Game Changing Penn State Scandal Leads to Hearings Monday

Click here to read: “Monica Yant Kinney: Penn St. fallout may be a boon,” Columnist, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Dec. 4, 2011.

Excerpt: “The mighty Pennsylvania Catholic Conference, which has spent more than $2 million on lobbying since 2007, convinced leery legislators that giving victims even a one-time, two-year window to sue over long-ago offenses would constitute an anti-Catholic crusade. Give greedy lawyers that power and they’d bankrupt a proudly charitable institution.”

21 thoughts on “Game Changing Penn State Scandal Leads to Hearings Monday

  1. While she might mean well her wording shows she does not get the whole picture. Sandusky a “savior” even unintentinal is off the mark. Maybe he was a catalyst but not a savior. I don’t think any of the kids he sexual abused would call him that……….more like the devil in sheeps clothing.

  2. I think Monica Yant Kinney has been very supportive of victims and advocates. She is a hero and maybe a candidate for sainthood. Nancy Mortimer O’Brien

    1. I am making an observation not knocking her character. The more I listen to victims/survivors the more I learn and understand where they are coming from it really is a process. I do think her supporting the Bills is the right thing to do and shows intergrity.

  3. My understanding of the proposed PA Statute of Limitations 2 year ‘window’ is that it would open up that period for ALL sexual abuse victims in PA to pursue civil remedies. (And it must be remembered that just because such a ‘window’ has been opened does not mean tha plaintiffs would be successful in their suits. The burden of proof is on the plaintiffs, they have to PROVE, in a court of law that their claims have merit.)

    BUT with a ‘window’, children who have been raped, sodomized and incested by coachs, family members, and others, including clergy of all faiths, would have their day in court.This legislation is NOT a conspiracy against the Church, see cited article below that suggests that it IS a conspiracy against the Catholic Church:

    “The mighty Pennsylvania Catholic Conference, which has spent more than $2 million on lobbying since 2007, convinced leery legislators that giving victims even a one-time, two-year window to sue over long-ago offenses would constitute an anti-Catholic crusade. Give greedy lawyers that power and they’d bankrupt a proudly charitable institution.

    Implied in the threat: Only priests sodomized so many who seek legal remedies – and money – to heal. So if victims won their day in court, only the church would suffer the consequences.”

    This such a self serving and inaccurate comment, that it does not deserve a response.

  4. I understand beth’s point when she says she would have preferred Kinney use the word “catalyst” in place of “savior.” At the same time, “savior” may, indeed, fit how Sandusky’s crimes will, finally, move and affect lawmakers, which will, finally, serve to disempower the Catholic Church.

    Think about it. The sexual abuse crisis in the Catholic Church has been going on for a decade, now, if not for centuries. It is of global and epic proportions. It has entailed thousands and thousands of children. It is the subject of a formal complaint to the International Criminal Court in the Hague. It led international human rights observers to add the Catholic Church to its list of entities to watch for “crimes against humanity.” It has paid over 3 billion in damages in the U.S. alone. It is so grossly mismanaged and so unscrupulously covered up that it draws the attention of innumerable news print sources and media outlets throughout the world who relentlessly reported on it. NO SCANDAL IS HUGGER! Nothing is even remotely close.

    Why, then, considering the gravity, duration, scope and public nature of the sexual abuse crisis in the Catholic Church, was it not used to “save” sexually abused children? Why didn’t the Catholic Church crisis compel lawmakers, ten years ago, to better protect children and provide justice to victims?

    Hello??? Who will save the children??? Who will save the victims???

    Sandusky may be an “institution,” but he’s not THE institution. THE institution has spent ten years balking at being the “savior” to sexually abused children. Lawmakers have permitted the balking of men in white collars and extravagant vestments. Sandusky is the stand-in “savior” for THE institution that talks “savior” but doesn’t do it.

