Click here to read today’s breaking news: “Plan by archdiocese to protect priests alleged in motion,” by John P. Martin, The Inquirer, Oct. 29, 2011
Click here to read today’s breaking news: “Plan by archdiocese to protect priests alleged in motion,” by John P. Martin, The Inquirer, Oct. 29, 2011
85 thoughts on “DA’s Office Alleges Archdiocese Had Plan to Protect Accused Priests”
This story really concerns me as a retired lawyer. The most important factor in obtaining protection from priest rape for Philly kids is that Lynn be fully tried to a vedict in a public court .
The vile and pervasive pedophile ring and the related criminal cover up must be fully revealed with all its perversity. Otherwise, it will surely happen again. We have seen enough of Chaput already. He admits he has not read the 2011 Grand Jury Report and holds secret pep rallies for suspected abusive priests. He seems prepared to stiff victims with credible, but older, claims to save money.
Seth Williams (SW) last week inexplicably caved in early on vigorously pursuing Avery’s critical treatment records. While this current motion is sensible, it is a difficult motion to win. Will SW, if the motion is denied as it may be, use the denial to cut a sweet deal with Lynn? That would be a disgrace and should end his elected career.
Even if by some impossible miracle or possible political pressure., SW cannot convict Lynn beyond a reasonable doubt, he must get Lynn’s case to a verdict stage so that the AD’s decades long child abuse history is fully exposed.
This is not a car theft case. It is about the rape of innocent kids and is only the tip of the iceberg. If this case goes to full trial, it will also virtually guarantee PA legislators will finally protect kids and victims completely. If it doesn’t go to trial, many will infer, fairly or not, that Chaput’s lawyers’ significant connections to politicians of PA ‘s two major were too much for SW, and possibly even the Philly judge, to buck .
Thanks for your insights Jerry as a retired lawyer it is very eye opening.
What about a media event that formally presents the Grand Jury report to Chaput?
Let us never forget the power of the RCC. They are connected everywhere, they know the players, they know what needs to be done. They are not afraid to do what has to be done to protect their interests.
Too bad the influence and power of the RCC is not used for the good of the people–who really are the RCC. Seems that change is needed and, please God, change is coming.
Let us continue to blog, speak out when necessary and appropriate and pray for the Grace of God on all of us…
What is being revealed are the inside ugly commom place workings of the institutional church. Individuals like Lynn have control over priests’ lives and use this control with purpose. Those priests who disobey the culture of silence are punisher, thereby, continuing the ongoing conver up. Adult men ordained to serve God’s people are enslaved by a corrupt authoritian system.
Priests, in an attempt to protect their vocations, submit to the control of their superiors and the cycle continues. Where are the Good Priests?? We need some of them to break the culture of silence. Individuals like Lynn need to be convicted so this cycle of abuse and cover up are more able to be broken.
I live in St. Anselm’s Parish and find this information pertaining to Father Murtha disturbing. I looked his photo up in the school yearbook and almost fell to the ground when I viewed a farewell page to Fr. Murtha. The children dedicated the yearbook to him the year Lynn and him came up with his “exit strategy”. They children wrote: “This year we would like to dedicate the yearbook to Father Murtha. He like the other priests worked hard to make St. Anselm what it is. Through the altar boys, flag football, and celebrating mass, he has shown how much of an asset he is. We will miss him and wish him the best of luck where ever he goes” REALLY!!!! So this means the PASTOR allowed the children to celebrate and praise him publically knowing of his demented actions. REALLY??? Why would they do this? I’m very hurt by this revelation.
Sickening, isn’t it?
Becky, the betrayal is just astounding. Simply unbelievable.
I am a graduate of St. Anselm parish school. My father worked 2 jobs and my mom worked 2 jobs to put us all through Catholic school at St. Anselm’s. My parents should be provided a refund of all their tuition costs because Okonski–who allegedly knew what a sicko Murtha is– failed to alert the parishioners, the tuition paying parents, that a sick pervert priest was in their and their children’s midst. How dare these SOB’s screw with my, my siblings, and my friends and neighbors’ lives!
I do not care if we find out that Okonski or Picard themselves are the ones actually coming forward to give their “tell all I know” reveals to the DA’s office as a way to show a pattern of cover up behavior on Lynne’s part. I actually do not know the source of the evidence the DA is basing his newest motion upon,but I sure have some hypotheses. In my book, Okonski and Picard, and every other priest who knew “something” is just as guilty as the perps themselves. They get no “at least they tried” pat on the back from me.
