PA Statute of Limitations for Abuse Victims Should Be Altered


Click here to read: “Pa. statute of limitations for abuse victims should be altered,” by Patriot-News Editorial Board, May 20, 2012, Pennlive.com

Excerpt: “In the case of the allegations against former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, attorneys have heard from one man who can’t press charges against Sandusky because he missed the statute of limitations cutoff by a mere nine months.

Elected officials have highlighted the need to protect victims of abuse in the aftermath of the Sandusky allegations. Gov. Tom Corbett even created the Task Force on Child Protection to look at Pennsylvania’s child abuse laws and propose potential changes. It is expected to give its recommendations to the governor in November.

But one important way to protect victims doesn’t need to wait for the task force. We can be sure we give them the ability to have their day in court — even if it is years after the abuse ended — by changing the current statute of limitations.

Pennsylvania should create a “window” or period of time when victims who are beyond the statute of limitations can come forward and file a suit against an abuser. Other states, such as California, Delaware and most recently, Hawaii, have enacted such laws. When California opened a one-year window, 300 cases were opened.

In the commonwealth, advocates are looking for a one-time, two-year window.

Along with that, these advocates also want to move the age limit for filing civil cases from age 30, where it currently stands, to age 50, so that it matches the age limit in criminal cases.

So far, there has been great opposition to making the changes. The Pennsylvania Catholic Conference opposes the move as does the insurance industry.”

 

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75 Responses to “PA Statute of Limitations for Abuse Victims Should Be Altered”

  1. The Penna. Catholic Conference opposes this move. Why? Could it be they realize kids, young kids, won’t be brave enough to come forward in the allotted time? Keep the odds on the side of the perverts!! Good Lord what has happened to our religion? If this were not happening right before us you would think it was some far out fictional sit-com.

    • John, should you be donating in PA, you would be helping staff the PA Catholic Conference, which is the PA bishops lobbying organization in Harrisburg.

      I, personally would very much like to see a legislative history of the Conference for the last 10 years relative to the positions they have taken, not only on opening up civil statute of limitation windows, but on every other issue mentioned in both Grand Jury recommendations.

      I think this would be a helpful exercise for investigative journalists, appropriate grad students et al.

  2. This is a no brainer……………needs to be done…………..

  3. is there a statute of limitation on murder,then murder of the spirit of the soul or of the family.

  4. I agree with these comments about the need to extend the PA Statute of Limitations for Abuse Victims. I am concerned though, because Governor Corbett was a DA who investigated Mr. Sandusky for a long time without ever taking the case before a grand jury. He had only one investigator on the case. He was very knowledgeable about the case. He also received approximately $650,000 from Sandusky’s organization, “the Second Mile.” I believe that those of you in Pennsylvania need to put pressure on the governor to influence the republican controlled legislature to pass bill to change the time limitations.

  5. Actually, abolishing a Statute of Limitations entirely for those who molest children, was the recommendation of the 2005 Grand Jury that investigated the Archdiocese of Philadelphia on pages 70 and 71 they said:

    “To maintain a statute of limitations for crimes involving the sexual abuse of children would be to reward abusers who choose children, the most defenseless victims.

    Because the harm inflicted by child sexual abuse is so deep and child victims are so vulnerable, the existence of any statute of limitations, however long, virtually ensures that some crimes will not be timely reported and too many abusers will never have to pay for their crimes.

    It is time to stop giving a pass to child abusers who count on the statute of limitations and the fears and immaturity of their victims to avoid criminal liability.

    No constitutional provision or other law would prevent Pennsylvania from eliminating the statute of limitations for sexual crimes committed against children.

    Pennsylvania has no statute of limitations for other serious crimes: murder, voluntary manslaughter, conspiracy to commit murder or solicitation to commit murder if a murder results from the conspiracy or solicitation, any felony perpetrated in connection with a murder of the first or second degree, and fatal vehicular accidents where the accused is the driver. There is no reason the Legislature could not determine that any or all crimes of child sexual abuse are serious enough to merit the elimination of the statute of limitation.”

    • AND, the 2011 Grand Jury recommended opening up the SOLs window for two years!

    • On page 75 of the 2005 Grand Jury recommendations…the following regarding civil suits….

      7. Enlarge or eliminate statutes of limitation on civil suits.
      As a grand jury, our function is of course limited to examination and application of criminal offenses.

      We recognize the reality, however, that civil liability may also provide a disincentive to the kind of systemic sexual abuse that occurred here. Indeed,

      Archdiocese officials never seemed to believe that clergymen could ever go to jail for abusing, or allowing the abuse of, children; but they did display an obvious fear that they would be sued for such conduct.