  5. “….Corbett’s transition into office, after all, was led by the Philadelphia Archdiocese’s longtime attorney…”

    Monica, you forgot the name, It’s WILLIAM SASSO and word is that he has recently filed for unemployment compensation. Chaput is looking for new legal counsel; can’t understand why?

    Sasso’s favorite song, from years ago, Little Anthony and the Imperials……”I’m on the outside looking in”

  6. this is an excellent article- I was pleased to see it in today’s Inquirer. Say your prayers for tomorrows hearings-the all star cast will be excellent! Pray their testimony makes a difference!

    1. I will pray all through the day tomorrow. I do feel God’s hand in all this. He gave people free choice but I think he is tired of all the evil choices these men have been making and a bright light is being lit in the darkness.

  7. I believe that Ms. Kinney’s article is excellent. There is more hope now for those violated by RCC priests that the crimes comitted against them will not go unpunished.

  8. I, too, have more hope today than I have had in a very long time. If it took the Penn State scandal and Sandusky to move this enormous mountain, then so be it. Along with our prayers, justice may finally win. Thank you Monica Yant Kinney.

    The RCC in Philadelphia may have its mighty Pennsylvania Catholic Conference in Harrisburg, but I think that today there is a much strong Lobby in heaven led by the victims of generations of abuse whose influence and intersession will finally be heard.

    Perhaps this Advent will truly be a new beginning. Pray God that it is.

  9. Bye Bye, William Sasso!

    Conrad O’Brien Replaces Stradley As Archdiocese Litigation Counsel
    Gina Passarella

    The Legal IntelligencerDecember 5, 2011

    Philadelphia-based Conrad O’Brien has won an RFP process to take over the civil litigation related to the Archdiocese of Philadelphia sex abuse scandal, replacing Stradley Ronon Stevens & Young on the cases, the archdiocese has confirmed.
    The change isn’t limited to the sex abuse scandal as Conrad O’Brien will also take over all archdiocese litigation previously handled by Stradley Ronon.

    As The Legal reported last month, recently installed Archbishop Charles Chaput brought in his legal team from Denver to assist with a transition in counsel. White-collar defense firm Welsh & Recker was hired to oversee the representation on both the civil and criminal cases.

    “The archdiocese has new leadership, and this is the first of many adjustments that will be made in the coming year,” archdiocese spokeswoman Donna Farrell said in a statement. “After a thorough interview process, the archdiocese has engaged Conrad O’Brien for all pending and future civil litigation proceedings. Jim Rohn and Nick Centrella will serve as lead attorneys for Conrad O’Brien.”

    Farrell confirmed that Welsh & Recker will serve in what other sources had previously referred to as a “quarterback” role. She said the firm, after a similar review process Conrad O’Brien went through, was selected to address all requests from the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office and defense counsel related to current criminal matters, and to serve as the archdiocese’s “sole adviser on those matters.”

    Farrell also confirmed what several sources had said regarding Stradley Ronon’s continued role on transactional work.

    “Stradley Ronon, which has served the local church well for decades, will continue to do transactional work for the archdiocese,” Farrell said. “We’re very grateful for their continued service.”

    Docket entries in a number of cases in the Common Pleas Court of Philadelphia, for example, show the transition has already begun. Stradley Ronon lawyers have withdrawn their appearance and Conrad O’Brien managing shareholder Centrella has entered his appearance on behalf of the archdiocese.

    These cases include not only the civil cases brought related to the sex abuse scandal, but also a number of slip-and-fall cases and at least one piece of litigation over a contract dispute with Otis Elevator Co. The bulk of these changes in counsel of record were made between Nov. 30 and Dec. 1, according to the docket entries.

    The Stradley Ronon attorneys that withdrew from the cases included managing partner Jeffrey Lutsky, Malvern, Pa., office leader Joseph McHale, partner Michael D. O’Mara and partner Christine Debevec, among others.

    When The Legal initially reported on the potential change in counsel in early November, several sources said Stradley Ronon was only going to be replaced on the sex abuse cases and not other litigation. What changed between then and now is unclear.