I cannot help but wonder if the Association of Philadelphia Priests was formed as a way for the AD priests to protect themselves from reprisal because they knew/know information about their fellow “perv priests”, but didn’t have the cahones to come forward to tell the parishioners about what they know/knew, WHEN THEY KNEW IT AT FIRST. Now that criminal cahrges have beenfiled against one of their own, they are scared, so tongues will start wagginf. All I can surmise from this GIANT FIASCO is that this diocese has been spiritually lead by immature children who created a giant dysfunctional family pattern through which all of this mess was filtered.
The priests who decide now to tell on each other are just as disgusting as the pervs and they have been and continue to be complicitous in the evil called sexual abuse of so many children because they failed to do the right thing and instead acted like immature children from a dysfunctional family who lie and cover up because they are afraid of what might happen to them.
Michele I really believe that so much will be exposed at the trials. In the end the ones who will bear the brunt of people’s anger will be the rank and file Archdiocesan priest. The abusive priests were sick and evil to harm children but how other priests could not speak out and stand up for children is a complete abomination.
I agree Kathy.
The priests haven’t known how to handle the anger of victims and their families…wait until the laity expresses theirs.
It will short-sighted of them if they choose to close ranks and treat the laity in an us vs. them position.
Okonski and Picard, like “good priests,” dutifully accepted Lynn’s forms of punishment, effectively becoming part of the cover up. Why didn’t they go to civil authorities and tell on Lynn? Why didn’t the wrongness of it all compel them to act? Why weren’t they determined to DO something about their appalling circumstances?
When I hear a priest ask his congregation to pray for vocations, I shutter.
sorry…. SHUDDER. So infused with the feeling that its spelling escaped me.
They thought at least they did something but it was not enough and that is why child sexaul abuse continues…………………if we can all learn something it is that children need good adults to protect them and sometimes it might be uncomfortable like calling the cops when you think an adult might be harming a child.
I have to add in the case of Lynn etc. he needs to go to jail because he knew. No doubt about it……….read the reports.
A recurring thought keeps popping into my head…The first Commandment.
“Thou shalt not have other gods before me.”
All these men with collars placing their bishops control above what their Savior commands. The same holds true for the laity and the role of the priest.
As far as the article…just keep shining the light in very dark places!
You are right. We figured this was going on but to see it in writing is still horrible and our victims lived this and knew it for awhile.God Bless the victims.
So, Fr. Chris and Fr. Okonski are on the leadership team for the Association of Philadelphia Priests. Hmmm………. http://philadelphiapriests.com/about/
Unbelievable, in the case of Okonski.
Good priests? While the priests listed initially tried, they did participate in allowing these criminals to continue to rape, sodomize and sexually assault children by allowing themselves to be silenced. There are no heroes here. Let’s hope the DA will fill that role.
Yes, this is all very sad, Becky Stevenson. Keep in mind as well, that the good Catholics of the Archdiocese have been paying for the complete, and I do mean complete, support of the Rev. Michael Murtha since the archdiocese decided on his “exit strategy” in 1995 or was it 1996?
As long as Murtha was just “removed from ministry” and not removed (laicized) from of the priesthood he has been totally supported by the AOP.
I wonder how many hundreds of thousands of dollars have been spend on him in the 15 years of so since he was removed from ministry? How many other priests, whom we know nothing about, are being supported in a similar fashion?
And Archbishop Chaput has the chutzpah to say that, “opening a window here could have “consequences for the services the church offers to the poor.” And he added that the archdiocese’s financial assets belong to its members, who “expect me to be steward of our resources.”
What about his and his predecessor’s responsibility to be stewards, caretakers, protectors of the most vulnerable, the children?
I am forced to say that that ship has sailed! Cardinals Krol, Bevilaequa and Rigali failed to protect children on the most basic of levels. They were the poorest of the poor and they were not protected by the Roman Catholic Church. We all know what Jesus thought about those who failed to protect the children, don’t we?
Pray, pay and obey? As long as the AOP can depend on the financial support of the faithful, they will not change their behavior and it will continue to be about money and keeping secrets.
Archbishop Chaput is already on record as saying that he had not decided whether to inform parishioners of the charges against accused priests some of him, according to Chaput’s statements, he plans to restore to ministry shortly.
So, are parishioners willing to accept the word of representatives of the hierarchy, a group of men, the majority of whom protected known sexual predators? By their sins of comission and omission, these same members of the hierarchy enabled the additional sexual abuse of untold numbers of children.
Are you willing to accept these men suspended by Cardinal Justin Rigali as your spiritual leaders, no questions asked?
