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IN THE COURT OF COMMON PLEAS
FIRST JUDICIAL DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA
CRIMINAL TRIAL DIVISION
IN RE: : MISC. NO. 03-00-239
COUNTY INVESTIGATING GRAND :
JURY
_______________________________________________
REPORT OF THE GRAND JURY
_______________________________________________
LYNNE ABRAHAM
District Attorney
 
 
This report contains the findings of the Grand Jury: how dozens of priests  
sexually abused hundreds of children; how Philadelphia Archdiocese officials – including  
Cardinal Bevilacqua and Cardinal Krol – excused and enabled the abuse; and how the  
law must be changed so that it doesn’t happen again. Some may be tempted to describe  
these events as tragic. Tragedies such as tidal waves, however, are outside human  
control. What we found were not acts of God, but of men who acted in His name and  
defiled it.

But the biggest crime of all is this: it worked. The abuser priests, by choosing  
children as targets and trafficking on their trust, were able to prevent or delay reports of  
their sexual assaults, to the point where applicable statutes of limitations expired. And  
Archdiocese officials, by burying those reports they did receive and covering up the  
conduct, similarly managed to outlast any statutes of limitation. As a result, these priests  
and officials will necessarily escape criminal prosecution. We surely would have  
charged them if we could have done so.

But the consequences are even worse than the avoidance of criminal penalties.  
Sexually abusive priests were either left quietly in place or “recycled” to unsuspecting  
new parishes – vastly expanding the number of children who were abused. It didn’t have  
to be this way. Prompt action and a climate of compassion for the child victims could  
have significantly limited the damage done. But the Archdiocese chose a different path.

Those choices went all the way up to the top – to Cardinal Bevilacqua and Cardinal Krol  
personally.

Despite the dimensions and depth of the sex abuse scandal, this Grand Jury was  
not conducting an investigation of the Catholic religion or the Catholic Church. Many of  
us are Catholic. We have the greatest respect for the faith, and for the good works of the  
Church. But the moral principles on which it is based, as well as the rules of civil law  
under which we operate, demanded that the truth be told.

Here is a short description of each of the sections that follow this introduction.  
Section II – Overview of the Sexual Abuse by Archdiocese Priests  
The Grand Jury was able to document child sexual abuse by at least 63 different  
priests in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. We have no doubt that there were many  
more. The evidence also revealed hundreds of child victims of these sexual offenders.  
Again, we have no doubt that there were many more. Because much of the abuse goes  
back several decades, however, and because many victims were unnamed, unavailable or  
unable to come forward, we could not present a comprehensive history of all sexual  
abuse that may have occurred in the Philadelphia Archdiocese. What we did learn was  
enough to convey the nature of the abuse that took place and was tolerated here.  
We should begin by making one thing clear. When we say abuse, we don’t just  
mean “inappropriate touching” (as the Archdiocese often chose to refer to it). We mean  
rape. Boys who were raped orally, boys who were raped anally, girls who were raped  
vaginally. But even those victims whose physical abuse did not include actual rape –  
those who were subjected to fondling, to masturbation, to pornography – suffered  
psychological abuse that scarred their lives and sapped the faith in which they had been  
raised.

These are the kinds of things that Archdiocese priests did to children:  
. A girl, 11 years old, was raped by her priest and became pregnant. The Father  
took her in for an abortion.

. A 5th-grader was molested by her priest inside the confessional booth.

. A teenage girl was groped by her priest while she lay immobilized in traction in  
a hospital bed. The priest stopped only when the girl was able to ring for a  
nurse.

. A boy was repeatedly molested in his own school auditorium, where his  
priest/teacher bent the boy over and rubbed his genitals against the boy until the  
priest ejaculated.

. A priest, no longer satisfied with mere pederasty, regularly began forcing sex on  
two boys at once in his bed.

. A boy woke up intoxicated in a priest’s bed to find the Father sucking on his penis  
while three other priests watched and masturbated themselves.

. A priest offered money to boys in exchange for sadomasochism – directing them  
to place him in bondage, to “break” him, to make him their “slave,” and to  
defecate so that he could lick excrement from them.

. A 12-year-old, who was raped and sodomized by his priest, tried to commit  
suicide, and remains institutionalized in a mental hospital as an adult.

. A priest told a 12-year-old boy that his mother knew of and had agreed to the  
priest’s repeated rape of her son.

. A boy who told his father about the abuse his younger brother was suffering was  
beaten to the point of unconsciousness. “Priests don’t do that,” said the father  
as he punished his son for what he thought was a vicious lie against the clergy.

Section III – Overview of the Cover-up by Archdiocese Officials

The behavior of Archdiocese officials was perhaps not so lurid as that of the  
individual priest sex abusers. But in its callous, calculating manner, the Archdiocese’s  
“handling” of the abuse scandal was at least as immoral as the abuse itself. The evidence  
before us established that Archdiocese officials at the highest levels received reports of  
abuse; that they chose not to conduct any meaningful investigation of those reports; that  
they left dangerous priests in place or transferred them to different parishes as a means of  
concealment; that they never alerted parents of the dangers posed by these offenders  
(who typically went out of their way to be friendly and helpful, especially with children);  
that they intimidated and retaliated against victims and witnesses who came forward  
about abuse; that they manipulated “treatment” efforts in order to create a false  
impression of action; and that they did many of these things in a conscious effort simply  
to avoid civil liability.  
In short, as abuse reports grew, the Archdiocese chose to call in the lawyers rather  
than confront the abusers. Indeed Cardinal Bevilacqua himself was a lawyer, with  
degrees from both a canon law school and an American law school. Documents and  
testimony left us with no doubt that he and Cardinal Krol were personally informed of  
almost all of the allegations of sexual abuse by priests, and personally decided or  
approved of how to handle those allegations.

Here are some incidents that exemplify the manner in which the Archdiocese  
responded to the sexual abuse of its most vulnerable parishioners:

. The Archdiocese official in charge of abuse investigations described one abusive  
priest as “one of the sickest people I ever knew.” Yet Cardinal Bevilacqua  
allowed him to continue in ministry, with full access to children – until the priest  
scandal broke in 2002.

. One abusive priest was transferred so many times that, according to the  
Archdiocese’s own records, they were running out of places to send him where  
he would not already be known.

. On at least one occasion Cardinal Bevilacqua agreed to harbor a known abuser  
from another diocese, giving him a cover story and a neighborhood parish here  
because the priest’s arrest for child abuse had aroused too much controversy  
there. Officials referred to this sort of practice as “bishops helping bishops.”

. A nun who complained about a priest who was still ministering to children –  
even after he was convicted of receiving child pornography – was fired from her  
position as director of religious education.

. A seminarian studying for the priesthood who revealed that he himself had  
been abused as an altar boy was accused of homosexuality – and was dismissed  
from the diocese. He was able to become a priest only by relocating to another  
area.

. When the Archdiocese did purport to seek psychological evaluation of a priest,  
the primary tool for diagnosis was “self reporting” – in other words, whether  
the abuser was willing to admit that he was a pedophile. Absent such a  
“diagnosis,” the Archdiocese declined to treat any priest as a pedophile, no matter  
how compelling the evidence.

. Even when admitted, the abuse was excused: an Archdiocese official comforted  
one sexually abusive priest by suggesting that the priest had been “seduced”  
by his 11-year-old victim.

