Demonstrators Accuse Bishop of Cover-up
Bishop Rejects Accusation
By Tom Kane
The River Reporter [Scranton PA]
Downloaded February 7, 2003
SCRANTON, PA - Six demonstrators picketed the Bishop of Scranton's Mass on Sunday, February 3 at the Cathedral of St. Peter, claiming he was covering up a sexual scandal that involved two priests of the Society of St. John in Shohola, PA.
The bishop, James C. Timlin denies the allegation, stating that he is waiting until a civil suit is settled before he holds a church investigation into the matter.
"I refuse to do something that I know is wrong," Timlin said.
The group, which gathered in front of the cathedral at 9:00 a.m., confronted Timlin, who was dressed with crozier, the bishop's staff and mitre, and a peaked ceremonial hat, before he celebrated Mass.
"He [the bishop] told me he never thought I would stoop so low," said Dr. Jeffrey Bond, the leader of the group. "I repeatedly told him he was a liar, a fraud, and a hypocrite."
Bond accuses the bishop of protecting two priests from the Society who have been accused of sexual improprieties with a youth they met at St. Gregory' Academy in Elmhurst, PA.
The young man and his family have filed a civil suit against the priests who deny the allegations. A criminal suit against the two priests was recently dismissed by the District Attorney of Lackawanna County, Andy Jarbola, because the time period of the statute of limitations had expired.
The bishop removed the priests-Revs. Carlos Urrutigoity and Eric Ensey-from active duty until the matter is settled by the court.
"Then, the church investigation will be held," Timlin said.
Timlin said the bishops of the country were attempting to conduct investigations into these cases, being guided by the directive of the U.S. Bishops Conference, which met in Dallas, TX a few months ago.
"We're trying to find the best way to proceed," he said.
The civil suit was filed in the U.S. Middle District Court in Scranton nearly a year ago.
Bond, who was to be president of a proposed College of St. Justin Martyr at the society's location on Route 434 in Shohola, was estranged from the priests over an internal dispute.
Bond, who has since mounted an intense campaign over the Internet against the bishop and the society, is suing the society over its action toward him.
Bond informed the bishop of the two priests sexual improprieties over a year ago and accuses the bishop of covering up the scandal during that time.
"I pointed out to the bishop that the priests' routinely slept with young men, a fact which the bishop finally acknowledged," Bond said.
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