Archdiocese Fights to Keep Lawyers’ Advice On Abuse Allegations Out of Trial

Breaking News: Click here to read – “Archdiocese fights to keep 12 documents out of Lynn trial,” by John P. Martin, The Philadelphia Inquirer, March 19, 2012.

Excerpt: “The Archdiocese of Philadelphia fought Monday to keep private 12 documents that could reveal how its lawyers advised church leaders to handle claims that priests were molesting children.

The records include correspondence between the lawyers and Msgr. William J. Lynn, the church official criminally charged over his alleged role in responding to abuse allegations in the 1990s….”

29 thoughts on “Archdiocese Fights to Keep Lawyers’ Advice On Abuse Allegations Out of Trial

  1. From the article: The archdiocese “has a dog in the fight in the civil cases, and needs to protect its position,” Welsh told Judge M. Teresa Sarmina.

    What Gospel message is this reflecting? or beatitude, or Spiritual/Corporal Works of Mercy,or commandment,or parable …… and on and on we go.

    1. Blessed are they who protect their dog in the fight, for they shall stay out of bankruptcy…
      Kathy I’m sure the AD is prayerfully considering the messages of the Gospel as they hold back the documents -it’s all about “what would Jesus do?”!

    2. Jerry, please comment on the various roles of legal folks. Presumably, Lynn has defense counsel, the prosecution is thoroughly represented…but these players for the AD …Welsh et al…how do they factor in? Are they part of Lynn’s team…or a third group representing separate interests.

      I am at sea, awash in confusion…Joan

      1. THe AD lawyers at the hearing want 12 documents to be kept out of the trial, apparently 9 of the 12 were written by Lynn and they could deal with lawyers advice to the AD on treatment of kids and abuse issues.

        Lynn’s lawyers at the hearing are requesting the release of these ldocuments.

        AND YET the AD ‘s lawyers argue that these papers won’t help Lynn anyway as Lynn CAN’T USE the ‘ Lawyers made me do it argument’ (see the comments of the ADs atty, Welsch, below)

        ‘Welsh noted that Lynn is charged with child endangerment, one of the crimes in which state law prohibits defendants from arguing that they were acting under an attorney’s advice. He also argued that the materials at issue aren’t the kind that could prove Lynn’s innocence, one of the exceptions to the privilege rule.’

        AND YET
        ‘Lynn’s lawyers, Thomas Bergstrom and Jeffrey Lindy, said that he wrote nine of the 12 memos in question when he worked in church administration and that it was unfair for the archdiocese to block his access to them days before trial.’

        SO what gives here? If the 12 docs won’t help Lynn, why does he want them? WHAT IS IN THESE DOCS THAT MAKES THE AD NOT WANT TO RELEASE THEM AND THE LYNN TEAM WANT THEM RELEASED…..?

      2. I am really hoping that Jerry will comment on the array of attorneys and their functions. It would appear that Lynn has his guys Bergstrom and Lindy, and the AD has Welsh….And the prosecution has its guys…

        And the AD’s lawyers are fighting the Lynn lawyers over document release. Or put another way, there are three represented interests, in this trial and they are at variance.

        The Archdiocese

        Msgr Lynn

        The Prosecution.

      3. Joan, Good News for the criminals! If a mafia hit man’s gun is found and it’s to be used as evidence against him in a murder, he’ll now be able to argue his gun can’t be used as evidence against him as he needs to protect himself-especially against future cases if any more dead bodies are found that point to him.

    3. I guess having “a dog in the fight” is all part of the master “healing plan” that we will all be instructed to pray for in the coming months. Any courtroom antics possible will play out Monday -Friday and on Sundays we will pray for the victims to heal.

  2. Once again the Archdiocese of Philadelphia is attempting to squirm out of any accountability and transparency. The hierarchy will go to any lengths to silence the voice of justice and keep the truth from being shouted from the rooftops.

    Now is the time to make your voices heard to fellow members of the Church, to all the AOP priests who cannot find the character and integrity to speak truth to power, to pastors, bishops and legislators.

    Call and write your pastors, the bishops, Archbishop Chaput and PA legislators. Write letters and articles for the newspapers. Write to every individual email address found in the Philadelphia directory.