1. Mark E. Fernandes, St. Agnes, Sellersville
2. Zachary W. Navit, Our Lady of Guadalupe, Doylestown
3. Leonard N. Peterson, St. Maria Goretti, Hatfield
4. Joseph L. Logrip, St. Stanislaus, Lansdale
5. Robert W. Povish, St. Eleanor, Collegeville
6. John F. Bowe, St. Joseph, Warrington
7. George B. Cadwallader, St. Vincent De Paul, Richboro
8. John D. Reardon, St John of the Cross, Roslyn
9. Michael J. Flood, St. Luke the Evangelist, Glenside
10. Andrew D. McCormick, Sacred Heart, Swedesburg
11. Steven J. Harris, St. Isaac Jogues, Wayne
12. Peter J. Talocci, St. Patrick, Malvern
13. Joseph M. Glatts, SS. Simon and Jude, West Chester
14. Daniel J. Hoy, Our Lady of the Assumption, Strafford
15. John A. Close, St. Katharine of Siena, Wayne
16. Thomas J. Rooney, St. Timothy, Philadelphia
17. Michael A. Chapman, Ascension of Our Lord, Philadelphia
18. Francis S. Feret, St. Adalbert, Philadelphia
19. Philip r. Barr, Downington
20. Paul A. Castellani, St. Philomena, Lansdowne
21. Mark S. Gaspar, Our Lady of Charity, Brookhaven
Sister Maureen Paul Turlish
Advocate for Legislative Reform
Rev. Daniel Hoy died July 25th. I heard that his funeral mass as well as the tranferral of the body was attended by quite a crowd and he was in his 80’s.-“it was packed” someone said. the comments below the death notice are glowing as if he was a good and holy priest who made quite a differnec in many lives. do you think, sister .that his name will be restored? i hope so. as all of the 21 were cleared awhile ago and then just recently put “on administrative leave”. none of us have the right (as some seem to think) to know of accusations that quite frankly seem to be absurd in some of the cases.BY THE WAY i have been wondering for months why SNAP Barbara Blaine sought to have some good behaviour justice for the SNAP psychiatrist Steven Taylor who was accused of 107 counts of child porn on his computer .since he is in jail for 2 years it appears the charges were true. why was he defended by the SNAP hierarchy ??? just asking if you have a clue about that?
I think we should know what the accusations are. There has been lack of honesty and trasparency for too long. Also alot of child rapes by known predators . It is the only way to restore trust(if that is even possible). I have heard rumors one priest slapped a childs butt and another priest was chatting online with kids. We don’t know the context of why , where, when and under what circumstances these occurred. These could all be signs of grooming. I think we have a right to know and make decision for ourselves what is and not acceptable for us.
I attended the funeral mass of a pedophile priest who abused the son of a friend of mine. I videotaped it for her because they no longer live in the area. It was a strange request, but I did it because they needed to see that man dead.
He, too, was a beloved man with nieces and nephews and brotherhood that adored him. Just because people love the priest doesn’t mean they didn’t do it. Usually pedophiles are expert at grooming, not only the children, but the parents, parishioners, fellow priests, etc.
There will be no restoring that man’s name just because some people liked him.
Sister, the 2011 Grand Jury report named three more priests who, while not indicted, were a matter great concern to the GR ….why are they not on this list.?
Frankly, the numbers of priests who are accused of abuse in PA, seems to be a shifting phenomena.
I think you have 21 suspended, 3 more in the GJ report who are not included in this list, 3 who are criminally charged and out on bail, plus a school teacher, and very significantly, a diocesan administrator, charged with conspiracy and child endangerment…that’s 28 more or less….and 7 or 8 that the diocese said were OK,( I am very distrustful of diocesan decision making in these matters…so was the GJ.)
It seems to me the NYTimes reported 41, which then became 39…..it’s confusing?????
could you or Jerry, or someone please clarify ?
Joan this was first posted on the site in June. It speaks to the number of priests in the AD with allegations. Also 2 priests were suspended in March,a month after the 21 http://catholics4change.com/2011/06/01/prosecutors-prophectic-2006-letter-begged-cardinal-to-consider-his-conscience/
Sister Maureen points out that as long as the Church can depend on the financial support of the faithful, nothing much will change.
This reminds me of a friend of mine, totally fed up with the abuse crisis, who keeps a roll of small printed notes in her purse. On Sundays, she places one in the collection plate.
The note says “As a matter of personal conscience, I can no longer make a financial contribution to a church that abuses children and passes on predators. I now contribute the same amount to (name of program that helps abused children.)
One could modify such a statement in many ways, but you get the idea.
Also there are 63 priests that were named in the first grand jury report , where are they now and who is paying them ? Let us also not forget ‘charles newman who is currently incarcerated in Western Pa and his pal regis howiz who now supposedly lives a supervised life of prayer and penance, I wonder what type of penance was imposed ? All I see is that the faithful and the politicians knowingly fund and condone this conduct by their lack of action.
