Nun: Catholic official could have quit over abuse

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foxnews.com

Published May 10, 2012

Associated Press

PHILADELPHIA – A Roman Catholic nun testified Thursday that she and two relatives were sexually abused by a priest described by a church leader as “one of the sickest people I ever knew.”

The nun testified in the clergy-abuse trial of Monsignor William Lynn, the first U.S. church official charged with felony child endangerment for allegedly leaving predator-priests in ministry.

The nun said she, her sister and cousin went to the archdiocese in 1991 to report 1970s-era abuse by the Rev. Nicholas Cudemo, and ask that he be removed as a parish pastor. They met with Monsignors James Molloy and Lynn, who worked in the Office for Clergy.

The sisters had been molested as girls and the cousin repeatedly raped, they reported.

Cudemo was put on leave and sent for a psychiatric evaluation. But the family soon learned he was saying Mass at other parishes.

“I felt misled in thinking that taking a leave of absence would mean he would not be able to say a public Mass,” the nun testified.

The nun said she talked to Lynn about Cudemo again in 1998, when Lynn led the Office for Clergy. He took over the job from Molloy in 1992.

On cross-examination, Lynn’s lawyer asked if she thought Lynn had the power to remove a priest from ministry.

“He had the power to suggest it,” the nun said. “I imagine things would be signed off by the archbishop.”

She conceded that the archdiocese is “a very hierarchical structure.” But Lynn, she said, could have quit.

“I would imagine the office of secretary for clergy has a great deal of power,” she said. “You can also say, ‘I cannot do this.’ … You can walk away.”

The woman gave her name in court, but The Associated Press does not generally identify people who say they have been sexually abused.

Cudemo was allowed to retire in 1996 as a priest in good standing, which made him eligible to say Mass in other dioceses.

The grand jury accused him of sexually molesting 11 girls. He violated one girl with a Communion wafer, let another priest have sex with her and took her for an abortion when he got her pregnant in junior high school, the grand jury said.

“Cudemo, ordained in 1963, was described to the grand jury as ‘one of the sickest people I ever knew’ by … Molloy, Cardinal Bevilacqua’s Vicar for Administration,” the 2005 grand jury report said.

Cudemo was defrocked that same year. He had worked at three archdiocesan high schools from 1969 to 1977 — allegedly transferred amid abuse claims — and later at several parishes.

Messages left this week at a possible phone number in Florida for Cudemo have not been immediately returned. The trial, now in its seventh week, could wrap up by Memorial Day.

 

3 Responses to Nun: Catholic official could have quit over abuse

  1. Sylvia says:

    “He violated one girl with a Communion wafer, let another priest have sex
    with her and took her for an abortion when he got her pregnant in
    junior high school, the grand jury said.”

    And Msgr Lynn turned a blind eye? 

    I will be dumbfounded if Lynn gets off. 

    Convicted or not Church officials should right now be setting the wheels in motion have Monsignor Lynn laicized/defrocked.

  2. Mike Mc says:

    Cudemo was put on leave and sent for a psychiatric evaluation. But the family soon learned he was saying Mass at other parishes.

    Yes, I agree. Reeks of the Cardinal Brady fiasco taking notes and doing nothing about it.

    Defrocked? Fr Lynn. I don’t know. Perhaps.

    I am almost certain the Church and its thinking that existed in Msgr Lynn existed elsewhere in many dioceses, if not all. People who rose to ranks of Msgr and Bishop and Cardinal etc….how did they get to that position? If they were higher than the average priest, then they should be held accoubtable……but in saying that, I think every priest tarred with this thinking should be on trial.
    And I believe just about every other priest put in that position would have thought and done the same. Don’t you think?

    Their stories just haven’t come out yet.

  3. Sylvia says:

    I unfortunately agree Mike Mc that there are many who are the likes of Monsignor Lynn in many other dioceses.  That’s why the Philadelphia trail has set a lot of knees knocking in diocese after diocese around the world.  There is a mind-set of tolerance for the intolerable which has taken root, a mind-set which is not Catholic but one which we now see was at play in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. 

    I agree wholeheartedly that there are others who, like Monsignor Lynn, protected and tolerated predatory clergy, and, I would say,  in doing so invariably resorted to deception and lies. I can perhaps go so far as to understand why many years ago these men were not turned over to police.  There was a time when mandatory reporting was not the norm.  But, that said, I can not for a moment conceive how any priest in a position of authority could for a moment think that a priest who sexually abused a child is fit to function as a priest.

    I can also perhaps allow for a mind-set which  viewed shipping these offending clergy off to a monastery to spend the rest of their days in prayer and penance.  That would ensure the safety of children and protect Catholics from whatever deviant thoughts the priest might espouse.  But to recycle them? and allow them to say Mass and hear confessions? and allow them to be in the company of children and youth?

    I personally can not allow for recycling, and, as we now know only too well, it has been the rule rather than the exception that these predators were recycled and presented as priests “in good standing.” And, sad to say, it has been the rule rather than the exception that in recycling these predators Catholics have been deceived and lied to, often by their Vicars General and/or Bishops.

    I agree that all who have acted in such manner to defend the indefensible actions of a predatory priest and allow him unfettered access to new victims should be charged. I also believe that, when it comes to the Church, it is those tolerant clergy, as much as the predators, who have brought us to this sorry state of affairs.  Had the predators been taken out of circulation and deemed unfit to minister we wouldn’t be in this mess, – and need I even say that countless souls would have been spared the horror of sex abuse at the hands of a priest?

    Once upon a time I would not have thought beyond laicization of the predators.  Now I do.  That mind-set of tolerance for the intolerable must be purged.  I don;t think we will ever see the day that all predators are liacized as long as the Monsignor Lynn’s are allowed to hold positions of authority. 

    I don’t agree Mike Mc that the thinking of Monsignor Lynn is the thinking of “the Church.” I do believe though that it is the thinking of those who have hijacked the Church.

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