    Stradley Ronon has served as outside counsel to the Archdiocese of Philadelphia for several decades. Stradley Ronon Chairman William R. Sasso and Lutsky were both unavailable for comment by press time Friday.

    When word of potential changes in counsel leaked in early November, Sasso had said the firm doesn’t normally comment on its clients’ affairs. He said at the time that the archdiocese remains “a significant client of the office” but said he couldn’t comment further on client matters.

    Centrella on Friday deferred comment on the change to the archdiocese. Sources have said that Welsh & Recker will continue on as counsel for the archdiocese in the criminal cases related to the sex abuse scandal.

    In early November, the firm confirmed this role, saying in a statement that “Welsh & Recker has been engaged as counsel by the archdiocese in connection with the pending criminal proceedings and, in that connection, our role will be to respond to subpoenas from the parties and to assist in facilitating witness interviews and testimony as the parties may require.”

    The firm did not provide additional comment Friday on the recent changes to outside counsel.

    A number of the civil cases related to the sex abuse scandal have been stayed until the criminal cases are resolved.

    Slade McLaughlin, the plaintiff’s attorney in one of those civil cases, Billy Doe v. Archdiocese , said Robert Welsh of Welsh & Recker entered his appearance in the case at a hearing last month in which McLaughlin was seeking a stay until the criminal cases were done. He said at the time that Welsh did not object to the stay and said only that he was representing the archdiocese in the matter. Since that time, Centrella has entered his appearance in Billy Doe .

    McLaughlin said in November that Stradley Ronon has a decades-long relationship with the archdiocese and has “done a damn good job.” McLaughlin had said he would “be shocked” if the archdiocese would want to bring in a firm that didn’t have the institutional knowledge and relationships Stradley Ronon has built up.

    Several sources confirmed in November that Chaput had brought in members of his legal team from his time as the Archbishop of Denver. That team helped Chaput defeat proposed legislation in Colorado in 2005 that would have expanded the statute of limitations for sex abuse. The attorneys were staying in Philadelphia for what could be months, the sources had said.

    Rothgerber Johnson & Lyons was said to be the Denver firm Chaput called in. A number of Rothgerber Johnson attorneys have represented the Denver Archdiocese. Partner Charles Goldberg has served as general counsel to the Denver Archdiocese for decades and was awarded last year the Benemerenti Medal from Pope Benedict XVI. The medal was presented by Chaput. Partner Scott Browning currently serves as trial counsel to the Denver Archdiocese, according to the firm’s website.

  10. Oh, no, looks like our dear friend, William Sasso, may not be getting what he wants on the Christmas list he gave to Santa Claus the other day at Plymouth Meeting Mall. Rumor has it that he and fellow partners down there at Stradley and Ronon maybe getting just the what the Dickens’ holiday representative has in store for them.

    The finest gift for the finest archdiocesan attorneys……..yes, you guessed it, coal for their stockings from a newly discovered Dickens character. He’s affectionately knows as the “Ghost of Xmas Comeuppance”.

    Happy Holidays to the “Innocence Protector”, aka “The Chairman”.


    Contact: Mike Ference

    Telephone: 412-233-5491


    Too late for Last Call

    Pittsburgh, PA – December 5, 2011 — “Dirty cops don’t like to investigate other dirty cops or corrupt politicians,” says Mike Ference. The concerned father has tried to get law enforcement officers and public officials to reopen the attempted murder case involving his son that took place exactly 22 years ago.

    “Only one person, in a position to help, was willing to step forward, Senator Jane Orie. Years ago she sent letters to then PA Attorney General Tom Corbett, District Attorney Stephen Zappala, Jr. and then US Attorney, Beth Buchanan,” Ference recalled. “Senator Orie is not even in my district, I could never even vote for her, yet, she was the only person who tried to help.”

