Hold Institutional Policy Makers Accountable

Click here to read, “Monica Yant Kinney: New sex-abuse charges put institutional leaders on notice,” The Philadelphia Inquirer, Sunday, November 4.

Excerpt: “Before 2007, the only people in Pennsylvania who could be charged with child endangerment were those with actual contact with children. Think of the father who left his toddler in the car while he gambled at Parx, or a baby-sitter allowing her boyfriend to molest infants.”

41 thoughts on “Hold Institutional Policy Makers Accountable

  1. Monica boldly follows up with Lynn’s lawyer and addresses the basic question for parents in Philly; when will Seth Williams go after Lynn’s boss, Rigali?

    After Rigali is saved by the statute of limitations or old age like “D”evilacqua was?

    What is wrong with the Philly DA?

    I hope no Philly citiizen spends a second thinking of supporting Seth for Mayor? If he does so poorly as DA, how could he possibly manage the entire city. Philly residents deserve better.

  2. DA Seth Williams… excommunicated in my book!

    PA prosecutors stayed on Penn State to the bitter end… one, professional operation.

    DA Seth Williams disappeared from the Philly AD sexual abuse landscape at the culmination of the Lynn trial. How dare he! The corrupt, clerical kingpins remain uncharged. One, unprofessional operation.

    Mayoral material? Get real.

    1. I am hoping that evidence form the trial (shredded memo) leads to more charges higher up the chain similar to the evidence in the Freeh report with Penn State. The indictment of Spanier coming a full year after the arrest of Curley and Schultz.
      The question I always ask is “how are you so sure there is not a current investigation?” I am referring to the AD not Penn State. Where do people get their info that the investigation is halted.

      1. Kathy, it is almost two years since the second Philly grand jury report was issued following several years of extensive investigations.

        We have heard almost nothing about Lynn’s superiors being investigated. This silence of the DAs is some info.

        Perhaps some legal work is being done quietly by the DAs on the superiors’ cases, but that is no longer good enough.

        The Penn State cases started much later and have progressed much further. Why?

        Given the half century of Philly DA inaction mostly on priest abuse, no news is more likely indicative of no activity than activity.

        That reasonable inference is the basis of my concern.

        Meanwhile, statute of limitations’ periods are running.

  3. My other question is what specific crimes would you charge Rigali and others? I mean very specific in regard to statutes and change in criminal laws during the last few years. What specific crime involving the cover up of what priest? I am a big believer in further charges however I also understand after sitting in that courtroom how focused the charges need to be in the case. So what criminal charges in what specific case?

    1. Kathy, unless Rigali was temporarily deaf, dumb and blind, he had to know predatory priests were being shuffled around, that the list was being hidden, etc.

      I am not the prosecutor, so I don’t have access to all the evidence, including Rigali’s prior sworn depositions, etc.

      By now if Seth doesn’t have a case, why hasn’t he said so? If he has one, why hasn’t he brought it?

      It doesn’t take two years to reach a conclusion, if DAs diligently and carefully pursue the case. Penn State’s cases prove that.

      Instead of asking outside observers what is their case, we should be pressing the DAs to tell us what in God’s name is taking so long, instead of indirectly making excuses for them.

      1. No I am not making excuses,I would like people’s input on who they believed should be charged, in what specific cases etc…My point is also that some evidence came to light in the trial which was 6 months ago ,not in the GJ report of almost two years ago. The indictment of Spanier one year later gives me hope. Talk to me a year from now and I will be greatly dissapointed if no charges have been filed against anyone else in the AD..For now I am reserving judgment and hoping that investigators are doing the necessary work to build cases that will stick.

        1. Kathy. I covered Rigali’s role extensively over the past two years in my articles on Bilgrimage.com. If you want to know more about a potential case against Rigali, please read them.

          While the shredded memo issue may have arisen 9 months ago, Rigali suspended over three dozen priests over a year and a half ago. Gina Smith has finally sent some of these cases on to the prosecutors. Rigali had to have known about most, if not all, of these priests files. If he covered up for just one of them, that alone is a basis for charging him with child endangerment. Lynn was convicted solely on the singlecase of Avery.

          I find your request that C4C bloggers give input on whom should be charged puzzlingly. We don’t have access to the DA’s investigation files. We know just what is dribbled out and that alone presents serious questions .

