Six of Eight Pa. Dioceses Investigated

Click here to read, “Six of state’s eight Catholic dioceses under investigation,” by Steve Esack, The Morning Call, September 16, 2016


Grand jury investigations are the only way to uncover abuses that were allowed to happen for decades, said the Rev. Thomas Doyle, an inactive priest from Virginia, who has testified before a Philadelphia grand jury and in other probes across the country and world.

“It goes beyond priests abusing kids,” Doyle said. “It’s the cover-ups by the Catholic bishops.”

33 thoughts on “Six of Eight Pa. Dioceses Investigated

  1. Let’s not get carried away with the statements of the four dioceses and their offers of full cooperation with grand jury proceedings. They are standard issue releases that appear promising to me only on the surface.

    The truth usually emerges in the details to follow: how readily diocesan documents are forthcoming; how many counter motions dioceses file; how readily clergy and administrators are to testify, with or without seeking grants of immunity; and whether the plain truth is revealed instead of clever parsing of language – with deliberate ambiguity.

    I offer as Exhibit 1 the experience with Phila’s first grand jury report. The archdiocese put out a rebuttal filled with misdirection. The DA’s office responded to the archdiocese’s clever wordsmithing in a 30-page response that clearly exposes the truth of the matter. Read a few pages to get the feel of the church’s distortions.

    The proof will be in the pudding with these upcoming investigations, but past experience should offer great caution.

    From the overview of the powerful DA’s response to what the church put out:

    “Rather than deal with the report’s substance, the Church leaders attack the grand jury process, the “inquisitors,” and the report itself. Their response is replete with errors, distortions, and contentions contradicted by the record.

    It completely mischaracterizes the report’s conclusions as a tissue of assertions by the District Attorney’s Office, when they actually represent findings of facts by the Grand Jury. Rather than face the hard truths revealed in the report, the Archdiocese chooses to dismiss the message as the product of anti-Catholicism “reminiscent of the days of rampant Know-Nothingism.” It asks people to trust its word, then tells them falsehoods.”

    Catholics beware! Read on for the details, and learn what hierarchs call cooperation.

    As for episcopal apologies, those bleached admissions of “mistakes” often rendered in the passive voice (we regret children were “harmed”) sidestep reality. Any bishops you know ever acknowledge culpability for criminally endangering children, for obstruction of justice, for failure to report abuse under the law, for false statements?

    1. Carolyn: When it comes to the Catholic Church and it’s responses to Grand Jury reports, their history through the years shows anything but cooperation. They have done everything in their power to obstruct any kind of justice from taking place. I have not seen anything lately that would lead me to believe that anything has changed. I remember reading about Anthony Bevilaqua and his appearances before the first Philadelphia Grand Jury. He was described as being totally uncooperative, some described him as being arrogant. He acted as though he was above everyone else and nobody had the right to question his actions. The truth will be told when the Grand Juries try to subpoena information from the Church. Every Grand Jury case involving the Catholic Church has been adversarial. They try to block and cover up every piece of information that is requested. Their main goal has been and always will be the protection of their reputation and the protection of their priests who have abused children.

  2. Carolyn, your response is perfect, filled with wisdom and information. When I first read the Morning Call’s article, I thought to myself “oh sure, NOW they will cooperate fully.” What about the past 50 plus years? Whole thing is so disgusting and destroys all trust in the catholic church. Breaks my heart for those children.

  3. When will parishioners finally admit that where there is power, corruption, money, control and male dominance, there will never be justice? Claims of mercy, love, kindness, and grace are false if there is no justice. Any organization – a corporation, The Church, the United States Congress, and a home where there is not equality in representation between women and men, there will never be justice. The United States is comprised of 50% women
    – 50% men but women’s representation and justice for women is virtually non-existent. And, I expect that women make up the greatest percentage of those who show up for Sunday services. Maybe women could go on strike against church attendance until there is justice in The Church.

  4. At the end of the article, phone numbers are provided for Victims Assistance in the Allentown and Scranton Dioceses. If you need to report sexual abuse call your district attorney or the police. The “Victim’s Assistance” lines are a rouse to control information and isolate victims. The Dioceses have no interest in assisting you, they are only interested in protecting predators and marginalizing victims.

    The only thing that will happen if you call one of the diocese’s “Victim Assistance” is the beginning of the Diocese efforts to discredit you, attack you and rally around the predator. That was my experience with the Diocese of Scranton.

  5. Nothing changes if nothing changes. We can have a thousand candlelight vigils and two thousand press conferences, if the public remains uneducated about SOLreform and exposing predators, it sits on the bottom shelf of State Senators.

  6. Call the church and they will eat you alive to discredit you. There was an apparent discrepancy in my 2 statements about the number of times I was abused and the number of times I was physically attacked because the first time he didn’t touch me. They were looking for anything to say I was unreliable even though I could describe the furniture and all the details of the different rooms when I was violated

  7. Many interesting comments. I will chime in myself as someone who has reported a few times,not as a victim, but rather as an advocate or parent in the Archdiocese. I describe one conversation as being like ‘waterboarding” (insert sarcasm here) I was able to provide some third hand info but not enough and wow did I get an was I supposed to make something up to make it more info???
    Also so interesting and depressing was being told that the person making a report is thought of as just as suspicious as the person being reported. WOW, just wow. I sat through the mendatory reporting sessions where I learned it was my legal duty..I read the flowery language on the AD literature about it being a moral duty etc..and then find out when you do step forward you will be eyed as suspicious.
    There is one person from the AD who is respectful and helpful. But my other experiences have been nothing that would make you want to pick that phone up again.
    And yes, just go to the police people will say, but unfortunately some of these things are not criminal or are past SOL, and also the one case where I joke I was “waterboarded” did have a report to the police. Unfortunately ,most people will have to deal with the various Dioceses at some point in these cases.
    Aside for having reported various situation that have come my way. I also found the patient from the treatment center in the school parking lot..and foolishly reported within, rather than just calling 911. Why???? Believe me if I had to that do over I simply would have called 911 from the start, rather than having to go to the police weeks later when I found out no one had and no one was going to.

