May 21, 2012 |
The charges against Msgr. William J. Lynn are narrow: that the former Archdiocese of Philadelphia official endangered children by letting two priests live or work in parishes despite signs they might abuse minors. But the case prosecutors finished presenting Thursday stretched beyond those confines. Day after day in Courtroom 304 of the city's Criminal Justice Center, the church itself seemed to be on trial. Over eight weeks, jurors saw a parade of witnesses and close to 2,000 documents, some decades old, that detailed what bishops, pastors priests, and church officials knew and did about Philadelphia-area priests suspected of abusing children.
May 19, 2012 |
After calling nearly 50 witnesses and presenting close to 1,900 documents over eight weeks, prosecutors on Thursday rested their case in the landmark trial involving child sex abuse by Archdiocese of Philadelphia priests. The team of district attorneys ended by letting jurors handle what they contend is the closest thing to a smoking gun in the case: a tattered gray folder that had been hidden in a locked safe at archdiocesan offices for more than a decade. Inside were handwritten and typed records, including a list that Msgr.
May 12, 2012 |
A few months after she started as operations director for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia's clergy office in 2005, Louise Sullivan was given a task: Straighten up the file room. The exhaustive grand-jury investigation into alleged sex abuse by priests was over, and the 10th-floor room at the archdiocese's 17th Street headquarters was a mess. Cardboard boxes, files, and papers cluttered the floor. Atop one corner cabinet, Sullivan noticed a small, locked combination safe.
May 9, 2012 |
Weeks before prosecutors say he tried to rape a 14-year-old boy, the Rev. James J. Brennan called the clergy office at the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. At the time, Brennan had just started a leave of absence to deal with "inner turmoil" he blamed in part on being sexually abused as a child. Brennan complained to Msgr. William J. Lynn, who ran the clergy office, that other priests had been gossiping that he really took the leave so he could "shack up" with one of his former students at Cardinal O'Hara High School.
May 6, 2012 |
Archbishop Charles J. Chaput said Friday that he had permanently removed five priests from active ministry for sexual abuse or misconduct with minors, and reinstated three others after an investigation could not substantiate similar claims against them. The decisions, which followed a 14-month review, marked one of the largest ousters of active priests in the archdiocese's history. It also validated a February 2011 grand jury report that accused local church leaders of ignoring evidence of clergy sex abuse and stirred new outrage among area Catholics.
May 5, 2012 |
Even when she finally spoke directly to church officials, the woman expressed doubt they would do anything about her cousin, the Rev. Nicholas V. Cudemo, who she said had molested her for years, beginning at age 10. On this day, Sept. 28, 1991, she told the church officials "he bragged about it. He said he was called downtown [to the archdiocese offices] several times and told about his lifestyle and that nothing has been done about it. " Nor, according to church memos recording his views, did Cudemo seem worried when he was called to the Archdiocesan Office for Clergy on Oct. 2, 1991, and confronted with sex-abuse allegations made by three female cousins and a half-dozen women who were not related.
April 19, 2012 |
THE BATTLE in Harrisburg over school vouchers has placed state Rep. James Roebuck Jr. in political peril to a newcomer with well-heeled campaign contributors. Roebuck, 67, who has represented West Philly's 188th District since 1985, says he is using his post as the ranking Democrat on the state House Education Committee to stymie legislation that would allow tax dollars to be used to pay for private-school tuition. He is being challenged in Tuesday's primary election by Fatimah Muhammad, 27, who favors the voucher plan and tells a compelling story about being homeless as a child and about how education improved her life.
April 17, 2012 |
His was the typical Philadelphia Catholic family, the witness said. Mom and Dad were regulars at Mass. He and his sister helped out at the rectory. And no one was held in higher esteem than a priest. "We were raised with the belief that a priest never did anything wrong," he told a Common Pleas Court jury. In that sense, the man, now 45, echoed other alleged abuse victims at the landmark conspiracy and child-sex abuse trial of two Archdiocese of Philadelphia priests.
April 13, 2012
CARDINAL ANTHONY J. Bevilacqua broke civil and church laws when he ordered aides in 1994 to shred a list that identified dozens of Philadelphia-area priests suspected of molesting children, an expert on canon law and clergy sex abuse testified on Thursday. "That was like obstructing justice cubed," the Rev. Thomas P. Doyle told a Common Pleas jury. "He's got a list of men who may have abused children, and he's going to shred it?" The assertion thrust the late cardinal squarely into the spotlight for the first time in the landmark child-sex-abuse and endangerment trial against his former secretary for clergy, Monsignor William J. Lynn.
April 5, 2012 |
For a lying, scheming criminal and junkie, he cleaned up well, and, under bruising cross-examination, more than held his own. If I had to score Round One of the most important testimony to date in the trial concerning sex abuse and conspiracy in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, I'd give it to the beleaguered - yet believable - 30-year-old victim staring at his alleged abuser in court. "Mark," as he was labeled in the 2011 grand jury report, is the Bucks County man charging a criminal breach of trust by the Rev. James J. Brennan, a priest and family friend he thought of as an uncle.