Lawyers claim Cistone ‘has done nothing wrong’

Excerpt from “Lawyers accuse Saginaw priest of lying about witnessing the destruction of documents related to sexual assault cover up,” by Brad Devereaux, MLive, February 29, 2012.

“William Winning of the law firm Cozen and O’Connor that represents Rev. Cistone said it is important to realize that his client is not being charged and that the judge denied the court filing that mentions Cistone soon after it was presented.

Cistone has not been subpoenaed to appear as a witness, Winning said. If he is subpoenaed, he will appear in court and continue to cooperate with authorities as he has done throughout the case, Winning said.

“If he is subpoenaed, he will gladly come to Philadelphia,” Winning said. “In my view and the view of others, he has done nothing wrong.”


45 Responses to “Lawyers claim Cistone ‘has done nothing wrong’”

  1. More mystical smokescreens!! Given the new discovery of the smoking gun, Cistone has not been subpoened YET; he likely will be soon. It is telling that Cistone will only speak if subpoened, that is, forced legally to respond.

    Judge Sarmina’s dismissal of Lynn’s motion is irrelevant to Cistone’s being Bevilacqua’s accomplice.

    Cistone got his reward; he is a bishop. Papal business as usual!

    If Saginaw Catholics want to continue to have as a bishop someone who (1) hides behind his lawyer, (2) refuses to explain his Philly actions, and (3) does not even deny he followed orders to help shred a list of 35 suspected pedophile priest predators, then Saginaw Catholics are needlessly taking big risks, especially for their children.

    If Cistone cannot provide a satisfactory explanation, the pope should remove him forthwith, just like the Australian bishop that the pope removed, with Chaput’s help, for daring merely to ask for dialogue about married and female priests to alleviate the priest shortage.

    It is time for the pope to put up or shut up! Innocent children’s lives remain at risk.

    • Jerry, when you get a chance, Please read my blog under understanding child sexual abuse straight from the survivors. I had you as well as others in mind when I wrote it. You are an amazing man, I feel so grateful for your honest imput as I know others do as well. Thank you for being our go to lawyer.

      • Vicky, I added a reply under your earlier comment.

        Don’t be too grateful about my lawyering, though. I haven’t sent my legal bill yet! LOL

        I use LOL because I can’t figure out yet how to get the “Smiley Face” into a blog comment. So much for “smart lawyers”!

    • Jerry, you are absolutely correct. The pope removes a bishop for suggesting a married clergy, women priests, etc., none of which imperil the well-being of the Church. However, he does nothing about bishops who have abetted the cover-up, or have been untruthful and cruel in their treatment of victims. As the Italians say, “the fish always stinks from the head”.

  2. “If he is subpoenaed, he will gladly come to Philadelphia,” Lets take up an offering to buy his client a one way ticket to Philadelphia…How do these men look at themselves in the mirror knowing they put children at risk.

  3. One theme of the sexual abouse crisis in the RCC is that those who attend and participate in liturgies seem to believe they no obligation to address the crisis. To me that is what allows administrators to behave in the manner they do.

    Who was it who said that evil flourishes when people stand by and do nothing. However, there is no mechanism in the RCC, for parishoners to dialog with their priests to say nothing of dialoging with the hierarchy. Perhaps that is one thing to try to establish in these challenging days.

    Some of us remember when the celebrant quickly exited into the sacristy after the Mass; now at least the celebrant stands at the door to greet his fellow celebrants. Does progress need to be as slow as it is going in the RCC?

    • Elizabeth….I think FutureChurch has a website where you can send your bishop an e mail and many parishes have websites.

      I am not convinced that these methods will work…sadly, I suspect it’s going to be the law, and media…no accident that this blog topic relates to a bishop and shredding.

      • Joan and Eizabeth, I think by now bishops and their aides, as well as media types and lawyers, read C4C by now on a regular basis. Where else can they get a better read on what a broad cross-section of concerned Catholics are thinking– 24/7 no less!

        I often comment assuming and hoping they will read it.

        On top of being nice women, Susan and Kathy are quickly becoming media magnates! Let’s hope we don’t lose them to the NY Times!

