuberger said the independents fiercely protect their members and their secrecy.

    "You are a made man when you join a religious order," he said. "They will run interference for you for life."

    Suspected, not removed

    Lynn's list of seven extern priests, which was among thousands of documents introduced at his trial, didn't include details about the clerics or accusations against them.

    A review of public records and news reports shows that four of the men on the list were previously or have since been publicly accused, prosecuted, or sued for sexually abusing children.

    Podson, a priest of the Piarist teaching order, which runs Devon Prep and other schools, was one of three who were never publicly named and stayed in ministry.

    The two others, the Rev. Stanley Janowski and the Rev. DePaul Sobotka, are Franciscan friars who taught for years at Archbishop Ryan High School in Northeast Philadelphia. Both now live in Wisconsin.

    Reached at his friary, Sobotka disputed the assertion in church files that he was a suspected molester.

    "That must've been someone else," he said, though he acknowledged he didn't know another priest named DePaul Sobotka in Philadelphia.

    Tim Reardon, a lawyer for his Franciscan chapter, the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary province, also challenged the archdiocese's account. Reardon said Sobotka was once accused of misconduct with an adult, not a minor, but it was unproven.

    The priest, who turns 78 this month, is retired from public ministry, he said.

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    Donna Farrell, an archdiocesan spokeswoman, confirmed that church files included a complaint about Sobotka's conduct with an adult. It was unclear how he landed on Lynn's list of suspected pedophiles, she said.

    Farrell had no information about Janowski, a former vice principal at the school, who was cited on the list as guilty of child sex abuse.

    According to Reardon, Janowski was twice accused of sexual misconduct with minors in Philadelphia. Reardon said independent investigators hired by the friars could not verify the claims.

    "There was an investigation and the investigation was not conclusive," he said. "To us, he's not been established as being guilty."

    Still, the friars agreed to pay a settlement to one of Janowski's accusers, Reardon said. The other sought no money but was "happy" with an assurance that Janowski would no longer work around children, the lawyer said.

    The Rev. John Puodziunas, the provincial leader of the Assumption friars, declined to discuss Sobotka and Janowski. He questioned the relevance of airing such cases after so many years.

    "I don't know why they are still looking at all this stuff," Puodziunas said.

    A 'cool' priest

    Podson apparently faced no restrictions after being accused. Reached last week on his cellphone in the Philippines, he declined to talk.

    A review of public information and interviews offer a glimpse of his path from the leafy Philadelphia suburbs to a remote South Pacific island.

    Ordained in 1976, Podson worked as a teacher in Buffalo before transferring to Devon Prep in 1985. He taught art history, religion, and other classes, and lived on campus with other priests.

    Podson was among the younger faculty members, and the boys took to him as a "cool" and popular priest, according to former students who asked not to be identified discussing their alma mater.

    Podson wore his collar loose. He told some students he had once been married - sometimes he wore a wedding band. In the summers, he arranged and led Devon Prep boys of all grades - the school had about 200 students in grades 7 through 12 - on trips across the country and the world.

    Podson usually recruited young adults to assist him and serve as chaperones. Ellen Murphy, then a college graduate whose brothers attended Devon Prep, agreed to help on a 1993 trip to Greece, she said in a recent interview.

    After the group returned home, Murphy said, a student she met on the trip told her that Podson had sexually assaulted him, more than once. Murphy said she believed the boy was in the seventh or eighth grade.

    The student said his parents had reported the abuse accusation, Murphy said.

    Rose Lombardo, a spokeswoman for Devon Prep, said the boy's parents took their complaint to archdiocesan officials and they shared it with school administrators. Devon Prep suspended Podson and he never returned to campus, Lombardo said.

    "Efforts were made by school officials to determine if there were any other students who claimed to have been abused or mistreated by Fr. Podson," she said in a statement. "To date no other student or parent has contacted the school."

    Lombardo did not explain the steps the school took, or respond to a request for more information.

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    Murphy and the alumni said they were never notified or interviewed about the abuse claim, or knew others who were. Tredyffrin Township Police and the Chester County District Attorney's Office said they had no record of a complaint or investigation involving Podson.

    According to news reports, the priest went to St. Luke's Institute, a church-run hospital in Maryland that treated clerics for issues including sexual disorders.

    In 1995, he resurfaced in Amarillo, a poor region in the Texas Panhandle. Over the next seven years, Podson worked in three parishes there, including as a pastor. He resigned his post suddenly in June 2002, three days after U.S. Bishops pledged to remove from the ministry priests who sexually abused minors.

    Amarillo Diocese officials declined to discuss Podson.

    Within a year of his departure from Texas, Podson resettled in the Philippines. He found work as a hospital chaplain on the island of Cebu, and as a priest on nearby Olango, an island of six square miles that is popular as a wildlife sanctuary and a tourist destination.

    Sister Victoria Clair, a nun who lives on Olango, said she met Podson on the island a year or so ago.