          As to reserving judgment, that appears to be what Seth is banking on. Run out the clock! A classsic bureaucratic ploy. Seth’s obvious lack of prosecutorial zeal for the hierachy’s cases, and his long standing ties to Gina’s partner,Ed Rendell, give me little confidence that Seth is, or ever will be, seriously pursuing Rigali or the bishops. That is in my view wrong!

  4. What specific charges am I looking for? Among them are:

    Who was involved in the shredding? I want them charged. Did Ragali lie to the Grand Jury? If so, I want him charged. Was there an AD conspiracy to cover up sexual abuse? If so, who conspired? I want them charged. What about Bransfield? Is he guilty of crimes? If so, I want him charged.

    The point of Monica Yant’s editorial is that, in the case of Sandusky, he did not operate in a vacuum, there were other key figures at play, namely, Penn State “institutional policy makers,” who, now, have been charged with crimes. Similarly, there are other key figures who were at play regarding the Lynn case, he did not operate in a vacuum, yet those figures, namely, Philly AD “institutional policy makers,” have not been charged to date. Yant isn’t looking into the office of the DA’s crystal ball, trying to discern whether Seth Williams is or is not investigating higher ups in the Lynn case. Rather, she’s saying that the cases of Sandusky and Lynn were of an institutional nature, thus necessitating institutional investigations. Therefore, if DA Seth Williams is not engaged in one, he should be. Yant, and you, and I have every right to persist in saying to DA Seth Williams, “you have a duty to perform a Philly AD institutional investigation. No ifs, ands, or buts.”

    1. I am talking specifically in regard to Pa. EWOC and conspiracy laws. What we have seen from the past trial..how people were found innocent or guilty based on the interpretation of the law in Sarmina’s courtroom..because those same laws will apply in future cases.Even Sarmina’s instructions to the jury based on the law. I would love to round people up and throw away the key and then I remember that it doesn’t happen that way.
      I think the most important part of Cipriano’s blog was the attorney who interpreted the charges and the limitations.I think a lot of people found that boring,to me is was the most fascinating part of that blog.

      1. Kathy, you are asking lay people to speculate about narrow legal weeds when we cannot even find out if Seth has even entered the legal forest.The Cipriani piece you refer to is important, but it one play in the 9th inning of a trial. We don’t even know if Seth has decided to play in the game. Citizens of Philly are entitled to know and Seth treats them as if they were all morons.

        1. Jerry i completely disagree..not about Seth Williams could care less about him. I am not asking laypeople to speculate, I am asking informed people to weigh in on what charges they think will stick given the charges and trial we have just witnessed.

          1. Look at the conspiracy charge ..the intent had to be that the conspiracy intended for children to be harmed..intention vs.cause. For the EWOC because of the statutes the jury could not find Brennan guilty of endangering Mark..the EWOC was that he endangered “other’ children” but their were not ‘other” victims. This is the most important part of this issue..the charges that will be filed,the laws that will support the charges,the interpretation of those laws in the court and on appeal.

      2. Thank you Kathy, anyone who contacts their rep in this state will hear of the details.Also, in Pa so many ads address sexual abuse issues. Most believe Philly and the surrounding area are too iiberal in their application of the law.

        Also, this site needs to know that readers want to be inform and may have difficulty reading all the rhetoric on this site and have heard enough negative comments, just like the victims who came on this site and felt that they were attacked ( haven’t read any comments lately from those abused at Roman HS). Every person is at their own stage. I read too much about politics on this ste yet both parties(political) have endangered our ability to govern by getting rid of the moderates.

        ReReading Marci’s book and reading how the laws will ne changed slowly.

        This will be too slow for the victims and too fast for the RCC. So there is a reason for us not to go too far with the comments – we need public opinion and pew catholics to support us and to help us change the laws including the SOLs. The RCC was successful in putting Catholic against Catholic in Denver – are we going to allow that here? If not, then we are like that small group from the 60’s in DC that talks anout their marches and their good olde days having difficulty adjusting to life after fighting for causes.

        We know we are right and many pew catholics do too.

        We are making a difference, please allow those of us who are a lttle slow to process what you have written

        1. Yes Ed..no place for politics on this site. Highly recommend anything and everything that Marci has written..it is all in the laws and we have to understand the laws to understand the process. I have spoken many times about the first meeting that Susan and I attended now almost 18 months ago..the laws,the laws,the laws ,was what was explained at length and discussed.

