18 thoughts on “Judge Rules Bevilacqua Competent

    1. Jerry,

      Does this ruling change at all your original assessment of what you perceived to be the direction of the Lynn case? Namely, the plea deal you seemed to expect.

      Good news ruling, everyone!

      1. Hadit, please see my comment to Kathy below. I expect a plea deal by March 26. I hope not, unless it requires the AD to fully disclose its confidential files and makes Bevilaqua’s video deposition publicly available. The judge, after a year of lawyers’ evasive tactics, has in effect ruled the AD’s files are relevant.

        The interests of justice and Philly children’s safety require their public release. The AD should not be permitted to keep them secret, whether by paying off Lynn or otherwise.

        Almost a decade after the 2003 grand jury investigation and many more children having been abused, it is time for the criminal justice system to function at last.

      2. Well as long as we are reviewing our pre-trial predictions: I renew my prediction that before the trial starts, Lynn will be transferred to Rome and given a post with diplomatic immunity (a la Mr Law lately of Boston, now of Vatican City). With apologies to Cole Porter: Hey it’s the Church, Anything Goes!

  1. My favorite quote from the Inquirer article regarding Bevilaqua’s testimony:

    “Prosecutors maintain that the evidence is necessary to help the jury understand how pedophile priests were able to prey upon their young parishioners and, after being exposed, get transferred to other parishes to repeat the conduct.”

    FINALLY, The passing on of predators is “going public.”

  2. I realize that Bevilaqua’s testimony is not going to break the case wide open BUT we have to remember the precedent this trial is setting. The judge did not allow the defenses claim of incompetency on behalf of Bevilaqua and also not just abusive priests, but upper management (LYnn) are being held accountable in criminal court. That is what needs to happen -the message that sends -they are not above the law.

    1. Kathy, for what it is worth, my legal sense is that in order to keep the pressure on the AD to give Lynn the future financial support he likely is demanding (as part of plea bargaining that seems clearly underway), Bevilaqua is being kept in the case for now.

      The AD will try to hold out to pressure Lynn to avoid nailing Bevilaqua and the AD. But the AD likely will fold before the March 26 trial date to avoid disclosing its potentially explosive confidential files and antagonizing Lynn permanently . It is highly unlikely that Bevilaqua will ever serve prison time no matter what happens.

      To protect Philly kids, the DA and judge should require as a condition of any plea deal that the AD’s full files and Bevilaqua’s video deposition be publicly disclosed, but they may not require this, which will be most regrettable.

      In a democracy where trials, especially of powerful people, are supposed to be public, it would be indefensible not to make Bevilaqua’s deposition public, especially since the judge has already ruled he was competent and his testimony is legally admissible.

      What is really puzzling is why Rigali is not being criminally investigated? He was pressed by the grand jury investigation to suspend over 20 priests last year and has been accused of multiple deceptions by his review board chairwoman .

      The AD’s apparent clout over the criminal justice system is simply astonishing to me.

  3. Starting to think this case will never go to trial. Lynn will be asked to fall on the sword and cut a deal in order to save the PHL church… Should Lynn take the stand he would have to tell the truth; the whole truth and swear to it under oath. That being said Lynn does not take the stand in his own defense. …”IF” and that is a BIG if, Lynn were smart he would give up the others within the church for a deal as we all know others knew what was going on….. We Catholics are not to smart here folks as we know how we can force an end to problems and move on. STOP putting $$$$$$$$$$$$ in the collection plate… Yes your local parish will feel the pain however in the end we might just come away from this as better people… If you feel you have to give go out and get a gift card (Visa, Amex, etc.) and throw it into the collection plate. Your local parish will thank you and the folks in Philadelphia will hear you as gift cards can not be deposited into an account…….Come on now think about you mindless Sunday worshipers..

    1. I appreciate your gift card thought, very creative…but I still like the idea of folks simply putting a note in the collection plate that indicates their feelings on the matter.

      If 5% of Philly Catholics did that, my guess is that the AD would get the message.

    2. I can never understand how a clergyman, can swear under oath, plead not guilty yet found to be.
      I recall speaking to a lawyer, appearing for one, who was so guilty I was surprised he could even walk straight, and asked why he didn’t, as a practicng Catholic advise him to plead guilty and free himself.
      His response was “the law doesn’t work that way”.
      I know for a fact, there have been those who would’ve pleaded guilty, but put under pressure not too, and that’s not fair.

  4. Judge Sarmina ruled retired Archbishop Bevilacqua competent to testify at trial. Wait a minute, I thought William Sasso, the Cardinal’s long-time personal counsel, claimed that he was NOT competent to testify at the upcoming proceedings, due to his age and medical conditions.

    Who are you going to believe, parishioners of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia? Let’s not forget it has been our donations and contributions over these many years that have been paying for William Sasso’s services as Cardinal Bevilacqua’s personal attorney.

    Let us all thank Mr. Sasso for a job well done. Without his able representation of his client, Cardinal Bevilacqua, and that of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia by his highly-regarded law firm, Stradley and Ronon, we as an archdiocese of parishioners would not be where we are today in January 2012. Mr. Sasso and his expert legal team has made all of these revelations, legal proceedings, depositions, civil suits and criminal proceedings possible.

    Now you see why he is affectionately identified as an “Innocence Protector”.

  5. I believe the AD’s law firm will continue to do everything they can to avoid disclosure of their confidential files. The people of the AD will pay for this secret keeping. This secret keeping is the continuation of the vile tactics that the AD uses against the people who will dare to question the workings of the hierarchy of the AD of Philly–OR ANY ARCHDIOCESE FOR THAT MATTER!!!

    Sexual abuse of children and vulnerable adults is only one of the vile behaviors of the RCC!!

    Remember, with God’s help, what happens in Philly WILL NOT STAY IN PHILLY BUT WILL ENCOURAGE ALL THE PEOPLE OF GOD TO DEMAND THAT THE RCC ACCEPT THAT THEY ARE NOT THE LAW. The RCC is subject to the laws of the land as is any other organization!

  6. Charles, I’ve been waiting for someone else to bring up the diplomatic immunity bit.
    And they say the law is equal among men.
    Show me where a layman would have the same escape route, not that it has any spiritual benefit, having to meet their makers with additional yokes around necks no dispensation can remove.

  7. And…HERE we go…spinning Cardinal Bevilaqua’s death into a hint of conspiracy..Wow. that is not what was expected. ..I merely thought the self righteous attacks would be forthcoming and likely they willl. I would strongly suggest that the moderators of this site carefully watch as it has certainly become a very ugly excuse for what i think it might have started out to be..??? you only have the same people ranting and raving about the same thing over and over…and bring up absurd stuff/off topic bashing of the church ..BUT who am I to say? I make allowances for the age of some people and their obvious out of control anger…HOWEVER…there are many that comment here who must think that they will not be judged for anything they have said or done in their lives. AMAZING.

    1. Cardinal Bevilacqua was very ill. I’m not at all surprised he passed away. He did not suffer from dementia. He will answer to God as we all do. I hope comments focus on the impact this will have on the trial.

    2. Senga, the thought of conspiracy at his death did not cross my mind given his age. However, there is no level too low for these slithering members of the Synagogue of Satan. I challenge anyone to read David Yallop’s book, In God’s Name and not come away with the clear understanding that Pope John Paul I was murdered by priests inside the Vatican on day 33 of his pontificate, in 1978. Magee, the pedophile protecting Irish prelate was right there at his bedside at his death. Oh, what short memories people have.

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