    Ference is relentless. He received information concerning two police officers heavily involved in the investigation of the attempted murder of his son alleging that these officers may have been sexual predators. In light of what has taken place at Penn State University, Syracuse University, the Citadel, and the Philadelphia Archdiocese, Ference wants to err on the side of caution and will be as transparent about these claims as possible. “There could be dozens of victims still afraid to confront two former police officers and the power behind their alleged corruption, or these claims could be baseless, and those spreading rumors need to be stopped,” Ference adds.

    On December 5, 1989, Adam Ference was shot in the back of the head, the gun held only inches away, when the shooter pulled the trigger. The shooter would then place the gun to his head and fire one more time, he probably died instantly. Ference’s son miraculously survived.

    Weeks after the shooting, then Clairton Public Safety Director William Scully, a seasoned police officer with almost 2 decades of experience would sit down with Ference and his wife and provide the details of how a Mon Valley attempted murder and suicide case had gone wild.

    Scully would claim the case was deliberately botched by former McKeesport Police Chief Thomas Brletic and Mayor Lou Washowich. Scully claimed the Pittsburgh Diocese put pressure on both McKeesport officials to close the case as soon as possible. He also claimed the shooter was sexually abused by a former Catholic Priest, John Wellinger. He would provide Ference with notes and names and explained to Ference that the only way to get to the bottom of the attempted murder of his son was to investigate the case himself.

    Scully also provided Ference with notes indicating Wellinger had fed drugs and alcohol to a West Mifflin teenager who needed to be taken to the emergency room of Presbyterian University Hospital, now University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC). “I spoke to the alleged victim and he confirmed that Scully had most of the facts correct,” Ference points out.

    Ference says he received a call from a woman trying to locate Scully. She alleged that Scully was her natural father. She went on to allege that Scully impregnated her teenage mother when he was a police officer for Clairton, years before he was appointed to his Public Safety Director position and years before the distressed city of Clairton councilors would go out of their way to approve a pension for Scully, even if it meant bending the rules to accomplish the task.

    Ference admits he doesn’t know if the allegations about Scully are true or not, but hopefully there’s a government agency that can look into the allegations and sort through the facts. Current McKeesport Police Chief Bryan Washowich told Ference years ago that a grand jury investigation was needed for this case. “And that, Ference says, “was after Chief Washowich had conferred with Brletic.”

    As far as the other allegations about a former McKeesport Police Chief impregnating a teenage girl and soliciting teenage girls while he was in uniform, that story will have to wait for another day, says Ference.

    Ference asks for help in going to the right people to have his investigation reviewed. “I’ve tried for 22 years, and all it seems to have done is cause a tremendous amount of grief for Senator Jane Orie and her family.”


    1. I especially liked Sister Maureens repeated point about the unfairness to ALL abuse victims of the Bishops and their lobbying operations fighting the Statute of Limitations (SOL) extensions.

      I think there is a tendency to think of the bishop’s behavior in parochial terms, but Dolan and Chaput’s opposition to those SOL ‘windows’ opening up, hurts abuse victims throughout New York and PA, who deserve their day in court and whose identification of predators could be extremely helpful in preventing abuse to more innocent children, in those two states.

      I am frankly mystified as to how these bishops can justify using their power to limit legislation that could help innocent children who have been sodomized, raped and incested by coaches, parents, clergy of other faiths, school personnel, et al. from seeking legal interventions.

      1. Because they are blinded by pride they think they are “right”. I wish they could walk in my shoes so they can see the aftermath of abuse and how it affects families, victims, faith for generations not to mention the finicacial and other costs to society. Many violent offenders have history of childhood sexual abuse.

      2. Beth, I think you are right as far as the bishops point of view relative to the Church and SOLs, but how can they justify imposing their agenda on everyone else?

        What right have they got to eliminate SOLs for abuse victims of coaches, parents, school personnel, clergy of other faiths and any other abuser I might have missed?

        I think it is incredibly arrogant and wrong!

    2. Good article ……..excellent comments. I want to make copies of the comment by Sister Maureen and give them out to my friends and family.

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