Did Lynn mislead cop about sex-abuse accusations?

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philly.com

08 May 2012

By Joseph A. Slobodzian

INQUIRER STAFF WRITER

Msgr. William J. Lynn seemed to downplay the sex-crime allegations against the Rev. Nicholas V. Cudemo — one of the Archdiocese’s most notorious priests — during a 2001 interview with a Philadelphia police sex crimes officer investigating an assault charge involving against Cudemo.

Officer Denise Holmes told a Philadelphia Common Pleas Court jury this morning that during a 2001 interview with Lynn, the church official said the only allegations of sexual abuse against Cudemo were made in 1991 by three female relatives of the priest.

Holmes asked to meet with Lynn on Jan. 22, 2001, after getting a call from a woman complaining that Cudemo sexually molested her 20 years before when she was a student at the school in the St. Irenaeus parish in Southwest Philadelphia.

Holmes testified that Lynn, then secretary for clergy and the ranking Archdiocesan official responsible for investigating sex-abuse allegations against priests, said he knew nothing of an allegation against Cudemo during his time at St. Irenaeus. Lynn also claimed not to know where Cudemo was living, except for “Florida, maybe.”

In questioning Holmes, Assistant District Attorney Patrick Blessington said that Lynn had received a dozen sex-abuse complaints against Cudemo and knew the priest’s address in Orlando because Cudemo had been lobbying Lynn to recommend him for a parish assignment in the Orlando diocese.

Cudemo, now 75, was defrocked in 2005 and his last known address is in Orlando.

Lynn, 61, is charged with conspiracy and endangering the welfare of children involving the Archdiocese’s handling of priest sex-abuse complaints. Prosecutors allege that the Philadelphia church regularly transferred deviate priests to different parishes, enabling the priests to find new victims. Lynn is the first church official nationwide to be charged criminally for the way in which he investigated and handled allegations against priests.

Lynn has denied the allegations. His lawyers have maintained that Lynn was thrust into the job as secretary for clergy with minimal training and actually made the first efforts to stop the so-called revolving door policy for accused priests.

Holmes testified that she was never able to track down Cudemo and the woman who complained did not call back.

Holmes also denied statements attributed to her by Lynn in an internal memo he wrote documenting their interview.

“They seemed to question her veracity,” Lynn wrote, describing Holmes’ attitude toward the woman allegedly victimized by Cudemo. Holmes denied ever telling Lynn that she doubted the woman was telling the truth.

Referring to the same internal memo, defense attorney Thomas A. Bergstrom got Holmes to acknowledge that Lynn did offer to pay for psychotherapy for the woman.

Contact Joseph A. Slobodzian at 215-854-2985, jslobodzian@phillynews.com, or follow him on Twitter @JoeSlobo


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Number of charges against priest Dejaeger doubles

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Crown announced 18 new alleged victims in court in Iqaluit Monday

CBC News

Posted: May 8, 2012 7:45 AM CT

Last Updated: May 8, 2012 9:18 AM CT

The case against Roman Catholic priest Eric Jose Dejaeger continues to grow.

The 65-year-old now faces 74 criminal charges – up from about 35 – stemming from his time in Igloolik, Nunavut, between 1978 and 1982.

The new charges, which come from 39 complainants, were announced by Crown prosecutors in the Nunavut Court of Justice Monday afternoon.

Crown and defence lawyers now have to confirm the number of counts.

The Crown also announced the charges stem from an alleged 18 more victims.

Crown prosecutor Paul Bychok said his office is waiting for hundreds of pages of disclosure. He said it is likely the Crown and defence will ask for one trial.

Bychok said a trial could take at least four weeks.

Dejaeger, who is in custody at the Baffin Correctional Centre, did not appear in court Monday. His next court appearance is May 14.

Dejaeger has also been charged in incidents that are alleged to have occurred in Edmonton between 1975 and 1978.