    According to the nun, the priest has cultivated a reputation as a mentor and someone to prepare students for college - similar to the role he had at Devon Prep.

    Clair said Podson said he rented an apartment in Cebu for himself and a group of "teen scholars" - boys around 16 - and told her that he pays younger boys to do chores around his home.

    "I never got to know Ted very well," Clair said in an e-mail. "Almost every time he came to the hermitage, he had a young man with him, so we certainly never got into conversations with any depth."

    Little to say

    On Facebook, Podson posted dozens of photos from the islands, including images of the priest surrounded by children and celebrating Mass. The Facebook page was recently disabled, after The Inquirer began seeking information about Podson.

    He answered his cellphone one night last week, but had little to say. "Contact my religious order office. Goodbye," he said, then hung up.

    The Rev. Fernando Negro, who leads the Piarists in the United States, said Podson moved to the Philippines "in full knowledge of the Archbishop of Cebu" but deferred questions about Podson to Piarist leaders in Rome.

    A spokesman for the order in Rome said Friday that its leader, the Rev. Pedro Aguado, was away and needed to review the situation in the Philippines before commenting. A representative of the Cebu Archdiocese did not respond to phone and e-mail messages.

    Four years ago, Podson sought and apparently was granted Filipino citizenship. In the citizenship petition, posted online, a local legislator wrote: "Fr. Podson has greatly contributed to the moral, spiritual and social growth of the Philippines."


  40. Sex Abuse Victim To Sue 2 Bishops With Philadelphia Ties

    By Pat Ciarrocchi, CBS News August 24, 2012

    PHILADELPHIA - With the second clergy sex abuse trial in Philadelphia set to begin in early September, lawyers for the abuse victim in that case are preparing civil litigation.

    This week the attorneys told the court they intend to amend their lawsuit and also go after two bishops with Philadelphia ties.

    “This won’t be the last of it. This is groundbreaking,” said Philadelphia Attorney Slade McLaughlin.
    McLaughlin, of McLaughlin & Lauricella, P.C., intends to name Bishop Joseph Cistone, the current Bishop of Saginaw, Michigan and Bishop Edward Cullen, the former Bishop of Allentown, as he proceeds in a civil case, on behalf of a former altar boy who was sexually abused in 1992.

    “My best description of them is that they were the kingpins,” said McLaughlin in an exclusive interview with Eyewitness News.

    Former Secretary of the Clergy, Monsignor William Lynn, who was convicted in June of child endangerment, had reported to both Cullen and Cistone in the Archdiocesan church hierarchy.

    “He said, ‘I was a low level player’,” said Mc Laughlin, “and these are the people pulling the strings.”
    Monsignor Lynn, who is now serving a three to six year sentence, was convicted of endangering McLaughlin’s client, when he allowed Father Edward Avery, a priest with an admission of child abuse years earlier, to live at St. Jerome’s Parish, putting him in the pathway of the now 29-year-old man, known in the filing as “Billy Doe.”

    “During the criminal trial,” said McLaughlin, “Monsignor Lynn was very clear that there was a cover up but that it was done at a pay grade above him and he specifically indicated and implicated Cullen and Cistone as well as Bevilacqua.”

    A criminal indictment was not brought against the late Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua, nor Cullen or Cistone. But that doesn’t bar them from being named in a civil lawsuit.

    “I don’t think it’s right that those at the top of the ladder can walk away,” said McLaughlin, “While those somewhere in the middle of the ladder are left holding the bag.”

    Through spokespeople the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and the Diocese of Saginaw declined to comment on pending litigation.

    In the meantime, McLaughlin’s client will be the primary accuser in the clergy sex abuse trial of Charles Englehardt, a former order priest with the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales, and Bernard Shero, a former teacher in the archdiocese. Jury selection begins September 4th, at the Criminal Justice Center.


  41. 8 new civil lawsuits allege priest abuse, hierarchy cover-up in Philadelphia Archdiocese

    By Associated Press, Washington Post September 18, 3:18 PM

    PHILADELPHIA — Eight more priest-abuse lawsuits were filed Tuesday against the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and its priests, including a jailed Roman Catholic monsignor who now says he was convicted following a sham abuse plea by a co-defendant former priest.

    The civil lawsuits were filed by a total of nine plaintiffs. Two of them spoke at a news conference, saying the abuse they suffered as children still haunts them and they wanted to go public to help other victims.

    Michael McDonnell held up a photo of himself as a sixth-grader at St. Titus School in suburban East Norriton, where he said he was abused by two priests for several years beginning in 1980.

    “When I look at that picture I remember what happened ... I see a sad face in that photo,” said McDonnell, who was joined by his wife and 6-year-old son. He said he suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder, mental illness and drug addiction because of the abuse.

    Andrew Druding said the abuse he suffered when he was 9 years old at the hands of a priest at St. Timothy School in northeast Philadelphia strained relationships with his family and friends and caused bad dreams and flashbacks that persist 40 years later.