. An Archdiocese official explained that the church could not discipline one  
especially egregious abuser because, as the official put it, he was not a “pure  
pedophile” – that is, he not only abused little boys; he also slept with women.

. When one priest showed signs of seeking penance from his victims, the church run  
“treatment” facility urged Archdiocese officials to move him to another  
assignment away from the victims – in other words, transfer him before he  
apologizes again.

Such cynicism toward priest sexual abuse may not have started in Philadelphia;  
indeed media reports have revealed strikingly similar tactics throughout the country.  
Bishops in other dioceses also shuttled abusive priests from parish to parish, until there  
was no place left to go, ignored repeated reports of abuse, absent a direct confession or  
“diagnosis” of pedophilia, and looked to legalisms, at the expense of decency. But these  
parallels, far from excusing Philadelphia church officials, serve only to underscore that  
their actions were no accident. They knew what they were doing.  
 

Section IV – Legal Analysis and Recommendations  
The notion of prosecuting a priest – let alone a high Church official or even the  
Archdiocese itself – may seem shocking to some. But our oath required us to explore any  
criminal statute whose terms might fit the conduct we discovered. By the same token, we  
were obligated not to recommend criminal charges against priests or church leaders  
merely because of our moral outrage at what they did, over and over again. What we  
found was that many offenses applied to the evidence before us, but were barred by  
statutes of limitation, while many others narrowly failed to apply because of what we  
believe are unintended or unwise limitations in the law.

With regard to the priest offenders, any number of sexual offenses were readily  
made out by the evidence: rape, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, statutory sexual  
assault, indecent assault, endangering welfare of children, corruption of minors. In every  
case, however, our information was simply too old. As we learned from experts in the  
field, it takes many years – often decades – before most victims of child sexual abuse are  
able to come forward. By then it is simply too late to prosecute, at least under current  
Pennsylvania law. We are convinced that more recent victims exist, and perhaps in the  
future they will be able to give testimony. For now we were able to document many  
assaults, but none still prosecutable.

With regard to the leaders of the Archdiocese, we explored a variety of possible  
charges. These included endangering the welfare of children, corruption of minors,  
victim/witness intimidation, hindering apprehension, and obstruction of justice. All,  
however, are currently defined in ways that would allow church supervisors to escape  
criminal sanction, or have relatively short statutes of limitation that would bar  
prosecution in any event.  
With regard to the Archdiocese itself, Pennsylvania law does establish the  
possibility of corporate criminal liability for the kind of ongoing, institutional misconduct  
that we discovered here. The Archdiocese, however, has chosen not to organize itself as  
a legal corporation, thus immunizing itself from such liability. Current Pennsylvania law  
concerning criminal conduct by unincorporated associations like the Archdiocese is much  
more limited, and cannot form the basis of a prosecution against the Archdiocese as an  
entity.

We are left, then, with what we consider a travesty of justice: a multitude of  
crimes for which no one can be held criminally accountable. We cannot issue the  
presentments we would otherwise have returned. If nothing else, however, it is our hope  
that this report can help ensure that nothing like this happens in the future. We therefore  
make the following recommendations concerning Pennsylvania law:

. abolish the statute of limitations for sexual offenses against children, as  
several other states have already done.

. expand the offense of endangering welfare of children, to ensure that it covers  
reckless conduct and the conduct of those who directly employ or supervise  
caretakers of children.

. increase the penalty for indecent assault where there is a pattern of abuse  
against a child.

. tighten the Pennsylvania Child Protective Services Law, to make clear that the  
obligation to report child abuse to authorities applies to those who learn of  
abuse even if not directly from the child, and even if the child is no longer in the  
abuser’s control. Other children may be.

. amend the Child Protective Services Law to require background checks not just  
on school employees, but for employees of any organization that supervises  
children.  
. hold unincorpor  
ated associations to the same standards as corporations for  
crimes concerning the sexual assault of children.

. enlarge or eliminate statutes of limitation on civil suits involving child sexual  
assault, in order to ensure not just a criminal penalty but a continuing financial  
disincentive to engage in abuse.  
 

Section V – Selected Case Studies  
Although we have attempted to give a general overview of the nature of the abuse  
and cover-up in Sections II and III of this report, we were not satisfied that these  
summaries convey the full sense of what happened in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.  
Accordingly Section V examines the histories of 28 priests in complete detail, presenting  
the conduct of the sexually abusive priests together with the response of the Archdiocese  
as it occurred at each step. We understand that these case studies are lengthy, and that  
ultimately none of our words are adequate to communicate the true gravity of these  
offenses. But this is our best effort to express the relentless refusal of the Archdiocese to  
admit what its priests, and its leaders, were doing to children.  
Section VI – Appendix  
The appendix includes the following materials:  
A) a chart listing the names of the 63 priests whose acts of sexual abuse we  
were able to document, with a list of the complaints against them;

B) a chart listing each of the parishes and schools in which those 63 priests  
were assigned during their careers (whether or not complaints were  
recorded from a particular parish);  
C) biographical profiles of most of the 63 sexually abusive priests, as  
prepared and published by the Archdiocese;  
D) selected documents concerning the abuse – from the victims, from priests,  
from Archdiocese officials – reproduced in their original form;  
E) a glossary of terms;  
F) newspaper articles documenting identical treatment of abused and abusers  
in dioceses around the United States.

Section II  
Overview of the Sexual Abuse by Archdiocese

Priests  
It is hard to think of a crime more heinous, or more deserving of strict penalties  
and an unlimited statute of limitations, than the sexual abuse of children. This is  
especially so when the perpetrators are priests – men who exploit the clergy’s authority  
and access to minors, as well as the trust of faithful families, to prey on children in order  
to gratify perverted urges. After reviewing thousands of documents from Archdiocese  
files and hearing statements and testimony from over a hundred witnesses – including  
Archdiocese managers, priests, abuse victims, and experts on the Church and child abuse  
– we, the Grand Jurors, were taken aback by the extent of sexual exploitation within the  
Philadelphia Archdiocese. We were saddened to discover the magnitude of the calamity  
in terms of the abuse itself, the suffering it has caused, and the numbers of victims and  
priests involved.  
The Jurors heard testimony that will stay with us for a very long time, probably  
forever. We heard of Philadelphia-area priests committing countless acts of sexual  
depravity against children entrusted to their care through the Archdiocese’s parishes and  
schools. The abuses ranged from glancing touches of genitals under the guise of innocent  
wrestling to sadomasochistic rituals and relentless anal, oral, and vaginal rapes. We found  
that no matter what physical form the abuse took, or how often it was repeated, the  
damage to these children’s psyches was devastating. Not only were the victims betrayed  
by a loved and revered father figure, but they also faced lifelong guilt and shame,  
isolation from family and peers, and torments that typically included alcoholism,  
addictions, marital difficulties, and sometimes thoughts of suicide. In many cases, we  
discovered, the victims believed God had abandoned them.

For any who might want to believe that the abuse problem in the Philadelphia area  
was limited in scope, this Report will disabuse them of that impression. The Jurors heard  
from some victims who were sexually abused once or twice, and from many more who  
were abused week after week for years. Many of the priests whose cases we examined  
had more than 10 victims; some abused multiple victims simultaneously. Indeed, the  
evidence arising from the Philadelphia Archdiocese reveals criminality against minors on  
a widespread scale – sparing no geographic sector, no income level, no ethnic group. We  
heard testimony about priests molesting and raping children in rectory bedrooms, in  
church sacristies, in parked cars, in swimming pools, at Saint Charles Borromeo  
Seminary, at the priests’ vacation houses in the Poconos and the Jersey Shore, in the  
children’s schools and even in their own homes.