Dejaeger fled charges in Canada in 1995 and lived in Belgium for 16 years until he was expelled and returned to Nunavut to face the charges.

He had already pleaded guilty in 1990 to nine counts of sex crimes against boys and girls in Baker Lake, another community in Nunavut, and was sentenced to five years in prison.

__________________________

Pedophile priest to face dozens of new charges over alleged Arctic abuse

The Winnipeg Free Press online

By: The Canadian Press

08 May 2012

Posted: 11:44 AM

IQALUIT, Nunavut – An accused priest already convicted of sex abuse against Inuit children will face dozens of fresh charges in court next Monday.

Prosecutors in Iqaluit (ee-KAL-oo-eet), Nunavut, say Eric Dejaeger (deh-YAY-ger) will now face a total of 74 charges in a case that just keeps growing.

Dejaeger originally faced 28 charges when he was returned from Belgium last spring.

He will now face 74 charges of abuse and assault against girls, boys and dogs, and the total is expected to grow larger before the case comes to trial.

Crown Paul Bychok says prosecutors are now going through hundreds of pages of disclosures from people in Igloolik (ih-GLOO-lik), Nunavut, where he served in the late ’70s and early ’80s.

Dejaeger has previously pleaded guilty to nine counts of abuse from his time in Baker Lake, Nunavut.

He has waived his right to a preliminary hearing and the trial is expected to take place in 2013.

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Smith case set over to June

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The Western Star

Published on May 8, 2012

Published on May 7, 2012

Diane Crocker 

CORNER BROOK — The provincial Crown attorney’s office is waiting for information from a court in Nova Scotia to make its way into this province’s court system before proceeding with the case against George Ansel Smith.

Smith, 74, a Roman Catholic priest, is currently facing 62 sex-related charges for incidents alleged to have occurred in six communities in this province from 1969 to 1989. The number of charges will increase when the Nova Scotia information on another alleged incident is transferred to this province.

Smith’s case was called before Justice Alan Seaborn in the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador on Monday.

At the time Crown attorney Trina Simms said her office had received the information, but preferred for it to be officially brought before the court before proceeding with the case.

Smith is currently in custody in St. John’s and was represented in court by his Thomas Williams, who appeared via teleconference.

The charges against him include gross indecency, indecent assault on a male, sexual assault, unlawfully committing a gross indecency and unlawfully assaulting with intent to commit an indictable offence. The charges are alleged to have happened in Port Saunders, Corner Brook, Stephenville, St. Fintan’s, Cape St. George and Deer Lake.

Smith’s next court appearance was set for June 4 at 10 a.m. He has elected to be tried by judge alone.

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“The foulest crime”

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Former fugitive Oblate Father Eric Dejaeger ‘s Iqaluit courtdate of yesterday (Monday 07 May) has been rescheduled to 14 May 2012

08 May 2012: Accused priest misses court, faces more than 70 charges

Note that according to the above article Dejaeger now faces more that 70 charges in Nunavut.

I believe the 14 May date will still be to file a formal indictment.  Whether or not Dejaeger’s new lawyer will be prepared to proceed at that time remains to be seen.

Dejaeger’s preliminary hearing in Edmonton Alberta is set for 20-21 December 2012.  There are four charges from two complainants in Edmonton.

 *****

On the heels of The Shame of the Catholic Church, and in an attempt to understand the manner in which Cardinal Sean Brady dealt with the 14-year-old victim of Father Brendan Smyth I have been in contact with an individual who has a doctorate in canon law.

Well, this is indeed fascinating.  I have a lot of issues with the manner in which Brady dealt with that boy (Brendan Boland), but at the top of the list were the following:  (1)  the boy’s father was excluded from the interview; (2)  the boy was sworn to secrecy; and (3) the parents of the  14-year-old Belfast boy who was later interviewed by Brady were not told of their sons allegations and hence the abuse of that boy at the hands of Smyth continued for another year, and the boy’s sister was molested by the priest for years as were several of his cousins.