    “These things do not define me but they have left me as damaged goods,” he said. “This is my opportunity to an extent to fight back and to start the healing I need to go through.”

    Lawyers for the plaintiffs said their clients decided to come forward when Lynn was convicted and received a three- to six-year prison sentence. The 61-year-old is the first U.S. church official convicted of endangering children by keeping predator priests in ministry. He served as secretary for clergy at the Philadelphia Archdiocese from 1992 to 2004.

    Named in the lawsuits are Lynn, Archbishop Charles Chaput, his predecessor, Cardinal Justin Rigali, and the priests accused by the plaintiffs of sexual abuse.

    “No one knew more about the abuse than the archdiocese itself and no one did less to help children,” said Marci Hamilton, a lawyer representing the plaintiffs. “This archdiocese cannot protect children. The only way to protect children is the legal system — the criminal justice system and civil lawsuits.”

    Hamilton’s law firm says it has filed 16 civil suits against the archdiocese. Several other lawyers also have filed suit or represent accusers contemplating lawsuits against the archdiocese.

    The archdiocese said in a statement that it had not yet seen the latest lawsuits and could not comment on them. The statement added that the archdiocese believes “lawsuits are not the best mechanism to promote healing” but stressed that it would work with any victim of sexual abuse in getting help.

    continued in next comment...

  42. continued from previous comment...

    Meanwhile, Lynn’s lawyers now say Philadelphia prosecutors had “compelling reasons to doubt” a guilty plea that underpins his landmark conviction.

    They believe defrocked priest Edward Avery perhaps pleaded guilty to abusing a boy he’d never met because the 2 1/2- to five-year plea offer was a safer bet than going to trial and facing other accusers.

    The attorneys who filed the civil suits Tuesday dismissed that claim as “ludicrous,” pointing out that Avery is named in one of them. His accuser is one of two already known to investigators but he had not until now filed a civil action against the defrocked, jailed former priest, his lawyers said.

    Avery’s plea to a sex-assault charge and conspiracy changed the dynamics of Lynn’s trial this spring. Jurors convicted him of a single count of endangering Avery’s victim, who said he was abused years after Lynn handled an earlier sex-abuse complaint against Avery.

    Lynn apologized on the witness stand, saying the earlier complaint from a doctor had “fallen through the cracks.” He is seeking bail while he appeals.

    According to a bail petition filed Monday, Avery’s lawyers told prosecutors that Avery denied ever meeting “Billy,” as the grand jury report calls the troubled policeman’s son who claims he was abused in 1999 by Avery, another priest and his sixth-grade teacher.

    Prosecutors also knew Avery had passed a defense polygraph test and offered to instead admit fondling the doctor, according to Lynn’s lawyers. They complained that none of this was disclosed to them, and said it would have affected their trial strategy had they known Avery’s plea was dubious.

    “This newly discovered information leads to the disturbing conclusion that that the commonwealth was driven by a zealous and single-minded desire to try (Lynn) and obtain a conviction, despite information that put into question the justice of pursuing that outcome,” Lynn’s lawyers wrote.

    Prosecutors called the allegations “completely false” and plan to file a written response to the bail petition. Avery’s plea affects not only Lynn’s case, but at least two other pending cases. “Billy” is the lone accuser in the upcoming trial of the Rev. Charles Engelhardt and former teacher Bernard Shero, making his credibility crucial. And he has sued the archdiocese, Avery and others for damages. His civil lawyer, Slade McLaughlin, did not immediately return a message Tuesday seeking comment.

    Avery’s lawyer, Michael Wallace, said he could not comment because Avery remains a potential witness at the Engelhardt-Shero trial, which is set for January and is covered by a gag order.


  43. Trial starts Monday for 2 in Philadelphia clergy sex abuse

    By Joseph A. Slobodzian, Philadelphia Inquirer Staff Writer January 07, 2013

    It's been almost two years since a Philadelphia grand jury probe of Catholic clergy sex abuse of children resulted in charges against four priests and a teacher.

    On Monday - after last year's landmark, three-month trial ended in the first criminal conviction of a church administrator for covering up the crimes of deviate priests - the last two defendants, the Rev. Charles Engelhardt and former parochial schoolteacher Bernard Shero, are to go to trial.

    Prosecutors, defense lawyers, and Common Pleas Court Judge Ellen Ceisler will begin winnowing a large group of candidates down to a jury of 12 plus several alternates.

    Lawyers for the two men wanted them tried separately from the other defendants. One reason was to avoid tarring the two in a trial that focused largely on church records documenting how archdiocesan officials for decades ignored victims to protect the institution.

    The first trial judge, M. Teresa Sarmina, also agreed to sever the two because neither was directly supervised by archdiocesan officials. Shero was a lay teacher, and Engelhardt was assigned to Philadelphia under his independent order, the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales.

