Secret Church Documents Provide Damning Evidence


Click here to read: “Secret church documents presented at clergy trial,” by John P. Martin, The Philadelphia Inquirer, April 2, 2012

Opening: “One priest, the Rev. John Cannon, sneaked into a cabin at night at a church-run camp, groped the boys in their beds, and forced them to do the same to him….”

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84 Responses to “Secret Church Documents Provide Damning Evidence”

  1. Here is my cynical worry. The prosecution seems to be bringing up cases of reported abuse that occurred long ago. Although, these abuses are horrible, will the jury be too far removed from the victims to provide sympathy and see the apathetic attitude of the Church, toward these predators? Will the prosecution be able to portray the CURRENT lackadaisical and co-conspirator nature of the Church to their “brother priests?” I am anxious and worried that the prosecution is still not being as hard-hitting as it could be.

    • Michelle, I share your concern. HADIT has called a “MUST, MUST READ” my appeal yesterday to the reporters at the Philadelphia Inquirer.

      I am worried about collusion in Philly’s criminal justice system. Why is there still a gag order? Why did Avery get the “sweet deal” he got, so suddenly and so quickly? Was this a signal to Lynn that he will get a light sentence, once the trial blames everything on Bevilacqua and nothing on Rigali, Chaput’s “de facto” client.

      Please read my appeal to the PI reporters, accessible at:

      http://www.bilgrimage.blogspot.com/2012/04/gerald-t-slevin-appeal-to.html

      • Well done, Jerry! I am blown away by your thoroughness! Have you considered a secondary career in investigative journalism?

      • Jerry, that could almost be the beginnings of a book, like what the Boston Globe reporters did. I hope it has a happy ending.

    • I’d be especially concerned if the jury contains a lot of Catholics, and I haven’t heard an analysis of the jury. Catholics have been trained by their leaders to think that sex with children is no big deal, and to fight the victims as if the victims are the enemy instead of the pedophile priests.

      Now put them in a courtroom where they see middle aged men and women instead of children, and their Catholic heartlessness could certainly take over, just as they were trained by their leaders. Of course, they should have the compassion that Jesus would have, seeing a child in a grown body, forever damaged by the fact that he thought he was raped by Christ and then scorned by the villagers. Most Catholics don’t think like Jesus. They think like Bevilacqua.

      DA Seth Williams is a devout Catholic, and has already shown the he is willing to give priests unimaginable lenience by allowing Fr Avery off the hook with a minuscule 2-5 years in prison after Avery lied for 3 decades about sex with a child. Avery didn’t even have to testify against the others. Thank God Seth Williams isn’t responsible for protecting children elsewhere.

      However, if the jury is non-Catholic, this will just look like an institution that clearly, undeniably was protecting and mobilizing dozens and dozens of known child rapists, Lynn will go to a non-Catholic jail for a long time.

      We just have to hope that Catholics aren’t in charge.

      • I hear what you are saying, Patrick, but I would hate to paint all Catholics with such a wide brush. I was raised Catholic and there are many Catholics on this site who stand up for the victims and want to see the hierarchy punished for it’s participation in these crimes against children. If there are Catholics on the jury, which, if I remember reading correctly, there are. I sincerely hope they are the normal ones who are just hard working people who were brought up in the Church and although they do their best to be good people, they don’t believe ALL the hype and never did. They are the majority of Catholics that I know.

        But your assessment of how easily Avery got off is right on! I can not imagine what his victims are going through with seeing the deal he got!

      • Michelle,

        I’m a believer in actions instead of words. There are 1.5 million Catholics in Philly. If 15,000 were doing something about this, or saying something about this, that would be 1%, and there’s nowhere near 15,000 doing anything.

        On this site, lets say there are 150 doing the talking and 7,500 a day listening. That’s 1 in 10,000 talking and 1 in 200 listening.

        Catholics are sheep by nature. They do what they’re told. The church knows that. The Catholic church is run by “false idols”, changing God’s rules because they’re smarter than God and consider the 1st commandment optional.

        If those Catholic sheep are on the jury the verdict will be in question, but the facts in recorded history won’t.

      • Patrick I hear and agree about past and even present day catholic tolerance for abuse and lies from their leaders.
        But what about our type of catholic? I think we’re a majority now, even if most stay silent on this issue -The majority of caths “get this” on some level now. They grew up in the 60’s through the 90’s and are better rounded, educated and open-minded. Most take responsibility for themselves and for others, when necessary. The majority weren’t squelched by old-time, “Baltimore” catholic school indoctrination and suppression, and are able and willing to live freely and think responsibly for themselves.– esp. in a crisis setting –as in a court of law, in a land where children are valued and have rights.

        {Dear Lord, let it be “our type” of catholic who’s sitting on that jury downtown right now! -(lol) }

      • Patrick, if memory serves, Avery implicated Lynn in a conspiracy to pass on predators, one of the charges against Lynn.

      • Michelle,
        I hope more victims come forward if they can there is strength in numbers and the more likely the jail time will be longer…………if they are within the statues……….

    • Michelle, I went to the trial yesterday and will wrote a post about it later. It is a dizzying amount of info coming at these jurors,having followed all this closely for the past year,I was was overwhelmed at times,trying to keep track. Yesterday was what seems to be a technical type day with detectives on the stand reading documents containing allegations,communications within the AD, communication with treatment centers,communications with victims. Some spanning a 40 year time period. These jurors do not have any easy job trying to first understand ,and then wade through all the info…it was head spinning at times.

      • Philly Now said it awfully well….today

        Apr 3, 2012 by Randy LoBasso 1
        DAILY GRINDER: Priest Abuse Case Gets Sicker

        Priest abuse cases are always bad. Sure. But there’s something about the Philadelphia case, specifically, that sort of makes me throw up a little, each time I read about it. Maybe it’s the detailed, alleged maniacal perversion of the individual, uncharged priests who will never see the inside of a jail cell or that Cardinal Lynn apparently let it all happen. Or maybe it’s the fact that Archbishop Charles Chaput has publicly endorsed Lynn and focused on national healthcare and school vouchers instead of, I don’t know, showing any remorse for what happened or, let’s say apologizing to the victims of the crimes he and his organization have now come to represent in this city. Either way, yesterday a detective read internal church memos about one priest who “joked about how hard it was to have sex with three boys in one week.” Another priest, Rev. John Cannon, used to sneak into a cabin at a church-run camp, “groped the boys in their beds, and forced them to do the same to him.” With friends/members like these, it doesn’t matter if you can get your school vouchers or not. The laws of rationality say less people are putting their children under the supervision of Catholic priests.”

