Former altar boy testifies of sexual abuse at trial of two Philadelphia priests

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updated 6:56 PM EDT, Wed April 25, 2012

By Sarah Hoye, CNN

Monsignor William Lynn was responsible for investigating reports of sexual abuse by priests in Philadelphia.

Monsignor William Lynn was responsible for investigating reports of sexual abuse by priests in Philadelphia.

  • Victim was 10 when abuse occurred, and the priest responsible has been convicted
  • Of the two now on trial, one is accused of trying to rape a 14-year-old, the other of a cover-up
  • Witness also alleges abuse by a priest and a teacher, who will go on trial in September
  • A number of alleged victims of clergy abuse have testified since the trial began March 26

Philadelphia (CNN) — A former altar boy molested in a church sacristy testified Wednesday in the child sexual abuse and conspiracy trial of two Philadelphia priests.

“He told me God loves me, this is what God wants, and it was time for me to become a man,” the witness told jurors.

Just days before the trial began, defrocked priest Edward Avery of the Philadelphia Archdiocese pleaded guilty to involuntary deviate sexual intercourse and conspiracy to endanger the welfare of a child after admitting that he sexually assaulted the 10-year-old altar boy during the 1998-99 school year. Avery, 69, was sentenced to two-and-a-half to five years.

Currently on trial are the Rev. James Brennan, who is accused of the attempted rape of a 14-year-old, and Monsignor William Lynn, who is accused of covering it up. Lynn is the first high-ranking church figure charged with child endangerment for shuffling predator priests from parish to parish.

Lynn, who was the secretary for clergy under former Philadelphia Archbishop Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua, is accused of knowingly allowing Avery and Brennan access to children despite allegations of sexual abuse of minors. From 1992 until 2004, Lynn was responsible for investigating reports that priests had sexually abused children.

Both have pleaded not guilty.

Before the witness described his ordeal, Assistant District Attorney Mark Cipolletti showed jurors his grade school photo. The image of him with a small smirk and wearing a blue polo shirt and sleeveless sweater vest faced the jury as he described his extracurricular activities at a Catholic grade school in northeast Philadelphia.

The boy, now in his 20s, was in the fifth grade when Avery undressed with him in a small storage room, told him that God loved him, had him engage in oral intercourse and then ejaculated on him.

When asked why he didn’t tell anyone about the incident, he said he was “too scared.”

“I thought that I would get into trouble and that no one would believe me,” he said. “I thought I did something wrong, and, he’s a priest.”

The witness also alleges abuse by the Rev. Charles Engelhardt, who was a priest at the same parish, as well as by Bernard Shero, a teacher at the school. Engelhardt and Shero go on trial in September.

He described a life of substance abuse, a suicide attempt and a criminal history including drug possession that he testified came as a result of the sexual assault by Avery.

He said he did not tell anyone about the abuse until 2009, after a group therapy session for his drug use.

Although jurors were told that Avery is no longer on trial, they have not been told that he pleaded guilty. His guilty plea does not require him to testify.

Lynn’s defense attorneys argued earlier this week before Common Pleas Court Judge M. Teresa Sarmina that they did not want Avery’s guilty plea entered into the court record out of fear that it would taint the jury.

Assistant District Attorney Patrick Blessington said that if the defense attacked the witness’s creditability, the prosecution would tell the jury that Avery pleaded guilty to the molestation only, and not to a conspiracy charge.

After the witness’s testimony, defense attorney Jeff Lindy, with less ferocity than usual, told the court he had no questions for the witness, opting not to cross-examination him.

A number of alleged victims of clergy abuse have testified since the trial began March 26, but Avery’s accuser is the first whose claim falls within a statute of limitations.

He is part of a 2011 Philadelphia grand jury report.

Sarmina did not rule Tuesday on whether or not to allow the jury to hear about the guilty plea and added that she would “wait and see” how the defense proceeded during cross-examination.

Before the former altar boy’s testimony, jurors heard from another former altar boy who said Avery molested him in the late 1970s.

Now in his late 40s, the man told jurors that Avery moonlighted as a disc jockey, spinning records at various events, from weddings to bar gigs.

When he was 15 years old, the witness said, he assisted Avery at one of his DJ gigs at a Philadelphia bar. While there, the boy and the priest were served large amounts of alcohol, and he eventually passed out inside the bar.

After the gig, Avery took him to a church rectory to spend the night, where they shared the same bed at the behest of the priest because the couch was “covered with clutter.” At one point, he said, he awoke to Avery’s hand on his genitals.

“I really didn’t know what to think. I really admired this guy. I hero-worshiped him,” said the witness, who is now married with five children and living in North Carolina.

During a ski trip to Vermont when the boy was 18, Avery slept in the same bed with and fondled his genitals, the former altar boy said.

“I felt betrayed, I felt unsafe, I felt confused,” he said.

