Blog Covers Priest Abuse Trial


There’s a new blog in town and it’s worth a daily visit: The Philadelphia Priest Abuse Trial Blog – by Ralph Cipriano.

Cipriano was a religion reporter for The Philadelphia Inquirer during the early 90s while I was an editor at The Catholic Standard and Times. I was impressed at his willingness to report on the late Cardinal Bevilacqua’s Machiavellian style of leadership back in the day. He is currently a freelancer for National Catholic Reporter. 

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30 Responses to “Blog Covers Priest Abuse Trial”

  1. So who was testifying Det. Walsh or lindy when lindy stated “So Cardinal Bevilacqua is a puppet master, I guess, right?”
    “I wouldn’t call him that, sir,” Walsh said. “I wouldn’t call him that.”
    Lindy replied: “I just did.”

    I hope the jury realized this maneuver by the defense attorney.

  2. Susan, Cipriano has two articles in today’s Abuse Tracker. I am linking one of them ( they are both good), because I liked his detailed analysis of what data the prosecution could use regarding all those ‘bad acts’ cases that show a pattern of consistent Archdiocesan predator passing on, and cover up.

    http://www.priestabusetrial.com/2012/03/sins-of-past-evidence-of-prior-bad-acts.html

    • Joan, I have asked Susan, while the trial is on, to put a link in the right hand column to the four articles attached to the March 6 memo. New bloggers will be unfamiliar with them. The articles provide important context, especially about Rigali’s role. He was the top man for almost a decade until just a few months ago. On Rigali’s watch, he had two grand jury reports and the 5 year failure to produce the “shredding memo” that initially turned up in.2006 but inexplicably just turned up..

      The Philly AD’s game seems to be to lay it all of the massive cover-up on the dead Bevilacqua and his old subordinates. The Philly AD pays Lynn’s lawyers. As they say, who pays the piper, calls the tune. It is why the prior judge warned Lynn not to rely on a lawyer paid for by the Philly AD—-too many conflicts.

      The Philly AD’s theme is and will be, “This is all a rehash of old news”. Baloney!! Little has changed under Chaput and little will change if Rigali’s role is not fully disclosed.

      Rigali is a longtime close colleague of the pope and the key link in the worldwide papal conspiracy.If Rigali’s role is fully disclosed, Chaput may never be made a Cardinal, which appears to be Chaput’s main concern.

      I hope Susan lists the four articles on p.1. Few will find them otherwise.

      • Jerry, Sadly, the template for this blog does not allow me to post links in the right hand column.

      • Jerry, perhaps Susan would put those references in that favorite place of mine RESOURCES? I suspect from a C4C ‘management’ point of view, though, that there are, and are going to be so many valuable articles over a several month period…where do you draw the line?

        I am sort of obsessed these days with the 3000 and more folks that are daily accessing C4C. it’s one reason I put the link in for Abuse Tracker….which could be added to the RESOURCES? Poor Susan …there’s no end to our suggestions!

        As to Rigali….I found his statement when the 2011 Grand Jury was released indicating 41 problem priests …to be the ultimate in disingenuousness! He used very crafted language that reflected the Essential norms….ie as no priest had admitted he molested when questioned, therefore no priest was guilty. ( you have to ponder the joys, of the Charter and Norms, both of which I have on my home page)

        Several weeks later 26 priests were suspended, and not that long after, Chaput replaced Rigali.

        But, Jerry, I don’t see how they go after Rigali…unless there are some abusing priests who were passed on, on his watch and they can prove it? I should have gone to law school.

      • Susan, where there is a will, there is a way. You managed to figure out how to add links to the facebook page, to the commercial C4C tee shirt/decal page, to fit your large logo, etc.

        Joan, if I didn’t think there were ways to get at Rigali legally, I wouldn’t have raised it. Who authorized suppressing the shredding memo until 2011? If Seth Williams doesn’t look harder, of course, he may find little.

        Why is Lynn’s lawyer going after Bevilacqua? It legally cannot get Lynn off the hook. I don’t know if Lynn understands that. But going after Bevilacqua may divert attention from Rigali and thereby enhance Chaput’s chances for the Cardinal’s hat.

        Seth Williams and Judge Sarmina, who onced worked for Ed Rendell, must realize all of this.

      • Jerry,

        I’m pleased to see that we are thinking along the same lines. I’ve been reading/posting at Susan’s previous article this morning and just moved to this one. Thanks for your great comments as usual.

      • Jerry,
        I’ve been wondering the same thing about going after Bevilaqua. Sure he may have given the directive…but Lynn participated in and conspired to pass along predator priests thus endandering children in the process.

        Boil it all down and it’s clear he was a part of the process of endangering children and conspiracy…what the heck difference does it make that someone else directed him to do it.?

