Trial Brings Out Truth – Not Persecution


Click here to read: “Pa. Priest trial painful, poignant for Catholics,”  Phillyburbs.com, April 21, 2012

“There is nothing wrong with this prosecution, nothing whatsoever,” he said. “You don’t take our love for the church and its teaching, and our wonderful tradition, and wield those around as artillery in a defense of Lynn.”

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80 Responses to “Trial Brings Out Truth – Not Persecution”

  1. Lawyer Jim Ledyard, a classic pew sheep! “Many of us would be devastated if any further abuse is uncovered.”

    Jim isn’t devastated yet. Clearly, he doesn’t have a son or daughter affected by sexual abuse, or dead because of it. Clearly, hundreds of thousands of victims around the world doesn’t tally to the devastating number he has in mind. Clearly, two Grand Jury reports aren’t quite devastating. Noon Mass is what sedates Jim from the devastating reality that the Catholic Church has been engaged in a devastating conspiracy to cover up the sexual abuse of a devastating number of children for a devastating number of decades.

    • For 10 years, I’ve read about vile, satanic acts done to our innocent kids by catholic monsters. Each one hurts and enrages me more. But every so often a victim’s comment “tears me up”.
      V4J praying to superman.
      Vicky stating “the victims always knew the truth”.
      And this poor kid actually feeling jealously that father friendly had moved on rape someone else. How upside down the victim’s world must seem.
      These animals not only RAPED children’s bodies…
      They RAPED children’s minds.

      • JR….praying to superman did it for me, or the mother who thought her son was lactose intolerant…repeated anal rape.

        But there’s a line from this post that caught my attention, as well..

        “and it remains unclear if prosecutors are finished with the decade-long investigation of the Philadelphia archdiocese. One of Gana’s accusers said he was once raped at a house owned by Bishop Michael Bransfield of West Virginia. Bransfield, a formePhiladelphia priest and Gana friend, issued a statement saying he wasn’t home at the time. And he forcefully denied trial allegations that he may have molested someone.”

        My feelings would not be hurt if a Third Grand Jury was convened!!!

      • I’m with you Joan.
        The wonderful mother suggesting lactose intolerance and her fantastic husband to beat the boy’s brother relentlessly for reporting the rape…tore me up also.

      • What pain at the hands of so many clergy.
        Last night I was so overcome with sadness reading the submission of a daughter, whose mother as child reared in an orphanage run by religious sisters.
        The little girls were selected to ‘assist father’, and were sent to him at his bidding.
        She was raped and sent away to have her child given up for adoption.
        Many years later, there was a knock on the door, and her now adult baby began seeking his roots.
        A son, who had to be told, his existance was the result of rape by a priest.
        Read it for yourselves, it can be found on, Eureka Street: Unlocking the culture of clergy sex-abuse. Julie McNeill.
        If that doesn’t just wrench your heart.

    • You know Hadit, when I first read the posted article, it occurred to me that there are two more appalling criminal trials pending where a poor kid was passed around for rape amongst the defendants, at least 3 civil suits pending, 21 or more ‘suspended priests’ yet to be ‘returned to ministry’ and another 4 weeks, at least, of this trial.

      I think the possibility that Jim Ledyard may well be ‘devastated’ is considerable.

  2. I would say the author has a luxury/blindness/whatever that I do not have…

    I cannot put my faith into little compartments and bring out the aspects of it that I like only to completely ignore or disregard the areas I don’t.

    The way the article reads…it would have been more appropriate if he had ended the entire thing with a juvenile, “Bummer.” Because that’s how “affected” he seems by the raping of children.

    Respectfully, I know too much.

  3. I don’t know. My faith in God has never wavered. My faith in the institution and its hierarchy is gratefully demolished. The era of sitting passively and following blindly is now, finally, coming to an end. I often think that Christ must be in heaven shaking his head, crying, and thinking: “This is NOT what I intended my church to be!”
    I’ve often thought of the establishment of the American Catholic Church with the establishment of “little churches” in neighborhood houses. A priesthood where priests would be enabled to share in the God-given gift of sexuality with a spouse. A church whereby the respected laity lead and the religious and clergy serve with the people, not lord over them. A church where we are all ONE in our common journey closer to eternal life.
    I don’t know…call me a hopeless optimist!

    • Jerry, I have that same dream for a Catholic Church…..and I also believe that is the type of Church Jesus intended for us. He surely must be heartbroken by the horribly wrong direction in which the “leaders” have taken the Church.

    • The going ons in the ‘little churchs’ of today can be no better Jerry.
      Clergy still share in the God-given gift of sexuality, only with other mens spouses.
      In many cases plastering the women with alcohol while the husbands at work, or under the guise of spiritality, [prayer groups of Third Order memberships].
      A few of them around too.

    • What would Jesus say????????? Better yet would Jesus wear a Rolex on his TV show???????????? Believe we know the answer to both questions… What you describe above for the American Catholic Church already exist. It is called the Episcopal Church and it has strong roots here in Philadelphia – Christ Church…I refer to it as Catholic Light and for me personally it has become a solid solution.