      For many victims of sexual abuse by priests, civil liability may be the only available means to seek recognition of their injuries and a measure of repose. Moreover, unlike statutes of limitation for criminal offenses, the time for bringing a civil suit can be lawfully extended or revived even after the original limitations period has expired.
      75

  6. It’s been well over a year now that the legislative proposals of Reps. Bishop and McGeehan, Philadelphia, HB 832 and 878, were referred to the Judiciary Committee of the State House for review, action and public hearings. The Chairman of the Committee, Rep. Ron Marsico, has received innumerable calls, faxes, emails and letters from PA citizens urging him to schedule public hearings for these important measures, which measures would provide further protection for our children and access to the justice system for those victims previously blocked from civil redress.

    This writer continues to be shocked, amazed and horrified that this man, Rep. Ron Marsico, has not, in the minimum, at least scheduled hearings in order to hear public comment and input on these vital proposals. Even with the personal, public disclosure by Rep. Bishop of her own sexual abuse many years ago, Rep. Marsico has not scheduled hearings for these proposals. But the most significant issue here is a deeply personal and family one…….Mr. Ron Marsico is a father and a grandfather and he chooses to block these important proposals from a public forum. These proposals would provide a safer Pennsylvania for his grandchildren as well as all children and grandchildren throughout the state. Mr. Marsico, is the safety and protection of your grandchildren important enough to allow public input and review of these vital proposals? I know it is important to this writer for this family’s children and grandchildren.

    Mr. Marsico, please remember…….WE BELIEVE THE VICTIMS.

    • Thanks, Mike, for staying on top of this issue and pressing it so well.

    • Michael, I totally agree.

      Also, I just went back and reread the 2005 Grand Jury recommendations ( top of page in the RESOURCES link for new C4C readers) and those notations on the ‘shredded’ list made a lot more sense…relative to the timing of laws that protected predator priests…Lynn was , I think noting potential AD liability. And I was startled to discover that the incorporation status of the Archdiocese made it apparently impossible to sue the AD…unlike KC.

      Also there was a considerable discussion of states that had either eliminated SOLs, , or in other ways enhanced legal protections for children.

      I hope and pray that the media will be unrelenting on these matters…I really thank the Patriot News for their editorial, and I thank you for your very timely discussion of Rep Marsico.

      • I posted this 2005 Grand Jury excerpt on another thread, but am reporting here as well. I think it’s important to see what other states are doing relative to abuse legislation,…and be sure to read the end where Bishop Cullen state his support for the elimination of statutes of limitation!!

         3 0 Rate This
        AND, Hadit on page 71 of the 2005 Grand Jury recommendations there is a discussion of how a number of other states treat this issue….much more fairly which even the MSGR Cullen acceeds to.

        “Moreover, several other states have statutes of limitations that allow child sexual abuse prosecutions regardless of when the abuse occurred.

        Some states, such as South Carolina and Wyoming, do not have criminal statutes of limitations at all.

        Some states, such as Kentucky and West Virginia, have no statute of limitations for felony offenses.

        Some states have specifically enacted legislation abolishing statutes of limitations for some or all sexual crimes committed against children

        . Thus, Alabama has no statute of limitation for any sex offense involving a victim younger than sixteen;

        Maine has no statute of limitations for incest, unlawful sexual contact, sexual abuse of a minor, rape or gross sexual assault committed against children younger than sixteen

        ; Alaska has no statute of limitations for felony sexual abuse of a minor; and

        Rhode Island has no statute of limitations for rape, first degree sexual assault, or first or second degree child molestation sexual assault.

        Even a former official of the Archdiocese has recognized theneedfor this proposal. Edward Cullen, who was Cardinal Bevilacqua’s Vicar of Administration, and who has since himself been elevated to bishop, was asked about the issue during his grand jury testimony. “I think it would be good for society if they had
        no statute of limitations,” acknowledged Bishop Cullen. “I really do. Yes, I do.”

  7. There is a very good reason for such a law!! Let;’s hope it never gets changed

    • Please tell me how we are to stop known predators from abusing future children if their past victims can no longer press charges. Waiting for them to victimize another child is just evil.

    • Many including Chaput have said it is hard to defend a case that happened in the past especially for the church………which I say is not true in many cases. You can’t press charges in the first place without good evidence .The church kept such good records so their real problem with the law change is that they would incrimnate themselves with their own records. The fact of the matter is that the church kept such good records they are afriad to hand them over not that it hard to defend themselves. I am for law changes because I know how hard it is for people to come forward and the predators always have more than one victim and they hide behind these outdated laws,

      • I want these law changes for children in and out of the church.The church by being focused on themselves seems to me put children outside the church at risk also by trying to block these laws thru lobbying.

    • Ok, fr. Ventorino, what is the”very good reason” ?

