Church’s Epic Failure to Protect Children Revealed During Philly Trial

Click here to read: “Pa. trial shows church abuse allegations strategy,”, March 31, 2012

Excerpt: Philadelphia prosecutors have been investigating the archdiocese for 10 years, since the priest-abuse scandal exploded in Boston. Around the country, about 500 Roman Catholic priests have been convicted of child sex abuse, and dioceses have paid out more than $1 billion to victims.

24 thoughts on “Church’s Epic Failure to Protect Children Revealed During Philly Trial

  1. “Around the country, 500 Catholic priests have been convicted………….” How many others got away with it……? How many priest worldwide in Ireland, Europe, South America…………?

    “I didn’t know. It didn’t think it was up to me to mention…………. Mistakes were made…….” This is all so sleazy I am reminded of Santorum’s recent criticism of John F. Kennedy’s remarks abut separation of church and state. Santorum said Kennedy’s statemwnt made hm want to throw up. Meanwhile, Santorum’s lask of response to the rapes within his church should make all of us want to throw up. That’s the diffences between a statesman and a mere politician.


    1. I am pro-life and believe protecting life should continue after the womb. Where is the outrage at child rape? Well I’ll tell you there’s no campaign dollars in it. Bishops wield considerable power in political circles. And their lobby is well-funded.

  2. In this CBS news article there are several interesting lines regarding the list of priests that Lynn drew up for Bev. They are:

    When he took over the headquarters job in 1992, after serving as dean of the Philadelphia seminary, Lynn combed through the secret files. He drew up a list of 35 accused, still-active priests, and noted whether the accuser could still sue. In keeping with church protocol, he deemed priests ‘guilty’ only if they had admitted the account.

    1. Lynn ‘noted whether the accuser could still sue’…which explains the ‘5 year’ notations after a number of the names on Lynn’ s list..I imagine there was a statute of limitations issue…and Lynn was apparently concerned not about innocent kids, but Church exposure to lawsuits.

    2. Lynn considered priests guilty ‘only if they admitted it.’. Canon law cut priests a huge amount of ground. The standard for determining guilt was beyond all observable doubt…not beyond reasonable doubts as US laws dictate in a trial. If a priest said he didn’t do it…that was it.

    There is no question that these matters of abuse against innocent children must be dealt with in US criminal and civil courts NOT canonical ones. Let the church deal with their offenders long after criminal and civil law have dealt with them. If you want justice instead of prolonged cover up and horrifying child abuse.

    1. Awesome analysis, Joan.

      I never realized the “Bevil’s 35” had all admitted it.

      How many others denied it, or were never caught? I get to make my own guess, and I’m guessing it was 5-25 times that many, since very few criminals admit their crimes, and in the cases like Fr Avery, it usually takes a Catholic priest 3 decades, and a court trial, to tell the truth.

      By the way, a standard Catholic ploy is to say, “its just as bad everywhere else”. Their only evidence is something called the Shakeshaft extrapolation, where Shakeshaft looked at 255 cases (181 in NY) of sexual harassment and sexual abuse in the 1990s (combining the two, as if they are equal), and saying that the same percentage must apply to 290,000 teachers.

      Heretofore, I will use the O’Malley extrapolation, with evidence from Philadelphia in the 1990s, where secret archives proved

      – a Cardinal and 2 bishops shredded a document of 35 known, self-admitted pedophile priests
      – these self-admitted child sex abusers were deliberately hidden for 17 years, allowing them to roam freely around children, where many more children were abused

      The O’Malley extrapolation (using methodologies similar to Shakeshaft):

      – the US has 200 times the population of Philadelphia
      – therefore, 200 Cardinals and 400 bishops hid 7,000 known, self-admitted pedophile priests
      – they hid these self-admitted child predators for 17 years, allowing them to roam freely around children.


      – there were about 40,000 priests at any one time in the US
      – therefore, 17.5% of priests are self-admitted child sex abusers, and are being hidden amongst your children
      – in the “normal” population, fewer than 1% are self-admitted child sex abusers.

      I hereby grant anyone permission to cite my extrapolation with or without due credit.

      1. Patrick…with a fidelity to accuracy..

        “.The CBS report notes that when he took over the headquarters job in 1992, after serving as dean of the Philadelphia seminary, Lynn combed through the secret files. He drew up a list of 35 accused, still-active priests, and noted whether the accuser could still sue. In keeping with church protocol, he deemed priests ‘guilty’ only if they had admitted the account. These were the shredded files.