He also broke down in tears as he read a letter he sent in 1992 alerting the archdiocese of the abuse, and a letter he wrote directly to Avery, while members of the jury looked away and instead followed along by reading the letter enlarged on courtroom monitors.

Despite the allegation, prosecutors say Lynn and other high-ranking church officials assigned Avery to the parish, where he had access to minors and where he abused the fifth-grader in the sacristy.

Testimony has been heated as teary witnesses have taken the stand, describing the alleged abuse by dozens of diocesan priests during overnight stays, at vacation homes or at parish rectories.

The trial has provided a rare behind-the-scenes portrait of one of the largest Catholic archdioceses in the United States, with nearly 1.5 million members. In addition to the graphic testimony, hundreds of pages of internal personnel files of priests accused of child sexual abuse — some of them confidential — are now part of the court record.

Two separate grand jury reports accused the archdiocese of failing to investigate claims of sexual abuse of children by priests.

A 2011 report led the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office to criminally charge four Philadelphia priests and a parochial school teacher with raping and assaulting boys in their care, while Lynn was accused of allowing the abusive priests to have access to children.

Prosecutors also plan to call Monsignor Kevin Quirk to the witness stand next week. A West Virginia judge ordered Quirk to testify, noting he was a “necessary and material witness,” according to court documents obtained by CNN. Quirk presided over Brennan’s 1996 canonical trial for an alleged sexual abuse of a minor.

A gag order barring all parties involved in the criminal case from talking to the media imposed by a Philadelphia judge remains in effect.


Ex-altar boy testifies about sexual abuse by Philadelphia priests

25 April 2012

Monsignor Lynn returns to the courthouse after lunch recess on the opening day of his child sex abuse trial in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Monsignor Lynn returns to the courthouse after lunch recess on the opening day of his child sex abuse trial in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (Tim Shaffer Reuters, REUTERS / March 26, 2012)

Dave Warner Reuters9:29 p.m. EDT, April 25, 2012

PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) – A 23-year-old man testified on Wednesday in the child sex abuse case against the Philadelphia Catholic Archdiocese that he was molested by two priests, one of whom prosecutors said had been known to church officials as a sex abuser years earlier.

The testimony came at the trial of Monsignor William Lynn, former secretary of the clergy, who is charged with child endangerment and conspiracy over accusations he covered up abuse allegations against priests, many of whom were simply transferred to unsuspecting parishes.

The case has put a spotlight on the Philadelphia Archdiocese, the nation’s sixth largest with 1.5 million adherents, and experts say has likely caught the eye of the Vatican, given Lynn’s rank as the highest U.S. church official to go to trial in the abuse scandal.

Lynn faces the possibility of 28 years in prison if convicted.

Wednesday’s witness testified that in 1998 when he was 10 years old and serving as an altar boy, he was abused by Rev. Charles Engelhardt and Edward Avery, who is no longer a priest, at St. Jerome’s in northeast Philadelphia. Reuters does not identify victims of sexual assault unless they come forward to identify themselves.

Avery ordered him to do a strip tease in a church storage room, he testified.

“I was swaying back and forth and took off my clothes,” he said before detailing sex acts that he said Avery demanded.

He said that before the abuse incidents: “I was happy. I was outgoing, a people person.” In the years that followed, he said he battled drug abuse and as a teenager attempted suicide.

Prosecutors said the Archdiocese knew seven years earlier that Avery had abused someone else and not only did nothing but transferred him to St. Jerome’s.

Avery pleaded guilty and is serving up to five years in prison for sex crimes, while Engelhardt awaits separate trial on sex abuse charges.

Prosecutors also read several memos to the jury that Lynn had written about allegations of sexual misbehavior by Francis Giliberti, a monsignor in Media, Pennsylvania, in the late 1970s.

The memos described Giliberti watching boys masturbate and, in one incident, inspecting a boy’s genitals. He was removed from the ministry in 2004 and has never been criminally charged.

The prosecutors sought to use the memos to bolster their case that Lynn did nothing about complaints against Giliberti.

“It shows how outrageous his activity and inactivity was,” Assistant District Attorney Patrick Blessington said.

(Editing by Ellen Wulfhorst, Cynthia Johnston and Lisa Shumaker)


Ex-altar boys testify of sex assaults by priest

Posted: Wed, Apr. 25, 2012, 1:19 PM

By John P. Martin and Joseph A. Slobodzian


Edward V. Avery, seen here leaving the Criminal Justice Center on Oct. 7, is accused of molesting a Northeast Philadelphia altar boy in the late 1990s.

Alejandro A. Alvarez / Staff Photographer

Edward V. Avery, seen here leaving the Criminal Justice Center on Oct. 7, is accused of molesting a Northeast Philadelphia altar boy in the late 1990s.

The two men followed starkly different paths to the witness stand.

The 49-year-old was raised in the outer suburbs, graduated from medical school, got married, and had five children. The 23-year-old from Northeast Philadelphia was kicked out of two high schools, attempted suicide, and spent much of the last decade hooked on heroin and prescription drugs.