I was struck by the coincidence of the readings at Mass today with the issues being discussed in this forum. Did anyone else catch that?
Theo, I did, too.
To be honest Theo I didn’t even feel like going to church today my heart was too heavy. Then I heard that and I was like yes at least Jesus gets it.
Throughout the Gospels Jesus repeatedly said before and especially after His Resurrection, “Do not be afraid” or “Do Not Fear” and other similar expressions of comfort. One important element which has been most clearly evident throughout these past 25 years is, that the pope, bishops, clergy and laity, have all been afraid! Afraid to confront the truth about weakness, flaws, compulsions, addictions and sinfulness amongst their priests and bishops. Yes, we are human. But we are not entitled to expect more from our religious leaders? When it became apparent that deceit, error, inaccuracy and disingenuous behavior was further damaging the integrity and reputation of the Church, many bishops and vicar generals did not learn the lesson. They could not be honest, truthful or transparent. They have continued an attitude and conduct that further imperils and ultimately destroys their credibility. These are sad times my brothers and sisters, very sad. Many of us are dumbfounded that such an institution as OUR Church is so hollow and corrupt. This is far beyond what is merely human isn’t it? It seems like a vast conspiracy of “protecting and preserving” the Church at the expense of Gospel message. The very institution we trusted, the very message, “Do Not Be Afraid” has been profoundly compromised by another much more shallow agenda. We have regretfully discovered that we have good reasons to be afraid! Long ago we lost are faith and trust in politicians, now we have done the same with are religious leaders, yes, we are still afraid.
Lastly, having served in the Church for 33 years I recognize the language, demeanor and posturing of the chancery in Philadelphia. Protecting the Church is a higher priority than protecting the truth and the innocent children.
I absolutely agree. They are afraid where is their faith????????????? They only way to fix this is truth and humbleness to admit what they have done and how all the heirarchy contributed to this mess.
I ran into an old friend today who told me that Murtha was a priest at her parish about 6 years ago – 10 years after the Archdiocese had the child pornography as evidence and Murtha admitted possession.Murtha is also not listed on the AD website list of priests who have been laicized,accepted a life of prayer and repentance or have cases of laicization pending. Why? because until yesterday the allegations against Murtha were never before made public. So how many “Murtha’s” are there out there ?
Yes and who is doing Lynn’s job now?
From which parish is your friend?
It would be good to identify that parish, in light of the fact that Murtha was a priest there many years after already having been identified as having an interest in sex with children and child porn. Maybe there was another child or adult parishioner at your friend’s parish who was affected by this man’s perversion. Who knows, if there are any other victims who might have been sexually abused by this man, the statute of limitations might not have expired yet and he could be held accountable by law.
Murtha is listed as the assistant pastor/parochial vicar of St. Michael the Archangel Parish in Levittwon, PA (2006-). If that website is up-to-date, then this info indcates that Murtha is still the assistant pastor/paroshial vicar at that parish. http://www.stmichaellvt.org/church/history.html
If my memory services me correctly they have had a few of the worse pedophiles there. St. Michael the Archangel…………..Satan must be loving this irony………..it’s horrible.
When and if the suspended 21 or 26 or how many are fully restored to their duties, how many of you would allow your child, grandchild or any other child alone with them for more that 2 seconds, escpecially with no explanation of the complaint against them?
I have to agree that all priests who try to do the right thing, like Okonski and Picard, are still part of the coverup when they take their punishment like “men” and wait for their “parole” by the sickos at the helm. However, I have to admit that some part of me is glad to hear that at least they tried. It makes it so much easier to understand, though not condone, the silence of the priests who are probably secretly praying that Lynn is convicted and thrown in prison. Perhaps then they will feel more in control of their lives. The child molesters masked as priests have been in control of our church for centuries. The “good” priests never had a chance! Punishment for outing the sick perverts who prayed on the innocent victims was much more severe than the punishment of the offenders. And so it continues…….unless the world sees that Lynn is convicted. If the tide does indeed turn then perhaps good will overcome evil.
When I saw Father Picard’s name I gasped. My daughter and her family are members of Saint Andrew’s Parish in Newtown. Father Picard is seen as a strong and spiritual leader. Although I’m sure that people look and wonder just as I do at every priest I see these days, perhaps if one by one the priests who at least tried are revealed (along with how they were treated by their superiors), people will begin to feel hopeful. If the priests who are trying to control their parishes from within without letting the sickos get the upper hand all disappear, who is left? Too many have already “had enough” and left the corruption because they knew their fate if they tried to change things.
These are sad days for all of us. I long for a place to attend Mass where I don’t look at suspicion at the celebrant. Since I haven’t found that place, I have been staying away.