  8. Mr. Ventorino…..Would you please specify the “very good reason” for such a law? What “law” are you referring to?

  9. Update:

    New information available re the busy schedule and pressing issues that may explain Chairman Marsico’s inability to schedule hearings on HB 832 and 878. Please check link below for those activities that take priority over the safety of the children of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania:

    http://www.greenleepartners.com/event.php?eid=3545

  10. Wow! If only the Archbishop would order a “Remove the Statute of Limitations Sunday” !http://www.philly.com/philly/news/20120521_Archdiocese_pushes_for_school_vouchers.html

    • I thought the same thing.Can you imagine Archbishop Chaput getting to the pearly gates and God asking him did he reach out to the suffering and abandon and abused and he replies no but we got school vouchers .

      • I went ot catholic school straight thru to and including college………I value it more as I grow older especially what my nuns taught me about caring for others and being honest etc……..I just see care of souls and daving of souls as the number one reason why we are here.

  11. “saving”

  12. Could someone please send me a link to ‘Defendant Lynn’s Motion to Dismiss’. It is no longer on the Morning Call Paper.

    The response to Lynn’s Motion to Dismiss is still available on http://s3.documentcloud.org/documents/321482/commw-v-lynn-answer-to-lynns-motion-to-dismiss.pdf

    Thanks

  13. The Statute of Limitations in Pennsylvania and throughout the United States needs to be changed and soon. There’s no other way around it if you’re continuing to argue about the protection of children from sexual predators. With all of the recent news coverage regarding clergy sexual abuse in particular, many silent victims will never come forward because they know their time has run out, and that should pose a scary situation for any parent or protector of innocent children. When victims come forward it’s only a positive situation. I speak from experience. Had it not been for myself and my idea to go public with the Catholic priest who abused me many victims would still be silent today and the publicity of such an epidemic might very well be less impressive than what we’re seeing today. Each victim breaking his/her silence has the ability to protect another child, and again speaking from experience, it’s such an explosive high and a “re-taking of power” that we are responsible for protecting other children when no one was there to protect us. I always wished for a superhero to come save the day, but if enough people become vigilant and more lawmakers change the current policies of its’ states and how it will prevent child sexual abuse, rather than seemingly protecting the child sexual predators, more children will be protected, and more children will certainly never know what it is like to be “us.” I beg of our politicians to be our superheroes.

    People like me have long given up hope that justice will answer our pleas for help. I came forward over three years ago, ignorant of Statute of Limitation laws, but my coming forward may just have prevented one child from similar experiences to my own. One child protected could be like some kind of revenge for what happened to me. Two would be something like luck of the Irish. Three or more would only be possible if laws were changed and law enforcement agencies and prosecutors were given more resources to investigate, charge, and convict those who would hurt a child in such a barbaric way that is sexual abuse. My secret hope, or something that I’ve been holding onto very closely in my mind since this all began, is that victims should feel approval by coming forward. More victims will result in even more victims, you can count on it while you’re counting them. When one victim comes forward, he/she has the ability to expose a predator, otherwise not known to his parish, his community, and to the parents of children he babysits, or takes on camping trips, or is leading their child’s Scout Troop. Laws should constantly be changed to move with the times and the only simplimatic reasoning for laws whatsoever is to protect the innocent while punishing the guilty. In the world of high-stakes of instiutional abuse there’s less accountabilty and judgment for evil-doers, because money talks and power bridges religion with government.

    I look forward to a time when I can reset my current homepage from Google.com, back to AOL.com. I changed my webpage because I was tired of seeing the relentless stories of child sexual abuse and those who abuse getting away with soul murder. I look forward to an institution and a government that admits its own mistakes with a hope of rectifying what could have been so many years ago and what can be right now. I don’t believe it’s ever too late to do the right thing. My Dad taught me to “give people second chances.” He says, “Even if they blow that second chance, at least you’ll know that you offered that man a change, but he just wasn’t ready to live up to his end of the bargain.” My Dad just celebrated 23 years of sobriety from alcohol addiction and 18 years sobriety from cigarette smoking. I think he gets a lot of his wisdom from his faults and some from his triumps.

    While I’m still laid up in bed recovering from back surgery, my father’s words echo through my mind, “Remember what your mother told you. Go get some justice. Go protect kids.” I think my father is proud of me and I’ve never felt this way before. I think he sees that I’m doing my level best to protect children, men, women from ever having to go through hell, like I did. He starts conversations on the subject, and he asks questions. He gives some advice of value, some that I keep close to my heart, and then other tidbits of advice is useless because he doesn’t fully grasp the understanding of this worldwide crisis, but I have no doubt that someday he will. My Dad is friends with policitians and has asked many times, “Maybe I can reach out?” Unfortuntely, Dad, the politicians you know happen to agree with the victims. My father runs a mid-sized food manufacturing and distributing company just outside of Atlantic City, yet he spends much of the day calling me to see how I’m doing first, and then to talk about some kind of strategic move to help get these laws changed. As if he doesn’t have more important things to worry about, like the rising costs of diesel, produce, insurance and payroll, my Dad seems to truly care about how my day is going and what’s next on the agenda for protecting kids. It occurred to me just a couple of weeks ago, as I thought he was calling me so much because of my Mom’s death he didn’t have anyone to go home to talk with, I realized that my Mom was telling my Dad about whatever was going on in my life and that was good enough.