But in tense and emotional testimony to a Common Pleas Court jury on Wednesday, both described a bond: Each said he was sexually abused by his parish priest, Edward Avery.

“God loves you, and this is what God wants,” Avery allegedly told the Philadelphia altar boy after forcing him to dance a striptease and engage in oral sex at St. Jerome’s Church in 1999, when the boy was 10.

Together, their testimony represented a pillar of the landmark conspiracy and endangerment case prosecutors are trying to prove against Msgr. William J. Lynn, the former secretary for clergy under Cardinal Anthony J. Bevilacqua. They contend Lynn’s failure to remove Avery from active ministry after learning of one allegation in 1992 enabled the priest to abuse the fifth-grader at St. Jerome’s seven years later.

Avery pleaded guilty to that assault days before the trial opened, but Lynn has denied the charges. His lawyers have portrayed him as one of the only church officials who tried to identify and isolate dangerous clerics such as Avery, but one who lacked authority to do enough.

Avery was a gregarious priest who once cultivated celebrity status in the region. He moonlighted as a frenetic, hat-wearing disc jockey at bars and parties, and he became a vocal and visible advocate for Hmong refugees in the 1980s.

“He had a lot of charisma. He was very popular with young people,” the 49-year-old physician told jurors. (The Inquirer does not identify victims of sex crimes without their permission.)

The man said he became friends with Avery in the late 1970s, when he was an altar boy and the priest was an assistant at St. Phillip Neri Church in East Greenville. Avery would often take the boys on trips, including to a Jersey Shore house where the boys would drink alcohol and the priest would wrestle them, according to the witness.

He was 15, he said, when he accompanied Avery to a disc-jockey job at Smokey Joe’s bar at University City, where he got so drunk he passed out in a back hallway. Avery took him to his rectory at nearby St. Agatha-St. James Church and had the boy sleep in his bed. There, he said, Avery fondled him. He said he pretended to sleep and never confronted the priest.

“I really admired this guy,” the doctor testified. “I hero-worshipped him, and I really couldn’t accept that this happened.”

But the same thing happened three years later, he said, when he accompanied Avery and his brother on a ski trip to Vermont.

In 1992, the man confronted Avery in a letter and sent copies to Lynn’s predecessor, the Rev. John Jagodzinski. The accuser said he didn’t want money or scandal.

“I wanted to know that he wasn’t a risk,” he testified under questioning from Assistant District Attorney Jacqueline Coelho.

Lynn interviewed the priest and his accuser in fall 1992. Avery denied the allegation, but Lynn still recommended that he be removed from his post as a pastor at a Mount Airy parish and sent to St. John Vianney, the archdiocese-owned hospital where accused priests were treated. Lynn also identified Avery as “Guilty of Sexual Misconduct with Minors” in a list of suspected priests he drafted in 1994.

Defense lawyer Thomas Bergstrom highlighted records that show Lynn had notified Bevilacqua one day after hearing the accusation. And he showed the witness memos that suggest Lynn met, wrote, or talked by phone with him more than a half-dozen times in the four months that followed.

“Monsignor Lynn responded to you, did he not?” Bergstrom asked the man.

“Yes,” he replied.

After Avery completed his hospital treatment, Lynn recommended he serve as chaplain at Nazareth Hospital in Northeast Philadelphia. But Avery was allowed to live at the rectory at St. Jerome’s, a sprawling parish with a school about five blocks from the hospital.

In 1999, the altar boys there included the 10-year-old son of a Philadelphia police officer. In a photo shown to jurors, the boy wore a blue sweater vest, a light-colored crew-cut, and a smile. “Mom always said I was a cute kid,” he testified.

Earlier that school year, the man said, he had been sexually abused by another priest at the parish. (That priest, the Rev. Charles Engelhardt faces a separate trial because he belongs to an independent religious order. So, too, does a former schoolteacher at St. Jerome’s who is also accused of raping the boy.)

Avery, he said, told the altar boy he had heard about his “sessions” with Engelhardt and proposed his own. “I tried to act like I didn’t know what he was talking about, but when he mentioned that, my stomach turned,” he testified.

Twice in the ensuing weeks, Avery forced him to strip and engage in oral sex in a room near the church sacristy after he served a Mass with the priest, according to his testimony. He told no one about the abuse.

“I was scared,” he said. “I thought I did something wrong. And it was a priest.”

Within a year, he said, he began drinking alcohol and smoking marijuana. By high school, he graduated to prescription medication and eventually heroin. He has since spent time in nearly two dozen drug treatment programs, he said.

He did not report the abuse to the archdiocese until 2009. Church officials in turn reported it to prosecutors. Because it fell within a newly amended statute of limitations, the man’s claim became a focus of the 2011 grand jury report that faulted Lynn and the archdiocese for its response to abuse victims. The accuser has also filed a lawsuit seeking damages against Lynn, Avery, and the church.