To Father Chris, and all of the others who are still afraid to stand up and be counted, won’t it be better to be among the leaders when the corruption finally makes it necessary to clean house? If the money disappears, so be it. I would rather sit on a folding chair in the park celebrating Mass honestly, than in a marble cathedral where God no longer resides. Pastors of catholic churches in rural areas or our country where money is tight own and operate gas stations to support themselves and their parishes. Drastic change calls for drastic measures.
The victims deserve their day, and so do all of us. After all, in one way or another, we are all victims. Enough already!!
I have attended mass at St.Andrew’s and also talked to Fr. Picard on the phone once in the past. I think he was vigilant and did not want a “rumored pedophile” in his church which is a good thing. The fact that he was discplined makes it seem like there is alot more to the story.We don’t have all the facts the court does.Donna and Abigail I understand what you are saying and agree. i go to mass because I focus on Christ and the Eucharist not on the priest that’s how I am able to go and lately even that has been difficult.
I have to add what is upsetting is that the priests looked at the small picture “protect my parish” not big picture if the pedophile is not hurting kids at his parish he is hurting them at another parish etc.
Beth, You are exactly right. A priest speaking up and not wanting an abusive priests at his parish protects the kids at that parish,but obviously this priest would just be placed at some parish within the AD with access to children.
I think that mentality exits so much with the priests in this AD,they feel like they are working with people and doing good things on a parish level and ignore the crisis around them.
I also think that once this trial concludes there will be barely a parish in the AD which will not be affected in some way and many more priests will be named,not as abusers,but as knowing of abusers and not doing much to protect children. I think the exposure is going to be unbelievable with the amount of info that will be made public at the upcoming trials.
Yes Kathy the big picture is really sinking(I knew it intellectually but now feel it on a deeper level) in for me and it is depressing …….. our victims knew it all along………..in the end it is a good thing if the truth comes out ………then things will have to change. I know I have been changed by all that has been revealed and by the input of everyone on this site especially our victims.
Donna, I know exactly what you are saying. I have left the church but I must admit, I miss worshiping God through the Mass. But I cannot sit in pew and call myself religious or spiritual while I am wondering and probably judging the priest. It just doesn’t work for me. I know that many of my friends and acquaintances say, “boundary issues” are what some of the suspended priests are accused of. But, really do I want to pray at a Mass with the priest celebrating it who possibly gave alcohol to a teen, or showed porn to a child, or groomed some young altar server. I can’t. God bless those who are able to separate the Catholic Faith from the Priest, but I cannot. We will probably never know what these suspended men were accused of, but human nature will always make me wonder, who touched and who just served alcohol to a minor. Either way, both things are against the law any any other person would have to be brought to justice.
Donna, Kathy, Abigail, Beth and others,
This is why we should be suspicious…I pieced some things together last night and I have a few more details to confirm…
It only took me 3 years…but, I finally found out where the priest is that abused my husband. Living free and clear in Ohio.
We knew he had been ordered by his bishop to not have any public appearance, no internet presence, to no longer wear his collar or act as a priest. Of course, the diocese he was incardinated in could not tell us where they “hid” him. No charges have been brought against this man because of SOL. He was supposedly being “supervised.” We all know what that means…similar to Shawn Ratigan being supervised or “watched?,” right? You can’t control perversion.
For the back story…my husband was abused as a 10 year old boy in a confessional at a retreat for boys considering the vocation of the priesthood (I cringe just typing that). It was time for all of the boys to go to confession and rather than my husband have confession with the priests where everyone else did, the retreat master (priest) took him outside the building at night, across a large courtyard, into another building, through a lengthy hallway and into the back rooms of a principal’s office. (I know exactly where he took him because that school was my alma mater). They have “confession,” and he’s marched back to the retreat. No one notices a little boy is gone for that length of time? That’s another story for another time.
Do you know where they “hid” this man? At a place that hosts RETREATS!!!!!!!
While you are on your spiritual, rural, remote, peaceful retreat…this pedophile has a revolving door of unsuspecting, trusting catholics. Not to mention the youth nights hosted there or the preschool play dates hosted every week. He’s not wearing his collar or saying mass or acting as a priest, but he has access to youth and unsuspecting adults. Heck, at this point, it would be better to wear a collar because at least people would suspect “pervert.”
Someone this year posted on YouTube a video of when he was on EWTN years ago speaking about the books he’d written. The analogy he gives of God and a little boy is one of the tactics he used for grooming his victims! I am sick.
I’m getting my ducks in order as far as details about him and then I’m going to do my own posting. I won’t use this site to do it, but with Kathy and Susan’s permission, I will make a link available through my email if anyone is interested.