      • Kathy…I thought they were down to 6 not 4 extra jurors….eek…do they have to start over, with a new jury, if they run out of alternates…no wonder the media was talking about it!

      • I meant 6 alternates.

    • Please, everyone, I implore you to read Jerry Slevin’s excellent and monumental appeal to the Philadelphia Inquirer.

      http://www.bilgrimage.blogspot.com/2012/04/gerald-t-slevin-open-appeal-to.html

      • Martin J. Leahy, PhD Reply April 3, 2012 at 2:01 pm

        Ditto. Excellent piece!!!

      • I read that -fantastic! Copying it to send to a few caths I know..That ought to drill it into their thick heads!

      • Thanks, Hadit, but someone doesn’t like my appeal. I hope it is mostly Chaput and his clerical robots. Ultimately, it does’t much matter. If it is an “informed thumbs-down’, at least it means they read it, which is my main objective. The nay sayers don’t seem to realize that competing votes signal conflict, which often generates more interest. FUGGEDABOUTIT !.

        From “Donnie Brasco” where the wiseguys ate in the same old Italian restaurant in Greenpoint, Brooklyn that Bevilacqua ate in occasionally as a Brooklyn Auxilary in the early 80’s.

      • Jerry slevin, so will you be going to st patrick’s cathedral in NYC this thurs to hear our former cardinal (in hiding) speak at the mass?—while the Phila AD sex-crimes trial takes place 94 miles away!!!?

        What an mean, “in your face, Philadelphia” thing for Dolan to do. I can’t understand how he got to the top –he strikes me as a bully -rather immature and (for want of a better word) “common”.

    • Good point Michelle. My “cynical worry” is, the AD has shredded the more current abuse documents. By leaving only the older abuse documents in the “smoking safe”…the AD can argue, the abuse is a thing of the past. I hope I’m wrong.
      Jerry,
      Your piece in bilgrimage was outstanding. Your command of the english language and knowledge of this subject is impressive.

      • I hate that argument that “the abuse is a thing of the past”.

        Who cares? It was a crime, and they should be punished for it.

        We didn’t let Osama Bin Laden get away if he promised to stop killing people. We hunted down the despicable predator and killed him, and we’ll go after his too. He and a small group of his killed 3,000 people and we’re going after all of them.

        The Catholic church raped over 10,000 children that we know about in the US, so we should hunt down the despicable predators and their co-conspirators and throw them in prison.

  2. Not when the victims show up to testify in person. I know of one who is sure to be very compelling.

    • Hi Susan.

      I was watching the Witness to the Sorrows video that is posted on the AD website and was wondering if ‘Ed’ might be posting on this blog. If so, I would like to direct a message of support to him.

      Do you or does anyone know??

      Thanks.

      • Joe, I don’t think Ed is the same Ed who comments on here. But I would just post the comment anyway, we have a lot of people who follow us daily and don’t comment,so you never know.

      • Joe B.

        I am a different Ed, but like Kathy wrote, the real Ed might be reading this blog and as many have stated many others(victims) who read this blog may find strength from your post including Ed. Never know how the Lord works.

    • Susan, I hear our bloggers concerns, but thought it was the task of the prosecution to prove that for the last 70(?) years, cover up and passing on of predators was the AD’ agenda. So there are old cases, and some newer ones, often with names of priests that locals know ie Trauger,Cannon, Avery, Brennan etc.

      I appreciated today’s article, because I posted two yesterday that we’re a mix of what I think today’s article consolidated.

      It is confusing….would very much like to hear Kathy’s report.

      I think the personal reports of victims are the most effective tool, and hope there will be more of them.

      • Joan, I haven’t had time to get my thoughts together to do a write up of yesterday’s proceeding. Ask me anything you want and I will try to answer. Cannon was the priest at my parish growing up and the coincidence of his case being heard on the day I attended is basically the way this whole past year has played out. Maybe tonight I will get my act together and write up a post, but for now, let me know any questions you or others might have.

      • Kathy,

        Can you name the nearest hotel to the courthouse (Criminal Justice Center?)?

        Thank you.

      • Hadit,

        Downtown Holiday Inn is just a few blocks away. $8 parking, and relatively inexpensive room costs. I stay there anytime I go to Philly for a weekend.

      • hadit ,there is a Marriot directly across the street. The court is at 13th and Filbert,I believe the Marriot is on 13 th st. If you are coming,I will definitely meet you there! No court sessions for this trial on any Fridays.

      • Thanks Rich and Kathy,

        I’m coming to sit in the courtroom for two days, May 9 and 10. I have to wait for the semester to end, here, otherwise I’d be there tomorrow. I hope I can count on the reports that the trial will last at least until I can get there. If I see it winding down prematurely, I’ll take a day off from teaching.

        Would love to see you there, Kathy! Rich???

      • $8 parking?? Wish I had known that yesterday 🙂

      • WARNING!

        While in Philly, I’ll be attending morning Mass (for the first time in 5 years) at Fr. Chris’ church.

      • I will definitely go one of those two days that you are in town. I am going to try to go once a week from now until the end of the trial. I think you are safe with those dates,I will let you know if we hear anything about them being ahead of schedule. Will you wearing a name tag that says “had it” so we know who you are 🙂

      • Hadit,

        At this point I don’t know if I’ll be able to make it to any of the trial. I was supposed to go with a friend yesterday, but woke up late after following a night of severe back pain. I wound up at the hospital late yesterday afternoon to get a shot of morphine to limit the pain so I could sleep for a few hours.