    I’ve been writing about my Dad a lot lately, not because he was the greatest father growin up, because he certainly had his flaws with alcoholism and gambling, but rather because I believe he truly cares about me, and it makes me feel like I’m no longer fighting this battle of life alone. (This is actually an excerpt from the book I am currently writing, but I had to respond to this thread with a page or two.)

    I only speak from experience, but yet I have been able to validate my own experiences through the stories and advice of other child sexual abuse victims. These all are men who I see myself in so much. They talk about issues that I never thought in a million years that anyone on the planet had been experiencing mentally or emotionally other than myself. I think many will ackowledge that for much of our lives we felt alone and we just felt like life was ever so slowly moving, but never foward, even though it was a new day, we would just relive the abuse over and over and over in our minds. That abuse became a way of life, and it hasn’t left me anymore today than it was bestowed in my psyche 20+ years ago. I just deal with it better now and I now where I can go for my safety, internally or externally.

    I’ve been witness to people that I never thought existed just over three years ago. I’ve read blogs of people who really believe me, when I was sure not so long ago that no one would ever believe me. The constant opinions and advice, I feel, will inspire more silent victims to find their voices and come forward. Hopefully with those voices we’ll be able to expose unknown predators, but more importantly we can express to the man or woman now coming forward that “we believe you.”

    However, I resort back to the same ole’ story. “How do we convince our lawmakers to enact laws that better protect people from sexual predators, and how do we punish those sexual predators when caught?” I’m tempted to visit Harrisburgh and hold a very large vinyl sign outside of the courthouse with the words, “WHICH SENATORS PROTECT CHILD SEXUAL PREDATORS???” The Vatican will continue playing its chess match with the rogue nuns of Southern California, but I think the real battle has to be taken to the steps of our government and we must hold it accountable for not being more proactive in this issue. Pennsylvania spends more money than any other state on lobbyists in Washington, D.C. Did you know that in 2009, PA Congress passed a bill to study the most effective humane way of carrying out death sentences? The bill? $1.22 million. I understand bullets are much cheaper and very effective, even though I don’t believe in the death penalty. I believe in the “tiny dark cold cell” penalty. It’s cheaper too.

    Signatures are also a waste of time. I think we can all agree on that now. The most effective means of getting laws changed is publicizing Pennsylvania’s inadequacies of protecting children and which politican protects the predators, because you’re either for us or against us. There’s no middle road to take here. You can’t be somewhat willing to protect children, because they’ll still be abused. You can’t just slap the wrist of a predator with probation or little time imprisoned, because they’ll just do it again and again until they die, or until the laws change to put these scum into tiny dark cold cells for a very long time.

    “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” – Marriane Williamson

  14. Tommy believed in Superman too. He wished he could fly like Superman.

    At about 8:00 into the video it is so eerie for me. I remember walking down that long corridor on my way to McDevitt’s classroom. There could’ve been a hundred other boys in that corridor, but I didn’t see them and I didn’t hear them. It’s the worst feeling I can remember. It’s always before you know the abuse is coming that’s the most fearing part. It’s hard to describe what I feel in my mind and write it out into words. I think it’s like walking through a haunted house at an amusement park and not knowing what’s going to jump out of the dark curtain. Multiple that by infinity and you might have some kind of idea what I’m talking about.

    This video was hard for me to get through though. It was passed on by another friend/victim in an email I recieved from him tonight and I thought I would share it here with all of you. The first 30 seconds or so, I was ready to turn it off and look at it another day. I got throught it though. I hope you can too.

    • My husband talks about the long hallway too…

      The one his abuser walked him through…when he was still so trusting and innocent…the long corridor that led to the back room in a principal’s office of a Catholic school while on a retreat…he says he remembers looking at the priest and thinking, “This is cool, where are we going?”

      And then he was forever changed.

      I don’t want to watch the video you shared Rich…I’m afraid to see that it was the same story for another little boy. It is all so horrifying…

      • Martin J. Leahy, PhD Reply May 22, 2012 at 10:17 pm

        My experience was a “boundary violation” not in any way to be compared to those who suffered physical and psychological assault, some ongoingly. So, I have only a glimmer of the victim’s experiences, enough of one to scare the hell out of me.

        I was 14. The priest, John Schmeer, took me out of his class on to a landing, literaly backed me into a corner, stood with his face inches away from mine and asked lots of questions about my sexual activities. No one on the floor above or below would have seen me, just Schmeer’s back I can still see the experience vividly and recall the feelings I had. As a gay kid, I was particularly vulnerable because if something more had happened I would have had no one to talk to. Gays Irish Catholcs kids did not talk abuot homosexuality in 1967.

