Lawyers Ask PA High Court to Step In


“Pa. high court is asked to review charges against monsignor”

By John P. Martin

INQUIRER STAFF WRITER, January 12, 2012

Attorneys for the Philadelphia monsignor accused of enabling priests to molest altar boys asked Thursday that the state’s highest court review the charges, an unusual legal maneuver that could scuttle or delay the trial. Click here to read.
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44 Responses to “Lawyers Ask PA High Court to Step In”

  1. “”The continuation of this criminal prosecution will have grave and immediate public implications,” wrote attorneys Thomas Bergstrom, Jeffrey Lindy, and Alan Tauber. “It is impossible to predict how many practicing Catholics and members of the Catholic clergy will be affected by this trial.”

    Oh, I can answer that: ALL OF US.

    • Yes, Charles, I agree, we Catholics ALL will be affected. What they don’t realize, though, is that many of us Catholics are HOPING for convictions across the board. That’s the kind of “affect” the Church, especially its leaders, needs and what Catholics need as well as what many want.

    • How many have been affected?(will be is future tense – afraid you will lose the rest of the Catholics?)
      So they claim that they have been unfairly charged, yet they are appealing to the highest court in the state to review the charges instead of letting the lower courts try the case. Remember Roman Catholics, its the Archdiocese delaying the court date not the victims. They, the Archdiocese, aren’t arguing innocence, but that the law was flawed before 2007.

      As usual, guilt of these men is not the issue they are using whatever means possible not to reveal the truth.

  2. To ask the High Court to step in…. to relieve Msgr Lynn of both indictments and charges of Child endangerment ( see very extensive horrifying coverage, of Msgr Lynn. ‘s reported behaviour on BOTH the GRAND JURY reports for 2005 AND 2011 in the RESOURCES link at top of the page,) is frankly, unbelievable.

    No matter how creative the AB’s attorneys are….it is incomprehensible that this man should not be tried in a court of law. To not do so would literally make the annals of historical injustice, and is unthinkable.

  3. “… the high court will act quickly…” and “… winning one is rare…”

    Say a prayer, folks. I think we have this one in the bag.

  4. With the John Jay report making it’s way down here, the findings in all this will and other’s “creativity”, attempt to run with it too.
    It certainly won’t do the decent clergy fighting for credibility any favours either.

  5. Catholics will use whatever corrupt political means possible to continue to hide these crimes.

    The DA, Seth Williams, who is supposed to be prosecuting this case, is Catholic. The defense is hoping that the Supreme court has Catholic sympathizers. There were Catholic sympathizers in Kansas City who allowed Bishop Finn to get off after leaving a known pedophile around children for a year after he got a memo from a school principal. Finn then destroyed evidence, giving the computer full of child porn to the pedophile’s family.

    The Philly Archdiocese’s defense now throws a Hail Mary pass to appeal to a higher court, undoubtedly hoping a Catholic will let the whole case go, or that a congregation fighting against school closings will rally around them.

    After all, its only organized child sex abuse. God’s still letting them all into heaven.

    If this were a corporation like Walmart or McDonald’s, and employees were raping thousands of children citywide or worldwide, and the management knew about it, and they moved those pedophiles around to rape others, people would boycott them and have every manager thrown in jail.

    Instead, its the mafia, and people are afraid of the mafia. This mafia won’t kill you, but they can tell you that they can send you to hell, and some people believe them.

    • Speaking of hell. I still shudder when I recall a young boy [now an adult] reliving his abuse as a 10 year old, in the Confessional saying to the priest: “Bless me father for I have committed a sin against impurity”, the priest responded: “who with Owen”, he responded, “With you father”. The priest responded,”What a priest does to a child is not a mortal sin. But if you tell anyone it will be a mortal sin, and if you die you would go to the fires of hell.
      Reporter Paul Ransley, Bad Habits: Sex and the Catholic Church.
      David Owen was taken from his unmarried mother as an infant and placed in an orphanage run by religious sisters.