Judge M. Teresa Sarmina had warned defense lawyers that their cross-examination could have opened the door for prosecutors to tell jurors Avery admitted the assault. He is now serving 21/2 to five years in prison.

So Lynn’s lawyers, Bergstrom and Jeffrey Lindy, chose not to question the St. Jerome’s altar boy. Instead, they asked that jurors be read a statement noting that he came forward in 2009, five years after Lynn had left his post in the archdiocese administration.

Avery was removed from ministry in 2003 and defrocked three years later. At least five other men have since come forward with accusations against him, prosecutors say.

The first accuser told jurors that he pressed Lynn as late as 2002 to assure him that Avery had been removed from any post that gave him access to children. “I didn’t get feedback from him that I really had been taken seriously.”

The judge asked if the abuse had a lasting impact.

“It caused a great deal of doubt for me,” he replied. “I’m still a practicing Catholic, my wife much more so than I. I have had a difficult time.”


Contact John P. Martin at 215-854-4774 or [email protected], or follow him on Twitter @JPMartinInky.

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A few pieces of info

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Well, I spent the day at two hospitals today 🙁  My husband has been home for the past few days – not feeling well at all, and, in light of his medical history it reached a point that a trip to emergency was necessary, and then off to another hospital for a CT scan.  We are just home within the last half-hour.

Thankfully there is nothing serious or life threatening. A huge huge relief 🙂

I will call it a day.  First I will get a few articles posted and pass on a few pieces of information to re court dates.  Here is the court date info:

(1)  Father Rene Labelle

I have been told that the Crown presented more evidence to the Defence yesterday and that the investigation is on-going.  As I mentioned yesterday, his next court date is 15 May 2012 (9 am, Kingston)

(2)  Father Daniel Miller

Father Miller’s next court date is 09 May 2012.  I have received a few other bits and pieces of info which I will have to sort out and clarify tomorrow.

On now to getting a few articles up and then that’s it 🙂

Enough for now,


Posted in Accused or charged, Canada, Scandal | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Numerous requests

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Father Daniel Miller has a court date tomorrow, Wednesday, 25 April 2012: 9:30 am, Renfrew courthouse (127 Raglan St. S.).  This is related to the first set of charges against him.

He has another court date related to the second set of charges on 09 May 2012.  These two sets of charges will eventually be merged into one file and all subsequent court dates will be dealing with all allegations from all complainants.

There are now 12 charges and 6 complainants.

I encourage those who can do so to attend. Please keep the complainants in your prayers, and please, as always, pass on word of the outcome.


Does anyone have any news from Father Rene Labelle‘s court date of yesterday in Kingston?  I have heard nothing and can find nothing in the media.


I have had numerous requests regarding the status of the lawsuit naming Fathers Paul Hamilton  and Michael Reed of the Kingston Archdiocese.  Because this is a lawsuit vs criminal action we don’t generally find out what is happening as the case moves along, plus, proceedings are not open to the public.  It is early in the case –  lawsuits generally take two years or more  before reaching trial, and many, if not most, are settled before reaching trial.  If I hear anything I will pass it along.

Enough for now,


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Pembroke Priest Facing New Charges

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CFRA (Ottawa)

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Josh Pringle

A Pembroke priest is now facing 12 charges in relation into historic sexual assault allegations dating back 40 years.

Ontario Provincial Police charged Daniel Miller in February for alleged offences that occurred against then pre-teenage boys and an adult male between 1970 and 1980.

The OPP says the 67-year-old Miller was charged on Friday with six additional changes related to 3 additional victims in Arnprior, Deep River and Eganville dating back to 1969.

Miller is now facing 12 charges of indecent assault and gross indecency in relation to six victims.

Miller will appear in court in Renfrew on May 9.


Priest facing additional charges

The Pembroke Observer

24 April 2012

RENFREW – Father Daniel M. Miller, 67, a priest of the Diocese of Pembroke, is facing further charges for sexual assault offences dating back to the 1960’s and 1970’s.

On April 20, the Ontario Provincial Police charged Father Miller with six additional charges in relation to three additional victims. He had been originally arrested and charged back on Feb. 20, 2012 for alleged offences that occurred against then pre-teenage boys and an adult male between 1970 and 1980.

He now faces a total of 12 charges in relation to six victims.

Rev. Miller has been charged with six counts of gross indecency and six counts of indecent assault.

According to the OPP, the three additional victims are from Arnprior, Deep River and Eganville and the alleged incidents occurred between 1969 and 1978.

Rev. Miller has been released from custody on a promise to appear and an officer-in-charge undertaking. He is scheduled to appear in the Ontario Court of Justice in Renfrew on May 9, 2012.

A news release issued on behalf of the Diocese of Pembroke shortly after Rev. Miller’s arrest in February, stated that he had not been participating in public ministry for over a decade.