From all the documents and testimony put before us, we have received a tragic  
education – about the nature of child abuse, for example: how predators manipulate their  
prey, why the abuse so often goes unreported, how its impact on victims and their  
families remains lifelong. Even so, we find it hard to comprehend or absorb the full  
extent of the malevolence and suffering visited on this community, under cover of the  
clerical collar, by powerful, respected, and rapacious priests.

A. The evidence reveals that child sexual abuse follows regular patterns.  
When we gathered, many of the Jurors did not understand the dynamics of clergy  
members’ sexual abuse of minors. We could not understand how children who were so  
awfully abused could fail to tell anyone or, worse, would return to their abuser again and  
again. We learned from one of the leading American experts in the field, Kenneth  
Lanning, formerly of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, that the answer lies in the  
twisted relationship that acquaintance molesters initiate with their victims.  
Those who prey on children first are careful in selecting their victims. They seek  
out vulnerable children who are needy for attention, often because of difficulties at home,  
because vulnerable children are easiest to mold to the abuser’s desires. They then achieve  
power over their victims in a process that the experts call “grooming.” Child molesters  
have enormous patience, identifying and pursuing victims sometimes for months before  
initiating the abuse. One might take a child to the beach, the cinema, or the local ice  
cream parlor, showering his prey with toys and treats. He will give his victim what the  
child believes is benign attention and “love.” Abusers also often befriend the families of  
their victims, visiting their homes, becoming dinner guests, exploiting parishioners’  
reverence for the priesthood. The parents are pleased and flattered by a priest’s attentions  
to their children.

What surprised the Jurors most in Lanning’s lengthy testimony was that so many  
of these men come across as “nice guys,” that they can be so outwardly likeable. Mothers  
and fathers like them. The children who are their targets often love them. These are not  
“Stranger Danger” predators who look shady or menacing; they are the pillars of the  
Catholic community, respected and admired by all. Meanwhile, many of the targeted  
children do not understand sex in the first instance, so that when the priest reaches the  
point where he begins to act out sexually, the victims are utterly defenseless. As the  
abuse continues, their initial confusion turns to guilt and shame over what they believe  
they have allowed to happen. Many victims continue to think that priests can do no  
wrong or feel responsible for making a “good” priest go bad.

For the vulnerable child who craves love and security, and the devout child raised  
never to question the clergy’s authority, it becomes nearly impossible to break free from  
the abusive priest, even after the sexual abuse begins. Experts refer to this phenomenon  
as the “trauma bond.” Even though the abusive relationship is terribly damaging to the  
victim, he finds it difficult to remove himself from it because of the priest’s power over  
him and the psychological and emotional bond that has resulted.  
1. Sexually abused children rarely report their abuse.

Related to the question of why victims seem unable to break free of their abusers  
is the question of why it takes some victims decades to report priest sexual abuse. We  
learned there are many reasons for delayed reporting. Most of the victims are devout  
and/or come from devout families. Therefore, many of them regard priests as God’s  
representatives on Earth. The well-educated priests, for their part, know very well the  
esteem in which trusting children and their parents hold them, and they manipulate that  
trust to ensure the victims’ silence. Some of the priests whose cases we examined told  
their victims that God had sanctioned the sexual relationship and would punish them if  
they revealed it. Others told children that they loved them, and that the sexual abuse  
15  
should be their little secret. Still others told their prey that they, the victims, were  
responsible for the abuse, and that no one would believe them if they told.  
Psychological denial is not an unusual response to trauma, confusion, shame, and  
despair. And there are other, powerful disincentives to report a priest’s abuse. Some  
victims fear damaging the Church’s reputation. Others fear their parents’ disbelief or  
anger – not toward the priest, but toward them. Some worry that such a horrific revelation  
could destroy their parents’ sustaining faith in the Church. Many adolescent boys fear  
that revealing sexual contact with a man would call into question whether they are  
heterosexual.

2. The lifelong impact extends from isolation to “soul murder.”  
The priests’ manipulation of their victims, we found, can be as cunning as it is  
cruel. Often the offenders isolate their victims from others, dominating their time,  
criticizing their parents and friends, and discouraging activities outside of the church and  
the priests’ presence. The victims come to believe that the abusive relationship is the only  
one they have. This strategy of isolating victims not only deprives them of someone in  
whom they might confide; it also serves the priest’s purpose – to continue the abusive  
relationship. Subsequently, the isolation often becomes one of the cruelest consequences  
of abuse, destroying families and lasting decades.

We saw victims who had been told by their abuser that their parents had  
sanctioned the priest’s actions. In two cases, the victims discovered only recently, as they  
prepared to testify before the Grand Jury, that what the priest had told them was not true.  
For 20 years they had been estranged from their parents, sometimes hating them, because  
they believed that their parents had knowingly allowed their abuse. If a priest and God  
could betray them, how could they know that their parents had not as well? Parents, for  
their part, cannot understand their abused children, who for no apparent reason have  
turned their backs on school, church, friends, and family. Who suddenly are not funloving  
and happy, but sullen and withdrawn. Who are abusing alcohol and drugs and  
acting out in other ways. The parents blame their children.

Meanwhile, if other children suspect a boy is being abused, they often ridicule the  
victim, suggesting he is homosexual. And not just children do this. We heard testimony  
about a nun, the teacher of one victim, who – after the boy reported his abuse to police –  
began calling him by a girl’s name in class, eliciting giggles from his fellow students.  
Most devastating of all, we saw firsthand what Father Thomas Doyle calls “soul  
murder.” As Father Doyle, a conscientious Dominican priest who has assisted clergyabuse  
victims around the world, points out, these children suffer from the abuse not just  
physically and psychologically, but spiritually. The faith they need to cope with the  
tragedies of life is for them forever defiled. In order for a priest to satisfy his sexual  
impulses, these children lose their innocence, their virginity, their security, and their  
faith. It is hard to think of a crime more heinous.

3. Priests who abuse minors usually have many victims.  
Another thing we learned about sexual abuse of minors is that the offenders  
typically have numerous victims. We heard from experts that the compulsion that drives  
some priests to molest or rape children is not curable, that treatment and supervision need  
to be intense and lifelong, and that the recidivism rate is extremely high. In the files of  
Philadelphia Archdiocese priests that we obtained by subpoena, we saw what must have  
been crystal-clear as well to Cardinals Krol and Bevilacqua and their aides: that many,  
many priests each have had many, many victims, often spanning decades.  
The experts told us that, given the nature of the crime, victims who report their  
abuse represent merely the tip of the iceberg, and that abusive priests likely have preyed  
on many more victims who have not come forward. We heard reports, most of which the  
Archdiocese had also received, about 16 victims of Fr. Nicholas Cudemo, 14 victims of  
Fr. Raymond Leneweaver, 17 victims of Fr. James Brzyski, and 18 victims of Fr. Albert  
Kostelnick. We believe there were many more.