    • Elizabeth T,

      Here are the quotes:

      Edmund Burke said, “All that’s necessary for the forces of evil to win in the world is for enough good men to do nothing.”

      Martin Luther King, Jr. said “He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it.”

      Msgr Lynn, secretary for clergy, said to Fr Thomas Shea — who previously admitted sexually abusing two boys — “perhaps you were seduced into it” by his 10-year-old victim.

      The Catholic congregation said nothing.

    • I do not agree with your use of the word crisis because that connotes that it’s something new, or temporary, when, in fact, it has been this way from the beginning. All along, all that you have seen, and much, much more, has been hidden in plain sight. The following quotes are from the book, “The 33 Doctors of the Church”, by the conservative Roman Catholic Rev. Christopher Rengers, OFM Cap.

      Saint Gregory Nazianzen (Roman Catholic Bishop, 329 AD to 390 AD) on page 52: In a section titled “Poet and Friend”, “In a letter reflecting on the joys of their days of prayer and work together at Pontus, St. Gregory wrote to St. Basil: ‘I breathe you more than the air; and I am only alive when I am with you, either in your actual presence or by imagination in your absence.’”

      Saint Ambrose (Roman Catholic Bishop, 337 AD to 397 AD) on page 79: In a section titled “Close to God and Man”, “St. Ambrose was very mortified and austere. He recommended the consecration of human affection to Christ through virginity. Yet at the same time he had an extraordinary love for children … In his later years he brought up the three grandchildren of a friend, maintaining them in the episcopal residence.”

      Saint Jerome (Roman Catholic Bishop, 347 AD to 420 AD) on page 92: In a section titled “Deep Friendships” in a letter to his friend, “Believe me brother, I look forward to seeing you more than the storm-tossed mariner looks for his haven, more than the thirsty fields long for the showers, more than the anxious mother sitting on the curving shore expects her son.”

      Saint Bernard of Clairvaux (Roman Catholic Bishop, 1090 AD to 1153 AD) on page 289: In a section titled “A Man of Strong Friendships” in a letter to a much younger man, “Unhappy man that I am who have not you by me, who cannot see you, who am obliged to live without you for whom to die would be to live, and to live without whom is no better than death! So I do not ask why you left me. I only grieve that you do not return; I do not blame you for going away; I only blame you for not coming back … No doubt it may have been my fault that you left.”

      • Mark you may also want to research Cardinal John Henry Newman and his request to be buried in the same grave with his priest friend who pre-deceased him. He was recently disinterred to reduce the possibility of scandal since Cardinal is up for canonization.

      • Mark, the sexual abuse of children has a long history. Some ancient Greek philosophers tolerated, and may even have condoned, man/boy relationships. Jesus lived in Galilee when it was controlled by a Greek speaking elite. When he spoke of protecting children, he likely had protecting them from pedophiles on his mind.

        All of the Church Doctors you cite were part of the top-down, coercive, hierarchical church structure that Constantine imposed by military power in the early 4th Century. This structure has survived until now, long after Constantine’s imperial successors are gone, except for the Supreme Pontiff in Rome.

        Prior to Constantine, bishops and other church leaders were generally for almost 300 years selected by, and accountable to, the local Catholic faithful. To them, sexual abuse of children was unacceptable and uncommon.

        We need to go back to selecting and removing bishops by the faithful.

        It once was; it can be again.

      • Jerry, in the year 312, the Emperor Constantine faked his vision of the cross solely to increase his political power. By 322, he made Christianity the official religion of the Empire. Until then, it was just a loose collection of believers without central organization. His mother went to Jerusalem and came back with the fake True Cross and the fake Robe (this is well documented in the recent excellent film by a former Catholic priest, called Constantine’s Sword). They faked the bones of the Apostle Peter (long verified as fake by scientific studies); later, they faked the Donation of Constantine, and they faked the Shroud of Turin. In the late 300s, the Emperor Theodocius murdered 20,000 innocent people attending a circus in Thesaloniki because a catamite (a boy sex slave) to the Emperor’s governor (for the region now known as Greece) had gotten caught up in local events to the dismay of the Emperor. Ambrose, the Bishop of Milan, where the Roman Emperor resided, (himself never married and with an avid interest in children), intervened; this led to the Emperor retaining power in spite of being a mass murderer. This is the first known coverup by the Church of pedophilia (and murder). Since then, the church has been used for political purposes. Today in the US, while both main political parties are culpable, here is a link to show the hypocrisy of the party that calls itself the family values party,

  4. One theme of the sexual abuse crisis in the RCC is that those who attend and participate in liturgies seem to believe they no obligation to address the crisis. To me that is what allows administrators to behave in the manner they do.