  4. Today after I recieved communion. I told Jesus ” I love you………use me even though I am afraid……..help me to know your will………..I was thinking I am afraid because we are fighting pure evil……..but I know God will win in the end and he will keep his promises………..I had tears in my eyes…….I was thinking how many victims can longer recieve communion because of what they have been thru…….how many longer believe………..it’s heartbreaking……….

  5. This may well appear to be all too simplistic, but I maintain that FEAR is the evil that most imperils our souls, our minds and our hearts…..
    …priests, nuns and others within the Church who were fearful to admit they had a problem,that they needed help
    …victims who were fearful of telling the truth, afraid that no one would believe them and would suffer for making the truth be known
    … diocesan leaders, especially bishops who were terrified of the scandal becoming public, who hid the truth, who subverted it and attempted to ignore it
    …and for the rest of us, afraid of its consequences, fearful of its extent and fearful of trusting any member of the Church’s leadership
    …and the ANGER, the emotion which always follows FEAR, people who are angry because they are afraid, an anger which will take so much time to remove, why? because no one has yet removed the FEAR, the boogey man is still hiding in the closet
    …regrettably, we are still afraid, “peace be with you?” not yet!

    • Leo,
      I have learned that fear can paralizes us if we let it but it is from Satan this fear……..God says Be Not afraid……and I know for those that push forward despite their fear with God;s help can make a difference………….I have thought many of the same things………many people afraid and unless they act despite their fear the devil will win………

    • Leo, I clearly understand your well described points…especially the fear that abused children feel, when molested by clergy.

      But at 73, I have a slightly different ‘take’.

      I lived through and thoroughly enjoyed the post Vatican 2 period. I know….experientially …..just how good Church can be, and was.

      I also understand the deplorable current mess.

      But, I am a firm believer in two things….the Holy Spirit and momentum, (they may be the same)!

      I define ‘momentum’ as the concerted efforts of good folks to speak up for abuse victims, to speak up for laws that hold the church accountable, molestation-wise, for guys like Thomas Doyle, Jason Berry, SNAP, grand jurys with the guts to convene and prosecutors with a similar agenda….and oh so many others AND, certainly C4C, including everyone who comments and everyone who reads it.

      And it’s not just about sexual abuse of innocent kids….although as a mother and grandmother that gets my FIRST attention. But it’s also about horrendous hierarchical financial abuse, and this week, persecution of nuns whose grievous sin was to care for the poor and the marginal, rather than the bishops agenda that wants no birth control, no consideration for gender issues et al…

      I think that it is absolutely imperative that there is an increased ‘momentum’ of concern and action on the part of those who ‘get it’….actually, I think the Holy Spirit is the Source of the ‘momentum’.

  6. Put 2 things on a continuum that determines where you stand with God:

    1. You stole money from thousands of people.
    2. You spiritually (and/or physically) raped children and therefore they no longer believe there is a God.

    I think Jesus’ rubric for this is pretty darned clear. We all know what He says about ANYONE who gets in the way of His Children getting to him…

    I don’t think Catholics fully understand this…because if they did, they’d have to admit by their actions and inactions, they have been obstacles to His Children getting to Him too.

    • I agree.Many including myself have been caught up in materialism , distractions or greed or power or all of the above and forgotten the goal is to lead souls to heaven…………the suffering I have gone thru with my dad’s 10yr struggle with cancer and my husband has been a gift in a way ……….it all showed me what is most important………God and our neighbor………..I know I would not be here on this site today without those struggles although they were painful………they have made my faith deeper…..and me more compassinate….I find I still have so much to learn from our survivors and those on this site.

      • Beth, I am very very glad you are here on this site..I think of you as C4C’s ‘religious conscience’ and I love the amount of prayer that you engage in!…..warmest regards, Joan

      • I feel exactly the same way, Beth.

        I wish I could say the prayers you say so well.

      • Joan and hadit, I wish you could meet Beth and see her interact with victims and their family members,,,a “sidewalk ministry” is what I call it when I am at the vigils with her.

      • Thanks Joan, Hadit and Kathy. I don’t always understand God but he can do some pretty amazing things……..I want our survivors to know we care……..and that HE cares…

  7. How about your alma mater? Has sex abuse and clericalism tarnished it? Do you know?

    I learned, today, that it has tarnished mine. Even when mine learned that one of its Jesuit Board members was guilty of enabling a notorious abuser in Chicago, it didn’t move to remove him from the Board. Indeed, it defended his continued presence on the Board. It took the College’s faculty members to organize and pressure the College to remove him. He was finally removed but just minutes before a demonstration was to take place demanding his removal, plus he was permitted to say he quit as opposed to the diocese firing him. Just another reminder that clerics are ingrained with clericalism and cannot be trusted to do the right thing.

    http://www.wbur.org/2012/04/19/bc-board-member

    • Oh Hadit, the UC system and a catholic women’s college are far safer….but I have grandson looking at Georgetown…..oops?