Rev. Miller has been living in Pembroke.

He was ordained in Renfrew in 1969 and served briefly in Eganville, with other positions in Arnprior, Deep River and Petawawa, prior to 1999.

The investigation is continuing under the direction of the OPP Criminal Investigation Branch. Anyone with information about this investigation is asked to contact the Renfrew County OPP Crime Unit at 613-432-3211 or 1-888-310-1122.

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McConnell to resume ministry in Catholic Church

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wrcb tv (cHATTANOOGA, tn)

Posted: Apr 21, 2012 3:46 PM EDT

Updated: Apr 21, 2012 5:12 PM EDT

By David Carroll, Anchor

Thomas McConnell

Thomas McConnell

CHATTANOOGA (WRCB)- Thomas McConnell will resume his ministry as a Deacon at St. Jude Catholic Church in Chattanooga. On Wednesday, a Hamilton County grand jury dismissed sexual battery claims against McConnell. The charges originated in early March, when he was videotaped inside a Chattanooga restaurant by a couple who believed he was touching a five-year-old girl in an inappropriate manner. The girl was later revealed to be McConnell’s granddaughter.

Saturday, Bishop Richard F. Stika released a statement announcing that McConnell, who had been suspended by the church when the allegations surfaced, has been restored to his position.

McConnell is also the director of the Hamilton County Schools’ JROTC program, and was suspended without pay from that position as well. Sources inside the school district tell Eyewitness News that Superintendent Rick Smith is likely to reinstate McConnell to his post during the next week.

Here is the statement from Bishop Stika:

Bishop Richard F. Stika has removed the suspension of Deacon Tom McConnell, who now is able to resume his full diaconal ministry after a Hamilton County grand jury found sexual battery accusations against Deacon McConnell to be baseless.

Grand jurors dismissed the claims against Deacon McConnell, returning a No True Bill earlier this week after evaluating the facts and hearing his testimony. Deacon McConnell has maintained his innocence during the legal proceedings.

Bishop Stika said he was saddened that Deacon McConnell had to endure the false accusations and public scrutiny. Deacon McConnell serves at St. Jude Church in Chattanooga.

“In accordance with Canon law and diocesan policy and the fact that the cause for suspension has ceased, effective April 19, 2012, I am removing the aforementioned suspension and restoring your faculties,” Bishop Stika said.

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Ohio priest files another appeal in nun’s killing

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Published: Tue, April 24, 2012 @ 12:55 p.m.

TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) — A Roman Catholic priest convicted of killing a nun in a hospital chapel in Ohio is making another appeal for a new trial.

The Blade newspaper in Toledo reports that an attorney for the Rev. Gerald Robinson wants a state appeals court to throw out the priest’s conviction because police reports discovered after his trial could have changed the outcome.

A county judge in Toledo ruled in January that the police reports didn’t contain any relevant information.

Father Robinson was convicted nearly six years ago in the hospital killing of Sister Margaret Ann Pahl in 1980.

He was the hospital chaplain and presided at the nun’s funeral. He wasn’t charged until 24 years later.

Church historians say it’s the only documented case of a Catholic priest killing a nun.

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Documents: Accused Pa. priest kept in parishes

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Published April 24, 2012

Associated Press

PHILADELPHIA – Two Roman Catholic archbishops moved a troubled priest to new parishes despite dire warnings he was having sex with minors, according to church documents read in a Philadelphia court Tuesday.

Cardinal John Krol of Philadelphia assigned the late Rev. Peter Dunne to a suburban Warminster parish in 1987, a year after a therapist warned about any access to children.

And Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua sent Dunne to a northeast Philadelphia parish in 1989 — after a church therapist had diagnosed him as a pedophile and ticking time bomb.

Defense lawyers for Monsignor William Lynn noted that at least three other top aides at the archdiocese knew of the diagnosis. Yet Dunne refused requests to seek laicization, and remained an active priest until his 1994 retirement — and a priest until the day he died, in 2010.

Lynn, 61, the former secretary for clergy, has pleaded not guilty to child-endangerment and conspiracy charges. No other church officials have been charged in the case, despite two grand jury reports that excoriated leaders of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia for their handling of child sex-assault complaints over half a century.

“Cardinal Bevilacqua had to have known that he was appointing a pedophile to that parish?” defense lawyer Thomas Bergstrom asked a witness Tuesday.

“It would appear to me, sir,” replied Philadelphia Detective James Dougherty, who has spent two days reading aloud Dunne’s secret personnel file — kept in locked cabinets at the archdiocese reserved for accused predators.

Dunne had spent his career in “sensitive” jobs around children, a worried aide told Bevilacqua in 1988. He taught at Cardinal Dougherty High School from 1958 to 1971 and at Archbishop Wood High School from 1971 to 1974, then ran an archdiocesan school for delinquent boys from 1974 to 1983. He was assistant director of the archdiocese’s scouting program.