I could maybe understand why in those days the police were not contacted, but I could not understand why those children were not protected, and why child victims would be treated in such fashion.

The answer lies in Crimen Sollicitationis, the controversial and once top secret 1962 Vatican document instructing bishops on how to proceed when a penitent has been solicited for sex in confession.  (The Vatican now has the document posted online – a much easier read.  I will copy and post)

While there is no indication that Brendan Boland was solicited by Smyth during confession, still, it would seem, in conducting his investigation (“note taking” he called it) Cardinal Brady was true to the instructions in Crimen.

The bulk of Crimen deals explicitly with solicitation in confession, however, according to the the last section of the document, all the rules for investigating a priest accused of  soliciting a penitent to sexual favours, also apply to the case of a priest who has sexual relations with another male or with pre-adolescent children.

So here is how it goes…

(1)  “The secret of the Holy Office”

The following is an excerpt from Crimen regarding the utmost confidentiality  (“the secret of the Holy Office”) demanded  in dealing with the crime of solicitation :

“11. Since, however, in dealing with these causes, more than usual care and concern must be shown that they be treated with the utmost confidentiality, and that, once decided and the decision executed, they are covered by permanent silence (Instruction of the Holy Office, 20 February 1867, No. 14), all those persons in any way associated with the tribunal, or knowledgeable of these matters by reason of their office, are bound to observe inviolably the strictest confidentiality, commonly known as the secret of the Holy Office, in all things and with all persons, under pain of incurring automatic excommunication, ipso facto and undeclared, reserved to the sole person of the Supreme Pontiff, excluding even the Sacred Penitentiary. Ordinaries are bound by this same law , that is, in virtue of their own office; other personnel are bound in virtue of the oath which they are always to swear before assuming their duties; and, finally, those delegated, questioned or informed [outside the tribunal], are bound in virtue of the precept to be imposed on them in the letters of delegation, inquiry or information, with express mention of the secret of the Holy Office and of the aforementioned censure.

12. The oath mentioned above, whose formula is found in the Appendix of this Instruction (Form A), is to be taken – once for all by those who are appointed habitually, but each and every time by those who are deputed only for a single item of business or cause – in the presence of the Ordinary or his delegate, on the Holy Gospels of God (including priests) and not in any other way, together with an additional promise faithfully to carry out their duties; the aforementioned excommunication does not, however, extend to the latter. Care must be taken by those presiding over these causes that no one, including the tribunal personnel, come to knowledge of matters except to the extent that their role or task necessarily demands it.

13. The oath to maintain confidentiality must always be taken in these causes, also by the accusers or complainants and the witnesses. These persons, however, are subject to no censure, unless they were expressly warned of this in the proceedings of accusation, deposition or questioning. The Defendant is to be most gravely admonished that he too must maintain confidentiality with respect to all persons, apart from his advocate, under the penalty of suspension a divinis, to be incurred ipso facto in the event of a violation.”

(2) “The foulest crime”

The following is an excerpt from Crimen regarding “the foulest crime,” that being a priest engaging in sex with a person of his own sex, with pre-adolescent children or with “brute animals” (bestiality).  This section makes clear that the manner in which the crime of solicitation is handled is to be applied to “the foulest crime.”

TITLE FIVE

CRIMEN PESSIMUM

71. The term crimen pessimum [“the foulest crime”] is here understood to mean any external obscene act, gravely sinful, perpetrated or attempted by a cleric in any way whatsoever with a person of his own sex.

72. Everything laid down up to this point concerning the crime of solicitation is also valid, with the change only of those things which the nature of the matter necessarily requires, for the crimen pessimum, should some cleric (God forbid) happen to be accused of it before the local Ordinary, except that the obligation of denunciation [imposed] by the positive law of the Church [does not apply] unless perhaps it was joined with the crime of solicitation in sacramental confession. In determining penalties against delinquents of this type, in addition to what has been stated above, Canon 2359, §2 is also to be taken into consideration.