    But a separate trial had its downside: three months of blanket news coverage that arguably left no one in Philadelphia ignorant of the case against the church.

    To minimize further pretrial publicity, Ceisler retained the first trial's gag order on lawyers and witnesses and also ordered all motions to be filed under seal and all pretrial hearings to be held in chambers, out of public earshot.

    The little that is known is that jury selection for this trial could take longer than the estimated two weeks of testimony.

    The first trial ended June 22, when the jury found Msgr. William J. Lynn guilty of child endangerment, making him the first church administrator convicted in connection with a priest's sexual abuse of a child.

    Lynn, 62, who as secretary for clergy from 1992 to 2004 was responsible for investigating allegations against priests, was sentenced to three to six years for child endangerment.

    He is serving his term in the Waymart state prison in northeastern Pennsylvania, but has filed an appeal.

    The case against Engelhardt and Shero involves one of the first trial's most salacious episodes: the serial sexual assault of a 10-year-old altar boy from Northeast Philadelphia in the late 1990s.

    Identified in the grand jury report as "Billy Doe," the boy was a fifth-grader at St. Jerome's parish.

    According to the grand jury, Billy was first abused by Engelhardt after serving at an early-morning weekday Mass at St. Jerome's.

    Engelhardt allegedly caught the boy in the church sacristy drinking leftover sacramental wine. Instead of scolding the boy, the priest allegedly poured him more wine, showed him pornographic magazines, and told him he would soon start sessions to teach him to "become a man."

    About a week later, again in the sacristy, Engelhardt allegedly molested Billy and performed oral sex on the boy.

    continued in next comment...

  44. Two weeks later, Engelhardt again approached Billy, who rebuffed him, and Engelhardt then left him alone.

    But a few months later, the report says, Billy was accosted by another priest, the Rev. Edward Avery, who was chaplain at nearby Nazareth Hospital and who lived at St. Jerome's rectory.

    Avery had a history of sexually abusing children, and in 1992, Lynn ordered him to go to St. John Vianney, the archdiocesan hospital for priests with sexual or drug and alcohol problems. Upon Avery's release, doctors recommended he not serve where he could have access to children. Lynn assigned him to Nazareth, but then-Archbishop Cardinal Anthony J. Bevilacqua said Avery could live at St. Jerome's.

    The grand jury report alleges that Avery told Billy he had heard about the boy's "sessions" with Engelhardt. Avery allegedly performed oral sex on the boy and penetrated him with a finger.

    After another assault, the report says, Billy avoided serving Mass with Avery.

    After summer break, Billy returned to St. Jerome's for sixth grade and was assigned to Shero's classroom.

    The grand jury report alleges that one day, Shero offered Billy a ride home from school. Shero allegedly stopped the car and orally and anally raped the boy. He told Billy to get out of the car and walk home.

    Billy, now 23, testified at Lynn's trial that the abuse blighted his childhood. Ashamed and too frightened to tell anyone, he was expelled from two high schools, tried to kill himself, and spent years addicted to heroin and pills.

    At trial, Lynn testified that he regretted letting Avery live at St. Jerome's because of what happened to Billy.

    And Avery - charged along with Lynn, Engelhardt, and Shero after the 2011 report - pleaded guilty on the eve of the first trial to sexually assaulting Billy in 1999.

    Avery, now 70, was sentenced to 21/2 to five years and is in a state prison in Western Pennsylvania.

    Though Avery pleaded guilty, he could prove the most thorny problem prosecutors now face.

    In August, prosecutors said they might call Avery as a witness against Engelhardt and Shero although Avery's guilty-plea agreement did not require him to testify.

    In September, in a failed bid to get Lynn released on bail pending appeal, Lynn's lawyers contended that Avery, corroborated by a lie detector, had recanted his guilty plea involving Billy Doe. Avery, Lynn's lawyers said, denied knowing Billy.

    Prosecutors have said that they never withheld evidence from Lynn's defense team because they never knew of a polygraph exam or that Avery denied assaulting Billy.

    The fifth person charged after the 2011 grand jury report, the Rev. James J. Brennan, 49, is to be retried March 6 in the attempted rape of a 14-year-old boy in 1996. Brennan was tried with Lynn, but the jury was unable to reach a verdict, resulting in a mistrial.


  45. The Philadelphia Archive

    Bishop Accountability http://www.bishopaccountability.org/docs/philadelphia/

    We are pleased to announce the launch of our Philadelphia archdiocesan archive. The first installment comprises 195 pages from the file of convicted former priest Edward Avery. Each month we will post additional documents, until by year-end the entire 5,780-page collection will be online.

    These documents, which became public when they were entered into evidence at the 2012 trial of Msgr. William J. Lynn and Rev. James J. Brennan, offer a rich sample of the archdiocesan files that formed the basis of the work of three Philadelphia grand juries. Those men and women were impaneled under District Attorneys Lynne Abraham and Seth Williams, and the reports that they produced in 2003, 2005, and 2011 are the gold standard of investigative work on the Catholic abuse crisis in the United States.