For those who pray, please keep my husband in your thoughts…he’s struggling with the ‘’walk down that long hallway” in the past few weeks. And the priest lives free and clear in Ohio. Again, who does the SOL help?
I noticed many of the predators ended up at retreat houses, nursing homes and hospitals. One was at my Aunt’s nursing home. She has passed many years ago but still. If I am in a nursing home or hospital I am vulnerable and retreat houses your guard is definitely down when you go to places like that. I will pray for your husband. I having been praying for all the victims but especially those I meet on this site. I never felt the presense of Satan til I confronted my husbands offender and it scared the hell out of me and I never ran to Jesus as fast in my life. That’s why I believe this is a battle between good and evil.
SW sorry if that came across as insensitive. I had alot of emotions running through my mind as I read your blog and I was responding to the end. What happen to your husband is horrible and heartbreaking as Kathy said. I only saw a glimmer of the horror and I will never be the same……………..I can never imagine what it is to live with everyday. I feel our victims never had a chance with these predators and it really angers me.
beth, it didn’t come across as insensitive at all.
survivor’s wife, I am just heartbroken picturing a 10 year old boy being taken away from the group,lead down a hallway to be abused. I don’t know that if that happened to someone in my family,I would even be able to rationally and calmly engage in discussion about this issue.That is what has struck me the most in the past few months. The victims and family members of child sex abuse have such a vulnerability but yet such a strength that is simply unbelievable. The courage exhibited by victims in their fight to protect children,has left me in awe of the power of the human spirit. I honestly don’t know that I could do the same if in a similar situation.
The trust, the innocence, the vulnerability of my husband as a 10 year old little boy…”how neat that the retreat master that everyone thinks is cool is going to allow me to have confession with him…and he’s even taking me to a ‘special place.'”
There is a part in the movie “Deliver Us from Evil” where the father of a victim is sobbing and raging…”HE RAPED HER…GOD! HE RAPED HER!!!!” That is how I felt…and this is why victims and families won’t stop. We will do anything so others don’t have to experience this devastation.
And the other priests on that retreat knew something was amiss but “didn’t want to think such things of such a holy man.”
Nothing changed with that retreat until about 9 years ago when my husband wanted to donate money to provide more chaperones for the retreat. “More chaperones aren’t necessary,” was the response. Cold, curt, rude. So he let them know, “If you choose not to get more chaperones for your retreat, I’ll be standing outside with signs that say, “I was sexually abused by a priest at this retreat. Your children are not safe here.”
They now have “babysitters” for the priests. This is what it has come to?
The church will never truly police its own. This is why we have to place pressure on the entities that can. Seth Williams needs to be held accountable for his prosecution of Lynn and others…he lets them slide, cuts a deal, or goes soft on these criminals and he’s going to see a free-for-all not only in the polictial arena, but the rcc as well.
SW your first paragraph put tears in my eyes……I can totally picture it……………I have a child around that age…………all I can say is God help us all do the right thing now………….
I saw “Deliver us From Evil’ and know the scene you reference. I have tried many times to put myself in the place of victims who have been abused. Tried to remeber what it was like to be 9 or 10 and trusting of the adults. Not only trusting, but in many situations,you had to follow orders from adults and just like your husband I would have walked off with that priest – no questions asked. I can never understand what it was like to be sexually abused as a child and it would be insensitive of me to even say that just picturing myself in that situation even comes close to having any idea of what our victims have experienced. When I watched that scene of the father in Deliver us from Evil,I think it brought me the closest to being able to understand. I literally felt that I could feel his rage,his complete horror of what happened to his child.And again this wasn’t my child so I will never be able to understand completely how this man feels everyday,but to even just pick up on a fraction of his feelings was enough to leave me shattered.
I am glad you could piece it together let us know how it goes. You have to almost be a detective to get to the truth because that is the nature of the beast …………..lies and coverup. Truth is truly a gift. I don’t take it for granted anymore.
Survivor’s Wife — I am heart-broken reading your words about your husband’s abuse. I feel so sick inside at all of it! I can’t even imagine what it must have been like and is still like for him and for you and your family. There are no words to express the grief I am feeling for you both, or the deep disgust I feel towards the so-called church. I will pray with all my heart for your husband every day — and I would be interested in any post or link you may provide about your husband’s abuser. You are in our thoughts and our hearts!
I am sickened by the story of your husband, SW. An innocent child forever lost, and a life forever and changed. Good for you for tracking that devil down! I am always haunted by the knowledge that hundreds of these molesters are protected from Megan’s Law and mandatory “outing” so that others can know their past. No criminal record? Free to do whatever they please and work wherever they please? Outrageous! Get his name out there. And good for your husband for demanding “babysitters” for the priests at the retreat. Parents still don’t get it, and blindly send their children into such danger. God bless you and your husband.
