Pennsylvania Catholic diocese covered up decades worth of child abuse, grand jury says, Pell blames bishop for Australia child abuse cover-up
March 2, 2016 Comments Off on Pennsylvania Catholic diocese covered up decades worth of child abuse, grand jury says, Pell blames bishop for Australia child abuse cover-up
has graphic descriptions of abuse
Pennsylvania Catholic diocese covered up decades worth of child abuse, grand jury says
A new grand jury report claims two Roman Catholic bishops in a central Pennsylvania diocese helped cover up the sexual abuse of hundreds of children by over 50 priests or religious leaders over a 40-year period.
by Steve Esack and Laurie Mason Schroeder
March 1, 2016
From Boston to Philadelphia to the United Nations, the Catholic Church has been accused of covering up and protecting priests and other religious leaders who sexually abused children.
Now add a slice of western Pennsylvania to the list.
A grand jury report released Tuesday accuses two bishops who ran the Roman Catholic Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown of allowing at least 50 priests and other religious leaders to sexually abuse hundreds of children for decades.
“These predators desecrated a sacred trust and preyed upon their victims … where they should have felt most safe,” state Attorney General Kathleen Kane said.
The report says the late Bishop James Hogan and former Bishop Joseph Adamec kept filing cabinets with 115,042 secret documents detailing victims’ abuse claims. It tells how church officials ordered priests to undergo treatment while transferring them to other parishes, or intervened when local and state police made inquiries starting in the mid-1960s.
The report also outlines a diocesan “payout chart” of $10,000 for victims fondled over their clothes, and up to $175,000 for victims of forced sodomy or intercourse.
The grand jury report uses those documents to explain in extraordinary detail how one priest “hypnotized” children by rubbing his genitals on their feet, another priest choked boys if they refused his advances at his cabin in the woods, and another priest plied a child with alcohol and then raped him until he bled….
After his own 2002 investigation, Northampton County District Attorney John Morganelli was critical of the way the church handled abuse claims before Cullen was installed as bishop in 1998.
Before that, he said, the diocese was focused more on the priest than on the alleged victims.
“Even when priests admitted sexual abuse with minors, they were often sent to treatment centers and continued to function as priests,” Morganelli said in a 2002 report. “A number of the priests had multiple incidents involving more than one victim.”
Like Martin, Morganelli found no basis for criminal charges against church officials who oversaw priests. Also like Martin, he noted the diocese has created a policy requiring the immediate review of allegations against priests and the instant removal of those priests if the allegations are deemed credible….
Every Catholic community — including the Allentown Diocese — has its hidden information.
Such secrets go back centuries to the mid-1600s or early 1700s, when the Vatican created Canon Law 489. It is a legal mechanism that allows Catholic religious orders to keep from public view a trove of documents, including personnel and financial files, that only the local bishop and his trusted few could access, according to testimony from sex-abuse prosecutions and lawsuits that rocked the Los Angeles Archdiocese in 2013.
In 2014, the United Nations accused the Vatican of “systematically” protecting predator priests from being brought to justice for the sexual “torture” of tens of thousands of children around the globe.
In 2012, some of the Philadelphia Archdiocese’s secrets came to light when a 1994 memo was uncovered that showed the archdiocese’s top clergy — including Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua and Bishop Edward Cullen, who later headed the Allentown Diocese — ordered the shredding of a list of 35 priests suspected of sexually abusing children….
Pell blames bishop for Australia child abuse cover-up
1 March 2016
Cardinal George Pell says he was deceived by a senior clergyman over the activities of a paedophile priest.
Australia’s most senior Catholic is presenting evidence from Rome via video link over several days to an Australian Royal Commission into child sex abuse.
On Tuesday Cardinal Pell was questioned about paedophile Gerald Ridsdale, a priest who was repeatedly moved between parishes in the 1970s and 80s.
He accepted no responsibility for the failure to report Ridsdale’s abuse….
Cardinal Pell repeatedly criticised Ronald Mulkearns, who was bishop of Ballarat between 1971 and 1997, for withholding information about Ridsdale.
Cardinal Pell was one of the consultors who gave advice to Bishop Mulkearns from 1977 to 1984.
Particular attention was paid to a meeting of the consultors that Cardinal Pell attended in 1982, where a decision was taken to move Ridsdale for a sixth time.
Counsel assisting the commissioner, Gail Furness, said it was “implausible” that Cardinal Pell and other priests at the meeting did not know the reason for Ridsdale’s relocation.
Cardinal Pell responded: “That is complete nonsense.”….
He said that responsibility for Ridsdale’s relocation lay “overwhelmingly with the bishop”, who used “gentle and euphemistic language” to disguise the truth of Risdale’s actions.
“I can’t nominate another bishop whose actions are so grave and inexplicable … His repeated refusal to act is, I think, absolutely extraordinary,” Cardinal Pell said.
The cardinal provoked gasps from survivors earlier in testimony when he said the news of Ridsdale’s abuse was “a sad story and it wasn’t of much interest to me”.
“The suffering, of course, was real and I very much regret that but I had no reason to turn my mind to the extent of the evils that Ridsdale had perpetrated,” he said….
Cardinal Pell, who is not accused of sexual abuse, denied knowing about paedophile priests who were active in the Ballarat diocese during his time there as a priest in the 1970s and 1980s.
The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sex Abuse is holding its second round of inquiries into child sex abuse that occurred in the city of Ballarat in Victoria state.
Cardinal Pell was a priest in Ballarat and lived in a seminary with a notorious paedophile priest, Gerald Ridsdale, in the early 1970s.
Ridsdale committed more than 130 offences against young boys while working as a chaplain at Ballarat’s St Alipius school between the 1960s and the 1980s….