        If, at my job, my superior tells me to do something I feel is unethical (possibly criminal)…and I go along with it anyway…I’m still accountable (and guilty) for participating.

        This is like playground dynamics…what’s their argument? “He (Bevilaqua) said it was ok, so it’s not my fault!”

        Sorry for my bottom line in all of this…but the entire chain of command ought to be sitting next to Lynn.

      • Susan,

        If you want links on the right hand side, I can find someone who can set that up, and if it costs money, I’ll pay the bill.

    • Joan ,Rigali is named in the civil suits and I believe will also have to testify at this criminal trial. I have heard one of the reason he wasn’t shipped off to Rome like Law was because of all the legal entanglements involved and trips he will need to make to Philly to testify in either civil claims or criminal court. I also don’t count out anyone for further indictments based on what happens during the trial.

  3. What bothers me about all these stories, for example about Cardinal Bevilacqua, is that these Church leaders were always so “orthodox”, demanding strict adherence to liturgical laws, probably demanding that churches without kneelers install them, etc. And in the background were all these unchristian and unethical practices against human beings and all the cover-up that went with them. Any of us can be a hypocrite, but at least we can admit we’ve been one. We did not see that kind of admission coming from these great “conservative” leaders. I get less and less comfortable when I see pictures of bishops’ gatherings when they are all decked out in their fancy garments. What is inside all the show?

    • Tom, they’re the Pharisees of the New Testament who were rebuked by Christ.
      Expecting of others by Law what they didn’t do themselves.

    • Saint Ambrose (Roman Bishop, 337 AD to 397 AD)–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.” Quotes are from, “The 33 Doctors of the Church”, by Father Christopher Rengers, OFM Cap.

  4. Thank you for the link, Susan. It would be great if we could subscribe to that blog also so that new posts are emailed automatically. I tried to suggest that in a comment on the blog, but was unable to do so.

  5. Written by a victim I know, whose name I can’t print as the author.

    Shallow Shepherds

    Shoved into the shadows
    Children only by name.
    Deprived of everything beautiful.
    Left alive, but not the same.
    Shattered against the waves, a child left lost.
    Innocence the cost.
    Laughter taken away.
    Responsibility not theirs they say.
    Do they look in the mirror and see Gods?
    To admit fault would be against the odds.
    Free to take all they desire.
    Casting children into the fire.
    Betrayal from those most trusted.
    Those too proud to admit they’ve lusted.
    Men through which God is supposed to be provided
    Ripping children apart, their hearts divided.
    What person that sees themselves as human
    Would find a right to do that to another?
    Superior to flesh, they have no brother.
    Preying upon those smaller
    And leaving nothing left.
    Pretending nothing happened
    Another Good Father’s theft.
    Waiting to be told, never turning the monsters in themselves.
    Downplaying, redirecting the blame.
    Post-pubescence and gays, their justification and cause.
    And the world skips to the beat of the insane.
    Casting judgment to all around
    ‘Cept for perhaps a mouse.
    Respectability shatters on the ground.
    When they don’t protect their own house.
    Claims of redirection, the problem is solved.
    They made changes and turned the page.
    But another case comes out, cover-up involved
    Voices ignored, crying out with rage.
    In their actions they ignore the cries,
    But in their words they say they changed.
    An institution swimming in lies.
    Lets all dance to the beat of the deranged.
    Turning their backs to the tears

  6. Has anyone been going up to the trial? I’m thinking about going tomorrow, but I’m unsure if I’ll be able to get a seat. Is it usually packed out? What is a good time to go to insure I can get a seat? I also have a cushion for my back for when I’m sitting, do you think they’ll let me bring it in the courthouse?

    • Rich no cell phones-not even a place to check them while you are in court ,so don’t bring one. I heard yesterday seats were available,I think court starts at 9:30 -The times are listed on the DA’s website. Susan and I are going, just trying to figure out what day.

  7. I think Lynn’s lawyer is going after Bevilaqua for two reasons 1. He was Lynn’s boss so they want to make it look like technically Lynn was just following orders. 2. He is dead. My understanding is the conspiracy charges are related to the two crimes of Avery and Brennan which took place on Bev’s watch while Lynn was secretary of clergy. These crimes are from the late 1990’s when Rigali was still in Rome. This is not offered as any defense whatsoever of Rigali -just pertaining to the exact criminal case at present. I believe more charges for others will be forthcoming but in this criminal case the crimes and cover up of Brennan and Avery took place under Bevilaqua’s reign on Lynn’s watch.

    • Kathy, you do a good job defending Seth’s assistants. Where do you get your legal analysis? From them?

      Lynn also served as secretary under Rigali for several months. Certainly, Rigali and the new secretary continued to consult Lynn therafter as Lynn served as one of Rigali’s key pastors. Even Chaput still valued Lynn as the standing ovation a few months ago showed.

