Subscribe to SIAWI content updates by Email
Home > fundamentalism / shrinking secular space > United States, Catholic Church, priests abuses

United States, Catholic Church, priests abuses

A compilation of press reports

Monday 27 August 2018, by siawi3

Source: http://www.europe-solidaire.org/spip.php?article45747

United States, Catholic Church – Horrors outlined in Pennsylvania priest abuse report
Priests used gold crosses to ID kids as abuse targets and other horrors

Friday 17 August 2018,

by ARGENTO Mike, MACHCINSKI Anthony J., RULAND Sam, WOODALL Candy

°°

A two-year investigation of sexual abuse of children within six Catholic diocese came to a head on Tuesday, with the release of a report that details decades of abuse, and names 301 priests.

Even in a list filled with hundreds of shocking accusations, several stick out as particularly horrific or extreme cases of leadership turning their heads away from situations.

Here are some examples of these over-the-top cases. A warning, some of the information listed below is extremely graphic.

A ’ring of predatory priests’

During the course of the grand jury investigation, it uncovered a ’ring of predatory priests’ within the Diocese of Pittsburgh who “shared intelligence” regarding victims, exchanged the victims amongs themselves and manufactured child pornography. The group included George Zirwas, Francis Pucci, Robert Wolk and Richard Zula, and they used whips, violence and sadism in raping their victims.

One victim, who is identified as “George,” was made to get up on a bed. As the priests watched, they asked George to remove his shirt. Drawing on the image of Christ on the cross, they asked George to remove his pants. The priests began taking Polaroid pictures of him.

George said the photos were added to a collection of similar photographs depicting other teenage boys.

The priests, George testified, had a group of favored boys who they would take on trips and give gifts.

“He (Zirwas) had told me they, the priests, would give their boys, their altar boys or their favorite boys these crosses,” George testified. “So he gave me a big gold cross to wear.”

In the report, the grand jury said, the crosses “were a designation that these children were victims of sexual abuse. They were a signal to other predators that the children had been desensitized to sexual abuse and were optimal targets for further victimization.”

’A touchy/feely time’

In 2003, a woman notified the Diocese of Harrisburg that she was touched sensually by Rev. George Koychick while at St. Patrick’s in York. A report in Koychick’s Diocesan files revealed that when asked if there was any truth to the allegations, he said, “Yes, it was when I was going through a touchy/feely time in my life.”

In the file, Koychick admits to sensually rubbing multiple young girls, and said he had an attraction to them.

“This is a test of ones faith,” he said in the document. “I have lived in fear for years wondering if anyone would come forward with an allegation.”

Over the years, multiple allegations were rendered against Koychick before he retired. Read more details on those here.

’Highly imaginative minds of pubescent girls’

In October 1965, the Diocese of Harrisburg received a phone call that Rev. Charles Procopio had molested multiple girls in the seventh and eighth grade. The person who made the call said the girls told the principal of the school – Sacred Heart of Jesus in Harrisburg – but nothing happened in response.

The actions include “immodest touches” and making motions simulating intercourse while his body was pressed against a girl.

The diocese sent a memorandum in return, noting that Propocio’s touches were “manifestations of his effusive nature, imprudent but pure on his part.”

He also wrote that the actions were “distorted interpretation in the highly imaginative minds of pubescent girls.”

The diocese allowed Procopio to stay in ministry.

Sexual abuse to daughters and a granddaughter

Multiple diocesan memorandums in September 1994 advised that a family living in Florida, formerly of Lancaster, made sexual molestation allegations against Rev. Guido Miguel Quiroz Reyes, OFM, who had served at the Hispanic Center in Lancaster.

When the family moved to Florida in 1980, they asked Reyes if he wanted to live with them. He did so from 1980 to 1993.

In 1993, the family confronted him, alleging that he sexually abused two girls in the family in the 1970s when they were minors and living in Lancaster. They said the abuse continued when they moved to Florida.

It was also believed he sexually abused a minor granddaughter.

The report does not give details about when the family learned of the abuse.

‘You are a demon-child’

In 2004, a woman reported to the Diocese of Harrisburg that she was abused by Rev. Timothy Sperber in 1979. The victim said she was between 9 and 10 years old, and a student at St. Joan of Arc in Hershey. The girl was not doing well in math, and was sent to Sperber to tutor her.

