Investigator Hired by Archdiocese Had No Experience with Sex Crimes

By Amaris Elliott-Engel
Legal Intelligencer Blog
May 7, 2012

A retired FBI agent hired by the Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia to look into alleged sex abuse by priests testified today that he had no background in investigating allegations of sex crimes and that he did not receive training on investigating possible sexual abuse.

Lawyers for Monsignor William J. Lynn, who is on trial for endangering the welfare of two men who say they were abused by priests as youths, have made the argument that Lynn also did not receive training as the personnel director for priests when he was assigned to look into allegations of abuse by priests.

The church investigator, Jack Rossiter, testified Monday that he believed the man who said Lynn's co-defendant, the Rev. James Brennan, had abused him, even though the accuser had a criminal history. Rossiter said he weighed that factor in his analysis.

Rossiter has since been named in a civil lawsuit brought by the alleged victim, M.B., against church officials, Rossiter testified today. The Legal is not naming the alleged victims.

Rossiter said his firm solicited the archdiocese as well as the archdiocese's counsel, Stradley Ronon Stevens & Young, to be hired for their investigative services after news broke in 2002 of the large scale of abuse by priests in the Archdiocese of Boston.

Rossiter testified that he was hired after a half-hour interview, and he started investigations on behalf of the archdiocese in 2003.

Brennan's counsel, William Brennan, focused much of his cross-examination of Rossiter on whether Rossiter, when looking into M.B.'s allegations in 2006 that he'd been abused by the priest in 1996, had explored if the allegations were motivated by the family's financial difficulties. Rossiter testified that the family was not the subject of his investigation.

Rossiter also testified that James Brennan consistently denied the allegations.


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