What Penn State and the Catholic Church Have In Common - Hiding Sexual Abuse

Attorney Serving Cincinnati, Mason, Hamilton & Nearby Areas in Ohio

                                    Penn State                                                                                                                                                


Penn State's own investigation, the Freeh Report, of  their child abuse scandal (Jerry Sandusky's sexual abuse of children) shows that the cover up went to the highest and most powerful at the University. It found that, "Four of the most powerful people at the Pennsylvania State University President Spanier, Vice- President Schultz, athletic director Timothy Curley, and Head Football Coach Joe Paterno - failed to protct against a child sexual predator harming children for over a decade.

These men concealed Sandusk's activities from the board of trustees, the University community and authorities.' The report went on to state that the concealment was to avoid the consequences of bad publicity. They also gave other reasons for failure to protect the child victims , the very last being, a culture of reverence for the football program that is ingrained at all levels of the campus community.                              

 The Catholic Church                                                                               


According the the Rolling Stone story about the sexual abuse by priests of children in Phildaelphia, "Every Catholic diocese has Secret Archives files – it's mandated by canon law as a repository for complaints against priests so scandalous that they must be kept out of the regular personnel files. Few outsiders know the secret archives exist, and only the most trusted 

In Philadelphia, the sole keyholders were the cardinal and his closest aides." Contained in these files were multiple stories of sex abuse by priests. In many cases the solution was therapy and reassignment, but never reporting to the authorities. Some of the atrocities are unspeakable of multiple clergy taking turns sexually abusing a young boy.

In 2005, the grand jury in Philadelphia released its 418-page report, which stands as the most blistering and comprehensive account ever issued on the church's institutional cover-up of sexual abuse. It named 63 priests who, despite credible accusations of abuse, had been hidden under the direction of Cardinal Bevilacqua and his predecessor, Cardinal Krol.

It also gave numerous examples of  a priest  Bill Lynn covering up crimes at the bidding of his boss. "In its callous, calculating manner, the archdiocese's 'handling' of the abuse scandal was at least as immoral as the abuse itself," the grand jury concluded. Immoral didn't mean illegal, however, and the grand jury found itself unable to recommend any prosecutions, in part because the statute of limitations on all of the abuse cases had run out.

But the nightmare had been revealed, and the Philadelphia faithful recoiled in shock." Fortunately others abused by priests came forward and their cases were within the statute of limitations so prosecutions of some could be undertaken. The word that came up over and over again in these files was scandal. The Church wanted to "prevent scandal." So they swept the abuse under the rug and never reported it to the police.

                          Guilty Verdicts in Both Cases

On June 22, a Philadelphia jury found the Rev. Monsignor William Lynn guilty of one felony count of endangering the welfare of children. His conviction was connected to a victim of former Haverford resident Edward Avery, a priest who was defrocked in 2006 because church officials found allegations of sexual abuse against him credible. He was to be Lynn’s co-defendant but pleaded guilty to abusing an altar boy in 1999 just four days before the trial started March 26. Avery is serving two-and-a-half to five years in prison. Lynn is awaiting sentencing.

Just hours after Lynn was convicted in Philadelphia, Sandusky was found guilty in Pennsylvania of 45 counts of sexual abuse involving 10 boys. The 68-year-old former Penn State defensive coach is awaiting sentencing. Just as the Penn State failure went to the highest levels one has to wonder how high the cover up went in the Catholic Church. No, not really.

The only thing in my mind to wonder about is why the Pope did not do something about it, a long long time ago.  Where have you gone Joe Dimaggio? This is the end of  the innocence.   Sources: For the  Rolling Stone story on Philadelphia priest child sex abuse go to http://www.rollingstone.com/culture/news/the-catholic-churchs-secret-sex-crime-files-20110906 To Read the Freeh Report go to  http://mobilwi.typepad.com/files/freeh.report.pdf   By Anthony Castelli Attorney Cincinnati, Ohio 513-621-2345 www.castellilaw.com