  8. I remember his laugh. I can hear it right now while I’m writing this as if my abuser is right behind me. Just like the odor of his clothing, the smell of his breath, the coldness of hands, and even in the creepy way his sucked on hard candy mints and butterscotch, I will never forget “the laugh.” Other than my partner, I have never told a single soul about this… ever. While I was being raped by this abusive priest in the boys bathroom at school one day, I felt a brutal pain, my body being pushed up against the urinal while I used my hands to push back from the wall in front of me, I begged for him to stop. I told him, “It hurts. Please stop. Please, please, please STOP.” I remember wanting to die right at that very moment. I called out for help and was told to shut up. I grasped both sides of the urinal, trying to wedge myself backwards, away from the wall so I could break free. I wasn’t strong enough. When I gave up fighting him, and before I went to my safe place, he laughed. He was hurting me and he laughed. To this day “the laugh” sends chills up and down my spine, but it also makes me very angry because it was funny to him that I was in so much pain. That was body rape, and it was also mind rape.

    For over twenty years I have been searching for the part I see in everyone else that doesn’t exist in myself. I’m not sure which part I’m referring to, because I just don’t know. Maybe it’s trust, or the right to be carefree about people and places, or the ability to become friends so easily with another human being, or the way a person can find humor in an old memory from when they were a kid. I don’t accept gifts from anyone for fear there might be strings attached, and I loathe the holidays when I oppose recieving gifts even though tell everyone in my family not to buy me anything, only for them not to listen, and I don’t know what to say or do or how to act when someone gives me something. Maybe that has something to do with it. I don’t remember who or how I was before abuse. I have no clear memories of my childhood when I wasn’t going through sexual abuse. I can always shadow a good single childhood memory with an episode of sexual abuse, and I have very few good memories at all. The good memories I do have are with my Mom and now, with my Mom gone, they’re very painful to think about.

    I don’t know what it is exactly you have that I lack. Most of the time you all seem “upside down” to me. I guess I’ve just tried so hard and for so long to accept the abuse as normal that I didn’t leave the option on the table that maybe the abuse wasn’t normal at all. After three years of talking and writing about my abuse, I still argue with myself who was really to blame, he or I? I can spend hours in a day just trying to remember what I said or how I looked or what I might have done to draw him to me. I was 6 or 7 at first, and what I know of children that age is that they are not sexual beings. What did I do to open the door for him to become sexual with me? The memory of my first kiss makes me physically ill. I hated the hormones of puberty, because I was scared of what was becoming of my body and I vowed never to do anything sexual with anyone ever again. The thought of being intimate with someone just took me back to that place with “him” and I couldn’t imagine willingly putting myself in the position of being with anyone in that way for the rest of my life. Sex was dirty, painful, humiliating, scary, and it always had to be a secret.

    Consciously I realize that I was not to blame, but I would be lying if I said I still do not struggle with the blame game. I wake up in the morning only to be fearful of the day ahead of me. Will I have one panic attack today or 50? Will I smell or touch a memory? Is today the day of total self destruction? I hope I don’t get triggered today. I hope I don’t humiliate myself with panic in work or at the store. Will I sit around staring into outer space, thinking about the nightmares I had last night, or will I be cleaning up the bedroom again after another horrible night terror? In most of my nightmares, I’m choking in some form or another. Sometimes I’m drowning. In reality, I remember choking and gasping for air as he was making me perform oral sex on him. It was horrible. I threw up when he was done.

    Somehow I’ll deal with the panic and the nightmares and night terrors just as long as I can get through the day without hearing “the laugh.”

    • Filthy b******!

    • Rich,I will share another story. This is my own and it happened to me when I was about 23..an adult..not a child. I was a social worker working in Philly with a pretty vulnerable population. I had a client with many MH issues. In the course of working with him for a few weeks I came to find out he had a history of stalking and physically assaulting women and had previously been incarcerated. Within a short amount of time he became sexually fixated on me and I continued meeting with him…I could ‘save him” right? No. I went to my supervisor and very apologetically explained that I would like to have his case transferred to one of the male social workers. I explained some of the statements he made,behavior he showed towards me. And I did this feeling like I did something wrong to illicit this behavior,even knowing his past history.She was shocked and banned him from coming to the agency..no case transfer..he was banned. Again I felt bad for this. Then he started stalking me on the street when I would go to lunch,would wait outside the building when I arrived in the morning. This happened for days until I mentioned it to my supervisor. She immediately took me to the local police precinct to file a report. She had male coworkers wait outside the building for me in the morning. Until this I had been running up the street in the morning looking over my shoulder for him,and started packing a lunch so I would not have to leave the building at lunchtime. WHY? Because I was actually so scared,I was numb. When I told people what was happening..they reacted appropriately to the very real threat..I was reacting by going through the motions as if it wasn’t happening. They were more scared for me then I was for myself because I went to a place of fear that was not like something I had ever previously experienced . Not the normal fear a young woman would have walking the streets in Philly..a whole different fear because someone actually wanted to harm me..and when that happened the fear became something I did not even know how to process.So I went through the motions..with almost no emotion.One day he gained access to the building and was hiding in the stairwells. The police swarmed the building trying to find him but he got away. When the police were interviewing me…I apologized to them for all of this commotion. WHY? I did nothing wrong. Why does this sexually deviant behavior illicit feelings from the victim that they have done something wrong? Rich,you did nothing wrong,my friend as a 12 year in a store did nothing wrong, as a young social worker I did nothing wrong, but the fear is so overwhelming that we can’t even see that.