B. The evidence provides many examples that help illustrate the patterns  
of abuse.  
There are many more Philadelphia-area priests who have molested and sodomized  
parishioners’ children than are named here. We cannot in this Report describe the cases  
of every priest against whom allegations have been raised. But we have tried to include  
histories that reflect the depraved patterns, if not the full magnitude, of sexual abuse  
perpetrated by Philadelphia Archdiocese priests. Consider, for example, the cases of Frs.  
Brzyski, Cudemo, Chambers, Gana, Kostelnick, Leneweaver, Martins, and Sicoli.

Father James Brzyski  
It was Fr. Brzyski who told his victims that their parents knew and approved of  
his sexual abuse of their sons. The 6’5”, 220-pound priest told this to a devout 12-yearold  
boy, “Sean,” (the names of victims have been changed in this Report) whom he began  
anally raping in 1984. Sean, now a grown man, told the Jurors:  
I’ve harbored this feeling towards my mom for  
going on twenty years and to come to find out the other  
night that it’s not – you know, it was – it wasn’t true. She  
had no idea. She had absolutely no idea.  
So you know, I’ve been dealing with this. I’ve been  
hating her for twenty years for no reason whatsoever, and  
that’s not right. That’s my mom.  
Father Bryzski had started the abuse when Sean was 10 or 11 years old – fondling  
the boy’s genitals and rubbing his own against the child in the corner of the sacristy  
where the altar boys dressed. Sean estimated that Fr. Brzyski molested him “a couple of  
hundred times.” The abuse progressed from fondling to oral sex to anal rape.  
Sean testified that he was scared, but he was devout. He believed that to say  
anything bad about a priest was a mortal sin, and that he would go to Hell if he told. So  
he said nothing, and continued to suffer the abuse even as its severity increased. His  
parents expressed pleasure that he was spending time with the priest. The abuse  
continued for seven or eight years.  
   
Another of Fr. Brzyski’s victims, “Billy,” told the Grand Jury that his deepest  
wish was to return to who he had been before the priest first thrust his hands down the  
11-year-old’s pants. He wanted God back, and his parents, and the joy of celebrating  
Easter and Christmas. He wanted to believe in Heaven and morality. He described how  
Fr. Brzyski’s abuse had “turned this good kid into this monster.” He began to think of  
himself as two different people. He told the Jurors:  
I had no God to turn to, no family, and it just went  
from having one person in me to having two people inside  
me.

This nice Billy . . . that used to live, and then this  
evil, this darkness Billy . . . that had to have no morals and  
no conscience in order to get by day by day and, you know,  
not to care about anything or have no feelings and to bury  
them feelings so that you could live every day and not be  
laying on the couch with a depression problem so bad that,  
you know, four days later you’d be in the same spot.

The Archdiocese files had the names of 11 boys who had been reported as victims  
of Fr. Brzyski. Three of his victims who testified before the Grand Jury provided names  
of still others they knew of. Sean told Jurors that he saw as many as a hundred  
photographs of boys, ages 13 to 16, many of them nude, which Fr. Brzyski kept in a box  
in his bedroom. One of the pictures was of Sean.

Father Nicholas Cudemo  
A top aide to Cardinal Bevilacqua described Father Nicholas Cudemo to the  
Grand Jury as “one of sickest people I ever knew.” This priest raped an 11-year-old girl.  
He molested a 5th grader in the confessional. He invoked God to seduce and shame his  
victims. He maintained sexually abusive relationships simultaneously with several girls  
from the Catholic school where he was a teacher. His own family accused him of  
molesting his younger cousins.  
Complaints of Fr. Cudemo’s sexual abuse of adolescent girls began in 1966, with  
a letter to Cardinal Krol describing a three-year “affair” between the priest, then in his  
first assignment, and a junior at Lansdale Catholic High School. More allegations  
followed in 1968 and 1977, the latter alerting the Archdiocese to another long-term  
sexual relationship with a schoolgirl, and her possible pregnancy.  
Father Cudemo began abusing another girl, “Ruth,” in the late 1960s when she  
was 9 or 10 years old. When she was 11, he began to rape her. He would then hear her  
confession. He convinced the child that she could not survive without him, and that only  
through her confession was she worthy of God’s love. When Ruth became pregnant at  
age 11 or 12, he took her for an abortion. He abused her until she was 17. She has  
suffered severely ever since.

Father Cudemo taught at three high schools – Bishop Neumann, Archbishop  
Kennedy, and Cardinal Dougherty – being transferred each time because of what were  
recorded in Archdiocese files as “particular friendships” with girls. He was then recycled  
through five parishes, and twice promoted by Cardinal Bevilacqua to serve as a parish  
pastor. The Grand Jury heard of at least 16 victims.

Father Gerard Chambers  
Father Gerard Chambers was accused of molesting numerous altar boys, and of  
anally and orally raping at least one, during 40 years as a priest in the Archdiocese.  
Beginning in 1994, four of his victims came forward to the Archdiocese to talk about  
their abuse. (The victims were from his 14th and 15th assignments – Saint Gregory, in  
West Philadelphia; and Seven Dolors, in Wyndmoor.) One victim, “Benjamin,” told the  
Archdiocese that Fr. Chambers plied him with alcohol and cigarettes and then abused  
him, “hugging, kissing, masturbating” him and engaging in “mutual fondling of the  
genitals.” This happened in the church sacristy, at Fr. Chambers’ sister’s house, and in  
the priest’s car.

Another victim, “Owen,” has tried to commit suicide and has been  
institutionalized at a state mental hospital. Father Chambers anally and orally raped him  
when he was 12 years old. Owen was, and continues to be, especially devout. He suffers  
delusions because he cannot reconcile his faith in the Church with what happened to him.  
Two of his brothers, “George” and “Francis,” were also victims of Fr. Chambers and are  
still haunted by their abuse more than 40 years later. They described to the Grand Jury  
how the abuse ruined their family – each boy withdrawing and suffering in silence, even  
though they knew, they said, on some level, that Fr. Chambers was abusing them all.  
They could not tell their parents, who taught them to be in “awe” of priests. Rather than  
confide in anyone, George said they just “stuffed it down.” But he began drinking at age  
13, and still suffers from serious depression.  
The victims named several other boys from Saint Gregory whom the priest had  
abused. One of the brothers testified that he believed Chambers “sexually abused every  
altar boy and quite frequently those who weren’t altar boys.”

Father Stanley Gana  
Father Stanley Gana also sexually abused countless boys in a succession of  
parishes. One victim, “John,” who testified before the Grand Jury, had gone to Fr. Gana  
in 1977 because the then-14-year-old had been sexually abused by a family friend. Father  
Gana used his position as a counselor and the ruse of therapy to persuade the boy to have  
physical contact with him. This “therapy” slowly progressed to full-fledged sexual abuse,  
involving genital touching, masturbation, and oral and anal sodomy. It continued for  
more than five years. Father Gana abused John in the rectory, at a house at the New  
Jersey Shore, on trips, and at the priest’s weekend house in the Poconos. Often there were  
several boys involved in a weekend or on a trip, and Fr. Gana would have them take turns  
coming into his bed. Sometimes he would have sex with John and another boy, “Timmy,”  
at the same time.