      If you think Williams and Sarmina are going to go after Rigali when Lynn’s trial is over, please come to Brooklyn where there is a sale on bridges

      I see Susan has deflected replying by changing the subject with a new posting. You and Susan have kids at risk. I don’t.

      I will stop talking to myself and hope for the best. I have had my fill of rudeness. Good luck to you both!

  8. This is a conversation Jerry…with Kathy pointing out her take on things.

    I have a comment that seems to be awaiting moderation that speaks to exactly what you are saying, Jerry. I think pressure has to be on the DA (sure their hands are full)…but, if Rigali knew and did nothing…as well as Cullen and Cistone…then it’s time to look into whether they need to have charges brought against them as well.

    • survivors wife. I think that could be the case. If you see from the testimony /evidence yesterday that involves Cullen. I think evidence will come to light along the way of the shredded document that was just introduced a few weeks ago. Who knew about that document when it was ‘uncovered” in 2006? And being that Msgr Powers name was on the list and he was still in ministry at that time on Rigali’s watch. I think many more things will come to light which is why I was thrilled there was no plea deal involving Lynn.

  9. again..to any victims who read this blog..

    To all the victims who were sexually abused in the Philly Archdiocese or any diocese, stay strong, You are very brave, your voices are powerful and they are being heard.

    The truth will prevail and children will be much safer because you do ‘not’ stay silent.

    Judy Jones, SNAP Midwest Associate Director, USA, 636-433-2511
    “Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests” and all clergy.

  10. Jerry,
    I’ve been wondering the same thing about going after Bevilaqua. Sure he may have given the directive…but Lynn participated in and conspired to pass along predator priests thus endandering children in the process.

    Boil it all down and it’s clear he was a part of the process of endangering children and conspiracy…what the heck difference does it make that someone else directed him to do it.?

    If, at my job, my superior tells me to do something I feel is unethical (possibly criminal)…and I go along with it anyway…I’m still accountable (and guilty) for participating.

    This is like playground dynamics…what’s their argument? “He (Bevilaqua) said it was ok, so it’s not my fault!”

    Sorry for my bottom line in all of this…but the entire chain of command ought to be sitting next to Lynn.

    • SW, the most likely scenario appears to me to be as follows. Chaput pays Lynn’s lawyers. Lynn is already legally finished and has been for many months. Lynn goes down with Bevilacqua’s ghost. Rigali gets a pass. The Philly AD case is over for good.

      Chaput gets a red hat. Seth gets a higher office. Sarmina gets a Federal judgeship. Uninformed Philly Catholics will then say, “Can they really do that legally?”. They can, and I believe that is the most likely scenario. I wish it wasn’t, but given the “wishful thinking” I encounter here, it is the most likely.

      Business as usual at the Philly AD and Philly kids will then remain at risk.

      I wish I could see it differently, but I have been in the law business too long and I must call it as I see it.

      • hey JerrySlevin, please would you once more spell it out for me (and anyone else who’s aptitude for dirty politics isn’t what it ought to be)…

        -A less personally ambitious DA ought to have gone after which better target? What else did he not do that he should have?
        -What is Seth W’s pathway and connections to a higher office. –Judge Sarmina will go easy on everyone accused in order to get a fed. judgeship by what route?
        -Is there no hope of ever seeing a Rigali trial?

  11. Nancy Mortimer O'Brien Reply March 28, 2012 at 7:01 pm

    I am so glad that Ralph Cipriano is doing a blog on Lynn’s trial. He has impeccable credentials as a journalist. Nancy

  12. Nancy, I agree – he is one of the key people in Philly who has been researching/ writing on this for years. I look forward to reading his blogs and meeting him at the trial

  13. http://www.philly.com/philly/wires/ap/news/nation_world/20120328_ap_priestfoundpornlewdlettertoboyinrectory.html

    ok. Fr. Okonski…1995…still didn’t contact civil authorities? Contacts his pastor for the pornography find (which is not criminal, just immoral)…but the lewd letter to a 7th grade boy? CRIMINAL! 1995! This wasn’t the dark ages. I just don’t understand the climate that would allow a grown man to not report deviant, criminal behavior to authorities in 1995!

  14. I went to court yesterday. It was not crowded. Mostly press was there. Make sure you leave your cell phone and any electronic device at home. I had to run around and leave my phone with a friend at their office.

    Victims4justics, a pillow would probably make it through the scanners, but I’m not sure. I arrived at 7:30 a.m., which was much too early. Probably 8:45 would be good if court opens at 9:30. I don’t know if attendance will vary much from day to day.

    It was all very interesting. Everyone, please attend if you can. A packed courtroom now and again would reflect the level of interest that is really out there with the public.

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