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.

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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

St. Martin of Tours Pastor Under Investigation and Placed On Leave

BREAKING NEWS: Father Armand Garcia, pastor of Saint Martin of Tours Parish in Philadelphia, was placed on administrative leave and is the subject of a criminal investigation.

According to a statement shared with the parish community, the Philadelphia police department notified the Archdiocese on Friday, March 16th that they’d received a report regarding Father Garcia’s alleged misconduct with minors. A search warrant for the rectory was issued that same day.

Kenneth Gavin, chief communications officer for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, stressed that no charges had been filed against Father Garcia as of Friday, March 23.

Father Garcia is no longer present at the parish (where do priests go while being investigated?) and his status is pending the outcome of the investigation, according to Gavin.

This comes on the heels of trouble for a former auxiliary bishop of Philadelphia…

Pack Up Your Troubles In Your Old Kit Bag

Law enforcement would not disclose what they were searching for when police raided Bishop Joseph Cistone’s residence in Saginaw, Michigan on March 22. Perhaps it was his “old kit bag?

Bishop Cistone left the Philadelphia archdiocese for his promotion to bishop in the wake of the 2005 Grand Jury report. Is your blood pressure medicine handy? This Philly.com article, from that year, highlights Cistone’s complicity in covering up clergy abuse.

Seems not much has changed.

Saginaw County prosecutors have said that Cistone and the Diocese haven’t followed through on promises to support investigators looking into sexual abuse allegations against Father Robert DeLand and others there.

 

 

 

 

Archdiocese Collar Blind to Red Flags

BY KATHY KANE

Last Spring, my 17-year-old daughter who at the time was a student at an Archdiocesan high school, texted me a screenshot of a Facebook friend request she received from a religious order priest who was a complete stranger to our family. This was a clear violation the Standards of Ministerial Behavior and Boundaries of the Archdiocese. A quick look at his Facebook page showed other young looking “friends,” at least 10 of his Facebook friends were students at my daughter’s high school.

In the Philadelphia Archdiocese, religious order priests are required to complete the same background checks and Archdiocesan Safe Environment Training as diocesan priests. However, the Archdiocese does not supervise their work/ministry with children. A religious order priest can come to Philadelphia and be “freelancer” of sorts. He can set up shop and work with kids. The Archdiocesan Office of Investigations is in charge of following through on any reports concerning religious order priests working in the diocese. So I emailed my concerns along with the screenshot of the Facebook friend request to that office.

I requested to be informed of any resolution with the case. I was concerned, not just for my daughter, but for all of the minors who were “friended” on his personal Facebook page. The reply I received from the Office of Investigation included an explanation of the priest’s actions. This was all “unintentional.” How could they possibly know it was unintentional? Because the priest said so? Yes, the Office of Investigation not only shared the rule breaker’s explanation but also relayed that information as factual. The explanation was utterly ridiculous. If this didn’t involve children, it would be comical.

Somehow a priest whose ministry includes young adults and minors, mistakenly friend requests minors on Facebook without knowing they are minors as a way to advertise his religious programs. Anyone reading this have a Facebook page? Are you able to distinguish if you have friended kids or adults? I sure am. I just want to make sure I’m not the only one out there with this special gift. Somehow, Father was suddenly able to distinguish the difference when he deleted anyone he could not confirm was an adult. Were these deletions made BEFORE parents could be notified of the boundary violation? The archdiocese would not tell me. Did they keep a list of the kid’s names? There seems to be no written protocol or policy on how the Archdiocese will handle this type of violation.

Yes, this incident was considered a violation of the Standards. He was required to go through retraining and a warning letter was sent to his Order. Guilty but yet innocent (if you go by the explanation I received from the Archdiocese.) What a slippery slope they have chosen.

So this has been reduced to a priest’s “ministry marketing mix up.” No mention of all the other minors involved. No mention of whether or not parents were informed. If I were an Archdiocesan investigator, prior to the deletion, I would have contacted the parents of the minors and had them check their child’s Facebook page, especially the private messages, to make sure there was no private communication sent. I also would have had the parent’s check their child’s Facebook page to see if the priest had commented on their pictures or posts.

The Archdiocese might want to file this case under U for unintentional, but I would file it under A for alarming. I agree with Father Tom Doyle. The Philadelphia Archdiocese is somehow managing to be a little bit worse. Here’s how:

· Order priests who work with and minister to minors in the Archdiocese are not supervised by the Archdiocese. While religious orders have authority over their individual priests, the Archdiocese should monitor all Catholic ministry involving minors.

· While many of the Standards are in place dissuade grooming behavior, there is no supervisory period after someone has committed a boundary violation. 

· There is no written policy about alerting parents if their child has been the victim of a boundary violation. Let that sink in for a few minutes.

· Not only are the order priests not supervised by the Archdiocese but months after this priest was reported, he was still not listed on the Archdiocesan Clergy List. I had to report this inaccuracy months after reporting the boundary violation.  I believe this is the 6th time that Catholics4Change had to report errors on the official clergy list.

· A clergy member can break the rules of the Archdiocese, offer an explanation, and now that explanation is relayed as factual. Pretty scary from a child protection point of view. The Archdiocese seems to forget there are real kids involved in these situations and the LAST thing you do is explain something away when a rule involving children has been broken. Was I supposed to tell my daughter this was unintentional simply because that is what the rule breaker claimed? Thanks Archdiocese for once again screwing up the message sent to kids. The rule was broken. Hold off on relaying explanations that CANNOT BE PROVEN. The only good place for a boundary violator’s explanation is the infamous Archdiocesan paper shredder. Put it to good use for once.