The church had Dunne evaluated after an Oregon doctor complained in 1986 that he had been abused by his former priest and scout leader. The doctor later lost his license for molesting patients, leaving his wife and children deeply in debt. His family sought money from the archdiocese for years — and Dunne once secretly gave him $40,000 to avoid a lawsuit, the 2005 grand jury report said.

Church therapists who evaluated Dunne warned he had addictive sexual compulsions and should never be around children. They said there were probably other victims.

“(The therapist) stated quite bluntly that that he feels we are sitting on a powder keg,” one 1989 church memo said.

Another memo notes Bevilacqua’s three concerns about the case: scandal, the good of the church and Dunne’s welfare, in that order. The potential risk to children was not mentioned.

Prosecutors want to show that Lynn left Dunne and other accused predators in ministry when he became secretary for clergy in 1992, despite reading through the secret files filled with abuse complaints.

By 1993, Bevilacqua and an outside lawyer wanted Dunne cut loose entirely from the archdiocese because they deemed him too big a legal risk, even in a restricted ministry. Lynn disagreed, believing he needed to be supervised, the documents show.

Lynn’s defense lawyers have argued throughout the five-week trial that Bevilacqua, who died in January, had the final say on how the church handled problem priests during his tenure. Krol, his predecessor, is also deceased.

Meanwhile, Wednesday’s testimony could be pivotal. Lynn is expected to face a former altar boy who says he was raped by two priests and his fifth-grade teacher in the late 1990s, despite an earlier complaint against at least one of them.

The man’s credibility was seemingly bolstered days before trial when now-defrocked priest Edward Avery pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting him in a church sacristy in 1999.

Jurors don’t know about Avery’s plea — but could learn of it if defense lawyers go too far in attacking the credibility of the witness, who has a history of drug and legal problems. A judge delayed ruling Tuesday on just where she might draw that line.

Another man allegedly abused years earlier by Avery is also expected to testify. His complaint reached the archdiocese in 1992.

Avery, 69, is serving a 2½ to five-year prison term. The other priest and teacher accused of raping the former altar boy at St. Jerome’s Parish in northeast Philadelphia will be tried separately, because neither was an archdiocesan priest reporting to Lynn.


Records: Archdiocese ignored warnings about ‘powder keg’ pedophile

Posted: Tue, Apr. 24, 2012, 1:24 PM

An Archdiocese of Philadelphia priest active in schools and scouting was allowed to work in suburban parishes for five years after doctors diagnosed him as a pedophile, called him “a very sick man,” and told church officials he was a “powder keg” waiting to explode.

The priest, the Rev. Peter F. Dunne, paid off one accuser himself and repeatedly resisted or ignored recommendations for therapy, according to internal church records shown Tuesday to a Common Pleas Court jury.

When the pastor overseeing Dunne at a Bucks County parish in 1990 petitioned archdiocesan officials in a “very urgent plea” to get the priest some help, they responded by transferring Dunne to a parish 25 miles away in Montgomery County, the records show. Prosecutors introduced the documents as part of their bid to show that Msgr. William J. Lynn, the former secretary of clergy, enabled child sex abuse by failing to remove priests suspected of sexual misconduct. Lynn is accused of endangering two boys who were allegedly sexually assaulted by priests in the late1990s.

Prosecutors say the files on Dunne and other priests suggest Lynn and other church leaders had long recognized the signs and depth of clergy sex abuse but chose not to act.

Lynn’s lawyers pointed out that he didn’t take his position until 1992, three years after Dunne was diagnosed as a pedophile. Lynn was also, they noted, the first church official to recommend the priest be removed from parish ministry, which Dunne was in 1994.

According to the records, the years before seemed to reflect a continuous struggle between archdiocesan leaders wary of scandal and an intelligent but manipulative cleric who doctors had concluded was a danger to children.

Ordained in 1954, Dunne spent nearly three decades around minors. He worked at Cardinal Dougherty and Archbishop Wood High Schools, was active in archdiocesan scouting programs, and for a decade ran the St. Francis Vocational School for troubled boys in Bensalem. In 1986, a former Eagle scout reported to church officials that Dunne had pressed him into a long-term sexual relationship when he was 13 in the late 1950s. The man said he later also abused children, and he blamed Dunne.

Dunne, then 60 and pastor of Sacred Heart Church in Oxford, Chester County, denied the allegations, but privately arranged a settlement with the alleged victim. He agreed to “a health leave” from his parish and accepted a new assignment as assistant pastor at Nativity Church in Warminster, Bucks County. But he resisted church officials’ requests that he undergo extended treatment, despite telling one therapist that he may have had “six or seven” incidents of sexual misconduct, the records show.

“I have beaten the system,” Dunne once told a friend in a conversation overheard by staffers at St. John Vianney, the church-owned hospital that treated priests accused of abuse, according to a September 1988 memo to Archbishop Anthony J. Bevilacqua.