        I have pain killers, but I won’t take them because of the drastic side effects that make me sick to my stomach and feeling like I have no control. I’m an abuse victim, I don’t like not having control over my body.

        I think by May, I should be recovering from back surgery, because after 5 epidurals not having worked at all in the passed 9 months, I can only expect surgery to be the next and final option.

        To be honest, I just want this damn disc out of my back. I’m used to being able to work through and deal with physical pain, but this pain has been extreme. L1-L3 severe herniation, two non-displaced fractures in my coscyx (tailbone), two fractures in my sacrum, nerve damage and Post Concussion Syndrome is the result of a fall at work last June. I fell at 9:30 in the morning and worked until 6:00 that night. I went to work 4 days after I fell, until finally, the day I went to the hospital, I couldn’t get out of bed in the morning. Most doctors I’ve seen think I’m nuts and somebody should’ve taken me to the hospital when it happened or called for an ambulance. But they will never understand. Unless you were sexually abused and raped as a child, you will never understand why I push through.

        All I can say is that it is good I work for my Dad and I actually fell right in front of him and several of my co-workers, because nobody will ever question what happened or the severity of it. Ya know… not like the Catholic Church does.

      • Kathy, I do have some questions.

        Which names that the jurors have heard are relatively current, like Cannon or Murtha?

        Is the prosecution detective getting his points made, or is it too much data to absorb?

        When the defense point out as I think they have, that Lynn did something about an abuse complaint, is the point then made that the alledged abuser still stayed in ‘business’ for many subsequent years. (which seemed to be the case in a number of situations?)

        When Avery took a plea deal, did he not implicate (as part of the deal) that he and Lynn had conspired in a cover up. Is that not conspiracy?

      • Joan,yesterday started with wrapping up the Murtha case and then moved on to Cannon and by the end of the day the Gana case was introduced. I had to leave at about 3:30 -45 minutes into the Gana testimony.
        The prosecutor’s present with a detective on the stand reviewing the documents, emails, memo’s , various communication for each case. There are projection screens for the jury to follow along when going over the documents. I think the one detective did a great job of leading the way through some very complicated situations. The second detective was okay. After the prosecution finishes then the defense has the opportunity to question the detective and of course in doing their job, they point out what they feel are the appropriate actions that Lynn took regarding the case. The prosecution had a fair amount of objections,many were ruled in their favor. With 3 different cases being highlighted in one day..it really seemed like information overload. It is keeping track of conversations,communications,timelines,allegations, and my fear is that it is so much, that it would be easy to confuse the cases at times. The jury was definitely attentive and late in the afternoon Sarmina asked them if they were doing okay. It is not only the amount of info but the subject matter involved,that is difficult.
        They have lost 4 jurors already. They are down to only 4 alternates which was a “buzz’ with the various media in the waiting area. This is supposed to be a lengthy trial . And yes, Avery plead guilty to what you stated

      • Joan, you are right,I wrote 4 twice by mistake,they have 6 alternates. But it was the ‘talk” of the waiting area. They lost two after Avery plead guilty.Then it was announced that two more were replaced by alternates yesterday. Sarmina opened the day talking to the jury about not attending work on Fridays during the duration of the trial.There are no court sessions on Fridays. She referenced that going to their place of employment could cause problems and many people might want to share their opinions or news about the trial with the jurors. I guess maybe this had something to do with the two who were replaced, not sure.

      • Posted in wrong place…

         0 0 Rate This
        Kathy…I thought they were down to 6 not 4 extra jurors….eek…do they have to start over, with a new jury, if they run out of alternates…no wonder the media was talking about it!

      • Grand Jury testimony on Gana

        Rev. Stanley Gana, ordained in 1970, sexually abused countless boys in a succession of Philadelphia parishes. He was known to kiss, fondle, anally sodomize, and
        impose oral sex on his victims. He took advantage of altar boys, their trusting families, and vulnerable teenagers with emotional problems. He took groups of adolescent male parishioners on overnight trips, and would rotate them through his bed. He collected nude pornographic photos of his victims. He molested boys on a farm, in vacation houses, in the church rectory. Some minors he abused for years.

        During and even before Msgr. Lynn’s tenure as Secretary of Clergy, he was aware of much of the sexual abuse committed by Father Gana. Yet Msgr. Lynn thwarted efforts to have him removed from active ministry. Two victims came forward in the 1990s to describe specifics of their abuse and provide the names of other victims. They begged Msgr. Lynn and his colleagues in the Archdiocese to take away Father Gana’s cover as a priest in good standing, to stop facilitating his exploitation of minors.

        Soon after the second victim came forward, Msgr. Lynn even learned that Father Gana had admitted the sexual abuse during therapy sessions. Moreover, both victims provided Msgr. Lynn with corroborating witnesses, and at least one of them was deemed credible by Msgr. Lynn even before Father Gana’s admission. In addition, Msgr. Lynn knew that Father Gana was still living with students at the time the abuse reports were coming in.
        Despite this overwhelming evidence that Father Gana was a dangerous sexual predator, Msgr. Lynn took no steps to have him removed from active ministry, or even to protect the students who were living with him at the time of the reports. 

        Quite the opposite, as documented by the previous grand jury, Msgr. Lynn spent a decade improperly investigating Father Gana’s victims rather than Father Gana; misleading the
        priest’s treatment team so its members would not know the full extent of his criminal misconduct; and explicitly supporting Father Gana’s successful effort to remain in active ministry, where he continued to perform Mass with altar boys.

        When asked by one of the victims to explain this unconscionablbreach of duty, which endangered countless minors while perpetuating Father Gana’s crime spree, Msgr. Lynn could offer only the non sequitur that the priest’s misconduct had not been limited to having sex with children and teenage minors. Father Gana had also slept with adults, abused alcohol, and stolen money from parish churches. “You see,” said Msgr. Lynn, “he’s not a pure pedophile.”

      • Rich,

        Pain is miserable! I catch your drift about avoiding pain pills. The disorientation can be equally miserable. If surgery will do it, take the leap! Everyone, here, will nurse you through your recovery. Nothing like a new day dawning, pain-free.