    • You’re right Patrick! “Catholics will use whatever corrupt political means possible to continue to hide these crimes.”

      The actions of the Church are going to have the same effects as the Marines urinating on Taliban corpses. Both behaviors are going to radicalize the moderates!

      Each day I come closer to your position. My disgust for the leadership of the RCC is starting to take on the characteristics of hatred.

      • Drwho, I will be honest,that disappoints me. I don’t see from your comments where you would be one to feed into the use of blanket statements for an entire group. Patrick says “catholics will use whatever corrupt political means possible to continue to hide these crimes”. The reason I take offense is that being here in Philly I know the amount of people who are Catholic who have actually been part of the prosecution efforts. I also know it is Catholics who have funded the current lobbying efforts for SOL reform in Harrisburg.
        The overwhelming apathy of many Catholics is true,many go about like nothing has happened. I will agree with both you and Patrick on that. But if I get stuck in that anger,it takes energy from the other work I CAN do on behalf of victims and children. Turn your hatred into something productive, remember the quote from John Salveson about outrage.

      • Kathy you’re correct. I was a bit quick on the trigger with my post. I certainly didn’t mean “all Catholics,” but the official RC leadership has me furious!

        The other day it was Chaput’s and Dolan’s remarks supporting the Catholic League’s statement on sexual abuse victims, now this. I’m just having an increasingly hard time being charitable with our Catholic “leadership,” and I particularly dislike these two cardinals!

      • Kathy, please tell me how to phrase this in a way that is more acceptable.

        There are 1.5 million Catholics in Philadelphia. Based on the outspoken members at this site, and what I’ve read, I’d guess there might be 150 Catholics that actively oppose the way that the church is and has been hiding rampant child rape. Certainly, victims outnumber active opponents.

        Nonetheless, I did the math, and I can change my posts to say 99.99% of Catholics, even though that seems a little silly to me. If you find 151 opponents, I’ll round up and change it to 99.98%

      • Patrick, you and I have more in common than you may think and you know we both share the same Irish temper and passion. The difference is the approach. I have had to turn off my usual response in order to calmly and thoughtfully inform people. I may end up with an ulcer from squashing my anger at times, but if I have helped people understand what has happened,then so be it.
        Over the past week I have had more phone calls and emails than in the past 9 months. People who knew of my efforts and had not spoken of it to me before. Now the anger in the Archdiocese is at fever pitch and people want information. They want info on the abuse,child protection and the victims, a better understanding of the lack of transparency within the AD. I return every call and email and share what I have learned. I don’t ask why they didn’t care before,I don’t ask where they have been. They are here now. I treat them the same way the victims and advocates treated Susan and I when we arrived on this scene last year,with a warm welcome and encouragement.

      • Words like ” unbelievable, incomphrehensible and unthinkable,” were my first reaction to the AD legal ploy to ask the PA High Court to intervene in the Msgr Lynn case,; a man who had been indicted by the 2011 Grand Jury, and criminally charged with Child Endangerment..and whose track record is clearly available in TWO Grand Jury reports.

        And it wasn’t just me, I think the general reaction of C4C commenters was appalled, each in their own way.

        Then I got to thinking about it and realized that C4C has somewhere around 7000 to 8000 ‘hits’ per week and perhaps many of those visitors are not so familiar with Msgr Lynn, as many of us are.

        But there is a very easy way to correct that. At the top of this blog on a gray line, there is a link titled RESOURCES. When you bring up that link, the first item is 2011 Grand Jury Report. The highlighted link, ‘Final Grand Jury Report’ will bring the report up and on page 43 you will find, HOW MSGR. LYNN ENDANGERED CHILDREN.

        If that’s not enough data for you, and there is lots of it, then you can go back to the RESOURCES link and bring up the SECOND Grand Jury report, this one is dated 2005, and Bishop Accountability has devided this report into sections. Section III, ‘Overview of Cover-Up by Archdiocesan Officials’ ALSO details Msgr Lynn’s behaviour.