While meeting with Sperber, he rubbed her hand, had her remove her shirt and fondled her breasts. When her back was to him, he touched her with things believed to be his finger or penis, and she believed he ejaculated on her back. According to the report, “she remembered having to sit all day at school with the stickiness of something on her back.”

When the new school year began, and she didn’t improve her math, she was sent to Sperber again. The victim told the principal that he touched her in weird ways. The principal became angry, scolded the child and said “How dare you make these terrible accusations? You are a demon-child.”

When the victim tried to talk to her mother, she replied, “We’re not going to talk about this. I don’t want anyone thinking that this was our fault.”

Multiple accounts of getting victims pregnant

Throughout the report, there are at least three instances of priests fathering a child with a victim.

• Rev. Salvatore Zangari admitted in 1986 while at St. Luke Institute for evaluation after multiple allegations, Zangari told officials that he was “literally married” for eight or nine years and had fathered a child.

• On Aug. 29, 1988, Bishop James Timlin received a letter from the sister of a high school girl who said Rev. Robert J. Brague had sexual relations with her 17-year-old sister, who became pregnant. Timlin responded days later with a letter saying Brague was removed from office, and to keep things under wraps to not cause further scandal. “What has happened is their responsibility.”

• In 1964, 1965 and 1966, the Diocese of Scranton received letters that Father Joseph D. Flannery had affairs with women, dated a young girl and got her pregnant. The letters were received from a member of the clergy, a parishioner and the mother of the young girl. Nothing was found in the file reflecting an investigation or questioning the priest.

Sex for pay

An allegation was made in 1991 that Father James Armstrong of the Diocese of Pittsburgh gave homeless boys from Pittsburgh drugs, alcohol and money in exchange for sex.

One victim reported he was abused by multiple priests in the course of his life.

The man said that his father was a heroin addict, and his mother a prostitute, and ran away from home at about 14 or 15. In the winter of 1985-1986, the victim said Armstrong would drive him and a “hustler” to a back road and had them do “various violent sex acts like calling him degrading things while he gave them oral sex.” This lasted for a couple of years.

Anthony J. Machcinski

• York Daily Record, 8:07 p.m. UTC Aug 15, 2018:
https://eu.ydr.com/story/news/2018/08/15/pa-grand-jury-report-catholic-priest-abuse-most-shocking-cases-clergy-sexual-abuse/995904002/

https://eu.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2018/08/15/pennslyvania-grand-jury-report-catholic-priest-abuse-most-shocking-cases/999523002/

°°

Lies and cover-ups: Catholic church in Pa. had ’playbook’ to keep priest abuse secret

On July 17, 1990, Father Thomas Smith wrote to his bishop, Donald Trautman, thanking him for meeting with him and expressing appreciation for the bishop’s faith in him and his quest to return to the active ministry.

At the time, Smith, who had served at a number of churches in the Erie diocese in northwestern Pennsylvania, was on leave of absence, his third such leave since being ordained as a Catholic priest in 1967.

His absences were termed, in diocese records, as “health leaves.”

The reality of the matter is each of the leaves occurred after the church received reports that Smith had raped children, the diocese responding to the reports by sending Smith to a church-run treatment facility, according to this week’s Pennsylvania grand jury report on the Catholic child sex scandal.

While in treatment, Smith told counselors he had raped 15 young boys, some as young as 7, threatening them with violence if they told and invoking the name of God to justify his actions.

He had first been treated in 1984, and then again in 1986 and 1987. Counselors at the treatment facility reported to the diocese that Smith had a “’driven, compulsive and long-standing’ obsession with sexually assaulting children,” according to the grand jury report. The counselors noted that Smith had continued to rape children even after his first stint in treatment.

Smith was in treatment again when he met with Trautman and expressed his desire to return to a parish. In a letter, previously, he had described his “gifts and accomplishments” in “working with young people,” the report noted.

Trautman wrote in a memo that he was impressed by Smith’s “candor and sincerity” and suggested he would wait another year and a half before considering a new assignment for the priest.

In his note to Trautman, Smith expressed relief.

“So why did I worry?” he wrote.

Why indeed.

Smith returned to the ministry and became active in a program called “Isaiah 43.”

“Isaiah 43” is a ministry for Catholic children.

Yes, why did he worry?

The church had his back.

It is a common tale. The grand jury report contains numerous stories about priests accused of committing terrible crimes against children, repeatedly protected from the consequences of their actions by the church.