      • Martin, I am appalled by your experience outside of class.

        And I wish to hell it had never happened.

        I really like your C4C contributions…often think of you as a ‘fellow traveler’ and want to note my serious personal respect and my profound dislike of your ‘experience’…Joan

      • how disturbing that you would post something like this!!!!

        your people are fixated … and disturbing!

      • John, please be understanding. This site is for those who wish to come together to advocate for victims of horrific abuse. It is also a place of refuge where victims know they are believed and non-victims are able to process their own feelings about the evil currently gripping the church. Sharing our stories of abuse at the hands of a cleric, a layperson, or stories such as Martin’s are all a part if this process. If it is your belief that we are fixated, what would Jesus have you do? Please pray for us. I believe the victims. Martin, thank you for sharing your story, I am sorry this happened to you. V4J, thank you for sharing about not comparing whose abuse was worse, that means more to me than words can say.

      • Martin… what a horrible assault at 14 yrs old. I’m so sorry you were put through that. Such evil.

      • Martin,
        i really appreciate your insights in your blogs. You have always been very professional in how you come across and I am saddened by your revelation and I am truly sorry for what you went through at such a tender age,

    • sick…whoever posted this video is sick….

      • I posted the video, John. Here’s another one for you. I hope you understand. It is my message to you, to those who protect child abusers, and to the Catholic Church.

      • John it is sick and it is distrurbing and not the reality i grew up with but it was the reality of many of our victims…..are you going to deny their reality? It is just as real as our’s. It’s like the holocast …….it’s hard to look at all those dead bodies but does it make it not true …….just because it is disturbing……..I am disturbed everytime I hear a victim’s stories but I am glad beause it should and it motivations me to want to change things…..

    • (Sorry, hit the wrong key.)

      Martin,

      In my opinion, it’s meaningless to argue over whose abuse was worse. Is any of it good, boundary violation, or absolute physical sexual abuse of a child? The way I see things, it was certainly enough to leave an impression with you after all these years. (No pun intended regarding age.)

      I despise when people, mostly non-victims, talk about one child’s abuse being worse than another child’s. I know guys my age and older, who were brushed on their backsides by adults as kids, and they’re some of the most screwed up people I’ve seen. Others, like myself, who had to deal with severe physical sexual abuse and rape, have never really dabbled much in drugs or could be classified as alcoholics, suicidals, or pyschotics. (I’ve had my moments in all of the above, to be honest.)

      Some, like yourself seem to be over-achievers, with the prestige of your Phd’s. I barely squeeked through high school and I was hardly college material, even though I tried. (I was abused in a classroom for the most part, so all I ever wanted after high school was to get as far away from that scene as I could.) I was stupid, in a sense, because I barely listened in school, I didn’t learn much, because I couldn’t even breathe. How I even recieved my diploma is anybody’s guess. I had panic attacks that the school’s administration and specialized physicians classified as “common stress for a child who didn’t have the learning capabilities of other students in his class.” The fact of the matter was that nobody ever considered back in 1991 that a 14-15 year-old could have reason for panic. Being an openly gay teenaged Irish Catholic in the early 90s was also enough to cause panic. Pile on the abuse and life seemed impossible. That’s why I couldn’t breathe. I spent most of my high school classroom experience staring out of windows and wishing I was somewhere else. Sometimes I put my head down and pretended to be sick, and sometimes I really was sick, because I knew that in just a couple or a few periods from that time my abuse would occur again… and again…. and again. I just didn’t want to be noticed.

      The people who argue over whose abuse was worse are the same people who never encountered a boundary violation or sexual assault. All sexual abuse is a “boundary issue” and it’s a breach of trust between a child and an adult.

      If you ever need someone to talk with, just shoot me an email. Victims4JusticeNow@yahoo.com We can exchange numbers and who knows, maybe the professor might learn something from me. LOL 😉 (Not likely.)

      • Martin J. Leahy, PhD Reply May 24, 2012 at 7:59 am

        Rich,

        Thanks for your kind and generous reply. I felt touched.

        I have learned a lot from you and pray that you continue to heal.

        Martin

      • You’re welcome, Martin.

        I wish we could’ve spoken more on the day we met at the Criminal Justice Center. I just wasn’t really myself. I was geared up for being in “protective mode” for the day and I didn’t talk much to anyone.

        Maybe some other time.

        I’m not here trying to teach anything. Just telling my story, brotha. I’m glad I could inspire you to learn. 🙂

  15. Mark, what happened to you is terrible. I do care and I do believe you. I also looking for ways to be more proactive to protect children. I do believe that justice demands that Msgr Lynn be found guilty. While I know that Avery, Ganna, & Cuodemo (Sp???) will answer on judgment day, I am disturbed that nothing can be done now concerning second two names I mentioned.. That is why the two year window must be passed . Mark, I am praying for healing for you and ask that you pary that i allow the Lord to use me in whatever way he sees fit to protect children.

