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‘Dark Secret’ Documentary Now On Amazon

Dark Secret, a documentary about the Philadelphia Archdiocese’s clergy sex abuse coverup, is now available on Amazon.  It’s released just in time for the newest Grand Jury Report that will detail more coverups in several other Pennsylvania Catholic dioceses.

It previously aired on PBS and I’m honored to have been interviewed for it. Documentarian Anne MacGregor worked tirelessly to bring the facts forward. It serves as yet another call to action for Catholics, the PA legislature and voters. Please watch and share with anyone who has or cares about children.

The hidden story of one of the worst criminal cover-ups in America’s history: The victims – hundreds of children whose lives were destroyed. The perpetrators – Catholic clergy protected by their church. The inside story of what happened when Philadelphia’s District Attorney heard that there was a list of 35 priests guilty of child sexual abuse and asked why they weren’t brought to justice. – Amazon

Click here to order. Prime members can watch for free.

– Susan Matthews

Update – End Doesn’t Justify Means

by Susan Matthews

A lawyer who privately came forward was not able to help a survivor, whose story you read about in the previous post. The survivor now wants his name made public.

David Eyes was a child when he was abused by Father Robert L. Brennan. He spent too much of his adult life embroiled in a grand jury investigation. The grueling emotional process cut fresh wounds into his already scarred psyche. Suicide attempts and subsequent hospitalization made it clear that self preservation meant stepping away from it all. It was the right decision for him and his family. David is working, married and surviving.

But now, his hard-won and tenuous stability is threatened. Lawyers prosecuting a civil case against the Philadelphia archdiocese on behalf of another victim asked him to testify. David explained why he couldn’t – how it might cost him his life. They responded with a subpoena.

Cornered and forced to ensure something horrific as child, David is once again cornered and being forced to do something terrifying as an adult. The subpoena compels him to appear in court on Monday, May 7 or he’ll be held in contempt – which carries the possibility of arrest and fines. Yet, the price he’ll pay for testifying is far worse. So he and his family have decided he won’t comply with the subpoena.

David is refusing on behalf of all survivors. No one should be re-victimized, he says.

Civil and criminal cases have been the best means of gaining public awareness, preventing abuse and offering an opportunity for justice. But the end does not justify the means when a survivor is forced to testify.

End Doesn’t Justify the Means

by Susan Matthews

Abused by a priest as a kid, Thomas (not his real name) spent too much of his adult life embroiled in a grand jury investigation. The grueling emotional process cut fresh wounds into his already scarred psyche. Suicide attempts and subsequent hospitalization made it clear that self preservation meant stepping away from it all. It was the right decision for him and his family. Thomas is working, married and surviving.

But now, his hard-won and tenuous stability is threatened. Lawyers prosecuting a civil case against the Philadelphia archdiocese on behalf of another victim asked him to testify. Thomas explained why he couldn’t – how it might cost him his life. They responded with a subpoena.

Cornered and forced to do something horrific as child, Thomas is once again cornered and being forced to do something terrifying as an adult. The subpoena compels him to appear in court or he’ll be held in contempt and fined. Yet, the price he’ll pay for testifying is far worse.

Civil and criminal cases have been the best means of gaining public awareness, preventing abuse and offering an opportunity for justice. But the end does not justify the means when a survivor is re-victimized.

What options does Thomas have in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas? Are there any lawyers willing to offer pro bono advice on fighting the subpoena?

UPDATE: A lawyer has reached out and is helping Thomas. Thank you for the outpouring of support and advice. Thomas and his family are deeply appreciative for all of you.

Philly Archdiocese – Transparent as a Black Trash Bag

Click here to read, “Downingtown pastor resigns after ‘inappropriate’ expenses, relationships” by David Gambacorta and John V. Smith

Excerpt: 

“Some curious parishioners began raising questions about McLoone’s absence more than a month ago on Catholics4Change.com, an independent accountability forum. “There were rampant rumors of financial problems,” said Kathy Kane, one of the website’s editors.

Kane said she contacted the archdiocese and was told that McLoone wasn’t under criminal investigation, but that a financial review was simply being conducted for the benefit of Msgr. Thomas Dunleavy, who replaced McLoone this year on an interim basis. But rumors of deeper problems persisted and she said she urged the archdiocese to address the matter with parishioners.”

Editor’s Note: 

So when Kathy contacted the archdiocese for the facts on this, did the Director of Communications misrepresent the truth or is he only given information that the archdiocese is forced to communicate because of media attention, arrests or legal action? Either way, transparency is pure fiction.

Will New Grand Jury Report Be Tipping Point?

It’s confusing and sickening that the horrific abuse and coverup revealed in previous Grand Jury reports hasn’t been enough to cripple the lobbying efforts of the insurance industry and Catholic Church. Pennsylvania laws are not where they need to be in order to protect children and offer justice to victims.

How many more graphic details of child rape and molestation will it take? How many shredded memos and clandestine clergy transfers? I guess we need a hashtag, t-shirts and a celebrity.  #KidsToo

Many victims and advocates hope the tipping point will be a Grand Jury Report to be issued later this Spring.

“Grand Jury Wrapping Up Abuse Investigation of Allentown and other Catholic Dioceses,” by Tim Darragh, The Morning Call, April 3, 2018