        13 priests were deemed guilty, 21had ‘conclusive evidence against them (evidence confirmed later in most cases) 5 of the 13 had notations relating to 5 years issue.

        In 2011, the Grand Jury identified 41 priests, about whom they had serious concerns. Rigali announced to the public with very heavily crafted, language that those guys were innocent, a few weeks later 21 were suspended (only one was on the ‘shredded list) then another 3 or more, and of course 4 were indicted.

        Rigali’s defense of the 21 was that no one admitted abuse. The canonical standard for the entire period was that if a priest did not admit abuse, when asked..the hierarchy had to be sure with ‘moral certitude’ that he was guilty. Moral certitude is a canonical usage!!! Beyond reasonable doubt is the US legal standard.

        If ever there was an argument for bypassing the Church and going STRAIGHT to civil authorities if abuse is suspected….just keep saying over and over to yourself….the words MORAL CERTITUDE.

  3. I appreciate so much what you ladies and gentlemen are doing for the innocents of our world. You tirelessly work for their exhoneration and I believe you will recieve your reward (relief) after this trial has ended. It will be my relief also for blogging for over ten yrs about the “Spiritual Murder” of our precious ones who have no voice. I was 72 when I started in 2001 and now I’m really getting up there. But I know it’s good because the eyes of the blind have been opened and the ears that could not hear are hearing. it has been something that keeps me going. Being an advocate for the voiceless.

    We really do not need a reward but need relief to know that people who wouLd not listen a few yrs back, are now saying they were wrong to have hung on so long.I HUNG IN FOR OVER 60 YRS. So I guess I can understand. Thank you all and keep up doing God’s Holy Work. gloria

  4. Well it took a little while, but finally some negative comments from family about my recent interview with CNN are slung in my direction. A relative, who I’ve had little contact with over the years, and I wouldn’t even have had any contact with him at all had my mother not become ill, sent me an email saying,

    “Rich, you should not have done that interview. It’s obvious that the priests are being held accountable, they’ve been removed, and no child will ever be abused again. You just can’t stop mocking the church because you have a hidden agenda for hatred. You humiliate our family and I think you do it in spite because of what you say happened to you. You are never welcome in my house and I don’t want you to ever contact me or my children. You no longer exist to us.”

    Actually, I didn’t know I existed to them anyway. This was a real eye opener for me when I checked my email last night, and I can’t help but ask the question, “Do people really believe that since a few priests are standing trial this kind of thing will never happen again?” It’s not over. It’s not over until me and so many others like me get the damn justice we deserve! Msgr. Lynn and the other priests currently on trial are just a few bad apples in a basket full of bad apples, and my relative is right, “I will not stop until every last child abusing priest is exposed and behind bars.”

    I’m not allowed around some of my family member’s children, but they allow priests around them? Figure that one out.

    Some people just have a “hidden agenda” for disbelieving everything because it happens to be the Catholic Church on the side of guilt. I think I could show them absolute unequivical evidence to prove there are more predator priests out there and they still would protect the church at all costs. Why do they do that?

    I replied to the email, “I hope that what I continue to do everyday will prevent your grandchildren from ever having to go through what I have. I hope you’ll never know what it’s like to experience the rage of a child you know to have been sexually abused. I hope my “hidden agendas” keep your children safe.”

    1. Wow. Problem solved? What exactly do people think has changed? I just had this discussion this morning with someone close to me. The diocese still can’t even adopt the recommendations of the Grand Jury. The Pope is patiently awaiting ideas from US Bishops. Why rush?

      Our children are only safer today due to the safe environment program and that is hardly enough.

      Nothing points to the hierarchy having changed their position on dealing with this issue. Nothing.

    2. Way to go Rich! (sorry, and no offense, but…. What a mindless twit you’re related to!)

    3. Rich,

      Many on this site have expressed how thankful they are for your presence. They have opened their minds and hearts to you; they have taken action based on hearing your story, and I suspect many would be delighted to have you as a guest in their homes. I know I would.


    4. Really? Does he realize the church is one of the biggest lobbyists against law changes in PA for kids in and out of the church? They in fact are making it easier for predators to be safe from legal ramifications.When I was writing yesterday about the little boy that haunts me………it is you ……….it is my husband and all other victims that called out and were ignored by family members………..the church or others in society that heard and ignored your pleas for help………yes like Susan said these were terrified kids………maybe we should call it ” our terrified kids that were violated” instead of scandal………scandal sounds too nice in comparison to what it really was and is……..Thankyou for what you did Rich………

    5. V4J,
      I guess that is a vivid illustration of why victims don’t want to come forward to their families………………..denial……………..something is wrong with you etc etc…………………V4J…………not your fault that other people have issues that they can’t deal with except by blaming the victim…………….