Some priests, when an allegation was raised at one church, were simply transferred to other parishes. In other cases, instead of reporting abuse to law enforcement, the church sent priests for psychiatric treatment at church-run facilities. In yet other cases, the church attempted to discredit victims or blame victims for the crimes committed against them.

The grand jury found 301 priests who had committed such crimes and more than 1,000 victims, noting that there were certainly more, numbers that raise the question: How did the church keep such widespread criminal activity quiet for so many decades?

Keeping the lid on child abuse

If you consider the culture of the church – a culture of secrecy and deception embedded in its history – it’s not surprising that it was able to keep a lid on widespread child abuse, said Kristen Houser, chief public affairs officer with the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape.

In that way, what the Catholic church has done is not that much different than how Penn State responded to charges that former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky had molested and raped numerous children.

“The initial impulse is to protect the institution, whether that institution is a church or a university or a football program,” Houser said.

There is an element of authority in both cases, that parishioners have absolute faith and trust in the leadership of the church, just as Penn State football fans had absolute loyalty and trust in Joe Paterno and the university’s leadership. In the case of the church, though, you’re dealing with men who are God’s representatives on earth, Houser said. To question them is to question God.

As state Attorney General Josh Shapiro said at a news conference, “We saw Catholic priests weaponizing their faith, using their faith as a tool of the abuse, and all the while the bishops, the monsignors, the cardinals covered it up.”

The grand jury report described the church’s massive coverup of these crimes, and while each case differed slightly in the details, they all contained similar elements, “as if there was a script.”

“While each church district had its idiosyncrasies,” the grand jury reported, “the pattern was pretty much the same. The main thing was not to help children, but to avoid ‘scandal.’ That is not our word, but theirs.”

Playbook for concealment

The FBI’s National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime – the division within the bureau that provides profiles of violent criminals, among other things – reviewed much of the evidence received by the grand jury and concluded that its analysis of the material revealed something akin to “a playbook for concealing the truth.”

First, they reported, the church employed euphemisms for sexual assault, referring to the crime not as rape, but as “inappropriate contact” or “boundary issues.” In one case, the grand jury reported, a priest’s repeated and violent sexual assaults of children were referred to as “his difficulties.”

Then, the church did not conduct genuine investigations, often limited to just asking suspected abusers a few questions and accepting what they said as gospel.

And if a priest had to be removed from his church, they were directed to announce it as “sick leave,” or to not say anything at all. For appearance sake, they were to send the priest for “evaluation” at a church-run psychiatric facility that, more often than not, concluded that the offender was not a pedophile and could return to ministering the faithful.

If it became known in the community that a priest was a “problem,” they were to transfer him to another parish where nobody knew he was a child molester. That happened frequently, the grand jury reported. One priest was transferred from Allentown to New Mexico and west Texas after accusations of abuse came to light. He was later arrested in Briscoe County, Texas, for molesting a boy, one of his numerous victims he found in his new location.

And, finally, church officials were told: don’t call the cops. “Handle it like a personnel matter, ‘in house,’” the grand jury reported.

There were several instances reported by the grand jury in which sexual abuse was reported to local police or prosecutors by victims or their parents. Few of those cases wound up being prosecuted.

In one case, a police officer wrote a letter to the church, suggesting that it do something about a certain priest before there was violence. In another, former Beaver County District Attorney Robert Masters wrote a letter to the bishop for Pittsburgh’s diocese to report that he would not be investigating accusations against a priest “in order to prevent unfavorable publicity.”

And when all else fails, lie.

In the case of Smith, he did have something to worry about.

After the Boston Globe’s groundbreaking reports on the abuse scandal were published in 2002, the families of some of Smith’s victims sued him and the church, making the accusations that Smith had raped children and that the church helped cover it up.

On March 15, 2002, in response to a query from the press, the bishop said, “We have no priest or deacon or layperson that I know of that has, in any way, a pedophile background.”

In November 2004, responding to public pressure, Trautman wrote to the Vatican to ask that Smith be removed from the priesthood, which the Vatican did in 2006.

The announcement of Smith’s removal from the priesthood was simple.

“Dismissed from the clerical state on June 10, 2006 by Pope Benedict XVI,” it said. “Nothing else need be noted.”