    • survivor's wife Reply May 23, 2012 at 1:18 pm

      PhilaCathpriest said, “I am praying for healing for you and ask that you pary that i allow the Lord to use me in whatever way he sees fit to protect children.”

      Even if it means you have to stand up to your Archbishop? Even if it means you will be ostracized? Even if it means you will ridiculed and called a traitor by your brother priests? Even if means you will be the one to publicly initiate the conversations about this ugly topic?

      If you really mean that statement…it will mean discomfort and lonliness for you initially. But, there are a lot of Catholics waiting for their moral leadership to truly LEAD by example. They haven’t seen it yet…

      I pray your actions follow your intentions.

    • Tell us who is holding a gun to marsico and caltigarone’s head and why are they ignoring this legislation, time to give up all the players !

    • PhilaCathpriest,

      “Mark.” Do you mean Martin?

      The Lord will not “use” you in ways He sees fit. He is not a manipulator or a determiner. Rather, the Lord has instilled in you, as a means of dignifying you, the ability to reason, a conscience, and a free will. They are to independently inform you, and guide your choices and actions. If you are waiting for the Lord to tug the leash around your neck one way or another, and you are spending your time in prayerful discernment about the “direction,” it’s all a little lap-dogish. Pray that the Lord gives you the courage and wisdom to invent yourself.

    • PhilaCathpriest,
      I and a few others will be at the first fri. vigil if you ever feel God is leading you in that direction. I am moved everytime I go.I have alot of respect for our victims they have been thru so much and word cannot convey what they have taught me.

  16. Maureen JE…

    what does that sick and twisted movie clip have anything to do with healing or even with the Catholic Church?

    • John, I actually thought that you were asking Martin why he would post his story about boundary violations. My apologies, I was not viewing the origin of the thread being the video. I have not watched the video, so cannot speak to it either way. I personally cannot read or view graphic details as it is a trigger for me. Again I ask you to pray for us. I do not write often, but I regularly read this blog. I hope you continue to participate, this dialog is so important – especially when we disagree. I believe there is common ground we may find, the future of the church depends on it.

    • John,
      Glad you watched it.

    • John if you understand where the wound comes from you understand how to “treat it” and help it heal and will know if it will leave a scar.You treat a burn different than a punture . Different bacterial infections with different antibiotics. Some wounds are deep and some shallow.See things from our victims perspective and we understand them more……makes us more compassionate and motivates us to change things and make kids safer.These predators twist and distort everything……..it can be disturbing and crazy making .Victims need to heal John not us……..this is not about us but them …….

    • Today’s reported Lynn testimony, asserts that Lynn had no authority to assign priests with abuse allegations to other ministerial locations. On pages 43-54 of the 2011 Grand Jury Report…the Grand Jury saw it differently….their opening statement on pages 43 and 44 is cited below…..pages 45-53 cover Gana, Cudemo, Sicoli, Connor, and Gillespie cases, to illustrate the Grand Jury’s point. 

      Section IV
      How Msgr. Lynn Endangered Children

      As Secretary for Clergy under Cardinal Bevilacqua, Msgr. Lynn was responsible for protecting the welfare of children entrusted to the Archdiocese’s care by ensuring that no priest with a history of sexual abuse of minors was put in a position to prey on them. It was Msgr. Lynn’s job to investigate any allegations of sexual abuse by priests, and to review the Archdiocese’s secret archive files, where complaints were recorded. He was in a position to make sure that no priest with a history of sexual abuse of minors was recommended for assignments, much less for assignments with continued access to children.

      Yet, time after time, Msgr. Lynn abdicated this responsibility. He did so, moreover, not through negligence or simple incompetence, but purposefully. He did so, with Cardinal Bevilacqua’s knowledge and at the Cardinal’s direction, as part of a knowing practice – continued over decades – of placing sexual predators in positions where they would have easy access to trusting minors, just as long as the Archdiocese was spared public exposure or costly lawsuits.

      Msgr. Lynn did more than passively allow the molesters to remain in positions where they could continue to prey on children. When victims complained or scandal threatened, he recommended to the Cardinal that the abusers be transferred to new parishes, where the unsuspecting faithful would not know to be wary and vigilant, and where the abusive clergymen could go on exploiting their positions of trust and authority to pursue their criminal depravity. In this way, Msgr. Lynn effectively shielded the predator priests from accountability and ensured them a continuing supply of victims. The Secretary for Clergy could at any time have referred serious allegations to law enforcement officials, who could have conducted proper investigations. That is certainly what any of us, the Grand Jurors, would have done in Msgr. Lynn’s position. 