        I’m sorry you are so uncomfortable, now, but it seems like you are close to a resolution.

      • A shortened version of today’s report on Gana

        Posted: Tue, Apr. 3, 2012, 2:08 PM
        Priest, admitted abuser, told to keep a low profile

        By John P. Martin INQUIRER STAFF WRITER ALSO ON PHILLY.COM Jury hears dozens of memos from Philly archdiocese
        The Archdiocese of Philadelphia let a pastor who admitted abusing adolescent boys at a Northeast Philadelphia parish return to limited ministry in 1997 because doctors said his problem had been substance abuse, not pedophilia, jurors were told today.
        After his return from treatment, the Rev. Stanley Gana was assigned as the chaplain for a monastery of Carmelite nuns,

        Msgr. William J. Lynn, the administrator who recommended his assignment and had interviewed two of his victims, told Gana he could also occasionally assist at parishes – but that he had to be “low-key” in the diocese.

        “I said it would be fine if Gana helps out, if it was not a Northeast parish or a parish with a school,” Lynn wrote in a confidential memo.

        Philadelphia prosecutors introduced the records today as they sought to prove that Lynn, the archdiocese’s former secretary for clergy, endangered children by enabling or failing to remove priests suspected of abusing children.

        Gana is not charged, but he’s one of nearly two dozen priests that prosecutors say jurors need to hear about because they illustrate how Lynn and other church officials handled decades of abuse complaints.

        The documents presented in court today showed that Cardinal Anthony J. Bevilacqua allowed Gana to resign as pastor of Our Lady of Sorrows in Bridgeport in 1995 after two men had alleged he abused them a decade earlier at Our Lady of Calvary in Northeast Philadelphia. Gana’s resignation letter and Bevilacqua’s acceptance said he was stepping down for “health” reasons.

        Gana had repeatedly denied the abuse allegations, but admitted them in 1996 to a nun who was counseling him at Southdown, an Ontario, Canada treatment center, the records show. She told Lynn about the confession.

        Assistant District Attorney Patrick Blessington highlighted one memo that said the treatment center doctors concluded that Gana did not suffer from pedophilia or ephebophilia – sexual disorders involving children or teens – but acted out sexually because of deep substance abuse addiction.

        “He’s admitted to having sex with 11- and 12-year-old boys, but he’s not a pedophile or an ephebophile?” Blessington asked Det. Joseph Walsh of the prosecutor’s office, one of the lead investigators in the case.

        “That’s what the report says,” Walsh testified.

        Because of that diagnosis, the archdiocese took him back. In September 1997, Cardinal Anthony J. Bevilacqua wrote Gana a letter welcoming him.

        But the records show that church leaders were concerned about where to put Gana, if his past accusers would resurface and if more accusers might come forward. In one memo to the cardinal, Lynn said Gana’s monastery assignment would “minimize the possibility of unwanted publicity.”

        Gana was removed in 2002, after the clergy sex-abuse exploded and the archdiocese implemented a new policy barring any priest from active ministry following accusations of abuse. He was defrocked in 2006.

        One of Lynn’s lawyers, Thomas Bergstrom, pointed out that the nuns running the monastery knew Gana’s past and that he was not allowed unsupervised time with children.

        Bergstrom also highlighted documents showing that Bevilacqua and two of his top aides, Bishops Edward Cullen and Joseph Cistone, were actively involved in decisions regarding Gana. In one memo he cited, Cullen directed Lynn to revise his recommendations for when and how Gana could return to ministry.

      • In 2005 the Grand Jury reported Gana thusly, on Lynn’s watch.

        Gana, Stanley M. Incidents: 3 male minors Documents:
        D-1, D-2, D-3 (see a description of the documents) Case Study: Countless boys – anal sodomy – whistleblowing seminarian expelled Pattern Study: “Therapy” used to entrap victim

      • [from joan’s post…:”Msgr. Lynn could offer only the non sequitur that the priest’s misconduct had not been limited to having sex with children and teenage minors. Father Gana had also slept with adults, abused alcohol, and stolen money from parish churches. “You see,” said Msgr. Lynn, “he’s not a pure pedophile..”]

        … See…So that explains it! As long as a priest wasn’t a PURE pedophile, but also had other pathologies, it was reasonable for Lynn to send him in to do God’s work. -??!! What kind of tormented lunatics work for this AD?! This one is definitely going to jail.

      • Crystal, Lynn was also quoted about a 10 year old ( I think) who had been molested…’that the child had seduced the priest.’ or words to that effect.

        And Chaput gave him a party and applause. What scum.

      • Joan,

        Here’s your reference:

        On one occasion, Msgr. Bill Lynn, secretary for clergy, suggested to Fr. Thomas Shea — who previously ADMITTED sexually abusing two boys — that perhaps he was “seduced into it” by his 10-year-old victim.

        http://natcath.org/NCR_Online/archives2/2006b/042806/042806a.php

      • http://www.bishop-accountability.org/reports/2005_09_21_Philly_GrandJury/Grand_Jury_Report.pdf
        I finally found the 2005 Grand Jury report, the link is cited above.

        AND the info regarding Gana and Lynn, is appalling.

        In the late 70s when Tim was in elementary school:

        The first time Fr. Gana anally sodomized him, Timmy went home and curled up on the floor of the family basement, stunned and terrified by what had happened. Later that summer, Timmy’s mother became convinced he was lactose intolerant because of the milky fluid that sometimes emerged when he sat on the toilet. Father Gana told Timmy that anal sodomy was a part of loving someone. He expected the boy to reciprocate.

        In the fall of 1980, Timmy entered Archbishop Ryan High School in Philadelphia. Father Gana saw him on average three times a week and sexually abused him each time.

        Tim entered the seminary…was distraught and

        Eventually, Tim asked the dean of the college, Msgr. William J. Lynn, for a referral to a therapist. Monsignor Lynn did not ask Tim his reasons for needing therapy, but he was not entirely ignorant of the student’s relationship with Fr. Gana. Monsignor Lynn had noticed Fr. Gana’s frequent visits to Tim’s dorm room, and had instructed the seminarian to tell Fr. Gana that he needed to check in with the dean before going upstairs. It was an unusual request: priests generally had free access throughout the seminary.