Father Gana abused Timmy for nearly six years, beginning in 1980, when the boy  
was 13. The priest ingratiated himself with Timmy’s parents. He was a frequent dinner  
guest and he often brought gifts to the family. He hired Timmy to work in the rectory,  
took him on trips with John and other boys to Niagara Falls and Disney World, and for  
weekends to the Poconos. Timmy’s parents pressured their son to spend time with Fr.  
Gana and constantly told Timmy that he should be grateful for all the priest did for him.  
Timmy found it impossible to avoid or report his abuse. He knew that his parents’ view  
of priests could not be reconciled with his reality – the obese priest pushing the boy’s  
scrawny, undeveloped body across a rectory bed so that his face was pressed against the  
carpet, ignoring the boy’s cries of pain, and forcibly penetrating him anally. Timmy was  
sure his parents would not believe him.

In 1992, training to become a priest himself and in his final year of seminary,  
Timmy told Cardinal Bevilacqua’s Secretary for Clergy, William Lynn, and another aide  
about his years of abuse by Fr. Gana. But, after hearing from the seminary dean that he  
thought Timmy “might sue the diocese for pedophilia,” Cardinal Bevilacqua ordered an  
investigation – of the seminarian. The probe failed to prove any wrongdoing on Timmy’s  
part, but the Cardinal refused to allow the victim to complete his studies and forced him  
to seek ordination outside the diocese. Father Gana remained an active priest in the  
Archdiocese until 2002.

Father Albert Kostelnick  
The Secret Archives file (where the Archdiocese, in accordance with Canon law,  
recorded complaints of sexual abuse by priests) for Father Kostelnick contained  
numerous reports that he sexually fondled young girls. The reported incidents spanned 32  
years, beginning in 1968, when he fondled the genitals and breasts of three sisters, ages 6  
to 13 years old, as he showed slides to their parents in the family’s darkened living room.

The three sisters also reported, in 2002, that Fr. Kostelnick had fondled their other sister  
as she lay in traction in a hospital following an automobile accident in 1971. They said  
the injured girl had to ring for the nurse to stop her molestation.

In 1987, Fr. Kostelnick was reported to the police for fondling an 8-year-old girl  
in an offensive manner. Cardinal Bevilacqua learned of additional complaints in 1988  
and 1992, yet he allowed the priest to continue as pastor of Saint Mark parish in Bristol.  
The priest admitted in 2004 to the Archdiocese Review Board that his “longstanding  
habit” of “fondling the breasts of young girls” continued after these victims’ complaints  
were ignored in 1992. In 1997, Cardinal Bevilacqua honored the serial molester at a  
luncheon at the Cardinal’s house and set him loose as a senior priest in a new parish,  
Assumption B.V.M. in Feasterville. By the time Fr. Kostelnick was finally removed from  
ministry in 2004 (after Cardinal Bevilacqua’s tenure had ended), the Archdiocese had  
heard reports about at least 18 victims.

Father Raymond Leneweaver

At Saint Monica parish in South Philadelphia, Fr. Leneweaver named a group of  
altar boys whom he abused the “Philadelphia Rovers” and had T-shirts made up for them.  
He took the 11- and 12-year-olds on outings and, when he was alone with them, he  
molested them. He anally raped at least one boy. He repeatedly pulled another out of  
class at the parish grade school, took him to the school auditorium, forced the boy to bend  
over a table, and rubbed against him until the priest ejaculated. Another time in his  
rectory bedroom, Fr. Leneweaver pulled the boy’s pants down, smeared lubricant on his  
buttocks, and thrust his penis against the boy’s backside. Each time the priest’s crimes  
were reported to the Archdiocese, he admitted his offenses. By 1975, he had confessed to  
homosexual activity with at least seven named children with whom he was “seriously  
involved.” He told Archdiocese officials of others he was involved with “in an incidental  
fashion.”

Cardinal Krol transferred this chronic abuser four times after learning of his  
admitted abuses. Predictably, Fr. Leneweaver continued to abuse boys in his new  
parishes. When he finally requested a leave from ministry in 1980, Cardinal Krol wrote a  
notation on a memo to his Chancellor:

His problem is not occupational or geographical & will  
follow him wherever he goes. He should be convinced that  
his orientation is an acquired preference for a particular  
method of satisfying a normal human appetite. – An  
appetite which is totally incompatible with vow of chastity  
+ commitment to celibacy.  
While this note shows that the Cardinal understood the compulsive nature of  
pedophilia and knew the likelihood that Fr. Leneweaver would abuse boys wherever he  
was assigned, the parents of his victims could not imagine such abhorrent behavior from  
a priest. They could not have conceived of the truth – that Fr. Leneweaver had been  
transferred to Saint Monica after admitting to the abuse of another boy at a previous  
assignment. The father of one victim beat his son until he was unconscious when the boy  
tried to report Fr. Leneweaver’s actions. The devout father, trusting priests and the  
Church more than his son, repeated as he beat the boy, “priests don’t do that.”

Father Nilo Martins  
Father Martins was a Brazilian pediatrician and religious-order priest who came  
to the Archdiocese in 1978. In May 1984, he was assigned as an assistant pastor at  
Incarnation of Our Lord in North Philadelphia. On a Saturday afternoon in early February  
1985, he invited a 12-year-old altar boy, “Daniel,” up to his rectory bedroom to watch  
television, ordered the boy to undress, and anally raped him.

Daniel, now a Philadelphia police officer, testified that as he cried out in pain, the  
priest kept insisting: “Tell me that you like it.” Daniel told the Grand Jury that he saw  
blood and was terrified. When the priest was done, he gave Daniel a puzzle as a present  
and told the boy to get dressed and leave.

Daniel, who had an unhappy home life and an abusive stepfather, went down to  
the church and cried. A young priest he considered a friend, Fr. Peter Welsh, saw him and  
asked what happened. After Daniel finished telling him, Fr. Martins entered and  
approached the two. Father Welsh then left the boy, took Fr. Martins’ confession, and  
never returned to talk to the boy.

A few days later, Daniel confided in his lay math teacher at the parish grade  
school. The teacher was horrified and immediately informed the pastor, Fr. John Shelley.  
The teacher also encouraged Daniel to tell his parents. Frightened that he might be beaten  
if he told his mother and stepfather, Daniel asked Fr. Welsh to go with him to tell them.  
Father Welsh said he was busy. The pastor, who should have reported the boy’s rape to  
police, or at least to his parents, also refused to accompany the boy to his house. Daniel  
finally got up the nerve to tell his mother. At her urging, he called the police.

The next day, when Daniel went to the church – as he did everyday to be with his  
friends – Fr. Shelley told him that he was not welcome anymore. The 12-year-old victim  
of a brutal anal rape by a priest was no longer allowed to be an altar boy. As word  
circulated, children at school called him a “faggot” and laughed as they said, “Ah, you  
got fucked in the ass.” Even a teacher, Sister Maria Loyola, he said, started referring to  
him in class as “Daniella,” prompting the class to laugh. When he asked her to stop  
calling him that, she gave him a demerit.

Daniel said he just wanted to disappear. Unable to change schools, he dropped out  
emotionally – withdrawing socially and failing academically. Father Martins pleaded  
guilty to involuntary deviate sexual intercourse and corruption of the morals of a minor.  
Deported back to Brazil, he did not serve his prison sentence.

Father David Sicoli  
Father Sicoli paid for tuition, computers, and trips to Africa and Disney World for  
parish boys he took a particular liking to. He invited several to live in his rectories with  
him, and he gave them high-paying jobs and leadership positions in the Church’s youth  
group, the CYO. Some of them in interviews insisted that nothing sexual took place with  
the priest. But others, now grown, told the Grand Jury that Fr. Sicoli sexually abused  
them and treated them as if they were his girlfriends. From the start of his priesthood, and  
continuing through 2001, priests who lived with Fr. Sicoli warned the Archdiocese about  
his unhealthy relationships with boys.

