Ed Martin: Site Suggests He Knew about Pedophile Priests but Did Nothing

By Nicholas Phillips
Riverfront Times
October 21, 2010

It's a website that argues -- albeit indirectly, and with loads of documents -- that GOP congressional candidate Ed Martin, while employed at the Archdiocese of St. Louis, was in a position to have intimate knowledge of "pedophile priests" being transferred from parish to parish, but apparently stayed silent and failed to report it to civil authorities.

Martin categorically denies the first charge, and by extension, the second.

A spokeswoman for incumbent Democrat Russ Carnahan says: "Our campaign has nothing to do with this website. There's nothing I can say about it, other than Ed Martin clearly has a lot of questions to answer."

Private investigator William Corwin of New Mexico, who says he created the site with this own money after parting ways with the Carnahan campaign, admits there's no "smoking gun" that proves Martin had knowledge of clergy sex abuse.

"I'm not saying he single-handedly did this," Corwin says. "But when a man is running for Congress, we're supposed to trust in him and his character....Here's my bone to pick with the media in St. Louis: Why hasn't anyone asked him about this?"

Ed Martin

There's no question that Martin served on the Curia, a board set up by then-Archbishop Justin Rigali. Documents loaded onto the site suggest that the Curia deliberated on matters pertaining to clergy sex abuse cases.

During Martin's tenure in the Curia, the Archdiocese approved a settlement between Fr. Leroy Valentine and the Scorfina family (a case that made national news). The local church paid the family tens of thousands of dollars, with an agreement: They would say nothing about the matter, and Fr. Valentine would be excommunicated.

However, the priest was not excommunicated; he was shuffled to two more parishes.

The website features a video of a tearful John Scorfina, one of the priest's victims, talking about his experience. He never mentions Martin, but the implication is that Martin knew about Scorfina's case and did nothing.

Asked about Scorfina -- and clergy sex abuse in general -- Martin says: "It's not something I remember being discussed [at the Curia]." He adds that the Curia was more like a "Cabinet" and "not a decision-making body." In fact, he says, the meetings were "kind of tedious."

But Martin was indeed friendly with Rigali, wasn't he? Surely they talked about clergy sex abuse informally?

Replies Martin:

We didn't talk about this. This stuff is so serious and kind of difficult. And the wound is so profound. It was not a casual thing. I was friendly with him, and others, but it wasn't something I talked about.

The site says that Martin's wedding announcement in The New York Times conspicuously omits his work for the Archdiocese. "He did that intentionally because he knew it was toxic," William Corwin's site claims.

Martin calls the accusation "a crazy thing to say."

The website itself claims, "This is not a smear campaign against Candidate Ed Martin."

Martin begs to differ, claiming: "What this smear site says is, 'If you're Catholic and you're serving your church, don't run for office because we'll smear you.'"

Translation: The last two weeks of election season have officially begun!


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