        Tim reported Ganas abuse.

        Cardinal Bevilacqua himself initiated the inquiry, choosing to ignore the child- molestation charges against one of his priests. Archdiocese managers did not even speak to Fr. Gana for another six months. The investigation of Tim, meanwhile, was conducted by the third-highest official of the Archdiocese, Assistant Vicar for Administration James Molloy, and his new aide, Msgr. William Lynn — the same Lynn who had served as Tim’s seminary dean.
        The true purpose of this investigation, the Grand Jury finds, was not to get at the truth about Tim, but to suppress the truth about Fr. Gana by controlling and silencing the seminarian

        Gana was sent for treatment.

        Other victims had come forth.

        Monsignor Lynn also wrote that other named victims would be questioned – implying that if there were anything to their claims, Msgr. Lynn would provide the information to the evaluation center. Hearing nothing back, center staff might assume that there were no other victims, or that other allegations had been explored and found not credible. In fact, the Archdiocese did not question other named victims.

        the treatment center’s  report found that Fr. Gana “demonstrates significantly impaired professional conduct such that he is at risk for further inappropriate and dangerous behavior.” It recommended treatment at a residential facility.

        Cardinal Bevilacqua received a copy of the hospital’s summary statement. He also received a memo from Joseph Cistone, the assistant to the Vicar for Administration, Edward P. Cullen, which reflected the priorities governing Archdiocese deliberations. “Bishop Cullen and I both feel,” the memo warned, “that this has the potential of becoming a PR concern.” At the Cardinal’s urging, Fr. Gana resigned as pastor of Our Mother of Sorrows, effective December 15, 1995.

        Yet Fr. Gana’s career as a priest did not end. Pursuant to Archdiocesan procedure, he was permitted to select his own residential treatment program. And so long as he could
        emerge from such a facility without being diagnosed a “pedophile” or “ephebophile,” he could hope to return to active ministry.

        Father Gana chose to begin treatment, on February 4, 1996, at another church- affiliated facility, Southdown, near Toronto, Canada. Before Fr. Gana checked in, Msgr. Lynn spelled out for him exactly what diagnosis he had to avoid in order to remain an active priest. At least twice, Msgr. Lynn warned Fr. Gana that a diagnosis of pedophilia or ephebophilia would mean the end of his career. This was also a finding that the Archdiocese would want to avoid if it sought to keep a priest in ministry while avoiding liability for the criminal abuse of church members.

         Father Gana was sent to live at Immaculate Conception Rectory, along with other priests who were recovering from alcoholism and other problems. He became Chaplain of the Monastery of the Discalced Carmelite Nuns on September 16, 1997.

         Msgr. Lynn reported instructing Fr. Gana that he had “permission to exercise his ministry only at Immaculate Conception Parish and as Chaplain to Carmelite Monastery.” Any other assignments required Msgr. Lynn’s permission. To Fr. Gana, Msgr. Lynn emphasized the need to act “low key” in the diocese.

        Although he was now ostensibly responsible for the priest, Fr. Dombrow said he was never told that Fr. Gana had sexually abused minors. 

        Not knowing the danger that Fr. Gana posed to children, Fr. Dombrow asked Msgr. Lynn whether Fr. Gana could fill in when parishes called in need of a priest to celebrate Mass. Monsignor Lynn said that he could, while advising him to avoid Fr. Gana’s old parishes in Northeast Philadelphia.

        Yet, by November 3, 1997, less than a month later, Fr. Gana was seen celebrating Mass, assisted by altar boys, at Ascension Parish in Kensington where he had first met John and Barry. Learning of this from his sister, Tim wrote that day to Cardinal Bevilacqua expressing concern that Fr. Gana was still in active ministry and warning that he presented a danger to the boys of the Archdiocese.

        The Cardinal handed the letter to Msgr. Lynn with instructions to respond over Msgr. Lynn’s, not the Cardinal’s, signature. Monsignor Lynn invited Tim to come talk the next time he was in town from Connecticut, where Tim had gone to become a priest after his excardination from Philadelphia.

        Monsignor Lynn called Fr. Gana’s repeated celebration of Mass at Ascension parish a “mistake” – but not because of how traumatic the priest’s presence could be to his victims. Rather, Msgr. Lynn said: “We tell him to keep a low profile because there are people out to get him.”

        Monsignor Lynn reassured Tim that Fr. Gana’s ministry was limited, and that he was being monitored. But Tim remained unconvinced, noting that Fr. Gana’s new ministry at the Carmelite Monastery took only about 35 minutes a day, that he had a car, and that no one was watching him.

        Tim testified that Msgr. Lynn related to him the cockeyed logic of the Archdiocese, according to which Fr. Gana had not been diagnosed as a “pedophile” (attracted to prepubescent children) or “ephebophile” (attracted to post-pubescent minors) because he was alcoholic and also had sexual encounters with women an adult males. Had Fr. Gana been diagnosed a pedophile, Msgr. Lynn explained to Tim (who had been compelled to have oral and anal sex beginning when he was 13 years old), the Archdiocese would have taken steps to remove him from the priesthood.
        By December 1998, Fr. Gana was asking Msgr. Lynn’s permission to hear confessions at parish penance services. Monsignor Lynn refused.
        99

      • Patrick, I meant to thank you for the disgusting Lynn/ Shea quotation! I did find the 2005 Grand Jury link, while looking for it.

      • Joan,

        You’re welcome.

        I now understand the Catholic priest, so I am no longer surprised when one priest rapes a 10 year old child and another Catholic priest tries to convince him that the 10 year old seduced him. These are some of the most physiologically, sexually, socially disturbed people on the planet.

        Note also that as I’ve said before, the 2005 Grand Jury report has actually been removed from DA Seth William’s web site, and is much harder to find on the internet. (I can find it, but if you put in the most obvious keywords, it takes a long time to get to the full document).

        I’m guessing DA Seth Williams did this to help protect his church, since he is a devout Catholic.