    1. I think we all had in the past some concerns dealing with the archdiocese of Philadelphia. I found out later my discussions I thought were being told in confidence were actually being told to individuals I gave no permission to know. For that reason the person I speak about was named in the grand jury report for wrongdoing and not only in my case but others as well. Now this person no longer is employed by the archdiocese but the other person who was also named in the grand jury report who I believe was the one pulling the strings is still employed by the archdiocese.

      For this reason I highly recommend if you are going to report sexual abuse your first call should always be to 911.

  8. Here is a great example that played out on the pages of C4C that many might remember. There is a priest currently suspended who was a porn addict ,thousands of adult porn images downloaded, and a few that might be child porn being investigated, One of this priest’s supporters came on C4C to bash us and let us know the priest had just been to a recent parish celebration,dressed as a priest, and was warmly recieved. We had also been contacted off site that someone saw him at a funeral in clerical garb.
    This was puzzling as priests on admin leave should not dress as a priest or be at the parish..So I sent an email,maybe even a few emails and some questions about this to the Archdiocese..the only person who responded was the Communications Director…nothing from Investigations. So also when you do let them know of important info, you sometimes do not even get a response from the people who would need to know this info.

  9. The Pope did not elevate Chaput to cardinal. What if anything does this have to do with the way Chaput handled the child sex abuse issue, any thoughts?

    1. drwho13: I wish it had something to do with Chaput’s record on child abuse, but really don”t think that really was a major problem. I believe it had more to do with Chaputs’ failure to accept Francis as a true leader. Chaput and many of his Conservative allies have pushed back against most of the Popes’ efforts to modernize the Church.The only real thing that Francis can do, is to keep appointing Cardinals who are more in line with his thinking, so that when he leaves the papacy, someone will be elected that will carry on his mission. Unfortunately Francis and all his Bishops continue to lag far behind when it comes to the sexual abuse of children by Catholic priests.

      1. I’m sure he’s stomping his feet blaming others for not being elevated. Being a Frank Burns (Mash) as I would like to call it.

        1. Chaput passed over for the red hat…

          Did you think that the Pope’s decision was influenced by Chaput’s Christian decision to support the Denver pastor who denied enrollment to young children in the Catholic elementary school because their parents were lesbians?


          Did the fact that Chaput continues to spend the Philadelphia archdiocesan faithful’s contributions and donations in Harrisburg on high-priced lobbyists to defeat valuable legislation that would give prior victims access and redress in the legal system impact on Pope Francis’ decision to send the “red hat” elsewhere?


          Did the Pope learn of Chaput’s importing his former legal team from the Denver area (at great expense) to represent him in civil proceedings resulting from Philadelphia area clergy abuse cases in order to protect the archbishop from civil depositions in these cases?

          ….Chaput and the Chapeau (red)…..never the twain shall meet

    2. I just got back from Rome, Italy. The experience was surreal and not quite what I expected. I went to a Papal audience with 10,000 other people and heard the Pope speak and I actually liked him and what I heard which I found surprising as I had been skeptical. The basic message he wanted to get across was simple. Look for the face of Jesus in others and be the face of Jesus to others and “act”. Very simple message but also very challenging as it involves risk and putting yourself out there for others. I also visited Siena and Assisi. It was a very powerful trip but not in the way I expected. There is a church dedicated to a Saint in Rome that was a child that the Romans tried to violate and then was killed. The priest that led the tour stated that the Romans practiced pedophilia back then. The irony and sad tragedy of the story and that statement in light of the ongoing child sex abuse scandals in the church really struck me. You were all on my mind and in my prayers during this trip.

  10. “The women’s attorney, Richard Serbin, says an exception should be made because the lawsuits are based largely on a grand jury report that the state attorney general released in March. Bodziak was labeled a child predator in the report. He has not been charged with a crime.

    “The grand jury report establishes the failure of diocesan defendants to fully and truthfully admit their knowledge of the problem of child sexual predators within the diocese,” Serbin wrote in response to the church’s argument.”

  11. Did anyone’s church read another letter from Chaput today about HB 1947? Ours thanked parishioners who contacted their legislators, but that there was a possibility it may come back.

    1. From the office of the Logan Square Real Estate Magnate and Mogul??

      Surprised he has the time to thank the troops, now that he is so focused on developing HIS valuable, precious and money-generating property in and around the Basilica.

      Wait, did I say “his property”…….well, I do believe it is OURS, the parishioners’ and I’m sure he’ll being sending out another letter to parishes asking for parishioners’ input regarding the archdiocesan real estate development down on the Ben Franklin Parkway.

    2. Yep Saint Vincent’s had it in the bulletin this weekend. Also Chaput made a of point of saying in his letter “By unreasonably insisting on keeping retroactive provisions in the bill,a small number of individuals failed whole segments of the population who stood to benefit from the bill’s other measures” Holy Cow sounds similar to the same reasoning I had used at the St. Charles Seminary meeting but in a different vein. I had said at the meeting by shooting down any legislation that would protect child and failing to be proactive the catholic church wasn’t supporting survivors but looking after their own interests. Very interesting………..

  12. Sr. Maureen, on C4C, would you please write about the letter your group (Catholic Whistleblowers Steering Committee) wrote to Pope Francis? Particularly, would you address the letter’s plea that cardinals and bishops be relieved of all of their vows and promises in a sweeping effort to end the culture of silence and foster the truth. Thank you.


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