      Protecting children was his duty. It just was not his priority.
      Based on the evidence before us, it is clear that the Secretary for Clergy was acutely interested in shielding abusive clergy from criminal detection, in shielding the Cardinal from scandal, and in shielding theArchdiocese from financial liability. He showed no interest at all in defending the Archdiocese’s children. On the contrary, he consistently endangered them.

  17. Quotes from 2011 Grand Jury reports…Similar data is available on Father Cudemo, Sicoli, Connor and Gillespie on pages 47-53.

    Fr. Avery p44

    Quotes from 2011 Grand Jury reports…Similar data is available on Father Cudemo, Sicoli, Connor and Gillespie on pages 47-53.

    Fr. Avery p44

    Msgr. Lynn has a long history of transferring abusive priests to unsuspecting parishes.
    We have already discussed in detail how, despite receiving reliable reports that Father Avery had sexually abused a boy and should not be permitted to engage in any ministry that involved working with adolescents, Msgr. Lynn recommended him for assignment to a parish with a school, and then ignored repeated warnings that he was engaging in unsupervised activities in which he could victimize more children.

    Fr Brennan pp 44, 45

    Similarly, after learning that Father Brennan was suspected of hosting parties where he allowed students to drink, and was even living with one of those students, whom he claimed was a nephew, Msgr. Lynn conducted no investigation. (Such an investigation would have revealed the private “wrestling” sessions with minors.) He did not call law enforcement, or take action to keep Father Brennan away from adolescents. Instead, he recommended him for transfer to a new parish where he would be able to have unsupervised contact with children and teenage minors.

    Fr.  Gana pp45, 46, 47

    Rev. Stanley Gana, ordained in 1970, sexually abused countless boys in a succession of Philadelphia parishes. He was known to kiss, fondle, anally sodomize, andimpose 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 unconscionable breach 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.”

    Msgr. Lynn has a long history of transferring abusive priests to unsuspecting parishes.
    We have already discussed in detail how, despite receiving reliable reports that Father Avery had sexually abused a boy and should not be permitted to engage in any ministry that involved working with adolescents, Msgr. Lynn recommended him for assignment to a parish with a school, and then ignored repeated warnings that he was engaging in unsupervised activities in which he could victimize more children.

    Fr Brennan pp 44, 45

    Similarly, after learning that Father Brennan was suspected of hosting parties where he allowed students to drink, and was even living with one of those students, whom he claimed was a nephew, Msgr. Lynn conducted no investigation. (Such an investigation would have revealed the private “wrestling” sessions with minors.) He did not call law enforcement, or take action to keep Father Brennan away from adolescents. Instead, he recommended him for transfer to a new parish where he would be able to have unsupervised contact with children and teenage minors.

    Fr.  Gana pp45, 46, 47

    Rev. Stanley Gana, ordained in 1970, sexually abused countless boys in a succession of Philadelphia parishes. He was known to kiss, fondle, anally sodomize, andimpose 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 unconscionable breach 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.”

    • Thanks, Joan, for all this, especially the refresher on Gana, Bishop Bransfield’s old buddy. Bransfield has still not publicly explained fully his relationship to Gana, who abused at least one boy in Bransfield’s beachhouse.

      Meanwhile, Bransfied continues as treasurer at the USCCB, headed by Rigali’s protege, NY’s Dolan.

      These guys have no shame!

    • joan…why did you post these “quotes”?

      • John, These “quotes” as you put it, are the sworn Grand Jury testimony. Why not post the truth when it is so easily available in black and white?

        “Have no fear of them; for nothing is covered up that will not be uncovered, and nothing secret that will not become known. What I say to you in the dark, tell in the light; and what you hear whispered, proclaim from the housetops.” (Matthew 10:26-27)

      • John, you are insensitive, tendentious and annoying. But if Susan and Kathy want to let you blog here, it is their call. My suggestion to others is to ignore you, as will I.

  18. Sorry for the repeat of data…would have been much better to have done specifics on Cudemo, Sicoli, Connor and Gillespie….

  19. I just received the following election add from a catholic hoping that I will join the campaign for the election in November. Are they serious?? Is everyone living under a rock? Here goes:
    Incredible ad by the Roman Catholic Church
    http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=D9vQt6IXXaM&hd

    • first of all “Donna Marie” Thanks for sharing this wonderful video… I plan on sharing it with all my friends…how nice of you!

      Secondly, “Roman Catholic Church” did not make this ad… you’re wrong (like many on this website) it was made by cc2w.org

      “Catholics Called to Witness is a faith-based organization dedicated to upholding and promoting the following three non-negotiable principles as stressed by Pope Benedict XVI, while encouraging the Catholic community to participate in the public arena.”

      Catholics have to stand up for what is true and good and holy, not tear down…like so many on this website.

      And yes… we are living under a rock..The Rock of Peter!!!!!