      • I know common sense says that it wasn’t my fault, but I still struggle with it. I understand your stories and if I was there I would’ve protected you from that creep, and I would’ve beat that salesman to a bloody pulp to protect your friend. It’s just very hard for me so many days. If it was as easy as listeing to what you say, and what so many people have told me, than I would be almost okay. But it’s not that easy. It’s like trying to breathe with a plastic bag over your head.

      • Rich I know,and I didn’t mean to share these things other than to let you know that there are people who understand the reactions,the fear,the things that to some people make no sense. I see so many people say ‘why did they let that happen’ “why didn’t they do something”. And I can’t imagine the loneliness and frustration of that journey.
        The reaction I had with this stalker was completely out of character for me. A short time later at the same work place,a client stole my pocketbook and as luck would have it,I actually had some cash in it that day. I was furious,,call the police,,,how dare someone steal from me..I stomped around the office telling everyone what happened. That strong reaction over having a pocketbook stolen when the reaction I had to being in actual physical harm was to be apologetic,feeling somehow guilty,and showing little emotion.
        I don’t want you to think I shared these stories to make it better and wrap it up in a bow..all better now. No, I just want you to know that I understand that when people make ignorant comments or question a victim…the victim already does that themselves. I have never been a victim of a sexual or physical assault but I hope this past year of hearing your story and other victims and relating it to some of my own life experiences and reactions…just want to share that I ‘get it” as much as I will be able,but not having been a victim I will never truly understand what go through.

      • V4J,

        We are always taught that we are mind,body and spirit(and I always seem to forget that) and from what you are explaining your body seems to have memories as well as your mind and spirit. Each one part of us has to heal in it’s own time and without healing in all healing is not as complete as it could be(even though there will always be scars some bigger and longer than others)……it took me along time to figure that out……I am praying for healing in all parts for you. I find I needed to acknolwedge these areas in myself and be compassionate to myself(though I am not a victim but needed healing in others things)lf for the process to begin it’s a long jounrney and we are here for you. Peace

      • kathy! What you’ve shared here is loaded with lessons. One there that stands out for me is this–…Instead of suppressing it, always stop and HONOR an initial, gut instinct – it’s usually right…It’s our inner wisdom speaking– and it’s the stash of all we’ve learned in a lifetime.
        …. We “discipline” kids (esp. girls), telling them to “shush” and “be agreeable” and to listen to those in authority and obey –We coach them out of the habit of listening to their inner voices and prioritizing their own needs — we handicap them and then we send them out into world and expect them to deal with danger.

    • V4J,
      Hang in there. No child should have suffered as you have. How strong you are, just to have survived. None of this was your fault, please understand that.
      Keep writing and keep fighting. Remember your mom’s words…go protect kids.

      father friendly laughing as he raped you…pure evil.

      • I agree John,
        Rich your spirit encountered Satan at such a tender age, your body violation and rape…………that should not have been especially if they knew…..and was passing him around to different schools…………I encountered satan incarnate in my 30’s it was terrifying, shocking and disorienting………I never had a class called how to stop a predator and send him to jail but we did…… thank God ………as an adult I was not prepared to deal with the horror. of pure evil……………we cannot expect that from any child………we need to protect them and educate them……….I am starting to think every child should have a personal safety class I did not even have a safety class til college meaning what to do if someone graps you etc.In the end we as adults need to do everything we can to make kids safer. You as a child did everything you could have compassion on that child you were .

  9. Dear Victims4Justice,
    After reading your April 23rd post, it feels as though I’m looking in a mirror at myself. Although I didn’t go through the horror of being anally raped, everything else sounds eerily similar. My abuse started at age 6, as well. However, thank God, I’ve realized that I don’t have to be a prisoner to the abuse and its horrific memories. I undertook the journey of healing and, after struggling to find what felt like a needle in a haystack, finally found a competent counselor. Even after years of counseling and moving from victim to survivor, I still take medication every day for anxiety and depression.
    Please don’t give up hope. I’ve learned to love and be loved. I’m still working on the “trust issues,” but don’t expect it to prevent me from the happiness that I deserve. I have a loving, supportive family. Please know, that through the miracle of this healing blog, you have a loving and supportive family that reaches out to you in love and support. Believe me, I know this causes your gut to tighten a little, (it even made mine tighten just to write it,) but just know that You, my brother, are in my prayers and thoughts, today and everyday. We’ll never find complete peace but hopefully, we can turn our curse into the blessing of peace and healing for others. Stay the course!
    Jerry.

  10. Rich,
    You’re a good guy. I’m sorry for what you are going through.

    Please remember that you are not alone.

    Some of us joined this fight to support you before we knew who you were, and we fight harder as we learn more every day about what you and others have endured.

    You know that it was not you’re fault, and nothing that you did contributed to what was done to you.