    The 2005 Philadelphia Grand Jury Report in particular is remarkably comprehensive, dealing in an integrated and forceful way with aspects of the crisis that are too often examined in isolation. The abuse itself is described in harrowing and meticulous detail. But the report also studies the mismanagement of the crisis and the cover-up of the abuse, and it clearly explains the holes in current secular law that sometimes make it difficult or impossible to punish abusers and enablers. In a remarkable essay for the National Catholic Reporter, Michael Newall shows the level of engagement that this work required, and the toll that it took. Lastly, the 2005 report demonstrates that the abuse crisis cannot be understood without drawing on many sources of information – long conversations with survivors, and work with priests who are willing to help, and hundreds of hours spent in the archives, poring over assignment histories, memos, letters, and intake reports.

    It is that kind of reading and immersion that we invite you to do in this archive. Reading these documents will be difficult, but you will gain from the experience a deep understanding of the culture within which the abuse was done and kept secret. You will emerge with a haunting sense of the harm for which the abusers and enablers are responsible, and the courage of the survivors and their families and loved ones. ...

    To read the rest of this announcement, see the links embedded in it, and to view the documents go to:


  46. Court reverses monsignors conviction

    by Ben Finley, Allison Steele, and Aubrey Whelan, Philadelphia Inquirer Staff Writers December 27, 2013

    A state appeals court on Thursday reversed the conviction of Msgr. William J. Lynn, the former Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia administrator who became the first church official nationwide to be tried and imprisoned for covering up child sex-abuse by priests.

    In a 43-page opinion, a three-judge Superior Court panel wrote that prosecutors and a judge misapplied the state's child-endangerment law by claiming Lynn was criminally responsible because he supervised a priest, Edward Avery, when Avery sexually abused an altar boy in the mid-1990s.

    The court found the law at the time applied only to people who directly supervised children.

    Lynn, 62, has been serving a three- to six-year term in a northeast Pennsylvania prison since his conviction last year. His lawyer, Thomas A. Bergstrom, said he hoped the monsignor would be freed in days.

    "It's the right result, and it's the right decision," Bergstrom said. "It's unfortunate that he had to spend 18 months in prison before we got it."
    Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams, who once hailed the case as a historic prosecution, said his office would most likely appeal the decision.

    "I am disappointed and strongly disagree with the court's decision," Williams said.

    The ruling elated Lynn's defenders, who said he had been made a scapegoat for the church, and disheartened his critics and advocates for abuse victims. It also seemed likely to reignite an issue that roiled the 1.5 million-member Philadelphia diocese for nearly a decade.

    The archdiocese, which paid for Lynn's defense because the charges stemmed from his job, questioned Lynn's sentence when it was handed down last year, asking that it be "objectively reviewed" and adjusted.

    "That has happened," it said in a statement Thursday.

    In its ruling, Superior Court sided with an argument that Lynn's lawyers had been making for two years, but that Common Pleas Court Judge M. Teresa Sarmina rejected before and after his trial.

    The higher court called Sarmina's interpretation "fundamentally flawed." It also found that Lynn could not be convicted as an accomplice to Avery because there was no proof that Lynn knew Avery had been planning or preparing to assault children.

    But the appellate judges took pains not to fully vindicate the monsignor or the church.

    "We cannot dispute that the commonwealth presented more than adequate evidence to sufficiently demonstrate that [Lynn] prioritized the archdiocese's reputation over the safety of potential victims of sexually abusive priests and, by inference, that the same prioritization dominated [Lynn's] handling of Avery," the ruling said.

    As the secretary for clergy under Cardinal Anthony J. Bevilacqua until 2004, Lynn had responsibilities including proposing priests' assignments and investigating complaints against them.

    In 2005, a grand jury had excoriated Bevilacqua, Lynn, and the church hierarchy for their handling of abuse claims, but said gaps in the law prevented them from recommending charges.

    Lynn's February 2011 arrest, along with the arrests of Avery, two other priests, and a Catholic school teacher, grew from a second grand jury report and sparked a second wave of promised change by the Philadelphia church. Dozens of priests have since been suspended and reinvestigated by the church over past claims of abuse.

    Prosecutors in that case portrayed Lynn as a powerful gatekeeper who quietly shuffled abusive priests between parishes, misinformed parishioners, and worked harder to protect the church's reputation than he did to protect children.

    continued below

  47. In one of the rulings that Lynn's lawyers said tainted the case, Sarmina allowed prosecutors to show the jury decades worth of child-abuse complaints involving Philadelphia-area priests - files that had been locked away in a safe in church offices.

    The assistant district attorneys said it was necessary to establish that Lynn's decisions followed a practice or pattern among church leaders.