      • John, with all due respect, I believe “standing up for what is true and good and holy” includes having compassion for human beings who were deeply harmed and are still suffering because of crimes that were committed against them as children by Church employees. I also believe it is good and holy to do our absolute best to provide protection for the most innocent of our society, our children. I, too, believe in the sanctity of life from conception to death. To me, that means that we value the well-bring of one another throughout life, not just at the beginning and the end. That’s what this is all about. I think the Church has missed the mark on that.
        I understand that you may disagree and everyone’s opinion is important, but that is how I see it and I am a lifelong practicing Catholic who never thought I would end up feeling this way. Actually, I resent that I am being forced to make a decision between following my Church and doing what’s morally right. They should match.

      • Beautifully stated, Jackie!

        John, I understand your frustration when you are being presented with the horrible things certain “holy” men in power did. I can understand not wanting to believe it, but to deny it and turn a blind eye to children is not what is “true and good and holy” and ultimately tears down the Church, much more.

      • John in the eyes of the victims(from what they have told me) and myself it is the bishops that tore down the church. Before Archbishop Bev. was hiding predators Cardinal K was telling an altar boy when they reported they were being abused that this was normal and what men did. This was a boy that loved the church and Cardinal K . This altar boy was taken over state lines to be raped by another priest couresty of his principal of his school and you say we are tearing dow nthe church give me a break. The AD found this victim credible also. The leadership makes me sick and it should and everyone else. Rich is the newphew of Cardinal O’Conner he asked his uncle for help when he first start telling people he was abused and his own uncle would not help him …….ask Rich it’s horrible how they treated the victims and that is only two stories. Wake up John the church we love is corrupt……

  20. Scary video indeed. No mention of child sexual abuse and protection, I’m surprised. All that little movie needed was a cameo from King William Donohue.

    • Donnna Marie…it reminded me of something the NRA would produce…I can’t imagine any reasonably well balanced individual being persuaded by it…would be very interesting to know who the ‘target audience’ is?

  21. They put Lynn on the stand today.
    What an interesting move.

  22. My comments on the video:
    Encouraged by the pew-catholics silence on the issue of child sexual abuse, the RCC continues to use spirituality for institutional gain, as it has done for over sixteen hundred years. Jesus often said … listen, those who want to hear … he spoke about hardened hearts … he opened the ears of the deaf … gave the blind sight … performed no miracles among people with closed minds. Some people just cannot handle the truth … they like to use their blinders … they look for ways to justify their beliefs against overwhelming odds.

  23. I have a question – I just read that Florida (where Gana and another priest live) has SOL laws but there are loopholes. Would it be possible for one of the abuse (rape) victims to be able to establish residence in Florida for the purpose of bringing Gana and the other priest to justice? They seems to be overwhelming evidence against these men and I do assume that they are still abusing children. I can’t believe that these 2 men are living freely and Megan’s law does not apply to them.

    • Susan you need to talk to a lawyer to get these questions answered but it is my understanding that you have to press charges in the state the crime occurs.

    • survivor's wife Reply May 28, 2012 at 2:29 pm

      Susan,
      I’m not sure about the legal side of bringing Gana to justice, but from the perspective of a victim and wife of a clergy abuse victim, the amount of resources, time, energy, and sacrifice it would take to do that would be beyond the scope of all the victims I know.

      Most victims are just trying to get through their days without hurting themselves or beating themselves up, raising their families and getting some measure of healing. Not to mention then going through the entire legal process (which is an emotional and financial nightmare) for a healthy person.

      Susan, you are sharing the outrage of the injustice of this entire mess. The victims came forward so no child would have to endure what they suffered. Did you know the hierarchy purposefully delayed the process so some pedophile priests couldn’t be criminally charged and therefore the ADs wouldn’t be liable? How’s that for injustice? Intentional cover-up…to avoid litigation…not a thought about protecting children. Not a thought.

      We can’t place any more responsibility onto victims to clean this mess up. I know that wasn’t your thought, Susan…I’m just thinking out loud.

      • SW,
        I want to validate what you said it is a nightmare going to court and the fallout from the stress can be felt for many years later. It is important to protect others from becoming victims but their is a personal cost for going to court……it’s not easy.

    • Beth ,you are correct the statutes apply to the state the crime was committed. If Gana brought a minor to Florida and the crime occurred there then that could open up possible prosecution in the state of Florida..but for the victims he assaulted in Pa..those crimes are bound by the laws/statutes of this state

  24. One other thing – can action be taken against the psychiatrist who did not diagnose Gana and others as a pedophile? Doctors and monsignors need to take responsibility for their actions. The statue of limitations ran out because the doctors who made the diagnosis and Lynn lied. Why can’t another law – such as reopening under Administrative Finality apply? Seems like fraud has a role in this. Wouldn’t fraud be cause to re-open under Administrative Finality? These people should be aggressively pursued. Even though the final outcome may not be “GUILTY”, it will put these guilty religious priest and doctors in a position of making them testify and making them pay financially. Is there a fund set up for these victims?

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