73. Equated with the crimen pessimum, with regard to penal effects, is any external obscene act, gravely sinful, perpetrated or attempted by a cleric in any way with pre-adolescent children [impuberes] of either sex or with brute animals (bestialitas).

74. Against clerics guilty of these crimes, if they are exempt religious – and unless the crime of solicitation takes place at the same time – Religious Superiors also can proceed, according to the sacred Canons and their proper Constitutions, either administratively or judicially. However, they must always communicate a sentence rendered, or an administrative decision in those cases which are more grave, to the Supreme Congregation of the Holy Office. The Superiors of a non-exempt religious can proceed only administratively. In the case where the guilty party has been expelled from religious life, the expulsion has no effect until it has been approved by the Holy Office.

As my contact pointed out to me,  the instruction gives no directions for preventing the offender harming other innocent victims: “The focus of these Vatican laws is sin and redemption, so the offending priest is first and foremost seen as a sinner in need of repentance. From the point of view of canon law, his victims were only relevant insofar as they were witnesses. Their eventual fate and the fate of other victims was not a concern of canon law.”

However, note the reference to 2359§2.  This is from the ‘old’ 1917 Code of Canon law,the code in effect at the time  (it was replaced in 1983 by the the new code ).  Here is what had to say:

Canon 2359§2 of the 1917 Code stated:

If they engage in a delict against the sixth precept of the Decalogue with a minor below the age of sixteen, or engage in adultery, debauchery, bestiality, sodomy, pandering, incest with blood-relatives or affines in the first degree, they are suspended, declared infamous, and are deprived of any office, benefice, dignity, responsibility,  if they have such, whatsoever, and in more serious cases they are to be deposed

Secrecy aside for the moment, what consideration was given to canon 2359§2? Presumably, according to Crimens,  canon 2359§2 “is also to be taken into consideration.”

Why then was Smyth, as a molester of a minor and in violation of canon law,  not ‘suspended, declared infamous, and deprived of any office, benefice, dignity, responsibility,  if he had such, whatsoever, and in as serious a case as this, deposed’?

All very disturbing. On the one hand Crimen and the the Secret of the Holy Office, and on the other hand canon 2359§2.

The bottom line I suppose is that, secrecy or no, why was Father Smyth not declared infamous and deposed?  I am no canon lawyer, but seems to me common sense says that that too would have been in accord with Crimen, and morally-speaking it would have been the right thing to do.  Had that step been taken Smyth would not have had continued access to the Belfast boy, nor to the boy’s sister or cousins.

A final comment:  Cardinal Brady should resign.

Enough for now,

Sylvia

Posted in Accused or charged, Clerical sexual predators, recycled, Vatican | Tagged , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Accused priest misses court, faces more than 70 charges

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Dejaeger will appear in court on May 14 to face sex charges

Nunatsiaqonline

NEWS: Nunavut May 08, 2012 – 4:36 am

DAVID MURPHY

The disgraced Oblate missionary, Father Eric Dejaeger (centre), celebrating mass in 2009 with two other priests in Blanden, Belgium. (FILE PHOTO)
The disgraced Oblate missionary, Father Eric Dejaeger (centre), celebrating mass in 2009 with two other priests in Blanden, Belgium. (FILE PHOTO)

The erstwhile fugitive priest, Father Eric Dejaeger, was a no-show at the Nunavut Court of Justice at a scheduled court appearance May 7, but he’s set to appear in court next week, on May 14.

His lawyer, Malcolm Kempt, was also not in court to set a trial date.

Dejaeger faces more than 70 criminal charges, the majority being allegations of sex offenses involving minors.

The Crown prosecutor for Dejaeger’s trial, Paul Bychok, expects the trial will last up to four weeks, once lengthy examination of evidence is complete.