In a meeting with the priest later that month, Bevilacqua directed Dunne to go back into therapy, citing three reasons: the potential for scandal, the good of the church, and Dunne’s well-being.

Again, Dunne failed to stick to the program. Within months, Dr. Thomas Tyrrell, the chief psychiatrist at St. John Vianney, concluded that Dunne was a pedophile who probably was involved in “a myriad of sexual-misconduct cases” but refused to acknowledge them or cooperate with therapy.

“Dr. Tyrrell stated quite bluntly that we are sitting on a powder keg,” an assistant archdiocesan chancellor, the Rev. John Graf, wrote in a February 1989 memo.

Tyrell warned that Dunne had an overnight camping trip with boys and other behavior typical of pedophile “grooming.” He advised church officials to remove Dunne from active ministry and bar his contact with children.

Dunne remained in his post and abandoned treatment. “Father Dunne does not believe in psychology nor does he trust psychologists,” the then-secretary of clergy, the Rev. John J. Jagodzinski, wrote in a 1989 memo.

The next spring, the pastor at Nativity church, the Rev. William O’Donnell, sent Jagodzinski his “very urgent plea” asking that Dunne get help. Instead, Dunne was transferred to Visitation Church in Norristown. Jagodzinski advised Dunne not to have contact with minors and directed him to return once a year to the clergy office for evaluation, the records show.

Lynn reviewed Dunne’s file when he became clergy secretary in 1992. Another year passed before he recommended Dunne be removed, around the same time that Dunne’s 1986 accuser was threatening a lawsuit. Dunne was allowed to retire in 1995, and agreed to life of supervised prayer and penance in 2004. He died in 2010.

Highlighting a tenet of their defense, one of Lynn’s lawyers, Thomas Bergstrom, noted that two cardinals and at least four other archdiocesan officials left Dunne in the community for years before Lynn recommended his removal.

“By 1990, Cardinal Bevilacqua had to have known that he was appointing a pedophile to that parish, is that true?” Bergstrom asked Detective James Dougherty, the investigator with the District Attorney’s Office who described the files for the jury.

“It would appear so to me, sir,” Dougherty said.

Contact John P. Martin at 215-854-4774 or [email protected], or follow on Twitter @JPMartinInky.

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It is necessary

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Father Rene Labelle has a court date at 9 am tomorrow morning (Tuesday, 24 April 2012) in Kingston, Ontario  in Kingston, Ontario (279 Wellington St.. Kingston).  Unfortunately I don’t know if he will be there, or if anything of any significance will happening, or if it will be another case of lawyers in an out in the twinkle of an eye.

Keep the complainants in your prayers.  No matter what happens it is a difficult day for them.   And pray that any others who are struggling to come forward will find the strength to do so.

Finally, as always, if anyone does attend or catches word of what happens in court, please pass it along.


Well done to the three new complainants who went to police with their allegations against Father Daniel Miller.

23 April 2012:  Valley priest facing more charges as three more alleged victims come forward

Thanks to you three, six more charges have been laid.  My prayers, and I know those of many others, are with you all.

I encourage all those out there with allegations to please contact police.  I know it is not an easy journey, but, for those with allegations who want to see justice done, it is is necessary.

A final note here:  according to the media coverage Father Miller is scheduled to appear in court 09 May 2012.  There was a previously scheduled court-date for this Wednesday, the 25th, which has probably been rescheduled. I will try to get that clarified tomorrow.

Enough for now,


Posted in Accused or charged, Canada, Scandal | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Alberta advocacy group launches controversial online pedophile database

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The National Post

Apr 20, 2012 – 9:17 PM ET | Last Updated: Apr 20, 2012 9:19 PM


CALGARY — A Christian advocacy group launched a website Friday that identifies convicted pedophiles, but a civil liberties association said it has concerns about vigilantism and people being falsely accused.

Canada Family Action, a Calgary-based organization, launched — the name was originally to be — and claims to identify people who have been convicted of sexual assaults.

It is searchable by province and includes information of people the site says were previously convicted. Many profiles include photographs. Most information appears to be gathered from news sites.

Despite threats of lawsuits, the group went ahead with the launch.

In Canada, the national sex offender registry is only available to law enforcement agencies.

The Rocky Mountain Civil Liberties Association said there are concerns with the site, but Calgary police Supt. Sat Parhar does not see any issues with it.

Postmedia News


Convicted pedophile outing website goes live

Resources for victims, parents and guardians, as well as offenders

By Damien Wood, QMI Agency

Long praised as well as criticized, a controversial website outing convicted Canadian pedophiles went live Friday., developed and launched by the group Canada Family Action, collects information from public sources and publishes the names of convicted pedophiles across the country, the locations where the crimes took place, as well as any news articles relevant to each case.

CFA president Brian Rushfeldt said the website does not aim to further penalize child sex offenders, but will act where the national sex offender is inadequate and incomplete.

“Once you commit that kind of a crime, in fact once you commit any crime, you become a public figure,” he said.