          1. Kathy. laws are passed by and enforced by politicians. To say one opposes child abuse, but then avoids politics, with all due respect, that makes no sense to me. Democratically adopted laws applied by elected officials are inherently political.

            Marci’s focus is mainly on state civil liability laws, apparently because those are important to her, Jeff Anderson, etc.,i n their legal practice. I disagree with Marci’s narrow focus on state law solutions and have told her so.
            Priest abuse is a nationalproblem, at least. I think the better approach is to adopt national criminal laws enforced by Federal prosecutors.

            As the Sandusky and Lynn cases prove, local state laws and prosecutors are too easily manipulated by political influence of those close to the perpetrators.

            That is why I think it matters who our next president is. There are many reasons to prefer one candidate over another. Curtailing child abuse is one reason and I have tried to make that clear. If my making that important point is out of bounds, tell me and I will stop wasting my time here.

            I am trying to tell C4C readers as best I can how the real legal world works. If that makes some uncomfortable, fine; then just keep wringing your hands and praying.

            I prefer to act. Prayer hasn’t helped survivors much so far. Please make up your mind. I am tired of the sniping!

          2. Jerry, I have been involved in the fight for better laws in Pa for awhile now. I have been impressed and disgusted by both Republican and Democratic elected officials. I do not sit around and pray or complain..I act where I think I can be most effective. I have had access to many legal views… many,many legal views. I have spoken to those in the legal field,law enforcement, who are outraged,enraged,gutted and disgusted by the abuse of children and it all comes back to the laws. I am registered Independent and will vote later today with a split ticket based on the records of various politicians and their commitment to children. I do not care when people disagree with me and I engage in a dialogue with them. This is a forum where people express their views,many do not reflect mine..that is okay with me. If someone takes away with them something I have shared, that’s great, if not that is fine also.

          3. Jerry, I think you may be correct.

            Here’s a fun fact for everyone. Joe McGettigan prosecuted Sandusky for the commonwealth AG. Before he took that job he was first assistant for Seth Williams. The DA sets the office ethos and the first assistant implements it. McGettigan officially left the DA’s office for “health reasons.” Tells me a lot about how poorly the DA’s office is being run.

            The only hope of seeing any justice in court is from Marci Hamilton’s civil suits.

            Ten years of investigations…conspiracy all over the place…and when Lynn goes to trial Blessington presents a criminal conspiracy charge that no one would have been able to convict on.

            Has DA Williams entered the forrest? He doesn’t even know where it is.

            I honestly think that the DA’s office should continue to do nothing. That way it can’t screw up the civil suits. The DA’s from the 5 counties that comprise the AD can wait till Marci is done and cherry pick the transpripts for criminal charges.

          4. mackarel snapper..civil suits always bring the hope of uncovering possible criminal evidence. I don’t want the DA’s office to wait but who knows what the civil suits could uncover…very true. So true also about the AD encompassing 5 counties. The crimes Brennan was charged with occurred in Chester County..who knows if a different outcome if his case was not lumped with Lynn and Avery.

          5. And I believe the allegations against Bransfield were handled by the Montgomery County DA’s office. I know from growing up in Delaware County how many crimes against children occurred in various parishes where abusive priests were assigned. None will be prosecuted though because of the PA. statutes.

          6. Jerry – You’re right. Politics are everything in this.–The bishops understand this, I wish more catholics did too.

          7. The problem with waiting for Marci/Jeff, however, to expose the evidence is this. The clear pattern is many cases in other states is that as soon as convincing evidence is found that can exposes a bishop or cardinal to a criminal charge, the diocese offers the maximum financial settlement on the condition that the records are sealed at least until the crimes are barred by the statute of limitations. Marci’s and Jeff’s duties are to get their survivor clients the most bucks, not to convict the hierarchy.

            There is no substitute for an honest DA enforcing the criminal laws vigorously. Your report on McGettigan is disappointing, but not surprising. Perhaps some Philly citizens should launch a recall drive to remove Seth from offfice.