Four victims from Immaculate Conception in Levittown, where Fr. Sicoli was  
assigned from 1978 to 1983, testified that he had sexually abused them when they were  
12 to 16 years old. All of them said that Fr. Sicoli had plied them with alcohol and then  
abused them. Three told of being taken to a bar, the Red Garter, in North Wildwood, New  
Jersey. After Fr. Sicoli got the boys drunk, he asked them to drive him home – even  
though they were only 14 years old. On separate occasions, with all three, the priest  
feigned sickness in the car and asked them to rub his stomach. He then requested that  
they go “lower” and rub his crotch. The abuse these victims reported included mutual  
masturbation and oral sex. They said that Fr. Sicoli acted jealous and immature and  
threatened to fire them from their rectory jobs if they did not do what he wanted.  
Despite reports in Fr. Sicoli’s Secret Archives file of inappropriate relationships with  
these four victims and five other boys, Cardinal Bevilacqua appointed the priest to four  
pastorates between 1990 and 1999. At each one he seized on a favorite boy, or a  
succession of favorites, on whom he showered attention, money, and trips. Three of these  
boys lived with Fr. Sicoli in the rectories with the knowledge of Msgr. Lynn.

In October 2004, the Archdiocese finally removed Fr. Sicoli from ministry  
following an investigation by the Archdiocesan Review Board, which was created in  
2002 to help assess allegations of abuse. The Review Board found “multiple  
substantiated allegations involving a total of 11 minors over an extensive period of time  
beginning in 1977 and proceeding to 2002.”

Section III  
Overview of the Cover-Up by Archdiocese Officials  
For a more complete picture of the actions taken by the Archdiocese to hide priest  
sexual abuse – from parents, potential victims, and the public at large – it is necessary to  
read the Case Studies in Section V of this Report. This Section, however, will provide an  
outline of the careful methods by which the Archdiocese accomplished its concealment of  
these crimes, and thereby facilitated the abuse of even more Archdiocese children.  
A. Archdiocese leaders were aware that priests were sexually abusing  
hundreds of children, and that their continued ministry presented great  
danger.

Grand Jurors heard evidence proving that Cardinals Bevilacqua and Krol, and  
their aides, were aware that priests in the diocese were perpetrating massive amounts of  
child molestations and sexual assaults. The Archdiocese’s own files reveal a steady  
stream of reports and allegations from the 1960s through the 1980s, accelerating in the  
1990s (with nearly 100 allegations in that decade), and exploding after 2001. In many  
cases, the same priests were reported again and again.

Notes in Archdiocese files prove that the Church leaders not only saw, but  
understood, that sexually offending priests typically have multiple victims, and are  
unlikely to stop abusing children unless the opportunity is removed. Cardinal Krol  
displayed his understanding of sexual compulsion when he wrote, in the case of Fr.  
Leneweaver, that the priest’s problem would “follow him wherever he goes.” Cardinal  
Bevilacqua noted in the file of Fr. Connor, an admitted child molester, that the priest  
could present a “serious risk” if allowed to continue in ministry (which he was). Notes in  
the file of Fr. Peter Dunne show that Cardinal Bevilacqua also was aware that therapists  
recommend lifelong supervision and restricted access to children for pedophiles. (Fr.  
Dunne, a diagnosed pedophile, did not receive such supervision and was permitted to  
continue in parish ministry.)

Secretary for Clergy William Lynn displayed his understanding of child  
molestation when he told Fr. Thomas Shea that “the evidence of the medical profession”  
makes it “very unusual for such instances [of sexual abuse] to be with only one  
youngster.” Cardinal Bevilacqua and his staff also knew from experience that most  
victims do not report their abuse until many years later, if at all.

B. Archdiocese leaders employed deliberate strategies to conceal known  
abuse.  
In the face of crimes they knew were being committed by their priests, Church  
leaders could have reported them to police. They could have removed the child molesters  
from ministry, and stopped the sexual abuse of minors by Archdiocesan clerics. Instead,  
they consistently chose to conceal the abuse rather than to end it. They chose to protect  
themselves from scandal and liability rather than protect children from the priests’  
crimes.

For most of Cardinal Krol’s tenure, concealment mainly entailed persuading  
victims’ parents not to report the priests’ crimes to police, and transferring priests to other  
parishes if parents demanded it or if “general scandal” seemed imminent. When Cardinal  
Bevilacqua took over as Archbishop in February 1988, concern over legal liability had  
joined fears of scandal. Dioceses across the country were grappling with the implications  
of a 1984 case in which a Louisiana diocese paid $4.2 million to nine victims of a  
pedophile priest.

Cardinal Bevilacqua was trained as an attorney. (He holds degrees in Canon law  
from Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, Italy, and in American law from St.  
Johns’ University Law School in Queens, New York.) The Grand Jurors find that, in his  
handling of priests’ sexual abuse, Cardinal Bevilacqua was motivated by an intent to keep  
the record clear of evidence that would implicate him or the Archdiocese. To this end, he  
continued many of the practices of his predecessor, Cardinal Krol, aimed at avoiding  
scandal, while also introducing policies that reflected a growing awareness that dioceses  
and bishops might be held legally responsible for their negligent and knowing actions  
that abetted known abusers.

To protect themselves from negative publicity or expensive lawsuits – while  
keeping abusive priests active – the Cardinals and their aides hid the priests’ crimes from  
parishioners, police, and the general public. They employed a variety of tactics to  
accomplish this end.

1. Archdiocese leaders conducted non-investigations designed to avoid  
establishing priests’ guilt.

At first, Grand Jurors wondered whether Archdiocese officials, including Cardinal  
Bevilacqua and his aides, were tragically incompetent at rooting out sexually abusive  
priests and removing them from ministry. Secretary for Clergy William Lynn suggested,

for example, that accusations made against Fr. Stanley Gana in 1992 – of anal rape, oral  
sodomy, and years of molestation of adolescent boys – “must have fallen through the  
cracks,” since Fr. Gana remained a pastor three more years until another allegation  
surfaced. Soon the Jurors came to realize that sexual abuse cases in the Philadelphia  
Archdiocese did not fall “through the cracks” by accident or mistake.

The Secretary for Clergy, whom Cardinal Bevilacqua assigned to investigate  
allegations of sexual abuse by priests, routinely failed to interview even named victims,  
not to mention rectory staff and colleagues in a position to observe the accused priests.  
The only “investigation” conducted after a victim reported being abused was to ask the  
priest if he did what was alleged. If the accused priest, whose very crime is characterized  
by deceit and secretiveness, denied the allegation, Archdiocese officials considered the  
allegation unproven. Monsignor Lynn professed to the Grand Jury that he could not  
determine the credibility of accusations – no matter how detailed the victims’  
descriptions, or how many corroborating witnesses there might be, or how many similar  
accusations had been made against a priest by victims who did not know each other, or  
how incriminating a priest’s own explanation of the events.