Dejaeger, a native of Belgium who gave up his citizenship to become a Canadian citizen in the 1970s, studied at Newman Theological College in Edmonton to become a Roman Catholic priest.

Once ordained, he moved to Igloolik and lived there from 1978 to about 1982. He then left for Baker Lake, and stayed there until about 1989.

In 1990, he pled guilty to nine sex offences related to his stay in Baker Lake, and served time in prison until 1995. After more charges were laid against him — this time six alleged offences from his time spent in Igloolik — he fled to Belgium and missed a court date in July 1995.

More charges were laid through the Nunavut court in 1995 and 2002, and Interpol issued an international warrant for his arrest in 2001.

Dejaeger spent time in Belgium until a Belgium newspaper exposed his past and he was arrested in 2011.

The Belgium government, then discovering Dejaeger was not a citizen of their country, elected to deport him in January of 2011. He is now held in custody.

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Church abuse victim claims he was paid £10,000 for silence

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The Belfast Telegraph

Monday, 7 May 2012

An alleged victim of Roman Catholic clerical abuse claims the Church bought his silence with £10,000.

A west Belfast man claims he was paid off after being abused by the De La Salle Order in Kircubbin.

His comments come in the Daily Mirror which reported that a church document reveals how the victims of paedophiles like Father Brendan Smyth were paid to keep their suffering silent.

The unnamed victim from Belfast, who claimed the abuse ruined his life, said he “wanted some justice” and that the church wants to “brush it under the carpet. “Why did they pay me £10,000 and say we’ll take our money back if there’s no cover-up?” he asked.

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Ex-FBI agent: Priest’s accuser told truth

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philly.com

07 May 2012

By John P. Martin

INQUIRER STAFF WRITER

File photo: The Rev. James Brennan (left), shown with his attorney in March, said he viewed porn with a teenage boy in 1996.

ALEJANDRO A. ALVAREZ / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

File photo: The Rev. James Brennan (left), shown with his attorney in March, said he viewed porn with a teenage boy in 1996.

A former FBI agent who investigated clergy sex abuse for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia concluded that a Bucks County man was telling the truth when he said the Rev. James J. Brennan tried to rape him when he was 14.

Testifying Monday at Brennan’s trial, the investigator, Jack Rossiter, said the priest consistently denied any “intentional” sexual contact with the teen.

But during three interviews with Rossiter a decade after the alleged 1996 assault at a West Chester townhouse, Brennan gave conflicting statements on why he had shared his bed with the boy, how long their visit lasted and his ties to another young man, Rossiter said.

In the end, Rossiter gave church officials a report that supported the accuser’s account. “It indicated I believed him,” Rossiter told the Common Pleas Court jury.

Brennan, 48, is charged with attempted rape and conspiracy in the landmark clergy sex-abuse trial. Prosecutors say his codefendant, Msgr. William J. Lynn, 61, endangered children by keeping the priest in active ministry despite signs that Brennan may abuse minors.

Rossiter spent three decades in the FBI before retiring and launching a private investigation company. Hired by the archdiocese in 2003, he conducted scores of interviews with accused priests and their accusers.

Under cross-examination from defense lawyer William J. Brennan, who is unrelated to his client, Rossiter acknowledged that he had no experience investigating sex-crimes before being hired by the archdiocese. He also said he didn’t look deeply into the priest’s claims that the Bucks County man and his parents, once close friends with Rev. Brennan, were struggling financially and might have concocted the allegation to get a payout.

“They were not under investigation,” Rossiter said.

The alleged victim, whose name is being withheld by The Inquirer, testified that Brennan showed him online pornography, encouraged him to masturbate and then forced him to share a bed, where Brennan pressed his private parts against him. The man blamed the alleged abuse for a decade of drug abuse, mental health treatment and petty crime. He has also filed a lawsuit against Brennan, Lynn and other archdiocese officials, including Rossiter.