    Who was it who said that evil flourishes when people stand by and do nothing. However, there is no mechanism in the RCC, for parishoners to dialog with their priests to say nothing of dialoging with the hierarchy. Perhaps that is one thing to try to establish in these challenging days.

    Some of us remember when the celebrant quickly exited into the sacristy after the Mass; now at least the celebrant stands at the door to greet his fellow celebrants. Does progress need to be as slow as it is going in the RCC?

  5. “Winner said he is “somewhat restricted” in commenting because of a gag order and said he could not comment as to whether or not Cistone witnessed the shredding of documents. ”

    Winner is Cistones attorney. Perhaps he should access the recently cited CNN video which SHOWS Malloy’s handwritten and dated note…..for purposes of clarification.

  6. Lawyers always proclaim their clients innocence that is there job. Now I will sit back and wait for the DA to review the transcripts of the two Grand Juries and see if cistone , cullen and others from the archdiocese perjured themselves . The documents that were to be shredded will also cast doubt on cistone’s claim. Someone from the catholic conference of bishops was there to assist in developing a strategy to protect the archdiocese from civil litigation , so that is clear and convincing evidence that the perps were enabled and protected by the hierarchy, subpoena that person I think his name is o’hara . I wonder who will use ‘mental reservation’ ?

    • Unabletotrust, the shredding may not have been technically illegal in 1994 if a criminal case was not pending or imminent. Moreover, the statute of limitations would likely bar a prosecution today.

      Nevertheless, Cistone was clearly wrong in helping to destroy potentially incriminating evidence; instead of acting on it to protect defenseless kids.

      Cistone’s testimony is clearly relevant to establishing Lynn’s course of dealing with pedophile priests, so Seth Williams should subpoena him and find out under oath what he knows.

      Cistone will be forever shamed; as if that even mattered to most bishops.

      • If the document contained a list of pedophile priests with creditable allegations of abusing children it should have been reported to the Police who should have made a decision on the SOL. As the grand jury testimony indicates, that when bevilaqua was asked by the Attorneys why he did not report the perps he responded his attorneys ( stradley ronhan ? sasso ?) advised him he wasn’t obligated to do so, this questions was several times with the same answer from mr. moral authority bevilaqua. I think that the list needs to be made public ASAP . Is it possible that the SOL did not run out on this perps at the time and the archdiocese purposely hid the list to avoid disclosure and criminal / civil action ? The DA needs to go back and investigate what the HON Lynn Abraham started and keep the investigation going until all is uncovered. Given the current information about the despicable behavior of the hierarchy I fined it hard to comprehend that this organization is still supported by catholic customers as they are part of the problem by turning a blind eye and lets not forget Harrisburg, I wonder what politicians are in the grasp of these criminals ?

      • JS,

        Isn’t there something in the law that prevents you from shredding evidence about a crime, or in this case, a conspiracy about a massive crime?

      • . The Archdiocese Did Not Engage In A “Cover-Up.”
        Relying upon inaccurate facts and unsupported inferences, the report accuses the Archdiocese of intentionally concealing known abusers and of knowingly placing them in harm’s way. These allegations are simply wrong. The Archdiocese did not engage in a “cover-up” of the sexual abuse of minors by priests. These conclusions of the District Attorney’s Office are
        supported only by: (1) mere fragments of historic documents and pieces of unrelated testimony, 43

      • Michaels favorite law firm in the link below defends the purity of the AD after the 2005 Grand Jury report was released. It is the AD’s response. I have pulled a few excerpts.