  11. Rich,
    I was speaking with a friend recently about the clergy abuse victims. She is very sympathetic and “gets it” ,she talked about how scary it must have been as a child,the fear, the trauma. The fear of speaking up and not being believed. Her words would have been comforting for a victim to hear. Then a short time later in the conversation she shared something that happened to her as a 12 year old. She went shopping with her older sister and went off to a store by herself. She wanted to buy a pair of jeans and the salesman told her he needed to measure her. He measured her waist, her legs,and then shoved his hand in between her legs to ‘cop a feel” .She said she stood paralyzed…people just a few feet away. She said “what the hell was wrong with me,why didn’t I yell out?” She then left the store and met up with her older sister and continued shopping…and never said a word about what just happened to her. She didn’t tell her parents or anyone else.She then told me she had never told anyone about this incident. And the rest of the conversation she continued to question herself..what was wrong with her..why didn’t she do anything…tell anyone. She was a 12 year old buying a pair of jeans and encountered a sexual deviant …but in the conversation..she continued to question her actions….. not his. The understanding she had just a few minutes before expressed for the clergy abuse victims…she could not give herself in her situation.

  12. From the Phillie Priest Abuse Trial Blog: “On his website, Sipe classifies the sexual preferences of American bishops, and he lists Bevilacqua as a heterosexual. There is evidence to back that up in court records. In 1995, a veteran employee of the Philadelphia archdiocese filed a workers’ compensation claim against the church. In the claim, the employee, a devout Catholic who worked in close contact with the cardinal, alleged that he had suffered “serious mental and physical distress” and was no longer able to work as a result of the cardinal’s “rude and abusive treatment.” In the claim, the employee who was fired after he suffered a heart attack, charged that much of his stress was caused by the presence of women who rode in the cardinal’s limo and stayed overnight at the cardinal’s mansion. Records showed the archdiocese settled the claim by paying the former employee $87,500.”

  13. http://www.priestabusetrial.com/2012/04/what-cardinal-knew.html#more

    Mark, thank you for directing me to the article Ralph wrote.

    I shook my head while reading…I don’t know if there’s much more I can say.

    Let all the skeletons come pouring out of their closets.

    • “….The woman, who drove a car with the license plate “1AB-FAN,” showed up for three years at every appearance of the cardinal. The relationship, according to the claim, came to an end when the cardinal told the employee that the phone number of the cardinal’s residence had been changed, and he was forbidden to give out the new phone number to anybody.”

      —Does anyone else get the feeling that this is probably not really the whole story of how the relationship ended?

  14. Rich, yours is a very heavy cross to bear. I pray it will get easier for you as you go on.

    The fable of “The Emperor’s New Clothes” keeps coming up .. We’re witnessing our arrogant “emperor” losing power over his subjects by lying about his most unforgivable crime– his centuries of victimizing children.
    As in the fable, it’s taken the voices of our violated, little ones to expose this bully…. And even now, in our city, while an enlightened world watches and whispers, a smug, naked emperor shamelessly struts his stuff, and assumes that his adoring audience will overlook his cruelty to the children of Philadelphia.
    I guess I’m not like the man in the article above who claims that the scandal hasn’t rocked his faith… it’s done much more than that to mine…it’s jolted me out of my catholic trance and into reality.

    • ““Sometimes, it just takes people a very long time before they can actually go public with this,” the judge said. “It takes a lot of courage … I would not be surprised if there are not many, many more people out there who have chosen never to come forward.”” Time to shut down the criminal enterprise and lock up the leaders.

    • Kathy…I think today’s witness was on Bev’s original “shredded list”..

      “..Reverend Thomas J. Wisniewski (1974) Staff, Tribunal, Resident, St. Justin, Narberth. Sexual contact with a teenage boy over the period of three years (1984-1987)”

      • Joan, was he named in an article from today?

      • Yes Kathy, CBS Philly…PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Another stunning allegation was disclosed during testimony today in the Philadelphia clergy sex abuse case: an attempted gang rape at the St. Charles Borromeo seminary several decades ago.

        The newest testimony was presented as the prosecution tries to show that the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and some of its officials had a history of failing to act against alleged sexual predators.

        The evidence from the church’s “secret archive” file said that a Father Thomas Wisniewski remained in active ministry for a decade after admitting in 1992 that he had had sex with a teenage boy for years.

        During therapy after Wisniewski’s alleged admission, according to the archives, the priest claimed that he had been the target of an attack by other seminarians when he was at St. Charles Borromeo.  He said a group of seminarians held him down and tried to have sex with him, but a friend saved him from the attack.