Under questioning from Assistant District Attorney Jacqueline Coelho, the ex-agent read jurors a typed report that he and a colleague prepared after interviewing Brennan in April 2006.

According to that document, Brennan told the investigators that he let the teen see one pornographic Web page because the boy had threatened to toss his laptop out the window. The priest also said that he proposed sleeping on the floor, but that the teen objected and told Brennan to sleep in the king-size bed with him.

Brennan denied any contact but “when pressed, said unintentional contact could have occurred without his knowledge,” the report said.

Rossiter’s also noted that a ranking church official said Brennan had claimed the teen “coerced” him into sharing a bed, but the priest denied such a statement.

Brennan told the investigator that the boy spent a second night at his townhouse, but gave differing accounts as to where they slept. And Brennan first told Rossiter that a college freshman who had lived with him at his residence at Cardinal O’Hara High School was a cousin or nephew, then later conceded they weren’t related.

“I don’t think he leveled with me,” Rossiter said during cross-examination.

Brennan’s lawyer pointed out that church officials had sent out 10,000 letters to O’Hara students and alumni seeking other potential victims, yet none came forward. He asked the investigator if, despite other inconsistencies, Brennan steadfastly denied any intentional sexual contact with the boy.

“He did,” Rossiter agreed.

Contact John P. Martin at 215-854-4774 or at jmartin@phillynews.com. Follow him @JPMartinInky on Twitter.

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Cardinal Brady apologises to abuse victim Brendan Boland

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BBC News Europe

07 May 2012

Cardinal Sean Brady

The leader of the Catholic Church in Ireland, Cardinal Sean Brady, has faced calls to resign

Cardinal Sean Brady has said he wants to personally apologise to a man who was abused as a 14-year-old boy by paedophile priest Brendan Smyth.

Cardinal Brady has come under pressure after a BBC documentary.

It accused him of failing to act on abuse allegations when he was a young priest.

He said he had no intention of stepping aside but hoped an assistant – with succession rights – would be quickly appointed to his archdiocese.

Speaking to Irish broadcaster RTE on Monday, Cardinal Brady said he wanted to “apologise without hesitation” to Brendan Boland “and to any victim”.

“I offered that apology last Christmas, I offered to come and see him in person,” he said.

“He wanted a public apology, it didn’t happen, but I repeat now that I publicly apologise to him.”

The 72-year-old said he wanted to apologise personally “at the earliest opportunity”.

No indication

The cardinal said he intended to remain as primate “until I’m 75, or unless the Holy See indicated it didn’t want me to stay”.

He said there was absolutely no indication from the Vatican that it wanted him to resign.

Last week, a BBC documentary uncovered new revelations about an internal Church investigation into clerical child sex abuse in 1975.

It said a teenage boy who had been sexually abused by Fr Brendan Smyth gave the names and addresses of other children who were at risk from the paedophile priest to Cardinal Brady, who at that time was a 36-year-old priest.

He passed the allegations to his superiors but did not inform the police or the children’s parents.

Fr Smyth continued to sexually assault one of the boys for a year after that.

He also abused the boy’s sister for seven years, and four of his cousins, up until 1988.

“Definitely the parents should have been informed. That’s quite clear,” Cardinal Brady told RTE.

But Cardinal Brady accused the documentary makers of exaggerating his role. He said he had been present simply to take notes, and that he had reported to more senior clergy whom he expected to take appropriate action.

Cardinal Brady previously apologised over the issue during Mass on St Patrick’s Day in 2010.

He said: “I have listened to reaction from people to my role in events 35 years ago.

“I want to say to anyone who has been hurt by any failure on my part that I apologise to you with all my heart.

“I also apologise to all those who feel I have let them down.

“Looking back I am ashamed that I have not always upheld the values that I profess and believe in.”