        Most disturbing is the manner in which the District Attorney’s Office levels outlandish accusations of “cover-up” and “concerted efforts to conceal” sexual abuse by priests. Although the report does not formally indict a single person, it seeks to “convict” in the court of public opinion the Archdiocese, two Archbishops, various members of the Church hierarchy over the past fifty (50) years, and countless other priests, religious, and lay persons of participating in an evil conspiracy to hide the sexual abuse of minors. As discussed in greater detail in this response, these charges – based upon half-truths, false assumptions, and innuendo – are categorically false. p 8

        As to clergy sexual abuse, Cardinal Bevilacqua’s tenure was marked by his strong commitment to the protection of children and young people by his no-nonsense approach towards abusers. p 10 

        The Cardinal’s delegation of responsibility to a senior and experienced staff member is wrongly characterized as improper behavior.
        Many of the case histories included in the Report involve priests and incidents of which the Cardinal had little or no first-hand knowledge.  p.36

        . The Archdiocese Did Not Engage In A “Cover-Up
        Relying upon inaccurate facts and unsupported inferences, the report accuses the Archdiocese of intentionally concealing known abusers and of knowingly placing them in harm’s way. These allegations are simply wrong. The Archdiocese did not engage in a “cover-up” of the sexual abuse of minors by priests. These conclusions of the District Attorney’s Office are
        supported only by: (1) mere fragments of historic documents and pieces of unrelated testimony, 43

      • Joan,

        Can we find out exactly who was responsible for writing that memo, and make it public?

        Now that they have conclusive proof that Bevilacqua, Lynn, Cistone, (and Capone, Dillinger, Gambino) all knew about this, everyone should know (and try to prosecute) anyone that was involved in either the cover-up or the public defiance of the cover-up.

    • Jerry, do perjury charges have statutes of limitations? I know the PSU officials in the Sandusky case are criminally charged with perjuring themselves in Grand Jury testimony.

  7. This is a very typical Catholic opinion – “Cistone has done nothing wrong”, even though he knew about 35 known pedophile priests in 1994 who were not removed from ministry (and access to children) until 2011.

    Of course, Cistone had no children, and no concept of children, and the lawyers children weren’t in the presence of any of these 35 known child rapists.

    Christians are supposed to care about other people’s children, but the overwhelming majority of Catholics couldn’t care less.

    (Note that I did not use the blanket statement saying “Catholics couldn’t care less” even though I know the number is over 99%, and will believe that until 1% of Philadelphia Catholics, or 13,000 people, actually do something)

    • Thanks Patrick. I too, was enraged by the comment “he has done nothing wrong”. Cistone (and at least several others) could have stopped these ungodly acts many years/victims ago. Message to all…Just pick up the phone and call police. Save children and save your soul. Protect the innocent, not the guilty.

  8. OUT! I want Cistone OUT until there is clarity on the shredding incident and his purported role in it. More of the same hierarchical modus operandi going on here. NO! The faithful in Saginaw and around the world must insist on his temporary removal.

    • You are right, Hadit. The prima facia case against him is overwhelming. He should be removed now, pending a full and independent investigation.

    • I agree hadit.

      I’m reminding you of your own words to me though…it’s unrealistic to expect from the laity who have been dependent on the hierarchy due a variety of factors…fear, ignorance, etc.

      This is where I think the laity get it all wrong…they sit there like bumps on pickles saying nothing, demanding nothing, doing nothing…and they know the man was fully aware of what he was doing by shredding those documents. They could definitely pressure Cistone to be OUT. Yet, they are complacent. (I pray they act soon.)

      Regardless of the reasons why they may remain complacent, they will be held accountable for allowing this man to continue once they knew he was in on it. The laity had better learn to ACT on the commands by the One they claim to follow…otherwise, they are just as guilty as the man who shredded the documents, as guilty as the bishop who covered himself instead of rushing to the aid of the victim. They are just as guilty if they do nothing.

      • SW, you’re right. I lifted this from a post in the NCR.

        “Father Tom Doyle told us”

        (Submitted by Petrus Romanus (not verified) on Feb. 29, 2012.)

        Father Tom Doyle told us years ago that we will see no (meaningful) change in the Roman church before the demise of the current clerical culture. He so warned more than two generations of American bishops, who shunned both him and his data.

        And meanwhile, it’s Archbishop Dolan who was created cardinal of the Holy Roman Church.

        Yep, more dots to connect . . .”