    They said he allowed Avery in the late 1990s to live and celebrate Mass at St. Jerome's, a Northeast Philadelphia parish, despite knowing that Avery had abused a teenager in the 1970s. Avery, who has since been defrocked, pleaded guilty before trial to charges that he sexually assaulted a 10-year-old altar boy at St. Jerome's.

    Lynn took the stand for nearly three days in his own defense. He asserted that he lacked the authority to remove abusive priests - only the cardinal had that power, he said - but said he did all he could and much more than his predecessors to keep them away from children.

    "I thought I was helping people," Lynn testified. "I thought I was helping priests, and in those circumstances, I thought I was helping victims, as much as I could."

    Jurors deliberated for more than 12 days before convicting him of endangerment. (The jury deadlocked on charges against his codefendant, the Rev. James Brennan, who had been accused of trying to rape a 14-year-old boy in 1996.)

    Sarmina imprisoned Lynn immediately after the verdict. He has been serving his term at the state correctional institution in Waymart.

    Before, during, and since the trial, prosecutors and defense lawyers have clashed over whether Lynn was properly charged. The child-endangerment law that was in effect when Lynn was secretary for clergy assigned responsibility to direct caretakers, such as parents or guardians.

    In 2007, after lobbying efforts from advocates for abuse victims, the law was expanded to include employers and supervisors whose subordinates abused minors in their care.

    Prosecutors contended that the changes amounted only to a clarification and amplification of the previous law, and thus Lynn could be charged under that statute.

    Lynn's defenders argued that the legislation created a new law and a new class of offenders - and could not be retroactively applied to him.

    Under the new law, there was little doubt that Lynn potentially could have been held legally responsible for the actions of other priests, said Alan J. Tauber, another member of Lynn's defense team.

    Their appeal raised 10 points that they said brought the verdict into question, including Sarmina's decision to allow jurors to hear decades of old abuse complaints. Superior Court, however, said the first two were enough for a reversal and addressed them.

    Prosecutors now could ask the higher court to rehear the case, or petition the state Supreme Court to intervene. Tauber said he expected the District Attorney's Office to appeal the decision "to the bitter end."

    Bergstrom said Thursday that he had not yet spoken to Lynn, but that the monsignor's relatives were overwhelmed by the news.

    "They are very happy," he said. "This is just a wonderful thing for them."

    David Clohessy, executive director of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP), said he was disappointed by the decision. He said church officials have too often used expensive lawyers to escape responsibility. "I think many, many survivors and betrayed Catholics will feel very sad about this decision," he said.

    The archdiocese said that it has changed since Lynn's time as an official and taken steps "to ensure that all young people in our care find a safe and nurturing environment. . . . We recognize that today's news is especially difficult for survivors and their families. We profoundly regret their pain."


  48. Pennsylvania high court reinstates Msgr. Lynn's child-endangerment conviction

    by Joseph A. Slobodzian, Philadelphia Inquirer Staff Writer April 27, 2015

    The landmark child-endangerment conviction of Msgr. William J. Lynn - the first Catholic Church official found guilty for his role supervising priests in the clergy sex-abuse scandal - was reinstated Monday by Pennsylvania's Supreme Court.

    Writing for the 4-1 majority of the state's high court, Justice Max Baer said Superior Court erred when it reversed Lynn's conviction because he did not directly supervise children.

    At issue was whether a 2007 amendment to the child-endangerment statute, which specifically included supervisory personnel as open to criminal culpability, expanded the original 1995 law or simply clarified it. If the amendments just expanded the law, Lynn would have been unconstitutionally convicted for acts that predated the amendments.

    Baer wrote that precedent supports a broad interpretation: "That which is supervised is the child's welfare. Under the facts presented at trial, [Lynn] was a person supervising the welfare of many children because, as a high-ranking official in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, he was specifically responsible for protecting children from sexually abusive priests."

    Chief Justice Thomas G. Saylor dissented, endorsing a strict interpretation of the 1995 statute.

    "The evidence viewed favorably to the commonwealth suggests that [Lynn] is indeed guilty of gross derelictions which caused widespread harm," Saylor wrote. "The only question before the court, however, is whether the text of the endangerment statute, as it existed in the pre-amendment time frame, allowed the imposition of criminal culpability. . . . I would find that it did not."

    Former Chief Justice Ronald D. Castille, who retired after last November's oral arguments before the court, did not participate in the decision. There is one vacancy on the court.

    "It's very disappointing," said defense attorney Thomas A. Bergstrom, who defended the 64-year-old former secretary for clergy on behalf of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

    Bergstrom said it was too early to say what impact the ruling would have on Lynn's immediate future.

    On Jan. 2, 2014, days after Superior Court reversed his conviction, Lynn was freed from his three- to six-year prison term after about 15 months behind bars and allowed to live on house arrest in the rectory of St. William, a parish in Lawncrest in the Northeast.

    continued below

  49. Bergstrom said he hoped Lynn would be permitted to remain free on $250,000 bail pending further appeals.

    Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams, whose office appealed the Superior Court ruling, released a statement applauding the Supreme Court decision.