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Priest to appear in Iqaluit court on sex charges

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Eric DeJaeger worked as a priest in Igloolik, Nunavut in 70s and 80s

CBC News

Posted: May 7, 2012 10:15 AM CT

Last Updated: May 7, 2012 11:02 AM CT

Eric Jose Dejaeger will appear before the Nunavut Court of Justice in Iqaluit today.

The Roman Catholic priest, who served in Igloolik in the late 70s and 80s, is accused of sex crimes. He faces more than 35 charges.

In February, his appearance was delayed as police were doing an investigation in Igloolik.

He has also been charged in incidents that are alleged to have occurred in Edmonton between 1975 and 1978.

Dejaeger fled charges in Canada in 1995 and lived in Belgium for 16 years until he was expelled and returned to Nunavut to face the charges.

Dejarger had already pleaded guilty in 1990 to nine counts of sex crimes against boys and girls in Baker Lake, another community in Nunavut, and was sentenced to five years in prison.

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Witness: Parish told Pa. priest had Lyme disease

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Salon

07 May 2012

By , Associated Press

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Roman Catholic parishioners were told their priest had to leave his church in 1992 because he had Lyme disease, even though his removal actually came after an altar boy’s fondling complaint, a witness testified Monday.

Mary Mignogno, who knew about the boy’s complaint, didn’t know what to say to her children when she heard the lie from the pulpit.

A nurse and school volunteer, Mignogno had helped the boy tell his parents about the abuse. The boy said that the Rev. Robert L. Brennan routinely touched him inappropriately in exchange for candy or prizes. The parents had threatened to go public if Brennan wasn’t removed from their Schwenksville parish.

Mignogno testified as the seventh week got under way in the child-endangerment trial of Monsignor William Lynn, the secretary for clergy in Philadelphia from 1992 to 2004. Lynn is accused of helping the church transfer problem priests to new parishes.

Mignogno read aloud a 2002 letter she had sent to then-Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua. Brennan — first accused in 1988 — was by then working in another parish.

“I think it’s time the church ceases to protect the bad priests,” Mignogno wrote. “The representatives of the church did wrong to cover up and hide this problem.”

She never heard back from the archdiocese.

On the stand, Mignogno broke down when she read a line about how the abuse crisis had tested her faith.

Brennan, now 74, spent several stints in sex-abuse therapy during his church career, but remained in active ministry until 2005 — three years after the priest-abuse scandal erupted nationwide.

The church’s review of his priestly status is “pending” at the Vatican, according to the Philadelphia archdiocese’s website. A working phone number for him could not be located.

Lynn is on trial with the Rev. James Brennan, who is of no apparent relation to the Schwenksville priest.

Earlier Monday, former FBI agent Jack Rossiter testified about being hired by the Philadelphia archdiocese in 2003 to investigate sex-abuse complaints, including one lodged against James Brennan.

James Brennan, 48, is on trial for the alleged sexual assault of a teenage boy at an apartment he had in West Chester when he was on leave in 1996. He admitted to Rossiter that the two had shared a bed, but said there was no intentional sexual contact.

Rossiter said he found the accuser credible, even though the man’s criminal record gave him pause.

On cross-examination, Rossiter acknowledged that the accuser’s family was having financial problems when he came forward with the decade-old allegation in about 2006. The accuser has filed civil suits against the archdiocese, Lynn, other church officials and even Rossiter.

The criminal trial is expected to last another three weeks.

On Friday, the Philadelphia archdiocese barred five suspended priests from ministry over sexual-abuse allegations or inappropriate behavior around children, and returned three to ministry. Another 17 remain under investigation. Six of those cases remain in the hands of law-enforcement officials more than a year after the priests were suspended, Archbishop Charles Chaput said.

The Philadelphia archdiocese has about 800 active priests.