      • Kathy..fromAbuse Tracker and I think the 2005 Grand Jury report

        Father Thomas J. Wisniewski
        In July 1992, Cardinal Bevilaqua’s newly appointed Secretary for Clergy, William J. Lynn, documented allegations that Fr. Thomas J. Wisniewski had abused a 15- year-old boy in Nativity B.V.M. parish for three years, beginning in 1984, engaging in “everything sexually two men can do.”
        The documents in Fr. Wisniewski’s file shed light on Cardinal Bevilacqua’s policies and practices in dealing with priests accused of sexual crimes. According to these procedures, the Cardinal was made knowledgeable of the case from the start. The procedures emphasized consideration of legal liability and scandal over public safety. They sought to conceal information and avoid law enforcement. They failed to heed recommendations for supervising and monitoring the priest. The procedures enabled Fr. Wisniewski, ordained in 1974, to continue acting as a priest for six years after he admitted sexually abusing a minor.
        Monsignor Lynn’s memos about Fr. Wisniewski describe a process whereby sexual abuse allegations were to be immediately reported, verbally, to Cardinal Bevilacqua and his Vicar for Administration. The Cardinal wanted his Secretary for Clergy to “act quickly” to remove any admitted molester from his assignment and to have the priest evaluated at the Archdiocese’s hospital, Saint John Vianney. But the purpose of acting quickly, Msgr. Lynn noted, was to minimize “legal ramifications.” Known victims who did not themselves come forward were not to be sought out or interviewed. The Archdiocesan Personnel Board charged with recommending priests’ assignments was not to be informed of “such matters” as sexual abuse allegations and admissions.
        Also in Fr. Wisniewski’s file was a description by Saint John Vianney therapists of the aftercare and supervision that the Archdiocese would need to put in place if it was to consider permitting abusers to continue in what Cardinal Bevilacqua termed “limited ministry.” These recommendations called for, among other things, a resident supervisor who kept a daily log of the priest’s comings and goings. In Fr. Wisniewski’s case, as in others, the ministry was permitted, but the supervision and aftercare were lacking.

  15. Today’s Headline —-Priest: Seminarians Tried to Gang Rape Me.. A Catholic priest admitting a sexual relationship with a teen said he had been the victim of an attempted gang rape by fellow seminarians in Philadelphia…. Talk about rocking one’s faith, now we have it going on before they leave the seminary…

    • Thanks WR.
      The seminary sounds like a pious and holy place. LOL
      Gives new meaning to the slogan, City of brotherly love.

    • Well explains why some did not speak up for the victims outside the seminary they were either victims or offenders before they even got ordained.

      • I know a couple of former priests who were abused in the seminary. I won’t write anything about it here, because I heard those voices in confidential support group meetings. You can find similar stories online of abused seminarians.

      • Beth,
        The more germane question…why the hell did offenders get ordained! I’m no expert but, known sex offenders probably won’t become top-flight ministers.
        Daniel McCormack (Chicago) twice was “caught” on top of young boys while in the seminary.
        Was he turned over to police? No
        Was he deemed unfit for priesthood? No
        Was he kicked out of the seminary? No
        Was he ordained? Yes
        Was he put into ministry where he was alone with kids? Yes
        Did the monster attack numerous kids? Yes
        I’m sure there are tons of similar stories.
        Ever the same…protect the guilty, disregard the innocent.

      • John Richard,

        The priest who abused me was a Philadelphia City Councilman before he entered the seminary, and even back then he was known to have been a little bit to chatty with the younger boys. I always assumed that if you can’t get re-elected what better place than the priesthood if you like to touch little boys?

        http://neastphilly.com/tag/oblate-of-st-francis-de-sales/

      • John I totally agree………….it is so twisted and sick.

      • V4J,
        “what better place than the priesthood if you like touch little boys”? Totally agree. Sadly, I honestly believe this is the main reason some “went in to the business”. These monsters knew they would be ordained (regardless of their perversions) and have free access to the little lambs.
        At this point, the only connection I’ll have to the catholic church is to stand with the victims, we have left the church forever.
        Keep writing and keep fighting for kids.

      • Thanks JR. You can stand with me anytime. There’s plenty of room. 😉

    • The daily revelations coming out of this trail no longer surprise me nor do they pain. I expect it to only get worse…. What all of this truly demonstrates is the fact that the “inmates are running the asylum within the Philadelphia AD”. When you strip the “white collars” away what you have is the VP of HR overlooking sexual assaults / harassment while placing young children in damager. So how does one force the Philadelphia AD to change??? Easy answer cut off the dollars. Ask yourself, do you want your hard earn money going downtown to support the operations of the Philadelphia AD? For the Philadelphia AD this case is not about confessing sins its all about preserving wealth….

    • I posted a comment at the CBS news story at the link you provided. Only one comment to a horrific story on a national news website.

  16. This thing keeps getting sicker by the day. Totally DISGUSTING. How can they possibly claim to be the moral compass for the mere laity? I hope that the victims in this tragedy can feel some satisfaction that this is all coming into the daylight, albeit the timing is long overdue. Thank you for your bravery and perseverance. I believe the victims.

  17. Through credible seminarian acquaintances, I learned with certainty over 25 years ago of regular, coordinated, large scale sexual activities occurring among seminarians and faculty at seminaries across the nation. I told no one because no one would have believed.

    • It sure makes me want to donate my family’s extra cash to the support of St. Charles Seminary (lol)–Great cause!

      Hey look here on their website… http://www.studycatholictheology.com/

      “….So sign up and let St. Charles teach you how to minister to black catholics (–as opposed to “regular” catholics) —And also to children- ( ’cause we’re real experts on children!) ”

      It all gets zanier by the day!