Mike Argento

• York Daily Record, Published 8:32 p.m. UTC Aug 17, 2018:
https://eu.ydr.com/story/news/watchdog/2018/08/16/pa-priest-abuse-how-catholic-church-covered-up-widespread-clergy-abuse-grand-jury-report-ag/1002107002/

°°

’Go home, be a good priest’: How 25 bishops in Pa. Catholic dioceses responded to sex abuse

In January 2004, a Pennsylvania bishop sent a letter to Pope John Paul II to tell him that an Allentown priest had an inappropriate relationship with a 16-year-old boy in 1979.

Bishop Edward Cullen noted the priest admitted the abuse in 2000. He was sending the letter to the Vatican four years later because the victim’s family was threatening to go to the media if the Rev. Robert Cofenas was not defrocked.

“Currently there is great danger that this case could become public,” Cullen said in his letter to the pope, according to a Pennsylvania grand jury report released Tuesday.

Cullen recommended Cofenas be removed from the priesthood, following the wishes of the victim’s family.

The bishop’s actions were common throughout dioceses in Pennsylvania, according to the grand jury report. When bishops were confronted with victims’ stories of abuse or priests’ admission of guilt, diocese leaders worked to conceal the truth.

“Priests were raping little boys and girls, and the men of God who were responsible for them not only did nothing; they hid it all," the grand jury wrote in its report after a two-year investigation.

Child sex abuse was hidden for years by Roman Catholic church leaders. The coverup went all the way to the Vatican and included secret files in Pennsylvania dioceses, where state investigators found a log of abuses that dated back decades, according to the report.

Bishops, monsignors and priests often told grieving victims and families that nothing could be done because the statue of limitations had expired, meaning predator priests couldn’t be charged for their crimes.

Others tried to keep families from going public, sometimes blaming the victim.

When a boy was raped, one church leader told his father, “After all, your son was over the age of reason.”

In Catholic teaching, the age of reason is 7 years old, which is the age when children can receive their first holy communion.

The list below shows how 25 church leaders responded when confronted with stories of alleged abuse, according to the grand jury report and diocese records.

Diocese of Allentown

The Rev. David Connell, the Rev. Tim Johnson, Jim Gross, a former basketball coach:

When a victim told Johnson he was abused by Connell and Gross, Johnson told the victim not to report the abuse to police. The victim insisted on reporting, and Johnson severely beat the victim with a big leather belt and told the victim if he reported the abuse to the police, he would beat him even worse.

Monsignor Gerald Gobitas upon learning of the Rev. Joseph Kean’s abuse:

In October 2005, the parents of a fifth victim reported to Gobitas that their son had been sexually abused by Kean. Gobitas in a diocese report described the sex abuse as “the activity” and characterized it as Kean engaging in “immature behavior,” such as “wrestling, chasing each other, tying each other up with rope, etc. In the midst of this behavior there were sexual assaults.”

Monsignor Alfred Schlert in reference to the Rev. Dennis Rigney’s abuse:

After Rigney admitted he abused children, Schlert said in a letter to Monsignor Gobitas that Rigney was apprehensive about receiving therapy at a “special retreat” he was encouraged to attend by the diocese. “He retired without scandal, if he goes to the retreat with the other ’known’ offenders, it will implicate him,” Schlert said.

The diocese upon learning of the Rev. Gerald Royer’s abuse:

A victim in 2002 told a priest Royer had abused him. During a meeting with a priest in the diocese, the priest acknowledged that Royer was a “bad actor,” stating that the priest had counseled Royer. The priest offered no other advice for the victim and did not report the crime to authorities.

The diocese in reference to the Rev. Charles Ruffenach’s case:

In August 2001, an adult victim reported Ruffenach had physically and sexually abused him. The abuse began in 1945 when the victim was in first grade and continued through eighth grade. He said Ruffenach beat, paddled and sexually abused him when he attended St. John the Baptist school.

The diocese responded by stating that Ruffenach was deceased and therefore it could not pursue the victim’s claims any further, but offered the victim counseling.

The diocese in response to Father Stephen Shigo’s case:

In February 2012, a victim said he was sexually abused by Shigo while he was an altar boy in eighth and ninth grades. The diocese responded by offering six months of counseling.

Monsignor Anthony Muntone upon learning of the Rev. David Soderlund’s case:

After learning of Soderlund’s history of sex abuse, Muntone said if Soderlund lived at the rectory at Sacred Heart and “the hospital held him more accountable for his time, there shouldn’t be any problems.”

Diocese of Erie

The Diocese in reference to the Rev. Michael G. Barletta’s case:

A fellow priest, Father John Fischer, walked in on Barletta sexually abusing a young high school student. The priest did not call the police.