      • Patrick, I remember your concern that folks be able to access that 2005 report. For what it’s worth, the link is

        http://www.bishop-accountability.org/reports/2005_09_21_Philly_GrandJury/Grand_Jury_Report.pdf

        I wonder if Susan could add it to the RESOURCES, I kind of like that shorter Bishop Accountability version, and a link with over 400 pages is daunting. But there are times when it is useful. The Gana data was appalling, but I don’t think available in the shorter version.

        Perhaps we could have TWO versions of the 2005 report in RESOURCES?

        Patrick as to your point about nothing surprises you anymore, sexually dysfunctional clergy wise…although by temperament I am an optimist, I admit that when I got to the section in the 2005 GJ report relating to Gana, and the fact that Tim’s mom thought he was ‘lactose intolerant’….due to semen from repeated anal rapings…I lost it.

        I guess we all have our ‘statutes of limitations’ and I just reached mine.

        I know I ODed on the Gana data yesterday and thought I had edited, when it wouldn’t work on my I pad, but maybe it was a good thing. Conflicting reports about the Lynn/Gana situation are painfully, (and lengthily available) and folks can make up their mind..I know I have!

    • Susan,

      I also know of one who is sure to blow the doors of the courtroom.

  3. Last week during the CNN interview I was asked how I felt about knowing that the Church knew about these predator priests and transferred them instead of exposing them. I said as I’ve aways felt, “It is worse than the abuse itself.” What I meant by that is there seems to be nothing worse than knowing that all the pain I went through was totally and completely preventable had someone just done the right thing. Instead, as we all know by now, these predators were shuffled about, transferred all over the world to abuse more children. I cannot begin to explain my frustration and the ultimate betrayal of trust. I was placed into the care of men who were supposed to guide me, teach me, and prepare me for a good life. Instead, these men betrayed me, confused me, sexually abused me, and then moved on to the next innocent, unsuspecting victim, who would await to discover that Father McDevitt wasn’t just being nice out of the kindness of his heart, but was rather cunning and sneaky just so he could get close enough to corrupt the precious sanctity of something so personal as our bodies.

    I don’t think our abusers get to the mind and destroy that right away. Most times we disassociate from the abuse, and I know for myself many times I felt like I was hovering above the classroom or the boys bathroom, looking down on him abusing me. It’s afterwards, when you try to figure out what just happened that the mind takes over and plays games in your head. You think, could I have been dreaming? Did this really happen? What did I do wrong? Am I going to hell? Did I seduce him? Why did he make me kiss him? What did he push my head down into his lap? Why did he put his hand there? Why didn’t he listen when I said it hurt and I asked him to stop?

    Looking back on those days, which seem not so far away, it was a lot to take in for a child. I walked away from the abuse feeling like I was covered in a thick greasy slime that a scrub brush and a bar of soap couldn’t wash away. I’ve always felt like there was this dirty film adhered to my body, and it’s no wonder I’m most famous for my three-shower-a-day routine. I can still feel his cold hands on my body, and the smell of his breath, and the creepy way his sucked on hard candy. I can hear his voice and an evil laugh, or a grunt as he was pushing my head harder and harder, closer and closer, lower and lower. I can taste his tongue in my mouth and I can feel his saliva dripping down my chin while he kissed my neck and groped me between my thighs. My neck is warm from his hot breath and I keep pushing my body away from the urinal while he’s behind me, pushing my face into the wall and I feel a sharp pain inside of me. There’s a salty taste in my mouth from the tears pouring down my face and it seemed the more I begged him to stop the worse it got. To this day I can still feel every second of that pain. Nothing can ever compare to it. My mind remembers it, and it remembers the smells, the tastes, the touch, and the darkness.

    I could’ve been somebody else. I could’ve been a brain without these memories to keep me awake at night and cry myself to sleep during the day. The things that happened to me were absolutely and completely preventable had one person done their job 25 years before I had even met Father McDevitt, followed-up and investigated complaints of abuse against this predator, and ultimately removed him from ministry and exposed him to criminal justice. He could’ve been stopped before he ever got to me… and others.

    The Catholic Church always had its secrecy and privacy in hidden documents and evil men. The Church allowed these predators to create my secrecy by stealing my privacy. That one evil man took my vision, my dreams, and my ambitions. Today, the Catholic Church takes away my right to have some kind of future by getting the justice I deserve. The Catholic Church continues to lie and it steals your money, while it claims to give charity to the poor and preaches a devoted love of children. The Church claims to provide higher education, when all it really does is create empty souls. It blocks the light that some of us may want to allow in. It preaches virtue when all it really wants is the value in a basket. Those dollars are used for secrecy, and to retain high-powered attorneys to destroy the credibilty of the victims they created. I wonder if Jesus ever had reason for a defense attorney? Even before he was nailed to the cross, didn’t he demand due process? Maybe it’s time the Church started dying for its own sins.

    • Rich,

      Those are awful stories. I feel so bad for what you went through.

      Most Catholics (99%) still do nothing about it, which shows the coldness and heartlessness of Catholics. They’re just interested int hat free ticket to heaven, and they think priests are the only ones with tickets. They all deserve the surprise they will get in the afterlife.

      Stay tough. You will triumph in the long run.

    • I’m fighting with you Rich. I won’t stop either.

      My husband has shared the same feelings as you…”it’s worse than the abuse.”

      I imagine many readers will not be able to read what you experienced…

      too traumatizing…too sickening…too saddening…too enraging…too disgusting…and yet, what Lynn and others did was WORSE than all of that!

      The priest perpetrated and the hierarchs KNOWINGLY and STRATEGICALLY allowed them to do it.

      They still do…

    • Thanks for your replies. I actually wrote this in the wee hours of the morning when I couldn’t sleep. Most of this stuff I write is in my nightmares, or it’s what keeps me up at night.

      Very often I wish I didn’t post this stuff, but it seemed like a good idea at the time. Just something about the topic triggered me and I had to explain the way I felt about it. I can only explain it if you let me do it in my own words. Maybe it was hard for some people to read, and I’m sorry, I didn’t mean for it to be that way. It’s just that the comment box was empty, and I felt like I had the freedom to fill it up. 🙂

      • Your words are so vital to the fight. Your and other survivors’ experiences are what keep us moving forward. If it helps you in the least little bit to write it down and fill up the comment box, do it. We are here to listen. You are not alone. Much Love.