I still have to give some credit to the priests’ who at least tried. I think they all know that this is a global issue. Philadelphia is small potatoes compared to the big picture. One step at a time, if one pastor leads to another so that there are no more safe places for these perverts to hide; then the steps are in the positive direction. I truly believe that this will happen. Those who did and hid the crimes will do the time.
I am so angry that I can scream. But, I try to remember that during WW II when whole generations of families were being murdered, the brave people who risked their own lives to save one, or two, or twenty, did not stop because they could not save them all. They did what they could. As long as we stay visible, and vocal, and diligent; Good will win. Let’s not discourage anyone from doing whatever they can. It takes a village. Some people are stronger than others, and fear is very powerful. I want every victim recognized, and every perpetrator in prison. I want to once again walk in my church and celebrate Mass. Pray God that will happen.
Donna you said “Some people are stronger than others” that is true. Before a predator is known there can be alot of manipulation, lies and intimdation to make you doubt yourself. Watch the movie “Doubt’ and you will know what I mean. Dealing with known predators that they know are currently victimizing kids is a different story.
Ladies, women of the Church, mothers, have you noticed how many of you are rightfully filled with rage and indignation in these blogs? Have you noticed how few men in the clergy possess the depth of your pain, betrayal and anger, where are their cries to heaven for justice, accountability and transparency? I read few if any men, unless they themselves are survivors of sexual abuse, who have similar sentiments amidst these blogs.
I encourage you, I pray for you, I beg of you to raise a cry so loud and so prolonged that the halls of the Vatican will shudder with fear at your righteous attempts to change the culture of clericalism and deceit which exists within the Church hierarchy.
If you do not strive with the perseverance of a St. Catherine of Sienna you will not move the Vatican and the Church to a higher measure of integrity and honesty. If you want the Church to survive, but not in it’s present form, then I suggest you do something you alone have the power to do, teach and influence your children wisely about what you know and believe about your Church. Do not neglect your duties to your children, advise them, warn them and watch over them. Holy Mother Church is not the “mother” she should be.
Leo your last line nailed it.
Leo said, “Holy Mother Church is not the “mother” she should be”
You know what we do with bad mothers? We take their children away until they get their act together. We report them to the authorities.
If bad mothers don’t get their act together, we don’t return their children. They go to homes that will love them and nurture them.
I suppose I was a foster child of the catholic church…and I placed myself up for permanant adoption. Puts a new spin on Catholic Charities, doesn’t it?
Some catholics remain in an abusive system because it’s all they’ve ever known…just like many children cling to the bad mother because it’s all they’ve ever known.
I, obviously, need more coffee.
Leo, some good news to share. Although the men in the clergy of Philadelphia have proven to be a great disappointment,we have met many local Phila. men who are involved in our efforts. We have a core group of gentleman,mostly now retired,who have been phenomenal in their response to this crisis.
Prominent businessmen,former Deans of universities,many coming from various professional backgounds to lend their time, expertise and passion to this cause.I have been with them in meetings,conference calls,vigils and even on the steps of the capitol in Harrisburg. They are generous,courteous and wise. Maybe because I lost my own father at a young age,these guys hold a special place in my heart.
To Survivors Wife, I have learned so much from you and I do pray (in my own way) for your husband and you and all other survivors. I said before I was abused, not sexually, but abused and sometimes when I think back to the circumstances it’s just like reliving it. I try not to to go there often because of the bad memories. So, when I think of some child being sexually raped and abused when they don’t even understand sexuality yet, I cannot tell you how angry and sick that makes me. It is through you and your husband and other victims that all of us are beginning to understand what this does to a child. Life is never the same for them or those who love them. Thank your for all your comments.
I sure hope and pray that THIS blog, today, is being read by priests and parishioners in Philadelphia, in PA, and nationwide!
Behan faced two decades in prison, but in a shocking decision, Common Pleas Court Judge Pamela Dembe – who wept on the bench – sentenced him to just 12 years’ probation.
Having read 325 letters of support for Behan, Dembe said she had determined that, besides the involuntary deviate sexual intercourse and corrupting the morals of a minor the priest admitted, he had led an otherwise “godly” life.
Donohoe was devastated, he tells me as we talk Tuesday in the Chestnut Street apartment where he almost killed himself. Today, he offers encouragement to the next group of abuse victims about to endure trials of their own.
“Be proud,” he advises them. “Be patient.”
“Don’t be intimidated. You have the power of truth on your side.”
my greatest fear is for Lynn and the others to plead guilty and take a deal. This will be devastating because all the dirt will once again be swept under the rug. And you can bet that all of them are planning just this.