  18. I’m looking forward to the trial tomorrow. I will be there… finally! 🙂

    I think Judge Sarmina is turning out to be a real hero in the criminal justice system. I think she just basically “gets it.” I’ve never seen or heard of a judge who says the things I’ve seen her quoted as saying. It’s about time that someone in our justice system seems to understand what we victims have to go through and why it takes us so long to come forward about the abuse.

    • Rich,

      I look forward to your report on the trial tomorrow. I wonder what you will see and hear there…

      Today as I read your posts, I was thinking about a sort of evolution in your writing over the past year. A year ago, you were writing either to a lot of concerned people who had a lot to learn in terms of becoming informed, or to a lot of people in denial and disbelief. What? Who? What are you talking about? What’s your problem? The vastness of the ignorance, cover up, silence, run-around and denial of your abuse must have utterly overwhelmed you, having a crushing effect. During those decades you must have felt so oppressed and suffocated, intertwined with frantic attempts at justice. A year later, while there is still much to overcome, the many people you thought would never come to their senses, or to your rescue, have. The Church’s crimes are coming to light. Presumably, for you, there’s a lifting of an enormous mental and emotional burden. Do you have the sense that you can least breath now, rather than gasping for air? Is that what I see in your writing? Interested in your thoughts.

      • I don’t know what to say, Hadit. I don’t think the weight will ever get lighter. Maybe it will, but I just don’t see that happening.

        I have so much anger for a whole bunch of reasons and it doesn’t only concern my own abuse. I see friends around me stagger because of what they went through, and I constantly see stories of more and more children being abused. I’m sick of it. Sometimes I don’t know what the hell I’m doing or if these scumbags are going to end me before I end them. I’m tried of hearing that “statistically, child sexual abuse doesn’t occur as much because reporting it is down.” Well that’s just rubbish. We won’t know about the kids who have been abused recently or those who are being abuse even today until 20-50 years from now when they find the courage to report it. Then someone might say, “Wow, that period between 2002 and 2020 was filled with clergy and others who abused kids.”

        It’s difficult for me to close my eyes at night and not see what happened. It’s hard to sleep when I know that in some place in the world a child is most likely going through sexul abuse at this very moment. Statistics show that a child is abused every 6 minutes. I gasp for air because I know that perhaps another kid is crying out for someone to come save him/her. I want to be their Superman!

        My writing has evolved for sure, but I have written more detailed words to over 500 email recipients I’ve been writing to for about 2 & 1/2 years. It’s different when you’re writing to mostly other victims because you can be more blunt about the abuse without having to worry about offending a good Catholic (LOL) with whatever words I use to describe it.

        I just thought back about a year ago that some of you people here just weren’t understanding exactly what is going on today, the nature of the abuse itself, and what a lot of us have been going through. I thought, little by little, I’d give you all some hard truth, even if it had to be raw and awful. You’ll never be able to see what my eyes have seen, and you’ll never be able to feel the things I’ve felt, but maybe I can explain some of the confusion.

        I gasp for air because it’s hard to breathe.

    • Rich,we are attending on Wednesday..remember do NOT bring a cell phone.

      • Yes, I know Kathy. Thanks for the reminder. I will be there Wednesday too.

      • Just a few thoughts I wanted to share..When I arrived at the trial,I was about 20 minutes early and was stuck outside room 304 with Msgr Lynn and some priests there to support him. I ducked out to the ladie’s room at one point to get away from that situation and ended up getting back in line with Msgr Lynn directly in front of me and the priests behind me.That was difficult for me even as a non victim. So maybe arriving as close to 9:30 or even a few minutes late…might not be a bad idea..you can come and go in the courtroom…don’t have to be there at a certain time. Also the lunch break..the attorneys,priests, defnedants Brennan and Lynn all walking about the Criminal Justice Building and Reading Market for lunch. Just wanted to give a heads up. I know I felt really uptight driving into the city for the trial and had the windows of my car rolled down on a cold morning just to feel like I could breath but felt a sort of dead calm once I was there. But there was a lot more ‘togetherness’ than I imagined,everyone involved in close proximity in the courtroom,halls etc…

  19. I spoke to Al Chesley for about an hour on Saturday. It was an amazing conversation and I’m glad we could talk about some things.

    I think it’s so important that people who have been in the public eye for years that are victims of childhood sexual abuse speak out about their abuse and publicly support victims of abuse, because it shows the general public that this is an epidemic. It’s not necessarily a Catholic problem, or a Boy & Girl Scouts issue, but rather a worldwide societal epidemic. People like Al Chesley, and myself being the nephew of the late Cardinal John J. O’Connor of NY prove that abuse can affect anyone. Abusers don’t target only poor children from dysfunctional families. (Although I think you’ll find that many of us victims come from dysfunctional families, and abusers choose us because we may not have someone to turn to for help.) Abusers come in all races, religions, nationalities, and both genders. Many are the child’s own biological parent, but other relatives are often abusers too; coaches, teachers, Big Brothers, scout leaders, neighbors, and just about anyone. From police officers to Catholic priests to babysitters to perverted Daddies, there is no exact definition to show who can be a child abuser.