      • V4J,
        If it’s hard for people to read…that’s their issue, not yours.

        keep posting, keep sharing…reality of the effects of child sexual abuse are not easy to digest.

    • This a an all too clear reason why pain is never predictable. The suffering is always relative to the individual. NO one can demand of another, “get over it” or “for God’s sake it’s been ____years now!”, “you need to stop being a victim”, “you’re just looking for attention”. I become so astounded by people, well-intentioned or not who have no understanding and sympathy for the pain of another….how many times I heard someone “suggest” that they should be over a loved one’s death by now. Doesn’t anyone understand that these victims of sexual abuse have experienced death in them as well, yes something has died in them and they profoundly grieve and mourn its loss, you can call it TRUST, or INNOCENCE or even HOPE, but yes each of they has died a little, maybe more…

  4. S. Reid Waren, III Reply April 3, 2012 at 10:17 am

    In Rich’s detailed recounting of what he went through, he mentions priests/predators but Rich is the only man recounting what happened. The priests who did those things to the victims are not real men. Their behavior is not that of a protector but is an example of sociopathic behavior – behavior marked by the predator having no compassion for the victim. It’s all about the predator’s pleasure and power. He is unable to see beyond his most immediate needs. The victim is used – used. In the “family” of fellowship which is The Church family names are used all the time – sister, brother, father, mother so we’re looking at a form of incest here. Rampant incest that was known about and countenanced from the highest reaches of The Church. THEY knew it was going on ALL the time.

    Reid

    • Reid, Vicky called it incest, too….for the same reasons you just did. and a new blogger made a very good point about victims being ‘thrice’ betrayed, by the perp, by the church authorities, and by an uninformed laity.

  5. Do not ever think that this is just a lowly priest, nun, brother thing….this is all about what has started at the top and filtered down to the lowly priest etc., (non hierarchy) in the order, or diocease They all knew after a while, they all probably did it for a while. They cover each other. Do not say ” oh, he or she couldn’t do such a thing” , yes they could and did , why else woiuld they stay? There are reasons but very few!

    Think about the clergy that you knew who left. They were almost ostrasized for leaving… How, so too bad is that?

    Just as in my family, one left one didn’t. The oldest(72) stayed, as there was no one in the family who believed her, to come to her aid and the shame of her leaving when you’re old would have been just too much……”The uninformed laity”……. Had there been a job waiting or an inheritance she would have left. as fast as possible.She was brilliant! Oh Lord we never believed her stories. We were,as she was,…. Brain -washed by generations of evil men. Let it end .Please God.!!! We are all ” the INFORMED LAITY now! ” No more excuses !!!! People of God …. do what is right!

    PS I’m in my 83rd yr and 60 yrs in the rcc. Left in 2001.PTL!

    • glorybee1929, I am proud to call you friend and so proud that you had the courage to leave such an evil institution! How very difficult it had to be for you after so many years, my hat off to you. Stay strong for me and with me I need people like you in my corner!

  6. Looks like things heated up in court today. It was pretty calm yesterday,a few exchanges between the judge and attorneys,nothing out of the ordinary.
    http://www.priestabusetrial.com/search?updated-min=2012-01-01T00:00:00-05:00&updated-max=2013-01-01T00:00:00-05:00&max-results=12

    • Martin J. Leahy, PhD Reply April 3, 2012 at 8:48 pm

      Kathy, are there standard AM and PM times for the trial? Is there a standard time for lunch? I am hoping to make it some mornings and some afternoons. Thanks! Martin

      • Martin,court begins each day at 9:30. The lunch is usually at 12:30. People come and go throughout the proceedings. I got there around 9 and stood in line, there was no problem getting a seat.

  7. I know this is off subject a bit, but Jason Berry has been cited on this site many times for his work on child sex abuse and Church financial corruption and it’s a really big deal that he won this award for Render Unto Rome…

    Good news for a change!

    NSAC SAalutes Jason Berry’s Ire
    UNITED STATES
    National Survivor Advocates Coalition

    We are pleased to congratulate author Jason Berry on being named the Investigative Reporter and Editors (IRE) award winner in the book category for the great work he produced in “Render Unto Rome: The Secret Life of Money in the Catholic Church.”

    IRE announced its award winners yesterday.

    Here are the judges’ comments regarding Mr. Berry and “Render Unto Rome.”

    Author Jason Berry delves deeply into a topic few have examined – the secretive finances of the Roman Catholic Church. Using volubackground research that takes the reader back centuries, Berry uncovers abuses of the trust of church members by influential bishops who diverted funds intended for philanthropic purposes into accounts used for plugging Vatican operating deficits or defending priests accused of pedophilia. Berry details how the modern church is systematically closing churches in poorer parishes while at the same time opening churches in affluent suburbs where the weekly “take” is greater.

  8. How very sad it makes me feel when someone says it is a thing of the past, let it go. What happened so long ago was a CRIME THEN AND IT IS A CRIME NOW. To trivialize the impact of abuse we suffered is devastating. Our lives have been permanently altered by what others consider unfortunate circumstances.
    Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers, we are hurting so much during this trial. I am finding things out about Lynn really knew when i first went to him in1993/1994 about my 3 perps. Thank God for therapy, I am crying every day for the me, for those who gave up, for those suffering right along side me. I am full of rage and great sadness. The Divine keeps showing me in my mind my need to hand over to Him my sorrow and pain that He is in charge and if these evil men don’t see jail, they will in the next life meet the God of Justice. The dominoes are falling one by one, I have to believe that truth will prevail. Thank you to all who always end their blog with I believe the victims, it is the victims who have always known the truth! I will attend Fridays 1st friday wearing my sweatshirt with a little girl on the front clutching a teddy bear and holding up my sign that reads Why can’t you see the child inside of me!