Abigal and Joan, Seth Williams will not sweep anything under the rug if I can help it. While I am not a woman or a survivor or a relative of a survivor, I care about survivors and defenseless kids.
I am thrilled to see the wrath of Philly women emerging here and who are standing up to cowardly and selfish priests and bishops who could hardly give a dam about victims or kids. You are not alone.
Please see Maureen Paul Turlish’s excellent NCR article today and my related comment under the comment heading, “KIDS AND THE 2012 ELECTION”, accessible by clicking on at
As you can see, Philly is still very much on our minds.
Abigail, you are right and that’s why it’s so important to look at the top of this website in the What You Can Do link and CONTACT Seth Williams and ask him to fully prosecute Msgr Lynn et al!!!!!
I agree. But I just want to post my one latest thought here. Although I no longer practice the Catholic faith, I must say one thing for all catholic women here. We must invoke the mother of God, Mary, to intercede for us. Christ has suffered for all sins by his crucifixion but more than that he has sufferd as an abused victim of sexual moseltation along with all the other sufferings. Although I no longer practice my faith, I implore the Mother of God to watch over us and guide us all in the right direction to be alert, vigilent and protective of all children. When I read Ed’s post, this is what came to me. So, from a non-practicing woman, i call upon Mary, the mother of Jesus to guide us.
A terrifically good idea!
ooops again, non-practicing “catholic” woman… Also to all the priest who abused or covered up the abuse, how would your mother feel if this had happened to you???????????????????
oh, I am so sorry, Leo’s Post…
This IS Unbelievable – the Catholic Church in Germany owns interest in two porn book publishers:
quite likely the tip of the iceberg…
completely in line with its treatment of women…
embarrassing, you betcha! Especially for the Church in our pope’s native land, it reminds me of the discovery some years ago of the Vatican Bank’s investment in an Italian pharmaceutical company which made and distributed birth control pills, ooops!
Everyone, thank you for your support.
You will probably never see my husband here…because for him to “interact with the catholic church in any way, keeps me sick.” But, I do share the things I believe are encouraging and supportive to other victims when he is open to hearing about it.
I wish you could meet him today…because he is an example of strength and survival. He’s extremely articulate (nothing like me), witty, incredible sense of humor, an amazing husband and father, volunteers, is known in our community because the man can organize thousands of people…and he was abused by a priest, which means he has all the “issues’ that come that. The side the world doesn’t see is what it has taken for him to have any measure of healing. The church was an obstacle (actually another source of abuse) to healing. I just want other people to know there is hope. He has used all avenues to heal, he has done the work. From therapy to support groups to writing a letter/confronting his abuser, to fighting for other victims, to telling his story…just to get to a place so you don’t want to take your own life. When Rich posts, I hear my husband…I hear all victims. Their accounts need to be heard…and if, because of their wounds they cannot share, the witnesses to their pain need to continue to share their story.
The priest who abused my husband was ken roberts, a priest from Dallas that travelled the country as a speaker at youth retreats. To this day, he is a beloved man. Many of his followers think these accusations are because we’re gold-diggers.
SW you left one thing out in your lovely description of your husband and the healing process……he had the very good judgement to marry you!
LOL! If he ever forgets, I’ll remind him. LOL
Of course I googled Ken Roberts,seems like some other victims came forward also – but yet again the SOL’s rear their ugly head leaving predators out in the open with access to kids.
While it doesn’t show anywhere else, in a meeting with the first chancellor of our diocese, the chanceloor said, “there were others.”
I don’t think the actual numbers of his victims will ever be known publicly. Bishopaccountability has 3…or is it 6? I don’t know. Based on the conversations we, alone, have had with victims…we know that number is beyond 15.
SOL went to Supreme Court filed by a John Doe…also a victim of Ken Roberts. It passed in the appellate court and was overturned in the Supreme Court. We knew the John Doe in this case. He literally moved his life and family to another state, started a new career, and closed the door on all of it. In order to let go of everything, he said his goodbyes us. While we felt we could have been a support to each other, we also realized that we were a painful reminder to him of a part of his life he had to let go of in order to survive.
When that Supreme Court ruling came, the church rejoiced and we were in a haze of sadness for weeks. How John Doe didn’t jump from the nearest bridge was a miracle. No justice for victims in our state. And Ken Roberts walks free.
Maybe that’s why I need to see these House Bills pass in your state.
SW, what a travesty this entire cover up has been in wrecking havoc on all of our lives. We have decided to move away from the institutional church and move forward. I believe if Jesus were alive today walking around on the streets of Philly and/or anywhere else, He would be throwing the entire bunch of these dress-wearing, collar sporting clerics out, and only if not before He whips their “derrieres”! (as we say ‘en francaise)