Civil Lawsuit against Allentown Catholic Diocese

WFMZ [Allentown PA]
Downloaded January 28, 2004

The Lawsuit Says the Top Leaders of the Allentown Diocese Knew about the Abuse... and Did Nothing to Stop It. Today the Alleged Victims of That Abuse Spoke Out. Wfmz's Brendan Fehily Has the Story.

Reporter: 39 Years after She Says She Was Sexually Molested by Her Priest... Juliann Bortz Still Can't Sit through Church without Breaking Down.

Juliann Bortz: I Made It Halfway through Mass....

Reporter: Bortz and Four Others Are Accusing Their Former Priests of Sexually Abusing Them When They Were Children. All the Priests Were in the Diocese of Allentown ... Including One Who's Parish Was at St. Catherine's of Siena in Mount Penn. Now All the Alleged Victims Have Filed Lawsuits -- Not against the Priests, but against the Diocese of Allentown and Its Two Leaders over the Past 21 Years. the Suits Accuse Current Bishop Edward Cullen and Former Bishop Thomas Welsh of Knowing Some of Their Priests Were Pedophiles, and Conspiring to Conceal It.

David Cerulli: Abuse Thrives in Secrecy. This Problem Will Continue As Long As People Are Silent about It.

Reporter: David Cerulli Is the Director of a Support Group for Victims of Abuse. He Himself Claims to Have Been a Victim of Sexual Abuse by a Priest When He Was a Child Growing up in Allentown.

David Cerulli: I Think What Motivates Most Survivors to Come Forward Finally Is They Want to Stop It. They Want to Make Sure That No Other Children Are Hurt the Way They Were Hurt.

Reporter: Attorneys for the Five Alleged Victims Say They Want the Church to Acknowledge the Priest's Wrongdoing and Accept Responsibility.

Jay Abramowitch: It's Perfectly Obvious That the Idea Here Is to Let the Cover up to Continue and This Is Why These People Are So Courageous in Coming Forward Today.

Reporter: the Diocese Said in a Statement That It "has Taken Strong Steps in Removing from All Priestly Ministry Any Cleric about Whom There Is Credible Evidence of Sexual Abuse of Minors." and It Points to an Investigations by Local Law Enforcement That Found "no Evidence of Wrongdoing by Church Administrators." in Wyomissing, Brendan Fehily, 69 News, Berks Edition.


Any original material on these pages is copyright © 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.