Cardinal Bevilacqua’s Management of Abuse Allegations


Assessments of the Philadelphia Grand Juries in 2003, 2005, and 2011

Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua died on January 31, 2012, shortly before the scheduled trial of his senior manager, Msgr. William Lynn. Below we provide excerpts from the assessments of Cardinal Bevilacqua from the Philadelphia Grand Jury Reports in 2003, 2005, and 2011.

Over the past two decades, Msgr. Lynn has put literally thousands of children at risk of sexual abuse by placing them in the care of known child molesters. We believe that legal accountability for Msgr. Lynn’s unconscionable behavior is long overdue, and that he should be prosecuted for endangering the welfare of the victims in these cases.

We would like to hold Cardinal Bevilacqua accountable as well. The Grand Jurors have no doubt that his knowing and deliberate actions during his tenure as Archbishop also endangered thousands of children in the Philadelphia Archdiocese. Msgr. Lynn was carrying out the Cardinal’s policies exactly as the Cardinal directed. In most of the cases we reviewed from the previous grand jury report, Cardinal Bevilacqua knew substantially everything that Msgr. Lynn knew about the danger posed by the accused priests.
Philadelphia Grand Jury Report 2011, p. 115

We find that Cardinal Bevilacqua, Monsignor Lynn and other Archdiocesan managers most directly put children at risk when they knowingly permitted priests whom they knew, or were substantially certain, had sexually abused children to have continuing access to children. In summary, we find that the Archdiocesan protocols for investigating abuse, for diagnosing and treating sexually abusive priests and for returning sexually abusive priests to ministry, policies Cardinal Bevilacqua either established or continued, jeopardized the safety of children.
Philadelphia Grand Jury Report 2003, p. 6

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