          8. Crystal ,which is why we have to support the candidates who do take a stand. I don’t think citizens of Pa. even know which candidates are trying to protect kids and then have powerful lobbyists and groups up against them. Kathleen Kane for attorney general will get my vote today because she backs the SOL reform and also because she has an awesome name 😉

          9. I want to clarify when I say support, I am not telling people how to vote. I have a thing about being preached to ,so don’t want to be doing the that at all. You can support politicians by calling their offices and thanking them,writing a letter to the editor of your local newspaper highlighting the work they do for kids and protection..or for that matter write a letter about the work they don’t do.

          10. Kathy: your naivete is amazing. The Bishops of the Catholic Church taught me long ago that this is all about politics. From their preaching about who to support in elections, to their avoidance of taking responsibility for their immoral actions regarding the sexual abuse of children with the help of politicians. The truth is that American Bishops are in bed with Republican politicians. While it might not be as bad as priests in bed with young boys, I still find it counterproductive to stopping the sexual abuse of children.

          11. Jim, I don’t think I am naive at all and am actually insulted that you would choose to classify me that way. I have been working on child protection issues very closely for the past 18 months in the state of Pa. I do not make blanket statements about entire groups of people based on anything… race,religion or politics..shame on me if I do . Justice 4pakids was formed by two Republican citizens, I have been at press conferences in Harrisburg standing next to both Democratic and Republican representatives. Did you know that the elected official in Pa. who has for years been advocating for the state to have a Child Advocate is a Republican?
            I absolutely realize the politics that have gone into this recent Presidential election..absolutely..but I refuse to categorize every elected member of a political party. I also realize the influence of the various Catholic Conferences in each state..but I will not make blanket statements about every elected member of any political party..sorry just not what I am about.

          12. Kathy: I am sorry it took so long to respond. I have thought long and hard about my response. First of all, I apologize if my remarks upset you. I know that you are truly concerned about the issue of sexual abuse of victims, both within the Catholic Church and without. I also realize that there are politicians in both parties concerned about this issue. I could blame my remarks on election year hysteria, but i am not going to do that. As a victim of sex abuse,I understand the need to make coalitions to create law. I believe that the issue of sex abuse does not and cannot stand by itself. There are many other issues that are interconnected. The issue of separation of Church and State is very important to me. Several years ago, a school board member in the North Penn School District accused a Jewish member of killing Jesus.This woman went on to become president of the School Board with Republican support.I cannot block these kinds of things out of my conscience.Recently a young Pakistani girl was attacked by the Taliban because she dared to suggest that young girls should be educated as young boys are.What does that have to do with anything?I believe that the number one problem in our world is radical religious beliefs and the attempt to impose those beliefs on others. I don’t really care whether those who are trying to impose those beliefs are Muslim or Christian. I believe that the Catholic Church is part of that coalition. Perhaps as has been suggested this is not the proper forum for these other issues. Perhaps myself and others need to go elsewhere to express those views. I am currently contemplating exactly that. I am extremely thankful for the support I have received on this site.I have learned a great deal. I think it is time for me to move on.

  5. Yes, even letters to those who are writing articles such as Monica, Martin and others. They are taking furloughs to try to keep the written word alive and their newspapers operating so the public continues to be informed. Good luck with your book Jerry, hopefully you can get a publisher.

    Don’t know enough about the laws. Philly is in an unique position as too many crossed state lines with the intent of abusing kids(shore houses). Most issues are state related and the ACLU will fight if locals try to enact rules to protect children from predators in their community. Once they cross state lines it should be under Federal Law. But kids don’t vote so it is up to us to write letters and write how important this issue is at all levels and explain that you don’t read their name on bill # and I have difficulty voting for you, or thanks, I voted for you because you supported bill #. At least vote, they will look at voter lists to see if you voted so you calls and letters will count, or at least get some consideration.

    1. As a survivor, my vote is for Barack Obama. Jerry in his piece writtian for Bilgrimage noted what Obama’s U.S. Justice Department prosecutors recently took very aggressive legal action in a criminal case of a priest child pornographer directly related to the subsequent conviction of the first U.S. Catholic bishop, Bishop Finn. Also, his proscutors are actively pursuing Penn State cover-up investigations. So, as a result the church is spending a huge amount of money supporting Mitt Romney. I leave the rest up to you. I don’t vote on one issue however, this action by Obama means he cares for children and if the church is against it all the more reason for me to vote for him because that says a lot!

      1. Vicky: You are such a brave woman. And also I may add a very smart one. Hopefully, later tonight we will be celebrating.

