Abuse's 'Enablers' Still Rank in Church
Sanctions are unlikely against archdiocesan officials whose actions - or inaction - link them to the clergy scandal.

By Jim Remsen and Kristin E. Holmes
Philadelphia Inquirer
October 14, 2005

[See also the letter to the editor by Sister Maureen Anne Paul Turlish (10/24/05).]

Last month's epic grand jury report on clergy abuse in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia revealed evidence of widespread cover-ups directed by Cardinals John Krol and Anthony Bevilacqua.

Though Krol is dead and Bevilacqua retired, many lesser-known administrators - "enablers" who helped craft the subterfuges or carry them out, according to the grand jury - remain in church posts around the region. Some are pastors. Two are bishops. All remain in good standing, with sanctions against them unlikely.

One is said to have issued instructions to never tell people with abuse complaints that their accusations were believed, according to the report. Today, he is the bishop of Allentown.

Another learned in 2002 that a child-molesting priest had surfaced as a teacher in a local public school, and alerted no one. In 2004, that official was consecrated as an auxiliary bishop of the archdiocese.

A third arranged the transfer of an abuser priest to an outlying area where "his scandalous action may not be known." Today, that now-retired administrator lives in a large parish in Yardley, where he regularly says Mass and gives homilies.

The public uproar over the massive report targeted Krol, Bevilacqua, and, to an extent, Bevilacqua's top lieutenant, Msgr. William Lynn. But the names of other officials run through the report as well, all implicated in a variety of actions or inactions in response to abuse complaints.

Interviews indicate that in many cases, their flocks are still only dimly aware of the grand jury's disclosures about them.

Punishment is unlikely. Restrictive statutes of limitations shield the men from possible criminal charges. And Cardinal Justin Rigali is inclined to absolve them straightaway, archdiocesan spokeswoman Donna Farrell says.

"While aware of human errors and mistakes in judgment of those in administration," Farrell said in a statement, "the Cardinal is focused on moving the Archdiocese forward.

"The priests mentioned, along with other dedicated and faithful priests and lay administrators, are important to the work of healing and looking to the future."

That response drew astonishment from Martin Donahue, 42, of Medford, who was abused by a priest in the archdiocese in the 1970s.

"It's absolutely like something from Mars," he said. "How do you not have sanctions against any of them? If you steal $70, you're defrocked and put in the paper, but if you have clout you get to go on."

The following is a summary on eight of the administrators, with the facts as set forth in the grand jury report.

A mixed record in jury report

Msgr. John J. Jagodzinski
Pastor of St. Katharine of Siena Parish in Wayne.

As Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua's first secretary for clergy, Jagodzinski has a mixed record in the grand jury findings. He met with a victim of the Rev. Nicholas V. Cudemo in 1991 and, finding her credible, recommended that Cudemo be denied a pastorate he was seeking. Bevilacqua overruled him.

Later, Jagodzinski issued internal warnings about the Rev. Peter J. Dunne and another problem priest, the Rev. David E. Walls. But he recommended that Walls be reassigned after treatment. And in a 1992 memo, Jagodzinski noted that Dunne was in regular contact with pupils in his parish school, yet recommended that Dunne remain in place.

Jagodzinski, reached by phone, declined to comment. In a statement in his parish bulletin Oct. 2, he expressed broad concern while not mentioning his role in events.

"When it comes to protecting a child - in school, on the playground, at home - there is no such thing as being too careful," Jagodzinski wrote. "The children are our treasures and, as a parish, we are committed to protecting them from harm and its very hurtful ripple effect."

Krol aide told priest to be silent

Msgr. John W. Graf
Now pastor of Assumption Blessed Virgin Mary Parish in West Grove.

Graf was Cardinal John Krol's assistant chancellor from 1984 to 1989 and sat on the Priest Personnel Board during Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua's tenure. He voiced futile in-house concerns at least twice about the Rev. David Sicoli's suspicious behavior around children, according to the grand jury report. But he also told a fellow priest to "keep your mouth shut" about accusations of abuse, the priest has told The Inquirer.

Graf testified that he told Bevilacqua and the cardinal's top lieutenant, Msgr. William Lynn, about his concerns about Sicoli in 1993. The cardinal said, "He'll get help. He's getting help," according to the report. There is no record that Sicoli got help.

In 1984, during his tenure as assistant chancellor, Graf told the Rev. James Gigliotti to keep quiet about allegations of abuse, Gigliotti told The Inquirer. A counselor at Bishop Egan High School, Gigliotti had told Graf about complaints against a known abuser, the Rev. James Brzyski, and tried to get counseling for two victims. A psychiatrist was consulted, but in a later memo, Graf wrote that "because of the sensitivity of the situation, we would ask [the psychiatrist] to do nothing until we get back to him." No help was given, the report says.

Graf, reached Tuesday, declined to comment on the incidents.

"I feel a real compunction to the confidentiality of everybody involved," he said. "I pray that is not seen as a trying to avoid the issue. It's just that, being involved in so many of those lives, I feel a trust that I can't break."

Warned of a potential 'PR' issue

Bishop Joseph R. Cistone
Now auxiliary bishop and archdiocesan vicar for administration.

The grand jury found that Cistone, as assistant vicar for administration, was complicit in the 1996 silencing of Sister Joan Scary, who was trying to alert parishioners to the Rev. Edward DePaoli's history of abuse. It said Cistone received regular updates, including a final one that "everything is quiet at St. Gabriel parish concerning the situation."

Cistone also wrote an administrative memo in 1998 saying that Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua did not want to meet with a victim of the Rev. Stanley Gana, a repeat abuser. When the victim demanded a meeting, Cistone wrote that such a step might "set a precedent, i.e. for the Cardinal to meet with such individuals."

In response to church therapists' warnings about Gana and their recommendation that he be treated at a residential facility, Cistone wrote to Bevilacqua that "Bishop Cullen and I both feel that this has the potential of becoming a PR concern." Gana left his parish assignment but was allowed to choose his treatment.

In 2002, the report said, Cistone learned that another molester, Raymond O. Leneweaver, had been teaching in two suburban school districts and took no action. The report says that in 2002, Cistone heard from a victim that the Rev. Thomas Smith had made boys strip and pricked some with pins. Smith had acknowledged the behavior, yet Cistone recommended letting him continue to perform parish duties.

In an e-mail last week, Cistone declined to discuss those incidents. "I am deeply aware of the suffering caused to the victims of abuse by some of our priests as well as the pain experienced by Catholics throughout our Archdiocese. I have taken the opportunity to publicly express my sincere, personal sorrow for these abhorrent acts as well as for any mistakes in judgment made by those of us... with responsibility for these matters.

"[I]t would not serve any purpose to revisit the grand jury report and endeavor to recall the rationale for past decisions made in specific cases."


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