Ex-head of Philly archdiocese Bevilacqua dies

The Associated Press

By MARYCLAIRE DALE, Associated Press

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Retired Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua, who led the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia for more than 15 years but became a central figure in a child sex-abuse case involving the alleged shuffling of predator priests to unwitting parishes, has died. He was 88.

Bevilacqua died in his sleep Tuesday night at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary after battling dementia and an undisclosed form of cancer, an archdiocese spokeswoman said. He had been the spiritual leader of the 1.5 million-member Archdiocese of Philadelphia from 1988 until his retirement in 2003.

Bevilacqua, trained as civil and canon lawyer, was sharply criticized but never charged by two grand juries investigating child sex abuse complaints lodged against dozens of priests in the archdiocese. His death comes just days after lawyers battled in court over his competency as a potential witness in the upcoming trial of a longtime aide.

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