    6. Rich,

      It isn’t enough that “it won’t happen again”.

      Everyone involved belongs in jail. We wouldn’t let Osama Bin Laden off the hook if he promised he would cut down on his killings, and we won’t let the Catholic church off the hook for their crimes, especially since the Catholic church committed far more crimes than Osama Bin Laden.

      Those family members aren’t doing What Jesus Would Do, which would be to say how sorry they are for what happened to you. They are followers of the anti-christ, and you are better off without them.

      Hopefully, someday their children will see you a hero.

    7. Rich,
      First of all…I’m sorry. You are not alone in the family betrayal camp.

      What’s ironic is that relative is probably considered a “good Catholic” by the Church’s standards too.

      You have quite the level of acceptance about the whole situation to be able to respond with such kindness. I’m sure it’s not the first time this has happened. Sadly, many victims have had to learn to cope, not only with the abuse, the long-lasting effects, but also the meanness of others.

      It hurts when those who could be coming alongside you to help carry that cross instead add more weight and spit on you.

      They just needed you to be quiet…that says so much.

      You aren’t alone and I’m so thankful for chlidren that you keep talking!!!!!!

    8. Rich,
      Family can be so cruel. I’ve been there, not nearly to the extent that you have suffered with comments such as this, but I know their judgement, ridicule, and pompous attitude.

      Please feel the support you have even just from this blog. I’d be proud to welcome you as a family member. I feel your pain, I cry for your suffering and I am SO proud of your strength and bravery speaking up and working to protect the children.

      Hugs to you, Rich.

      1. Rich,

        I was not a victim; but as most everyone on here know, I did play a role in in putting a pedophile priest in prison. Many of my family members, as well as Catholic friends do not want to hear about how I did it, or look at my legal documents.

        My theory is that they fear that they may not be able to remain in the RCC, if they pondered too much on the filth within institution.

        For them, RCC = the one true Church, (no salvation outside the true Church). They believe that membership in the RCC is REQUIRED to get into Heaven. If they had too many of the facts, they may lose faith in the RCC, thus resulting in an existential crisis. Those who are deeply Catholic deny there is an existential crisis because faith brings with it the achievement of an after-life.

        If a person believes that there is no salvation outside of the RCC, any fact that threatens that belief may result in Depression and Severe Anxiety!

        Rich as you pointed out with your YouTube post “A Few Good Men,” They “…can’t handle the truth!”

        I have nothing against them, because it is just too psychologically painful for many people to deal with the loss of that security. I understand their plight, and my heart goes out to them.

    9. BRAVO!!! This idiot, who unfortunately happens to be a relative of yours, has been brainwashed beyond belief. Your response was perfect and, in fact, what you are doing may prove to be effective as a safety device for that man’s children, as well as others. We have to keep talking the truth for all to hear, whether from within or outside of the church. BRAVO!

  5. V4J…your e mail response was charity personified! I’m not a bit sure I could have been as gracious.

  6. News articles says ” dioceses have paid out more than $1 billion to victims” wrong…. California paid out over a billion alone. National abuse payout was closer to 2.4 billion

    1. Question: How much of the CA $1billion was paid by insurance companies and how much was paid using AD funds? Are diocese in CA are facing bankruptcy now because of this?

  7. Yesterday I had an e-mail from another survivor and it broke my heart. I use facebook to post articles almost exclusively. Her e-mail asked me to stop sending my posts about abuse to her because she is at a point in her life when she would rather forget about being an activist and is considering returning to the church. My response was to tell her that I do not post to her, but that facebook sends anything I post to my friends list. Since I was “friended” by her originally, she would have to make that request herself OR simply hit the delete key when facebook sends something to her from me. Shortly after, she wrote back, a very sweet note about her life et cetera and hoped that we would still be friends. I told her that each of us is called to do what we must do and that I wish her well. I felt such pain at the loss, but I must believe that she is called to do what is right for her. i will, however, continue t post.

    1. kay, i think you’re right –no matter how frustrating it may seem, people really need to be free to do what they need to do, and think what they need to think…. the pattern of emotional growth often occurs in a spiral.

    2. Ca dioceses were self insured since 1985. Name of the collective ins co was Ordinary Mutual.. cute? They did collect ins. from older cases before 1985.LA alone paid 700 million mostly borrowed I assume.. Santa Rosa escaped bankruptcy.No one knows how much debt exists now.. except bishops and the chancellors. to be continued..

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