“That’s just the reality.

“You will show up in court records and for certain crimes you’ll show up in the media … you can find that information just simply by typing in a name (into a search engine).”

Also on the website are resources or links to resources for victims, parents and guardians, as well as the offenders themselves.

“We hope in fact that they do rehabilitation and become part of society,” he said.

Glori Meldrum, a child sex abuse survivor, a mother and founder of the advocacy group Little Warriors, is all for the launch of the website.

She said innocent people have the right to know where convicted sex offenders are.

The law protects them enough as is, she believes.

“Currently in this country they have more rights than the kids do,” she said.

“They’re the ones the committed the crime.

“In Calgary we have three (rehabilitation centres for offenders), in Edmonton we have three, yet we don’t have any facilities to help the kids from a treatment perspective.”

As long as it’s all good and legal, it could be a valuable resource to the public, said Calgary Police Association president John Dooks.

“There’s always value in it … when (the police service) identifies individuals we do that, too,” he said.

“There is always a caution about vigilantism, although I’m more confident that the majority of our citizens are more concerned about public awareness.”

Rushfeldt acknowledged deciding what information to offer is a fine line and a hard decision, but he said ultimately the goals CFA are trying to accomplish outweighs potentially offending a convicted pedophile.

“We feel strongly and we’ve been working on protecting children for 11 years now and we feel this is one more step,” he said.

[email protected]

Twitter: @SUNDamienWood

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Trial: Priest told of attempted seminary gang rape

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Published April 23, 2012

Associated Press

PHILADELPHIA – A Catholic priest admitting a sexual relationship with a teen said he had been the victim of an attempted gang rape by fellow seminarians, according to testimony in a clergy-abuse trial.

Testimony on Monday also mentioned Pope Benedict XVI, who weighed in on the priest’s 2005 censure when he was a Vatican official known as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger.

Documents show the priest had admitted to the Philadelphia archdiocese in 1992 that he had sex with the high school student for several years. An archdiocesan treatment center concluded the priest was not a pedophile, but was affected by his “traumatic sexual development.” He remained in ministry for another decade.

It’s not clear if the trauma reference was to the alleged seminary assault. The priest told a therapist he had been tied down by several seminarians who tried to rape him and that a friend came to his rescue. But the same friend later twice abused him, the priest told the therapist, according to documents read in court.

The Associated Press is not naming the priest, who graduated from seminary in 1974, because he may be a sexual-assault victim.

The testimony came in the child-endangerment trial of Monsignor William Lynn, the longtime secretary for clergy in Philadelphia. Prosecutors say he helped keep dangerous priest-predators in jobs where they could continue to abuse children.

The priest discussed Monday stayed in active ministry until the national priest-abuse scandal broke in 2002. His ministry was supposed to be strictly supervised so he was not alone around adolescent boys, but he lived alone in a parish rectory in Lower Merion one year, and had little if any supervision after leaving the hospital in 1993, prosecutors allege. He remains a priest today, but lives a private life of “prayer and penance.”

On cross-examination, defense lawyer Jeffrey Lindy noted that Lynn got the priest to admit to the sexual relationship with the teen the same day the complaint came in to Lynn in 1992, and soon had him being evaluated. However, a detective on the stand noted that police, had they gotten such an admission, would have pursued criminal charges.

Neither the priest’s admission — nor the scores of other abuse complaints brought to the archdiocese from 1948 through the 2005 grand jury report — were ever referred to police or prosecutors.

The priest’s alleged victim had disclosed the abuse to another priest during marriage preparation. That priest and the fiancee — by then the accuser’s ex-girlfriend — went to the archdiocese in July 1992. Lynn’s office never tried to interview the accuser.

There was no follow-up testimony Monday on the seminary rape allegation. The Philadelphia archdiocese runs St. Charles Borromeo Seminary, but can’t comment because of a gag order.

Meanwhile, Lynn’s lawyers are preparing for a potential showdown this week with a key trial witness.

A man who said he was raped by two priests and his fifth-grade teacher at a northeast Philadelphia parish is scheduled to testify Wednesday.

The defense wants to challenge his credibility. But if they do, the judge is likely to let jurors hear that one of the priests has pleaded guilty.

Defrocked priest Edward Avery, 69, pleaded guilty days before trial to sexually assaulting the northeast Philadelphia altar boy in 1999. He is now in prison, serving 2 1/2 to five years for sexual assault and conspiracy.

Judge M. Teresa Sarmina is also pondering whether jurors can hear that five other people have come forward since 2010 to say Avery molested them as children. Defense lawyers say those allegations are beyond Lynn’s control, since he left office in 2004.

But Assistant District Attorney Patrick Blessington said Lynn left “a powder keg” in place after the first complaint was filed in 1992.

“Lynn put a powder keg out there whose name was Avery. If that powder keg explodes, a kid gets raped,” Blessington said.

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