        Dolan as pope is frighting, and possible. Nothing meaningful is going to happen within the RCC during my lifetime.

      • DrWho,

        A lot could still happen in your lifetime, and you could still have an effect. Don’t underestimate the blessing God gave us with the preservation of truth on the Internet and the power of the individual through social media.

        People will see tangible proof of more horrifying stories of child sex abuse in the Lynn trial and in the Sandusky trial over the next few months, and they will be able to see the effects of it on victims. They will also see the obvious, proven conspiracy to hide and move monsters inside the Catholic church.

        Most Catholics are very passive about the whole thing right now, but when they start to see the breadth and depth of evil in the Catholic church, and a light bulb goes off in their head when they realize that their eternity depends on what they do, a large flock of sheep can change direction quickly.

        Stay healthy, brother, and you will get to see it.

      • Thanks for the encouragement Patrick. I’ll continue doing my part as we all continue hammering away at these freaks.

      • Patrick I agree with your 1% or less statistic, the higher statistic is the amount of people who have left or are one foot out the door. I understand why people leave -it just means that many of those who had the strongest feelings about this are now gone. Some people who have left the Church still voice their opinions etc..but many have just washed their hands of this fiasco out of complete disgust. I understand that -no judgement from me -but now that they are no longer in the Church it diminishes the amount of voices finally speaking up,speaking out.

      • Kathy,you are really right about the loss of many Catholics who were and are disgusted and have ‘moved on’ …I know some of them, and they had been phenomenal, and their loss is significant.

        But as we celebrate, and we do, the first birthday of C4C….I think you are accessing ‘new recruits’ and giving everyone an arena for comment….and that is a big deal!

    • Odds are slim for removing Cistone since Bishop Finn is criminally charged for failure to mandatory report and is still very much the Bishop in Kansas City.

      • Kathy, Patrick, UnToTr, et al, you guys are on a roll, Amen!

        If there is no criminal investigation underway, it is not a crime to shred documents generally. Once a case is imminent, it is a crime that can be prosecuted until the applicable statute of limit. runs.

        If years later, one lies under oath about the earlier shredding (even if that shredding were not illegal), that is a new crime of perjury with a new stat. of limit. and can be prosecuted.

        Seth Williams should now put Cistone, Cullen, Rigali, Chaput, et al. under oath and ask them what the knew and know. If they lie, it will be a new crime. Since Lynn’s testimony and newly found AD docs could contradict them, they will likely be truthful.

        Finally, the cause of Bevilacqua’s death is mainly a media distraction. Judge Sarmina has his testimony and should make it publicly available now. Thank God for video recorders!

        So what is Seth waiting for?

      • Kathy, the Bevil Devils crimes are much worse than Finn’s, as bad as his was. Most states have no broad laws mandating reporting.

        Finn’s state has one and he delayed for several months reporting on a pedophile priest who took pictures of young kids. Serious, yes; but nothing like the Bevil Devil’s two decade cover-up of dozens of pedophile priests, many of whom were multiple offenders.

        For that reason, Seth Williams can and must pursue the Bevil Devils with every prosecutorial tool he can employ.

        Separately, I hope C4C bloggers will consider e-mailing the Saginaw reporter who wrote the above article , Brad Devereaux, at to tell him to keep on top of the Cistone story.

        It can’t hurt to send an appropriate e-mail.

      • What a really good political organizing idea, Jerry! my compliments.

      • Joan, it is too late to try sweet-talking me. I listen to the Beach Boys and am wary of Californians. My legal bill is already in the mail. LOL

      • Not bad Jerry…do you need my mailing address?

  9. From Matthew 10: 26-27 > “Have no fear of them, for nothing is covered up that will not be uncovered, and nothing secret that will not become known. What I say to you in the dark, tell in the light; and what you hear whispered, proclaim from the housetops.”

  10. This song has become a prayer for me ever since I attended my first friday vigil. Kathy in an earlier blog said that she felt invisible standing at the 222 building with our survivors as the people from the AD office passed us including some priests. I think this blog has made our survivors more visible and for that I am thankful.Peace.

  11. Lynn’s recent defense Motion to Dismiss….makes interesting reading:,0,4657013.htmlpage

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