· Clergy, teachers, coaches who have committed boundary violations against children are known to the staff at the Archdiocese. All the info is loaded into the OCYP database, but the parents of the children who interact each day with boundary violators have no idea. So, people sitting in an office building in Philadelphia have all the info and parents have none.

The archdiocese was given the opportunity to update any progress prior to the publishing of this post. No reply. 

Photography Lesson: Developing from the Negative

By Anonymous

A few years back, a close family friend asked me to do some modeling. He’d signed up for a photography class at a local college. I was happy to help out and was flattered that someone would want me as a subject.

 We met to go over details. He brought along albums given to him to use as a guide. They were filled with photos of women in dresses. He referred to some of the dresses as nightwear – long, slip-like gowns. He offered to supply the clothes, if I didn’t own what was needed. We also went over how my makeup and hair should look. I would see the proofs prior to his handing in assignments and, after he was graded, the prints and negatives would be given to me.

Our first photo session was at my home. Sit this way. Turn that way. Smile. I’d change into a new outfit and repeat the poses. It was simple but exhausting. After three hours, I hoped this was the only and last session. But he needed more photos for class. The shoots continued on weekends.

He called to say a friend’s newly-painted house would be a great place to take photos. I was more comfortable in my own home and reluctant. He must have sensed my hesitation, because he began offering reasons for me to say yes. “I’ll bring sandwiches.” “Don’t worry I have the clothes and everything set up there.”

Everything went as promised. After eating our lunch, he showed me that the clothing I was to wear was neatly hung in the bedroom closet. We started taking pictures in the basement, then on the steps and ended up in the bedroom. Then, he handed me “nightwear” to put on. But this wasn’t a long slip dress like I’d seen in the albums. It was a green slip that barely reached mid-thigh.

 I felt like a deer in headlights. Robotically, I walked to the bathroom and put it on. With camera in hand, he met me in the bedroom. First, he had me stand by the bed post. Then, he had me pose on the bed. He must have realized he’d pushed me too far and said we’re done for the day. Still in shock, I went home.

Unsure of how to handle what happened and what I was feeling, I made an appointment with a therapist. That sick feeling in my stomach was validated when my therapist explained that the photo sessions were totally inappropriate. There was no photography class with homework like this. Any nagging feelings I’d pushed aside seemed obvious now. How could I have been so naive? I began questioning everything. Who else saw the photos? Why me? Who were those other women?

There’s something else you need to know about my family friend. He is a priest. He was the one I confessed my sins to, the one who married me and baptized my child.
He’d been “grooming” me for several years. This was a carefully calculated plan to build and take advantage of my faith and trust. By treating me to meals, giving me presents and always going beyond the expected, he’d paved the way for my cooperation in his abuse.

He knew exactly how to manipulate me. I’d always been a giver and felt I owed him my help. Wasn’t I obligated? People may read this and question my reactions instead of his actions. But they should know it can happen to anyone – at any age. In writing this, I hope to give a voice to others – especially those other unnamed women in the photo albums.

Note from the editors:

As the #MeToo movement emerges, people are learning that sexual abusers aren’t usually strangers threatening with guns or knives. They are friends, family or bosses who wield psychological weapons with just as much force. If it’s still difficult to understand how the story above could happen to an adult, consider the following:

  1. Many people have a driving desire to help others and meet obligations – even when it’s at one’s own expense. You’ve probably heard the term “people pleasers.” Have you ever pushed down your own discomfort because you didn’t want another person to feel uncomfortable? Have you ever felt guilty saying no to a request?
  2. Do you believe there are people who take advantage of others for their own personal gain or satisfaction. “The Sociopath Next Door,” a New York Times bestseller, reveals that 4% of people are conscienceless sociopaths. Have you watched an otherwise “smart person” fall for manipulation? Can this rise to a criminal level? Yes, of course.

Put one and two together and that equals an opportunity for abuse, at any age and in any situation. What can you do? Demand better laws and support for victims. One victim shared that the Archdiocese of Philadelphia only offers six months of counseling for victims who suffered clerical abuse as adults. Surely, they can and should do more.

Playboy Cardinal Eluded Justice

Please read: “Catholic Church Priests Raped Children in Philadelphia, But the Wrong People Went to Jail” By Ralph Cipriano, Newsweek, November 30, 2017

Excerpt: “While Bevilacqua was partying in those casinos, dozens of priests on his payroll acted as though they had license to rape and molest children. Those priests didn’t worry about being arrested because for decades the archdiocese had followed Vatican law—and flouted American criminal law—by keeping all of its records involving priests accused of sexual assaults locked up in bulging file cabinets in a nondescript room on the 12th floor of archdiocese headquarters. Only top archdiocese officials such as Bevilacqua and Lynn, the archdiocese’s secretary for clergy, had the access code to get into that room.”

 

 

Fatal Fallout of Clergy Child Sex Abuse Continues

I’ve been told, “Just let it go. It’s over.” The cover story from the The Philadelphia Inquirer linked below is an example of why Kathy and I won’t let “it” go. The clergy sex abuse scandal continues to claim and destroy the lives of victims and those who love them. “It” continues to put children at risk. Read James Brzyski’s timeline to see how. PA’s current statute of limitation laws allow these men to evade justice and live among us undetected.

We will shut down this site when the Catholic church makes real and lasting corrections, when the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference stops fighting child sex abuse legislative reform and when victims feel fully supported by society. In other words, we hope our nursing homes have good wifi.

Please read: “Stolen Childhoods,” by Maria Panaritis, The Philadelphia Inquirer, October 26, 2017.

We believe the victims. Please let us know how we can help.