      • Kathy,

        You and I fight differently. I fight like I’m fighting a unified, organized crime empire of child rapists and liars, which they absolutely are. I fight like child rape is one of the most evil crimes imaginable, and its worse if you think you were raped by Christ on earth, and priests make you think its your fault. I fight like priests and bishops are not leaders of God’s church, since Jesus would never, ever fight the victims of child rape in His church.

        I also fight like its a billion against a million, and most of those million are quiet.

        I have angrily informed people, and they get disturbed. And they should.

        You are entitled to your way, but it takes longer, and it isn’t necessarily better.

      • Patrick, I am not claiming that what I do is right. But you say you are fighting -who the Church? Well good luck with that.And when people get disturbed -is it with you or the crimes of child rape? Again big difference -actually huge difference. You want to take on a 2,000 year institution with over a few hundred million members. You constantly say how upset you are with the apathy of Catholics (I agree) so to me that says not many people have heard your message.I have realized that while I can complain about the Church,the only real result will come from the change in laws,not lie detector tests or dungeons
        for priests or thinking I can convince people to leave the Church -just not my style.

      • Patrick,when you angrily inform people…then what. What do these people do? Get angry? great ..how is that helping a victim or child? How do you measure your success? I am serious when I ask that question. What we do is work with a group of law enforcment,advocates,mental health and survivors that have already been successful in changing some laws in Pa in the past few years. As a matter of fact these changes are what has been successful in having the CURRENT trials and charges move forward. That is success Patrick,that is holding people criminally responsible for crimes against children. And the more laws we can change,the better children are protected and the organizations that hide and cover up for perpetrators are exposed. So if you want to go around getting people angry that is your right,I will focus geeting people active to protect children.

      • And as I continue my rebuttal to Patrick…ha! The work I do will also help ALL children. Patrick you have made yourself quite clear in previous statements that were beyond offensive, about how clergy child sex abuse is “different” and ‘worse”than other child sex abuse.Tell that to a child who was raped by their father -it would have been worse if they were raped by a priest. I became involved in this because of the Church and the laws I am working towards will expose the Church and hopefully see some people thrown in jail. In addition the laws will help all children in Pa. It is a win-win.

  6. Michael Skiendzielewski Reply January 13, 2012 at 3:20 pm

    Wait a minute here…………….Parishioners are footing the bill for this petition to the PA Supreme Court????

    All are advised to live by this motto:

    “If we cannot trust you (Archdiocesan leadership) with out children, we certainly cannot trust you with our money (contributions, donations, Sunday collections).”

    • Just so everyone is aware…

      The AD is doing this, not victims.

      The AD is putting your money red and letting it ride. If it works out, the AD will win big financially (and therefore benefit themselves, not the church, again) and if they lose…well, it was your money anyway.

      Know who loses no matter what in this situation? The victims. They get another dose of a hierarchy throwing up road blocks to justice and healing with the laity’s dime, regardless of the outcome.

      Laity? Anything you want to tell your hierarchy about this move?

    • Because many priests have been exposed as rapists, Because the hierarchy has been exposed as bigoted incompetents, Because many schools are closing and education is in jeopardy, the curtain has now been drawn and we see what the church that we were born into has become.

      Yet, some parents continue to send their children to catholic school. I understand the rational, but I do not understand the principle. But that’s neither here nor there because I don’t have kids so I have no horse in that race. (Although I did go to a Catholic college; but by the time you get to that level the brainwashing is already done.)

      What I would like to know, however, is why people continue to drop money into the basket at their parish. Why are people enabling rapists?

      • Charles…it’s so complicated.

        I don’t attend the catholic church any more, and in my final years there, I couldn’t support it.

        Our oldest went through catholic school, I taught in it…I supported the bare minimum until she finished.