    Williams thanked the "brave victims who testified in court and their families for supporting them. Today's announcement sends the clear message that if anyone - priest, lay person, citizen, police officer, or elected official - knowingly puts children at risk of being sexually molested, they will be held accountable."

    The decision was also celebrated by advocates for clergy sex-abuse victims.

    "It is a victory for parents, parishioners, churchgoers, wounded victims, and innocent kids each time corrupt church staffers are disciplined," said David Clohessy, director of the St. Louis-based SNAP, the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests.

    Marci A. Hamilton, a Philadelphia-area lawyer who has sued the Catholic Church on behalf of victims of clergy sex-abuse, praised the District Attorney's Office and called the Lynn case "the most significant criminal prosecution of any Catholic official for the endangerment of numerous children in an archdiocese."

    As the secretary for clergy from 1992 to 2004, Lynn was responsible for investigating sex-abuse complaints made against priests and recommending punishment to the archbishop.

    In 2012, after a 13-week trial and 12 days of deliberations, a Common Pleas Court jury found that Lynn allowed the Rev. Edward V. Avery, who had a history of sexually abusing children, to live in a Northeast rectory, where he later assaulted a 10-year-old altar boy. Avery pleaded guilty in the 1999 attack and is serving five years in prison.

    Bergstrom said the decision means that Lynn was found guilty of "endangering a child without even knowing the child existed. He didn't learn about it until 2009."

    Bergstrom said he and Lynn have 14 days to decide whether to ask the Supreme Court to reconsider the appeal.

    There are other possible avenues of appeal, Bergstrom said. He said they could petition the U.S. Supreme Court to hear an appeal based on Lynn's contention that the prosecution violated his constitutional right not to be tried for alleged crimes that predated the 2007 amendments to the child endangerment statute. Bergstrom said they could also raise before Superior Court issues that the court did not consider before reversing Lynn's conviction in December 2013.


  50. Philly archdiocese settles sexual abuse civil suit

    by Jeremy Roebuck, Philadelphia Inquirer Staff Writer August 19, 2015

    The Archdiocese of Philadelphia has settled a civil lawsuit brought by an accuser whose testimony helped convict two Catholic priests and a former parish-school teacher on sexual abuse charges, and aided in the unprecedented prosecution of a church administrator for covering up the priests' crimes.

    In filings Tuesday, Common Pleas Court Judge Jacqueline F. Allen said the plaintiff - a 26-year-old man identified only as "Billy Doe" - had "settled any and all claims" against the archdiocese and two former church officials. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

    A spokesman for the archdiocese did not return calls for comment Wednesday, nor did lawyers for Doe.

    Their agreement - first reported by the legal blog BigTrial.net - is at least the third this year between the church and its accusers.

    Previous agreements have contained clauses barring the parties from discussing their deals publicly.

    Doe's story was arguably the most disturbing in a landmark 2011 report by a Philadelphia grand jury outlining decades of clergy sex abuse in the region.

    He told grand jurors he was passed among three men and repeatedly sexually assaulted while serving as an altar boy at St. Jerome's parish in Northeast Philadelphia in the late 1990s.

    Doe's tearful testimony at a 2013 trial helped convict two of his abusers - the Rev. Charles Engelhardt and Bernard Shero, an English teacher at the parish school.

    The abuse destroyed his life, Doe said in his lawsuit, and led to years of drug abuse, behavioral problems, and suicide attempts.

    Lawyers for the priests and the archdiocese have questioned Doe's story and motives for years, accusing him of fabricating his claims to cash in by suing the church.

    Engelhardt died in prison last year while serving a six- to 12-year sentence. Shero, who was sentenced to eight to 16 years, continues to appeal his case.

    A third abuser - Edward V. Avery, now defrocked - pleaded guilty in 2012 and was sentenced to five years in prison. He has recanted his confession, but remains in prison.

    Prosecutors also pointed to Doe's abuse in building their case against Msgr. William J. Lynn, who in 2012 became the first Roman Catholic Church administrator in the United States convicted of enabling sexual abuse of children by priests. He, too, is appealing his case.

    This week's court filings in Doe's civil case indicated that he would not only drop his suit against the archdiocese, but also against two other named defendants: Lynn and the estate of the late Cardinal Anthony J. Bevilacqua, who headed the archdiocese at the time of Doe's abuse.

    Shero, Avery, and Engelhardt's estate remain parties to the lawsuit. A trial is scheduled for November.


  51. Hundreds of Children Allegedly Abused Over 40-Year Period in Pennsylvania Diocese, Grand Jury Determines

    By Grace Wilson | Mother Jones March 1, 2016

    After an exhaustive, two-year investigation, a statewide grand jury has determined that hundreds of children were sexually abused by priests and other religious leaders serving the Roman Catholic Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown in western Pennsylvania over at least 40 years.

