Philadelphia Archbishop Cardinal Justin Rigali has suspended three priests, with a total of 37 members of the clergy being investigated after a civil lawsuit alleges the archdiocese endangered the lives of children by protecting child molesters. The irony? Cardinal Rigali, along with his predecessor Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua, are named as defendants.
Among the seven people and three institutions named in the lawsuit filed in Common Pleas Court in Philadelphia were the current Archbishop Cardinal Justin Rigali, his predecessor Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua, Monsignor William Lynn, the Rev. Richard Cochrane and Martin Satchell, who has left the priesthood. “John Doe 10,” an anonymous 28-year-old man who allegedly suffered two periods of abuse by clergymen, filed the lawsuit and is seeking more than $50,000, which would trigger a jury trial. The victim alleges that as a young Catholic school student he was abused during second or third grade and again during his high school freshman year, when he sought counseling about the earlier abuse. The lawsuit names Satchell and Cochrane as his abusers.
The lawsuit accuses the Archdiocese, the sixth largest in the United States with 1.5 million Catholics, of implementing “programs and procedures that were misrepresented to the public as providing help to victims of childhood sexual abuse by clergy, but were instead maliciously used to develop information to protect the Archdiocese.”
So what does Rigali have to say? “Sexual abuse of children is a crime. It is always wrong and gravely evil. The grand jury report makes clear that for as much as the archdiocese has done to address child sexual abuse, there is still much to do.” Like, um, fire yourself?
This news, of course, follows last week’s charges filed against three local priests and a Catholic school teacher, accused of raping young boys over a decade ago. So how about, for starters, we fire these men? (Pictured L-R from top: Edward Avery, James Brennan, Charles Engelhardt, William Lynn and Bernard Shero, via)