    Shame on church leaders who will pay hundreds of thousands of dollars, probably millions, to defense teams willing to follow archdiocesan orders to do anything but tell the Truth about the horrific crimes against children and the hierarchy’s terrible cover-up lest they lose their power and authority.

    Shame on them.

    Sister Maureen Paul Turlish
    Advocate for Victims & Legislative Reform

    1. Great advice Maureen.
      Even a purely moral act that has no hope of any immediate and visible political effect can gradually and indirectly, over time, gain in political significance.
      Vaclav Havel (1936-2011) Czech playwrite and former president.

  3. Imagine a world where there was a religion that was all about doing good. They had no money, but they preached the idea of spending your life doing the right thing to help others. They taught the importance of true honesty, because once people begin to lie, and believe lying is ok, lots of terrible things happen to others.

    Imagine that there was a religious group that you could watch that would make you say, “I wish I was a better person, because I watch them, and they have made sacrifices on this earth so that they will have a better afterlife, because they truly believe there is an afterlife, and their place will be judged by their actions in this life.”

    Imagine that there was a group that was so good in all they did, and so giving, and so honest, that they were true leaders in making others want to do the same thing.

    You can’t ever imagine that the Catholic church is that group. It isn’t God’s church.

    1. I know we’re upset, but their position makes sense. They are in a legal fight. They aren’t at a tea party.

      I just ask the catholics in the pews to pay attention to what they are protecting. It isn’t your children. It isn’t your money. It isn’t you. They are protecting image and power.

      1. Survivor’s wife, you’ve again posted a very wise comment. They have long since dropped the sense of Christianity and following Jesus or they wouldn’t be in this battle. But since they are in it, they are certainly in it to win it.

        And, yes, what they want to “win” is the maintenance of the their power, their management structure to stay “as is”, and their public personna to be salvaged. What is SO bothersome to me is that I truy believe so many people around me will be utterly and easily fooled by the propoganda that is surely soon to be rampant at the moment these trials commence.People are still so easily led by this immoral group of managers who are really quite brilliant in their tactics.

        It is going to be so upsetting for me to watch,as it all heats up, so many people flocking to the completely wrong moral side of this issue due to ignorance and lack of accurate information. I actually have anxiety about it.

      2. Can you spell T-R-A-N-S-P-A-R-E-N-C-Y…..? no? how about smaller word then? H-O-N-E-S-T-Y?………to think that the lack of these two charactersitics in management are lacking ONLY in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia is a gross mistake……the halls of most chanceries and the Vatican thrive on deception and dishonesty. Those in authority have governed as if they had no morals at all. Their power and authority should come from service and humility not the other way around.

    2. Bill Donohue stated today that “JPMorgan Chase doesn’t have a good track record of being transparent, so it is hardly in a position to point fingers.”

      As I see it, if Donohue is correct regarding JPMorgan Chase’s lack of transparency, they would be the perfect ones to detect wrong doing in the Vatican’s banking practices. “It takes one to know one?”

  4. It is frightening though…more questions keep coming up, like:

    What else are they hiding? If they hide the rape of children, the pilfering of money, the large sums of money handed over to legal defense teams, the shredding of documents…what else do these people hide? Must be something worse than all of the above, otherwise they wouldn’t have “a dog in the fight.”

    1. SW….How about coercion, larceny, murder…? –Anything it takes, down through the centuries.. just like with any organized crime outfit. .. the sky’s the limit..

  5. Very sad that an organization that preaches Morality and Truth fights to keep the Immorality and Lies they have committed out of the faithfuls view ! Remember it is not the size of the dog in the fight but the size of the fight in the dog.

  6. Patrick,

    I don’t have to imagine such a church – I attended it with my grandmother 70 years ago – Lansdowne Friends Meeting. And to this day, Quakers, one of the smallest denominations but a denomination that stands for PEACE above all, for equality for ALL (no exceptions), for turning the other cheek, for the American Friends Service Committee and world service…………….. “Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there I am also.”

    Oh, and no patriarchy.