    The grand jury issued a 147-page report, made public today, that details widespread alleged abuse involving at least 50 priests and religious leaders, and the findings include accounts of how Diocese superiors took action to conceal the accusations in order to protect the Church's image.

    "The heinous crimes these children endured are absolutely unconscionable," said Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane, who spoke at a news conference today in Altoona, a small city located two hours east of Pittsburgh. "These predators desecrated a sacred trust and preyed upon their victims in the very places where they should have felt most safe."

    In April 2014, the Office of the Attorney General brought the matter to the State Investigating Grand Jury. None of the alleged criminal acts detailed in the report can be prosecuted at this point because many of the alleged abusers have died, the statute of limitations for these crimes has passed, and many of the victims are too "deeply traumatized" to testify in court, according to the Office of the Attorney General.

    The news comes comes two days after the movie Spotlight won the Academy Award for Best Picture. The film is about the Boston Globe's 2001 investigation of the Catholic Church's long history of sexual abuse, particularly in Boston parishes.

    The investigation in Pennsylvania is ongoing, Kane said.

    "We will continue to look at this matter and consider charges where appropriate, which is why it is so important for those with information to come forward," she said. "At the very least we must continue to shine a light on this long period of abuse and despicable conduct."

    During the investigation, the grand jury reviewed more than 200 exhibits and heard hours of testimony from numerous witnesses, creating thousands of pages of transcribed testimony. A search warrant executed at a Diocese office in August produced what the report calls a "secret archive" of files for priests who had been accused of sexual misconduct, as well as internal correspondence between bishops and the accused priests. In all, the grand jury removed over 115,000 documents from the Diocese.

    The report names several of the priests accused of sexual misconduct, as well as Bishops Joseph Adamec and James Hogan, two Church superiors accused of allowing priests accused of sex abuse to remain within the Church. In one case where a priest was accused of groping the genitals of at least 15 boys, Bishop Hogan allegedly met with prosecutors, but no charges were ever filed. The accused priest was transferred to work as a chaplain in a West Virginia hospital.

    In a statement on Monday, the Diocese said it had "cooperated fully with authorities throughout the investigation, and will continue to do so as part of our commitment to the safety of all children. At this time, the Diocese is reviewing the report."

    "This is a painful and difficult time in our Diocesan Church," said the Rev. Mark L. Bartchak, bishop of the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown. "I deeply regret any harm that has come to children, and I urge the faithful to join me in praying for all victims of abuse."

    The area incorporated by the Altoona-Johnstown Diocese spans eight counties in the state and is home to more than 90,000 Catholics. Cambria County District Attorney Kelly Callihan referred jurisdiction of the matter to the Office of the Attorney General, which conducted the investigation with the help of the FBI.


  52. Pennsylvania grand jury finds widespread sex abuse by priests

    Reuters | March 2, 2016

    HARRISBURG, Pa. — Hundreds of children in western Pennsylvania were sexually assaulted by about 50 Roman Catholic priests over four decades while bishops covered up their actions, according to a state grand jury report released on Tuesday.

    The report found that former Bishop James Hogan, who died in 2005, and his successor, Joseph Adamec, who retired in 2011, worked to cover pedophile priests’ tracks and that some local law enforcement agencies also avoided investigating abuse allegations, said state Attorney General Kathleen Kane.

    “The heinous crimes these children endured are absolutely unconscionable,” Kane told reporters in unveiling the report, based on a two-year investigation. “These predators desecrated a sacred trust and preyed upon their victims in the very places where they should have felt most safe.”

    Revelations that some priests had habitually sexually abused children and that bishops had systematically covered up those crimes burst onto the world stage in 2002 when The Boston Globe reported widespread abuse in the Boston Archdiocese.

    That report, which won a Pulitzer Prize and was the subject of last year’s Academy Award-winning film “Spotlight,” set off a global wave of investigations that found similar patterns at dioceses around the world. They led to hefty lawsuits and seriously undermined the church’s moral authority.

    No criminal charges will be filed because the alleged incidents are too old to be prosecuted, Kane said.

    Advocates for victims of sex assault have long urged lawmakers to give prosecutors more time to bring charges of sex assaults of minors, noting that particularly in the case of assaults by members of the clergy, victims can take years to come forward.

    The report contains explicit details of scores of attacks, naming perpetrators, many of whom have since died. Many of the surviving priests were still serving parishes at the time the investigation began, Kane said, but all have since been removed by the current bishop.

    “This is a painful and difficult time,” current Altoona-Johnstown Bishop Mark Bartchak said in a statement. “I deeply regret any harm that has come to children.”

    “We’re saddened but not the least bit surprised,” said David Clohessy, director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. “It proves what we’ve long maintained: that even now, under the guise of ‘reform,’ bishops continue to deceive parishioners and the public about their ongoing efforts to hide abuse.”

    Adamec, the retired bishop, did not respond to a request for comment.

    (Reporting by David DeKok)