Thursday, September 22, 2005

Cardinals Implicated in Sex Abuse Cover-up

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The grand jury, which met for three years, said that Krol and Bevilacqua transferred the alleged abusers from parish to parish; they failed to notify law enforcement or parishioners of the accusations.

The Most Rev. Justin Rigali, current head of the archdiocese, issued an apology over the incidents. At the same time, he criticized the grand jury’s findings. “The report is unjustifiably critical of Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua, Cardinal John Krol and others who worked in the administration of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia,” Rigali stated.

Rigali’s statement also said: “The number of Archdiocesan priests credibly accused is actually lower than what the report states since the report includes priests who are supervised by either religious orders or another Diocese or Archdiocese, not the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, as well as priests who were deceased at the time of the allegation.”

The Archdiocese’s official response stated: “Taking unfair advantage of the secrecy and one-sidedness inherent in grand jury proceedings, and focusing upon lurid details of events, the District Attorney’s Office has chosen not to make this report a tool for offering constructive recommendations to prevent sexual abuse of minors in the future. Rather, it focuses on long-ago episodes, and fails to recognize the limited scientific knowledge available in the past about preventing or healing childhood sexual abuse. It also fails to acknowledge any Archdiocesan effort to update its policies consistent with contemporary medical thought.”

District Attorney Lynne Abraham did not bring charges because Pennsylvania law would not allow her to do so, the Inquirer reported. "Had the law allowed us to arrest or charge or indict people, we would have done so,” she told a press conference.

To read Washington Post and Philadelphia Inquirer stories, click below:
  • Washington Post

  • Inquirer, “Prosecutors Feel Stymied by Pa. Law”

  • Inquirer, “An ‘Immoral’ Cover-up”

  • Inquirer, “The Grand Jury’s Report on Clergy Abuse”

  • To read Cardinal Rigali’s letter, click below:
  • Letter

  • To read the Archdiocese’s official response, click below. When you reach the page, click on “full text of response” to download a PDF copy.
  • Archdiocese response

  • To read more about the grand jury’s findings, click below:
  • District Attorney’s Office

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