    • Dear Vicky,

      Please know that you and the other victims are in my prayers every day. Your sentence…”it is the victims who have always known the truth” touched me deeply. So very true.
      Stay strong, if possible and God bless you.

    • Vicky I will be proud to stand beside you on Friday.

    • Vicky, you are stronger than words can express. Therapy has saved me and many others and I thank God for it. I may not have walked in your shoes, but I support your journey. I sincerely hope and pray that justice prevails in THIS lifetime along with the next. These monsters and their cohorts need to be held accountable no matter how long ago the crimes happened. I keep pressure on my PA State Reps to bring forward and pass HB 832 & 878. I support and believe the victims. I pray for you all, daily, and for the many voiceless children who are suffering now. Stay strong, you are needed and valued.

    • Vicky, I wish I could join you on Friday, but it looks like there will be many C4C bloggers there to support you and for you to provide reciprocal support, as you do so courageously.

      Crystal wants me to go see Rigali and Dolan at NYC’s St. Pat’s on Holy Thursday. I don’t have your patience and worry I will too boldly challenge them and get arrested. Where will I find a criminal lawyer? They will all be attending Lynn’s trial ! We will see.

      God bless you and have a glorious Easter. In all this monarchical muck, it is sometimes easy to lose sight of He/She who makes this all so critical. .

  9. Vicky, I will be so happy to see you on Friday.

  10. I just spoke with a friend that I have not heard from in some time. My friend went to daily mass this morning, as she has for many years. She is not even aware that there is a trial of the church taking place, and had no interest, none, in learning what it could be about. Daily mass, daily rosary, centuries of highly effective mind programming will not be undone by something as simple as the truth.

    • Your last sentence is awesome, or as the sheep would say, “baaa”.

    • Mark,

      The energy, determination and knowledge of C4C-like people will bring justice to fruition, and will guide the Church toward renewal. While the unenlightened and/or in-denial sheep are disheartening, they are powerless to impede the reformative metamorphosis that our Church is undergoing. Indeed, the clergy they exalt are powerless as well.

      • Right now as we are blogging on three sites, Brennans defense are saying his accuser is not to be believed.

        A quote fom the 2011 Grand Jury report page 38, would tell the story of the impact of abuse on Brennan’s victim.

        “As a result of the rape, Mark developed significant psychological and substance abuse problems, and attempted suicide.
        At the time of the rape, Mark was a happy, well-adjusted boy who played several sports and had no problems in school.

        But the sexual assault by Father Brennan triggered significant psychological problems, including depression, which in turn led to a dramatic weight loss and left him so emotionally damaged that he was at times unable to even to leave his house.
        In addition, the rape led Mark to turn to drugs and alcohol for comfort, and contributed significantly to a substance abuse problem that would affect his performance in school, damage his relationship with his family, and cause a crisis of faith. Mark even went so far as to attempt to kill himself by overdosing on pills before undergoing counseling and beginning to turn his life around.
        Archdiocese officials continued to assign Father Brennan to posts where he would have regular contact with children.”

        Personally I hope the prosecution has Marks school and medical records handy, a before and after evaluation.

      • Correction, the charge against Brennan was modified to attempted rape, recently.

      • I’m lifting the Abuse Tracker citation relative to Brennan. a thought, whether, we are talking about attempted (almost completed rape) or rape, the damage to the victim is horrifying.

        Tearful witness describes assault by priest
        PHILADELPHIA (PA)
        Philadelphia Inquirer

        By John P. Martin
        INQUIRER STAFF WRITER

        A former Bucks County altar boy testified today that one of the two Philadelphia priests on trial for conspiracy and child endangerment molested him when he stayed at the cleric’s apartment in 1996.

        The witness, now 30, broke down several times as he told a Common Pleas Court jury about the assault by the Rev. James J. Brennan that he said plunged him into a spiral of drugs, crime and suicide attempts and still haunts him.

        He said Brennan, a family friend he once loved like an uncle, showed him Internet sex-chat rooms, proposed they masturbate together then ordered him into a bed where the priest, clad in boxer shorts, wrapped his arms around him and pressed his private parts against the boy.

        “He kept pulling me forward, forward, forward,” the man testified, fighting back tears. “I couldn’t get off the bed. I still feel the sensation today. It’s horrible.”

  11. Martin J. Leahy, PhD Reply April 5, 2012 at 12:35 am

    I was in court today. Brennan’s lawyer was brutal.

    Glad that I checked the website before going – I wore a blue shirt.

    • Martin, I just read the trial blog,it sounded like an awful day. It sounds like the witness was unable to continue testimony for the day.

      • Kathy, is there any way you could contact the victims lawyer and let him know that C4C is very concerned for his clients well being?

        I sure hope so!!!

    • Now imagine life from that child’s point of view.

      Great Catholic boy. At 14, attempted rape by a priest. Knows no Catholics will believe him. Stays silent, but thinks about it non-stop every single day.

      Why me, God?
      What did I do wrong, God?
      Why am I the only one that a priest tied to rape, God?
      Why do you hate me, God?

      Every single day.

      Then he finds out it was a conspiracy, and its been happening to tens of thousands of children, who all thought the same thing. And the conspiracy has tons of God’s money.

      Now it gets to court, and on of the pedophile priests admits, after 3 decades of lying, that he did it. Regardless, lots of God’s money left to buy the most vicious lawyers to humiliate this victim even more. Fewer than 1% of Catholics will do anything at all to defend this poor child, now 30 years old.

      That IS the Catholic church today.

      “That which you do to the least of my brothers, that you do undo Me.”

      I hope that God is just as vicious with everyone who did nothing when their judgment day comes. Every Catholic loves confession, which was invented by Catholics based on John 20:23

      “If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven;
      if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”

      but EVERY Catholic priest and follower forgets the second part. There is some judgment there, and these sins aren’t forgiven. Let me be the prophet that tells you that.

      Every Catholic better have better lawyers than this for their own judgment day with God.

      • Right on Patrick!
        No more money for this conspiracy.
        How sad that his witness walked away from court alone today. Praying for him tonight, that he rests well and may he come back tomorrow feeling calm and strong and ready to go.

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