        BUT, I have family that contribute. It’s not an easy thing to quit supporting your church when you’ve been told it’s connected to eternity. They’ve been convinced that in order to have a mass said for a dearly departed, you have to pay? When I asked my pastor (from another denomination) to have a service in memory of a loved one, he laughed at me when I asked what I had to pay. Everything comes at a price…light a candle, pay a quarter. It seems so strange to me now. lol

        The buildings still need to operate, the lights and heat and a new roof all need to be taken care of…and they still feel it’s their church. They feel they need to support their church…it’s their CHURCH.

        I don’t see it as a healthy thing though…it reminds me of parents giving their adult children (who gamble) money. Or pay their light bill because the child has squandered their own. I understand why parents do it…it’s their CHILD…they don’t want to see them hurting…ultimately, they don’t want to witness the adult child feel the consequences of their actions because it will hurt, not only the child, but THEM to watch it. So, they pay…thinking they are “only” keeping the lights on, or heat, or whatever. And not once does the child feel the consequences of their actions until the money stops.

        I’m sure there are many reasons why people still contribute.

      • The Catholics that drop money in the basket do so, in my opinion, because they were told to do so by people wearing priest outfits, which the bible called “sheep’s clothing”. Therefore, it doesn’t matter that God has proven that they are

        – child rapists
        – proven liars
        – those who maintain a vigorous fight against those that were raped

        and there are fewer than 25 worldwide who have spoken up against their practices. Most of those 25 have been thrown out of the church.

      • Forgive the repittion, but as I read these ‘money’ comments, I keep thinking about Jason Berry’s, Render Unto Rome. He is a very sophisticated and competent author. He researched the book for many years, and to the best of my knowledge, no one has covered Church finance, the interface of abuse issues and the interplay of the hierarchy and money in the way that Berry has.

        I personally hope that bookstores and libraries in Philly are getting requests for this book!

      • Charles – You asked “What I would like to know, however, is why people continue to drop money into the basket at their parish.”

        I believe that the answer rest in the fact that we have been thoroughly indoctrinated (brainwashed!). When you’re told from an early age, “the RCC is the ONLY TRUE Church;” and “there is NO salvation outside of the RCC.” it is psychologically very difficult to change that belief.

        It comes down to the fact that we believe that the Catholic Church is the only church that’s selling valid tickets for seats in heaven. When a person believes that, the clergy has a tremendous amount of control over that individual.

        One always has that lingering question; what if they’re (the RCC) right? Do I dare take the chance? That money goes into the collection basket because of fear. We are hedging our bets. Many people do not want to take any chances when it comes to eternity.

        The RCC is the master of fear; they’ve been at it for 2,000!years.

      • Cradle Catholics have been reared on the knee of their mothers to offer up their trials tribulations and sufferings to the crucified Christ. In doing so, they continue to look up.
        Spiritual inheritance is hard to relinquish.
        It really is a terrible tragedy, I’m not a cradle Catholic, and I feel sorry for myself, rearing my children in the same manner.

      • Thanks to all for your insight into this odd phenomenon of continued giving to what amounts to a criminal enterprise. I, too, have family who continue to give $$ and they remind me that it is one of the “Seven Commandments of the Church” to “support your parish” and that by not giving I am being sinful. I’m not too concerned.

      • Charles, the best I can figure out on the Church contribution/attendance front, is that a recent NCR study indicates that 25% of US population identifies as Catholic, however only about a third attend mass regularly, 10% of the US population have left the Church, making that 10% the second largest religious group in the nation.

        Jason Berry suggests that Catholics give significantly less than Protestants…proportionately…he thinks that is because Protestants have fiscal accountability and some control in their system, which clearly, Catholics don’t.

        As to ‘enabling rapists’ I very much doubt that the average catholic STILL there on a Sunday morning, sees his or her contribution in that light.

