Victims Want Two More Church Grand Juries

Voice from the Desert
February 22, 2011


As parishioners leave mass, clergy sex abuse will hand them fliers urging them to help protect kids. And just beforehand – holding signs and childhood pictures – victims will release ten pages of long-secret internal church memos and records. The documents show a now-retired Philadelphia Cardinal quietly and deceptively transferring a known pedophile priest to unsuspecting parishes in two cities where he later molested again.

Victims will also publicly urge district attorneys in two cities to launch grand jury investigations into cover ups of clergy sex crimes where the now-retired Philadelphia Cardinal worked.

Their fliers urge Catholics to keep seeking out others who saw, suspected or suffered clergy sex crimes and prod them to call police and prosecutors so wrongdoers can be jailed and wrongdoing can be prevented.


TODAY, Tuesday, Feb.22 at 12:15 p.m.


On the sidewalk outside the Cathedral of SS. Peter and Paul, 18th Street & Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Philadelphia


Two-four clergy sex abuse victims who belong to a support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (, including a Chicago woman who was molested as a child and who founded the self help organization


Never-before-released church records show that now-retired Philadelphia Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua, as a high-ranking Brooklyn chancery official, kept quiet about a known predator priest (who "consistently created problems") and helped the priest moved out of state where he molested kids again. (Other records, released earlier, show that Bevilacqua acted recklessly, callously and deceitfully in clergy sex cases as bishop of Pittsburgh too.)

In 1973, a therapist wrote that Fr. Romano J. Ferrraro shouldn't be given "any assignment that would engage (him) intimately with the people and especially with boys or teenagers." In 1977, Bevilacqua was copied on a memo from a priest reporting that Ferraro abused two New York boys. Yet in 1981, Bevilacqua facilitated Ferraro's move to a Missouri parish (where he got treatment at a notorious church center for pedophiles). That same year, Ferraro repeatedly molested an 11 year old St. Louis boy who, years later as an adult years, took his own life. (In recent years, two other Missouri men settled civil suits stemming from their abuse by Ferraro.)

In 1983, records show that Bevilacqua felt putting Ferraro in any Brooklyn parish "presents too much of a risk," but would let Ferraro "take an assignment in the New York Archdiocese." Ferraro was then sent to New Jersey, where he molested two more boys.

Bevilacqua came under fire in 2005 for his similar handling of a Pittsburgh abuse case: The Connor case is one of many cases discussed by the 2005 grand jury report. A summary of the mishandling of abuse cases by Bevilacqua, his predecessor, and their managers, may be found in the report's "Overview of the Cover-Up by Archdiocese Officials":

Two Philadelphia grand juries have shown that a) Bevilacqua acted irresponsibly and b) his successor did too. Given these facts, SNAP is calling on prosecutors in Brooklyn and Pittsburgh to open grand jury investigations into the clergy abuse and cover up scandals there. Even though most crimes by Bevilacqua and his top aides would likely fall outside the statute of limitations, SNAP believes such probes might turn up crimes that could be prosecuted and/or produce helpful reports like the two Philly grand juries have generated.

The new records were obtained by a victim in a civil clergy sex abuse and cover up case involving Ferraro and Bevilacqua, a Brooklyn diocese official (in 1976) before he was tapped to head the Pittsburgh diocese (in 1983). The victim was represented by Miami attorneys Adam Horowitz and Jessica Arbour (305 931 2200,,

According to a new article in a Catholic magazine, in 2002, Bevilacqua tried to 'water down' the US bishops' abuse policy "so that bishops would have to contact civil authorities only in response to allegations of sexual abuse deemed 'credible' by each bishop."

CONTACT –Barbara Blaine (312-399-4747),, David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell,


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