  7. I don’t know about anybody else, but my head is spinning, and my stomach is turning. Do you think that one of the 12 documents the AD doesn’t want to come out is the MASTER list? You know, the one where all the priests who have broken the law are listed in one place, not just 35 here, 21…22…23..there. How are we supposed to protect our children and our vulnerable without being able to consult THAT list?!
    I hope the judge subpoenas THAT list and addresses the concerns noted about each one on it!!

    Susan, Kathy, Sr. Maureen, I have written to the Archbishop several times. Let’s just say I’m not his favorite pen pal. He keeps reminding me to focus on all the good works of our good priests and don’t be so critical. I can’t find them. They are radio silent. He’d love for me to be radio silent too. Not any more.
    Who can I write to who will actually listen? In joining with the voices of Catholics 4 Change, I hope we are loud enough.
    By the Way, yesterday was the Feast of Saint Joseph. When I taught Catholic school, we taught Teaching Touching Safety today because St. Joseph is the patron of foster children, orphans, and abused and exploited children. It was C4C’s feast day! Happy feast day, and may St. Joseph help us in all we do.

    1. CG, I’m not sure it’s a master list…wouldn’t that be great to get your hands on though and be made public?

      I think whatever is in the documents will probably implicate other priests, bishops, cardinals and therefore they don’t want it coming out. Lynn’s attorneys have a singular goal…for him to skate free. I’m completely guessing here. There are too many reasons why attorneys want certain documents withheld and I don’t have a clue.

      I’m praying though. Truth always comes to light!!!

    2. child guardian ,head spinning ,stomach churning ,I have been living on a diet of Advil and Tums the past few days myself.
      “Focus on the good works of our good priests and don’t be so critical”
      Critical that children have been harmed, critical that children have been put at risk, critical that the church continues to legally block the whole truth and nothing but the truth coming out?? I understand those communications because I have had so many conversations with church related (priests and others) and we are supposed to calmly discuss these events. God forbid your anger shows,God forbid you question too much,there is an appropriateness about it all that is supposed to keep you in check.

      1. Kathy at risk of your needing more Advil and Tums, this quote from the posting AND a bit of horrifying research.

        ‘Lynn, onetime secretary for clergy, pointing fingers at church lawyers and his superiors; his codefendants, former parish priests accused of molesting a boy, portraying their accusers as drug-addled criminals out to make a buck; and prosecutors fighting to limit attacks on witnesses and blunt defense attempts to confuse or distract jurors.’

        We can see where Lynn is going, but the characterization of the raped kids as ‘drug addled criminals’ is ugly.

        I went back and reread the 2011 Grand Jury Report relative to these matters.

        One child was a 10 year old fifth grade altar boy who two priests and a school teacher passed around for oral and anal raping, oral sodomization, et al. This poor kid started vomiting, the docs couldn’t figure out why. He then started using marijuana….

        The second child was groomed from age 9 with lots of that ‘wrestling’ back rubs, sex talk and anally raped at age 14. He suffered depression, dramatic weight loss, drug and alcohol problems and attempted suicide.

        I personally think there is a special place in hell for folks who would blame these poor kids, for the use of drugs after such vile abuse.

        AND the idea that we should not ‘be critical’ of the AD is mindless!

  8. In a statement into the Protecting Victoria’s Vulnerable Children Inquiry, Pam Krisnic a former Catholic school teacher, said she was ignored when raising concerns, seeing priest’s grooming students in the class room.
    She co-founded the Melbourne Victims Collective for those affected by abuse, after two priest’s in her parish were convicted of child sex-abuse, stating their was a reluctance among police, professionals and politicians to engage in any public criticism on the church’s handling of clergy abuse.
    The present Premier of Victoria, a non Catholic has now taken a stand, as previously stated, to his credit.

    1. Adding to my own comment, in realtion to the statement by Pam Krisnic, of the recluctance of politicians to engage in any public discussions on abuse. We have a member of our parliarment, the Leader of the Opposition a committed practicing catholic, living in the pocket of Australian Cardinal Pell, referring to Prime Minister Julia Gillard, as having a “target on her head” during a heated debate, where incitement is a viable response to injustice in today’s society.
      Never has he made any protest, heated or otherwise in parliarment, on the plight of so many children at the hands of clergy, dozens
      as adults committing suicide.
      What can we in Australia expect from such irresponsable Catholics in positions where they could do so much.

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