        Do I think that folks in the pew should hold the hierarchy accountable for their appalling behaviour relative to cover ups of sexual abuse of minors to say nothing of not revealing records of such abuse or their absolutely unacceptable treatment of abuse victims, you can bet your bottom dollar on that one!!!!! And the AD is ground zero on that one, right now, which is why the Msgr Lynn situation is so significant. If he is tried for Child Endangerment, it will be a national first in the ‘passing on predators’ issue. It is hugely important!!!

      • And, Charles, I missed a couple points on that posting that I should have made.

        When I said that Msgr Lynn’s trial was, a national first….what I should have said, was such a trial would be the first time in the US, that a diocesan official with ‘management’ responsibilities for predator passing on was actually being held accountable, in the courts.

        We have all seen priests held accountable for their behaviour, but to this date bishops have gotten a ‘prosecutorial pass’ for passing on predators in a number of states. And Msgr. Lynn operated on behalf of bishops, indeed cardinals, and his behaviour as reported in the Grand Jury Reports for 2005 AND 2011 was disgusting….which is why I keep referring folks to the RESOURCES section at the top of this blog, to read both GRAND JURY reports and see Msgr.’s behaviour as reported by BOTH Grand Jury panels!!!!

      • Joan,

        Its a running joke that the Catholic church will lie to protect their reputation, so you have to be wary of their numbers.

        If you really want to see what percentage of people are practicing Catholics, here’s my test. Go into your local church, and figure out the capacity, since it was built with the idea of holding all of the Catholics in that area. As I remember, they used to have about 6 masses a week.

        Now go to the most popular mass (usually Sunday at 11) and count the people that are there. You don’t even have to estimate – you can count every one quickly enough. Multiply by the number of masses that they have now (usually 4).

        I did this last weekend at the Holy Cross church in Boston, which is Boston’s biggest church. The church holds 1700, so with 6 masses, it used to be able to hold 10,000. The 11:00 mass was embarrassing, holding 150. Multiply by 4 masses a day, and you get 600, or about 6%.

        There are problems with this, since

        – population has gone up since churches were built
        – other masses don’t have as many people as the 11:00 mass
        – I don’t remember if most masses used to be full
        – masses are probably more full on a beautiful day right after Christmas than they are in the summer

        However, its a test anyone can easily do to show that 90% of Catholics say they are Catholics, but don’t really practice.

        Just like their leaders.

      • That was a very creative effort, Patrick….mass attendance wise!

        I went back and checked the NCR figures and 31% of Catholics apparently attend mass weekly. (another 20 % sometimes during the month).

        If you take the 25% US folks who identify as Catholics and multiply the 31% there regularly on a Sunday, I come up with 7.75 of US folks in a Catholic Church, on a given Sunday.

        I do like your method, though!

      • Joan, I haven’t had time to read Barry’s book yet but was skimming through it yesterday. I saw where he referenced that worldwide contributions had risen consistently in the years since the abuse was brought to light. INCREASED. I know in Philadelphia we had a capitol campaign that raised $200 million a few years after the first grand jury report. That is why I choose to not put my effort there. When they announced the campaign,I
        thought it was the craziest thing I ever heard and was sure it would be a colossal failure ,it was an overwhelming success. John Salveson of FACSA ,himself a clergy sex abuse survivor is very clear on where people can make a difference – legislation. The analogy he uses often makes sense in reference to the Church not changing. He says you can go to the hardware store everyday hoping to buy a gallon of milk but you will never be successful -the hardware store doesn’t sell milk. Exactly -don’t keep going to where there will not be results, go around it, above it, below it, anywhere but focusing your efforts on something that will never happen.

      • Charles, maybe the the clergy have MasterCards, they never seem to go without.
        Then there’s what they receive on the side, as in masses [healing family tree’s?] baptisms, marriages, funerals, retreats, there are a lot of tax exemption perks in the priesthood.