____________________________

Testimony: Catholic official who led abuse investigations in Philadelphia had little training

The Republic (Columbus, Indiana)

07 May 2012

MARYCLAIRE DALE Associated Press

PHILADELPHIA — A Roman Catholic church official charged with handling child sexual-abuse complaints for more than a decade had little to no training on how to conduct the sensitive investigations, a jury heard Monday.

Monsignor William Lynn, 61, faces years in prison for allegedly helping the church keep accused predators in jobs around children. Excerpts of testimony from his 2004 testimony before a grand jury were read in court Monday during his child-endangerment trial.

In his testimony, Lynn said he attended at most a workshop or two on the sexual abuse of minors, but otherwise had no training on how to interview the priests, their accusers or other potential witnesses.

Lynn said a case he investigated in 1994 led him to scrutinize secret archives kept by the Philadelphia Archdiocese. Lynn, on the job two years, had wanted “to make sure we don’t have anybody in ministry that shouldn’t be.”

Then secretary for clergy, he prepared a list of 35 accused priests, including three diagnosed pedophiles and a dozen more he deemed “guilty,” mostly because they admitted the abuse.

Lynn gave the list to Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua, but the cardinal ordered it shredded, defense lawyers have told jurors.

Bevilacqua, a civil and canon lawyer, led the archdiocese of 1.5 million Catholics from 1988 to 2003. A grand jury in 2005 rebuked him for leaving dozens of credibly accused priests in ministry, but no charges were filed. A number of the named priests were then removed from ministry, and some were defrocked.

One such priest was the Rev. Thomas J. Smith, who by 2002 was the church’s regional administrator for Delaware County. He rose to the position despite griping for years, across several parishes, about his behavior around boys.

A man testified Monday that Smith had made him undress when he played Jesus as an eighth-grader in a Passion play. The priest would pin a loincloth on the naked boy. He was then whipped, suffering welts and bruises, during more than a dozen performances, to make the play seem more “authentic.”

When he complained to the archdiocese in 2002, Lynn told him that Smith was a friend and a high-ranking church official, the man testified. Smith was not removed until 2005. He was defrocked in 2007. A message left at a possible phone number for him in Berks County was not immediately returned Monday.

In earlier testimony, a woman said her Schwenksville parish was told their priest was leaving in 1992 because he had Lyme disease, when she knew his removal followed an altar boy’s fondling complaint.

On cross-examination, Rossiter said the man’s family had money problems when they came forward with the decade-old allegation about Brennan.

Mary Mignogno said she didn’t know what to say to her children when she heard the lie from the pulpit.

A nurse and school volunteer, Mignogno had helped the boy tell his parents about the abuse. The boy said that the Rev. Robert L. Brennan routinely touched altar boys inappropriately in exchange for candy or prizes.

Mignogno read aloud a 2002 letter she had sent to Bevilacqua. Brennan — first accused in 1988 — was by then working in another parish.

“I think it’s time the church ceases to protect the bad priests,” Mignogno wrote. “The representatives of the church did wrong to cover up and hide this problem.”

She never heard back.

On the stand, Mignogno broke down when she read a line about how the abuse crisis had tested her faith.

Brennan, now 74, spent several stints in sex-abuse therapy during his church career but remained in active ministry until 2005. The Vatican’s review of his priestly status is pending, according to the Philadelphia archdiocese’s website. A working phone number for him could not be located.

Lynn is on trial with the Rev. James Brennan, who is of no apparent relation to the Schwenksville priest.

Earlier Monday, former FBI agent Jack Rossiter testified about being hired by the archdiocese in 2003 to investigate abuse complaints, including one lodged against James Brennan.

James Brennan, 48, is charged with molesting a teenage boy in 1996. He admitted sharing a bed with the teen but denied any sexual contact, Rossiter said.

Rossiter said he found the accuser credible, despite the man’s criminal record.

On cross-examination, Rossiter acknowledged the accuser’s family was having financial problems when he came forward in about 2006. The accuser has since sued the archdiocese, Lynn and even Rossiter.

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