The reason for Msgr. Lynn’s apparent lack of judgment, curiosity, or common  
sense in refusing to acknowledge the truth of abuse allegations became evident when  
Cardinal Bevilacqua testified. The Cardinal said that, when assigning and promoting  
priests, he disregarded anonymous or third-party reports of sexual crimes against children  
that were contained in many priests’ files. The Cardinal, like his Secretary for Clergy,  
claimed to be unable to determine whether the reports were true. He told the Grand Jury  
that he could not know without an investigation. And yet the staff, with his approval,  
never truly investigated these reports – no matter how serious, how believable, or how  
easily verified. This was the case even when victims were named and other priests had  
witnessed and reported incidents. The Cardinal conceded under questioning that  
allegations against a priest were generally not labeled “credible” unless the priest  
happened to confess.

The Grand Jury is convinced that the Archdiocese could have identified scores of  
child molesters in the priesthood simply by encouraging other clergy to report what they  
witnessed – for example, incidents in which they saw fellow priests routinely take young  
boys, alone, into their bedrooms. We heard from many victims that their abuse had been  
witnessed by other priests. Fellow priests observed Frs. Nicholas Cudemo, Craig  
Brugger, Richard McLoughlin, Albert Kostelnick, Francis Rogers, James Brzyski, and  
John Schmeer as they were abusing young victims. None of these witnesses helped the  
children or reported what they saw. Father Donald Walker confirmed what we came to  
believe – that the Archdiocese had an unwritten rule discouraging “ratting on fellow  
priests.”

We were initially incredulous when Cardinal Bevilacqua insisted that Msgr. Lynn  
was very intelligent and competent. After all, the Secretary for Clergy’s “investigations”  
did not bother with witnesses, nor did they seek the truth or falsity of allegations, unless  
the priest happened to confess. But after reviewing files that all contained the same  
“incompetent” investigation techniques, it became apparent to the Grand Jurors that  
Msgr. Lynn was handling the cases precisely as his boss wished.

2. The Cardinals transferred known abusers to other parishes where their  
reputations were not known and parents could not, therefore, protect  
their children.

a. The decision whether to transfer a known abuser was determined by the  
threat of scandal or lawsuit, not by the priest’s guilt or the danger he  
posed.

Father Donald Walker was one of three priests in Cardinal Krol’s Chancery  
Office charged with investigating and handling sexual abuse allegations against priests.  
He explained to the Grand Jury how, during his tenure, the Archdiocese’s primary goal in  
dealing with these cases was to reduce the risk of “scandal” to the Church. The Grand  
Jurors saw this pattern for ourselves as we reviewed the files of priests accused of  
molesting minors. Whether an accused molester stayed in his position, was transferred to  
another parish, or was removed from ministry, the Archdiocese response bore no  
consistent relationship to the seriousness of his offense or the risk he posed to the  
children of his parish. Rather, the decision was based entirely on an assessment of the  
risk of scandal or, under Cardinal Bevilacqua, legal liability.

We saw this vividly illustrated in the case of Fr. John Mulholland. In 1970,  
Archdiocese managers had reason to believe that Fr. Mulholland was taking parish boys  
at Saint Anastasia in Newtown Square on vacations and engaging in sadomasochistic  
behaviors with them. An adviser to the church’s youth group, the CYO, had warned the  
managers and given the names of many of the boys involved. Believing at first that Fr.  
Mulholland’s reputation for “play[ing] around with boys” was widespread, Archdiocese  
officials decided he would have to be reassigned because of “scandal.” Many of the  
parents of these boys, however, never imagined what was going on and opposed Fr.  
Mulholland’s transfer. When the Archdiocese officials realized that there was no hue and  
cry, they decided to let Fr. Mulholland stay in the parish where they had been told he was  
committing his abuse. The reason for the change of heart was recorded in Church  
documents: “the amount of scandal given seemed to lie only with a very small minority.”  
While Archdiocese memos recording abuse allegations often omitted the names of  
victims or the nature of the priests’ offenses, they almost never failed to note the degree  
of scandal or whether the victim had told anyone else. When scandal threatened, the  
Archdiocese would take action. During Cardinal Krol’s administration, this almost  
always meant a transfer to another parish and the managers’ memos unabashedly  
recorded the motive. In Fr. Joseph Gausch’s file, for example, one of his many transfers  
was explained this way: “because of the scandal which already has taken place and  
because of the possible future scandal, we will transfer him in the near future.”  
Cardinal Bevilacqua’s decisions, like his predecessor’s, were similarly dictated by  
an assessment of risk to the Archdiocese. In the case of Fr. Cudemo, multiple victims  
came forward in 1991, reporting to the Archdiocese that the priest had abused them when  
they were minors. One he had raped when she was 11 years old, another he had had a  
sexual relationship with for 14 years, beginning when she was 15. The priest’s Secret  
Archives file contained at least three allegations previously made against the priest. As  
more and more victims came forward, Cardinal Bevilacqua steadfastly refused to remove  
Fr. Cudemo as pastor of Saint Callistus parish. Only when some of the victims threatened  
to sue the Archdiocese and Cardinal Bevilacqua did he finally ask the priest to leave his  
parish. After the lawsuit was dismissed because the statute of limitations had run, the  
Cardinal permitted Fr. Cudemo to resume ministering.

b. Parishioners were not told, or were misled about, the reason for the  
abuser’s transfer.

The Archdiocese’s purpose in transferring its sexually abusive priests was clear –  
to remove them from parishes where parents knew of their behavior and to place them  
among unsuspecting families. The obvious premise of this pattern was the Church  
officials’ understanding that parents would never knowingly allow their children to serve  
as altar boys, or work in rectories, or be taken to the New Jersey Shore by men they knew  
had molested other boys. The result of the Archdiocese’s purposeful action was to  
multiply the number of children exposed to these priests while reducing the possibility  
that their parents could protect them.

Cardinal Bevilacqua had a strict policy, according to his aides, that forbid  
informing parishioners – either those whose children had recently been exposed to a  
sexual offender in his old parish or the parents of potential victims in a newly assigned  
parish – about any problems in a priest’s background. The Cardinal, in fact, encouraged  
that parishioners be misinformed. When Fr. Brennan was removed from an assignment in  
1992 because of allegations of improper behavior with several parish boys, one  
parishioner remembers being told to pray for the Father because he was “being treated for  
Lyme Disease.” Even the pastors of the new parishes, who might have supervised the  
abusers if aware of their history, were usually told nothing.

c. Sexual Offenders were transferred to distant parishes where their  
reputations would not be known.

If a priest was particularly notorious or a former victim was vigilant and vocal,  
the Archdiocese would transfer the priest to an especially distant parish, in hopes of  
escaping notice. Thus, after Fr. Leneweaver had abused boys in parishes in Philadelphia,

Delaware, and Chester Counties, Chancellor Francis Statkus lamented that “the latest  
incident eliminates his usefulness in his ministry in the area of Chester County,” and  
explained that he was to be transferred next to Bucks County “because it is one of the few  
remaining areas where his scandalous action may not be known.” A notation in Fr.  
Leneweaver’s file stated that his reassignment would not be announced, making it  
unlikely that anyone could forewarn the parents in his new parish.

Cardinal Bevilacqua used a similar strategy in 1992, when considering a  
reassignment for Fr. Michael McCarthy. The Cardinal just months earlier had received  
allegations that the priest had regularly taken students from Cardinal O’Hara High School  
to his beach house, plied them with liquor, slept nude in the same bed with them, and  
masturbated the boys and himself. The Cardinal had an aide tell the accused priest that,  
despite the allegations against him, he could be “appointed pastor at another parish after  
an interval of time has passed.” That new parish, according to the Cardinal’s instructions,  
“would be distant from St. Kevin Parish so that the profile can be as low as possible and  
not attract the attention of the complainant.”