    This trial is so important because it’s also exposing predators who maybe were identified by law enforcement, but were still unknown to parishioners where they still minister, or maybe in the neighborhood where they live. A Catholic bishop has been mentioned by two different victims. I believe the bishop is complicit and “fair-haired boys” is something I find very accurate with something a priest would say, because I’ve heard something similar to that before. Avery plead guilty before the trial to abusing a 10 year-old boy. Maybe those people who thought Avery was innocent can now protect their own children from being around that creep. People who have supported and believed Msgr. Lynn, and the four other scumbags, including the teacher, are finally starting to see just how deep this lie goes, and I’m starting to see people’s positions changing about the Catholic Church and how they handled the abuse of thousands of innocent children worldwide.

    The only reason I write the words here is because people need to know what me and so many other victims went through. I don’t exactly enjoy writing about this stuff and then letting just anyone read it, but something in my heart keeps telling me that I have to get this information out there. I have great friends who were abused as children, including my best friend, and some can’t speak out because they are involved in a legal case. Others don’t have the courage to speak out, and a lot are so screwed up still they can barely put three words together to complete a sentence. I’m not holding my breath for justice to be served in my own abuse experience. Maybe I can somehow help other victims come forward, or give them courage to speak up, to tell someone, and hopefully attempt to prosecute those who did the abusing and those who knew about the abusing and did nothing to stop it. I hold out hope that a victim will come forward, who is within the Statute of Limiations, and is able to prosecute the people in the Catholic Church who knew about the priest who abused me and did nothing. Maybe I can give that victim some kind of hope and reassurance that we can be strong and our abusers tried, but they didn’t destroy us.

    If any of you ever knew an eighth of what a Catholic priest did to me, I hope it would enrage you enough to demand accountability and justice. The one phrase I have heard from every victim I’ve ever met since I came forward about my own abuse, “I just don’t want any other kids to go through what I have.” We all want to protect kids. We want to convince you parents to protect your kids. We know how bad our own abuse was. It sucked! And for many of us it still lives and breaths inside of us every waking and sleeping moment of each day.

    My abusers’ supporters and the current criminal justice system might be able to prevent me from seeking the justice I crave, and the justice I “deserve,” but neither can keep me from telling the world what happened to me and what happened to so many others. I have said it before and I will say it again, “I will do everything I can to prevent there from being more people like me on this planet.” This trial is important because it’s exposing the true behavior of top Catholic officials and how they handled abuse, or rather “mishandled” abuse.

    I hope that what I write and who I write to has created discussion, raised questions, and has been positively productive in raising awareness and protecting children. The Catholic Church continues its campaign of smoke-and-mirrors, claiming it’s a new beginning of educating itself and its parishioners about sexual abuse, when all it really has done, in my eyes, is continue to confuse, frustrate, and lie to you. Don’t take my word for it. Look at the facts of the cases for yourself. Look at the real statistics, and separate yourself from your faith for just a little while to understand that child sexual abuse isn’t about faith at all. It’s about grown adult men and women grooming children, molesting children, and raping children and then lying to you about it. These creatures are self-serving and evil and they use your belief in God to do evil things to your children. They groom you too!

    This trial is about identifying child predators and it’s about time we take out the garbage.

    • V4J, I want you to know how much your writing has educated me about the terrible horrors you and other victims have endured. Your writings and the writings of the other victims and the way you affirm and support each other have inspired me to do all I can to stand with you in this fight for justice. I hope that the intensely personal journey that you have so generously shared with us has helped in some way to give you strength to continue toward your own healing. We are all praying for you to someday to be made whole. Thank you for your courage. I look forward to your perspective about the trial. I hope you are not offended or victimized again by some ignoramus. You deserve better. I believe the victims.

  20. Oh, I just can’t wait until the annual Collection for St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Overbrook.

    • Liz,that will be interesting. I couldn’t believe how much of the Heritage of Faith capitol campaign funds went to the seminary.

      • I believe much of the money went to refurish the chapel etc.I don’t understand why they did not sell some of its acreage to do that especially in these times.

  21. I think the prosecution played the same game the defense has been playing for far too long: They simply offered Avery what he’s been used to: “Hey, come into our house and we’ll protect you.” The prosecution NEVER said that they couldn’t call his victim/survivor to the stand. They also didn’t say that the defense couldn’t challenge his credibility. They simply stated that if the defense does question his credibility, they have the right to put his perp on the stand. Sounds devastatingly fair to me. The AOP got caught in the same game they’ve been playing for centuries.
    1. Pretend concern.
    2. Protect the perp at all costs.
    3. Try to threaten, further demean, and destroy the victim/survivor into silence.
    4. If 1-3 don’t work, take them to court and let our high-paid lawyers take care of it.
    The only problem is, the AOP didn’t count on Avery finally accepting what he’d been taught and believed his whole life: Life is eternal. How do you want to live it?

    *Written in response to Themediareport…I’ve been wondering when this @%&**!! was gonna surface again!

    • Jerry, sounds devastatingly fair to me too. Can you do me a favor and post a last name initial or something along with your name. We have another Jerry and sometimes might get confusing. I know we have 3 Kathy’s also!

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