      2. Vicky,

        “Jerry in his piece written for Bilgrimage noted what Obama’s U.S. Justice Department prosecutors recently took very aggressive legal action in a criminal case of a priest child pornographer directly related to the subsequent conviction of the first U.S. Catholic bishop, Bishop Finn.”

        RC BISHOPS BE ON NOTICE; President Barack Obama has been reelected.

        Bad boys, bad boys (RC bishops),……….whata gona do when he come for you?

        Lawyer-up you prelates; you better get that 2nd collection in high gear. THIS IS GOING TO COST YOU, IN MORE WAYS THAT ONE.


  6. http://www.justice.gov/criminal/ceos/citizensguide/citizensguide_sexualabuse.html

    Except in limited circumstances, federal laws typically do not apply to child sexual abuse matters that takes place wholly inside a single state. These matters are therefore generally handled by state or local authorities and prosecuted under state laws. However, if the sexual abuse of a child occurred on federal lands, the offense may be prosecuted under federal law.


    ” Federal jurisdiction is implicated if the child pornography offense occurred in interstate or foreign commerce. This includes, for example, using the U.S. Mails or common carriers to transport child pornography across state or international borders. Additionally, federal jurisdiction almost always applies when the Internet is used to commit a child pornography violation. Even if the child pornography image itself did not traveled across state or international borders, federal law may be implicated if the materials, such as the computer used to download the image or the CD Rom used to store the image, originated or previously traveled in interstate or foreign commerce.”

    1. Ed: As you stated, Most of the jurisdiction for prosecuting child predators lies with state officials following state laws. However many cases have to do with predators taking victims across state lines. Jerry Sandusky is accused of doing just that, when he took a young boy to one of the Bowl Games.If ,however unlikely, the Sandusky verdict was overturned, he could be prosecuted by the federal government.Some priests have been accused of taking boys to the Jersey Shore. The feds could prosecute in those cases, if the states failed to do so.

      1. Jim, I agree.
        “Philly is in an unique position as too many crossed state lines with the intent of abusing kids(shore houses” – staed anove

    1. Ed…here is an excerpt from an article about Bernie Fine, the Syracuse basketball coach.Feds were brought in because of transporting kids across state line and abusing.No charges were brought against Fine.

      “The federal statute, which was strengthened by Congress in 2003, allows a case involving sexual abuse to be brought at any time during the victim’s lifetime. In practice, however, federal authorities don’t prosecute cases in which the old statute of limitations already had run out before 2003.”

      Same as what happens within the states..changes to laws are not retroactive..if statute tolled before any new law change then will not be prosecuted.

      1. Yes Kathy, very upsetting that they don’t prosecute”. Both profs from the above links were from University of Scanton ( Jesuit morals). The reason the 2003 law was inacted was because of the growth of the internet and the use of webcam, cell phones with cameras and now Sype. It not only an issues of pictures, but sexual abuse that occurs in real time. Bad enough victims have and will see their pictures and possibly their video on the internet, but it could be possible it is there for life. One woman made a breastfeeding video that went viral – it was made for a non-profit for educational purposes.

        In PA offenders had listed pornography or assuat on their profiles. I believe that 2006 they stated to add the word child, so those convicted before that date doesn’t list the word child on the offender’s list. I can’t legally tell what happened to those little kids as far a Megan’s law in PA, but we just there them what newspaper its published under and let them read the details. If you read the papers, you will realize that laws gornerning the list is pretty weak ie offender giving an address – a public platground, getting a job at a local eatery and raping girls there – many stories about that.

        Kids love seeing their images on camera or on the internet and are easy victims. Really can’t trust anyone. Can’t tell, no one knows who I am. I could just be trying to get your trust for some reason. That scares my daughter the most, when I told her you can’t even trust you father after I had to explain the above and after I had to explain in grade school what rape was. A classmate of her’s was raped and I wanted her to know what it meant. Other parents were not happy, but that wouldn’t bother someone who knows want I know.

        1. Ed, one of the saddest things I heard was a speech from a former professional football player who had been sexually abused as a child. His perp also took nude photos of him..I believe he was 10 years old when this happened. This was long before the internet and posting pictures but this football player spent his entire career afraid that the nude picture of him as a child would surface somewhere. He could not enjoy his fame because of this..so sad.

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