  7. S. Reid Warren, III Reply January 13, 2012 at 8:44 pm

    I do not find Patrick’s comments over the top as some might. Some believe that maintaining faith, still attending church, praying and working from the “inside” is the best way to go. Others believe that those efforts, however devout or “Christ-like” are simply not enough. There is room for righteous indignation as well as praying. And ee must all remember that the story of Christ upending the tables of the money lenders in the Temple has remained as one of the enduring stories of the Bible. There are different kinds of actions to achieve ends and we choose those which we seriously believe will get the job done.

    Reid

    • I think passion is absolutely necessary especially when any issue involves children. My point that I always make is if you attack people -they walk away. Simple as that. And when I do feel extremely passionate about something, ,I have to get involved,take action, work on an issue. I can’t just get stuck in the anger cycle.

  8. I think that rationality and objectivity are good and useful. However, when they distance us from our own existential predicaments, they hinder our authenticity.

    Perhaps one of the greatest problems in the world, today, and exhibited by many Catholics in regards to the sex abuse crisis, is a lack of passion. I think that the lack of passion should make us all more tolerant of the many kinds or forms or expressions of passion.

    (Ok, Patrick, don’t say I never did anything for you!)

  9. I agree with your statement, hadit, about the “lack of passion.” I see more (alot more) passion from Philadelphians (many of them Catholic) over one football game than over this entire Church sex abuse crisis. What is the matter with our society? With our laity? Does it have to happen to someone in their own family for people to care?

    • Jackie, if there is any way you can get folks to simply read ‘Section I Overview, And Sections II and III Sex abuse of Billy and Mark’ in the 2011 Grand Jury report in the RESOURCES section at the top of the page, I don’t think the reader could remain detached.

      These sections frankly made me nauseous when I first read them, the oral and anal rape, the basically, gang rape….a very tough read.

      But folks in the AD really need to know what has been going on in THEIR Archdiocese. They need to fully understand how just how evil the situation is, and who permitted or perpetuated it.

      There is no excuse for ignorance. The data is RIGHT HERE, at the top of THIS PAGE.

    • Jackie said:
      “What is the matter with our society? With our laity? Does it have to happen to someone in their own family for people to care?”

      What indeed?!
      I still check in on EWTN “Catholic Radio” to see what kind of questions are asked. In the midst of this sex abuse crisis the questions invariably are on “other issues” like “did Fr. perform the mass according to canon law?”. When a caller from Philly was on I hoped to hear a question related to the crisis but it was “when was the last apparition of Mary?”

      • Those calls are screened.

        I’ve called in before. They ask the caller what they will be discussing and if it borders on too risky, they then ask for specifics of what you will be discussing.

        My guess is that the calls about clergy sex abuse never make the airwaves. Some “higher up” is not allowing this topic to be discussed from within.

        In order to heal this must be an open topic. If they won’t allow open dialogue about this topic, people will find an avenue to process this. Enter the media.

      • Why bother with Catholic Radio, why not use normal call-in radio programs….Catholics listen to them too, and I suspect the kind of catholic that wants to know about apparitions or Fathers canonical correctness at mass is not open to a discussion of abuse concerns or clerical change.

  10. SW posted: “Those calls are screened.

    I’ve called in before. They ask the caller what they will be discussing and if it borders on too risky, they then ask for specifics of what you will be discussing.

    My guess is that the calls about clergy sex abuse never make the airwaves. Some “higher up” is not allowing this topic to be discussed from within.

    In order to heal this must be an open topic. If they won’t allow open dialogue about this topic, people will find an avenue to process this. Enter the media.

    True– I did however get on recently [John Martignoni’s show] and inquired about the apathy and disinterest of callers, and of his show. As I recall, his response was similar to what one would expect from someone like Bill Donohue, e.g., the media is bashing the church, and the RCC has abuse than Public schools, etc. etc.

  11. Correction: RCC has less abuse than Public schools, etc. etc.

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