If a priest was arrested or convicted and his crimes publicized in the news, more  
extreme measures were needed to return the abuser to ministry among uninformed  
parishioners. Thus, when Archbishop Bevilacqua was deciding where to assign Fr.  
Edward DePaoli after his conviction for possessing child pornography, he wrote: “for the  
present time it might be more advisable for [Fr. DePaoli] to return to the active ministry  
in another diocese.” The Archbishop explained that this move would “put a sufficient  
period between the publicity and reinstatement in the active ministry of the Archdiocese  
of Philadelphia.” He arranged for Fr. DePaoli to be assigned to a parish in New Jersey  
for three years.

d. The Archdiocese harbored abusers transferred from other dioceses.  
Cardinal Bevilacqua also reciprocated with other dioceses, as part of what an aide  
referred to as the “tradition of bishops helping bishops.” For five years, beginning in  
1988, Cardinal Bevilacqua secretly harbored a New Jersey priest, Fr. John Connor, at  
Saint Matthew parish in Conshohocken so that the bishop in Camden could avoid scandal  
there. Cardinal Bevilacqua, despite an earlier acknowledgement that Fr. Connor could  
present a “serious risk,” did not inform Saint Matthew’s pastor of the danger. In fact, he  
told the pastor that Fr. Connor had come to the parish from another diocese because his  
mother was sick and he wanted to be near her. The pastor never knew, until he read it  
years later in a newspaper, that Fr. Connor had been arrested in his home diocese of  
Camden for sexually abusing a 14-year-old. As a result of his ignorance, the pastor did  
not worry, as he should have, when Fr. Connor showered attention and gifts on a boy in  
the parish grade school.

3. Archdiocese leaders made concerted efforts to prevent reports of priest  
abuse to law enforcement.  
The hundreds of allegations of sexual abuse by priests that the Archdiocese has  
received since 1967 have included serious crimes – among them, the genital fondling and  
anal, oral, and vaginal rape of children. Sometimes the abuse was ongoing at the time it  
was reported. The obvious response would have been to report such crimes to law  
enforcement, to allow police to investigate and to stop the perpetrators. The Archdiocese  
managers, however, never reported a single instance of sexual abuse – even when  
admitted by the priests – and did everything in their power to prevent others from  
reporting it.  
Cardinal Bevilacqua was asked repeatedly when he testified before the Grand  
Jury why he and his aides never reported these crimes to law enforcement. His answer  
was simply that Pennsylvania law did not require them to. That answer is unacceptable  
(as well as the result of a strained and narrow interpretation of a law specifically intended  
to require reporting sexual abuse of children). It reflects a willingness to allow such  
crimes to continue, as well as an utter indifference to the suffering of the victims. Such  
thinking is the reason, for example, that Fr. Leneweaver, an admitted abuser of 11- and  
12-year-old boys, was able to receive a clean criminal record check and teach Latin at  
Radnor Middle School last year.  
Not only did Church officials not report the crimes; they went even further, by  
persuading parents not to involve law enforcement — promising that the Archdiocese  
would take appropriate action itself. When the father of a 14-year-old boy reported to  
Cardinal Krol’s Chancellor in 1982 that Fr. Trauger had molested his son and that he had  
told someone in the Morals Division of the Police Department (the father was himself a  
detective), the Chancellor succeeded in fending off prosecution. Chancellor Statkus  
informed the Cardinal: “Convinced of our sincere resolve to take the necessary action  
regarding Fr. T., [the victim’s father] does not plan to press any charges, police or  
otherwise.” (What Cardinal Krol did upon receiving this information was what he had  
done a year before, when Fr. Trauger had attempted to anally rape a 12-year-old boy  
from his previous parish: the Cardinal merely transferred the priest to another parish,  
where his crimes would not be known.)  
 

Once in a while priests engaged so publicly in abusive acts that their crimes could  
not be concealed – such as when police in Rockville, Maryland stopped Fr. Thomas  
Durkin – a Philadelphia priest who was visiting the area – in the middle of the night. At  
the time of the police encounter, the priest was chasing a half-dressed 16-year-old boy  
through the streets. The teenager had run from their shared bedroom to escape Fr.  
Durkin’s sexual advances. In that case, the Archdiocese had to rely on the local diocese  
to intervene to keep the police from taking action. Having successfully hidden its priest’s  
crime and prevented the prosecution of it, the Archdiocese then permitted Fr. Durkin to  
continue in ministry despite his admission that he had abused other boys as well.  
4. Church leaders carefully avoided actions that would incriminate themselves or  
the priests.

Some of the Archdiocese leaders’ actions or inactions, which initially might have  
seemed merely callous or reckless, we soon came to realize were part of a deliberate and  
all-encompassing strategy to avoid revealing their knowledge of crimes. Church officials  
understood that knowing about the abuse, while taking steps that helped perpetuate it,  
made them responsible for endangering children.   
Many victims, for example, told the Grand Jurors that they were treated badly by  
the Secretary for Clergy when they reported their abuse. After recounting their  
nightmarish experiences to the Archdiocese managers, the victims were surprised at the  
lack of outrage toward the priest or compassion toward the victim. They had wanted  
desperately to be believed and hoped for an apology. They expected that the Archdiocese,  
once informed, would make sure the offenders would never again hurt the children of  
their parishes. Instead, the Church official charged with assisting the victims often  
questioned their credibility and motives. When victims needing reassurance that the  
abuse had not been their fault asked Msgr. Lynn whether their abuser had other victims,  
the Secretary for Clergy refused to tell them – or lied and said they were the only one.  
Cardinal Bevilacqua’s highest aide, Vicar for Administration Edward Cullen, instructed  
his assistant, James Molloy (who at times displayed glimpses of compassion for victims),  
never to tell victims that he believed them. Doing so would have made evident the  
Church officials’ knowledge of other criminal acts and made later denials difficult.  
Archdiocese leaders even left children in dangerous situations with known  
abusers rather than reveal their culpable knowledge by intervening to protect a child.  
Thus, when Archdiocese managers learned, on two separate occasions, that parish boys  
were on camping trips with Frs. Francis Trauger and John Mulholland – priests they had  
just been told were abusers – they did nothing to interrupt the camping trips. Nor did they  
do anything afterwards to keep the priests away from the boys or to warn their parents.  
Cardinal Krol’s Assistant Chancellor, Vincent Walsh, sat silently while parents  
from Saint Anastasia in Newtown Square voiced support for Fr. Mulholland, asking that  
the Archdiocese reconsider its decision to transfer the priest to another parish. These  
parents vouched for Fr. Mulholland’s interest in their sons: one was grateful that the  
priest had taken his child on vacation without asking for money from the parents, another  
that the priest had helped his son gain entry to a sought-after school. At the time of the  
meeting, Fr. Walsh knew what the parents did not: that these teens had been reported as  
possible victims of Fr. Mulholland’s sadomasochistic behavior. The Assistant Chancellor  
said nothing to warn the unsuspecting parents, and Cardinal Krol left Fr. Mulholland in  
their parish. 
 
Full 423 page report together with details of abusive priests and the coverup can be found at 
 



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Pedophilia and sexual abuse of children in Australia