Instead, the incident was reported to Bishop Alfred Watson two months later, after Monsignor William Hastings dismissed Fischer’s report of Barletta and the naked child. Both Hastings and Watson brushed him off and told him to, “Go home, be a good priest.”

In 1993, Monsignor Andrew Karg received a complaint from five fellow priests expressing serious concerns about Barletta. On April 29, 1993, Karg wrote to Bishop Donald Trautman about fears Barletta could be “crossing the line” into the private lives of the students at Erie Prep. He said Barletta was known to take pictures inside the boys’ locker room of “the kids’ crotch area” and that Barletta maintains a book of “crotch shots” in his residence.

Priests also questioned Barletta’s personal vacations with the “good looking boys” and his trips to San Francisco with students. In another bullet point, Karg said, “Father Dollinger’s fear is that if the Catholic Preparatory school ever had a law suit about a pedophile, will the 18 years of Father Barletta also come to light?”

The diocese in response to the Father Richard D. Lynch’s abuse:

A victim came forward and said Father Richard Lynch touched him inappropriately while he was a senior in high school in 1978. Lynch touched him in a private area, and pushed him against the wall.

In an undated official document from the Office of the Bishop, the writer states, “There are psychological issues present in [the victim]. He receives money from Social Security because of DISABILITY…he usually calms down as you talk to him.”

The diocese in response to the Rev. Salvatore P. Luzzi’s abuse:

After several years teaching at Venango Christian High School, the Rev. Salvatore P. Luzzi was moved to St. Mark’s Seminary, where he filled several roles. Over the course of his 30-year ministry, he was accused of sexual misconduct by eight male victims ranging in age from early teens to early 20s.

The grand jury report states that several former juvenile victims of Luzzi received phone calls or letters of apology from the Diocese, where Luzzi’s behavior was dismissed as “Sal’s way of expressing himself,” and his “touching approach” to ministry was attributed to his “Italian upbringing.”

Director of Clergy Personnel regarding Father Gary L. Ketcham’s case:

Some time prior to March 1989, allegations of sexual misconduct by Father Gary L. Ketcham became known by the Diocese of Erie. He was accused of molesting two boys while in a drunken state.

Diocesan preparation for Ketcham’s court case started later that year. The diocese loaned him money for attorney fees. In a promissory note to Ketcham from the diocese— in which they pledged to front him $25,000 for lawyer fees — the director of clergy personnel wrote, “Don’t worry…you’re good for it.”

Father John Fischer’s response to the Rev. Joseph W. Jerge:

The Diocese of Erie was first made aware of sexual abuse allegations against Joseph W. Jerge in early 1989. On April 19, 1989, he was sent to St. Luke’s Institute for sexual psychological therapy. He was placed back into ministry at St. John the Evangelist, but given restrictions and told to avoid contact with young boys. At that time, Father Fischer wrote several letters to the administration at St. Luke’s voicing his concerns that Jerge was failing in his efforts to stay away from the youth of the diocese. Fischer reported that Jerge had admittedly offended numerous children and was coaching youth basketball, hearing confessions, and ministering at a parish that had a swimming pool.

Fischer went on to write that he felt that this swimming pool “will only nourish the sickness.”

Bishop Donald Trautman’s response upon learning of Monsignor James P. Hopkins’ abuse:

On Aug.3, 1993, a victim wrote a letter to Bishop Trautman at the Diocese of Erie. She stated in the letter that in 1945, when she was 13 years of age, she experienced abuse at the hands of Monsignor Hopkins in the rectory of St. Titus. Whenever anyone would voice concern over Hopkins’ behavior, she would always hear the conduct dismissed by others as, “Oh well, he’s old, he doesn’t mean anything by it.”

Trautman responded to the victim saying, “Since Monsignor Hopkins died in July of 1957, there is no possible way to investigate your accusation.”

Diocese of Greensburg

Bishop Anthony Bosco upon learning of Father Joseph L. Sredzinski’s abuse:

Reports were made against Sredzinski in 1991 when a police office caught him parked in a cemetery alone with a young boy. The grand jury report also notes that numerous community members came forward expressing concern over Sredzinski’s behavior.

On Jan. 14, 1994, Bishop Anthony Bosco of the Greensburg Diocese wrote a letter to Sredzinski’ s sister in response to her concerns that her brother was not being treated properly by the diocese.

Bosco wrote to her: “At no time did we conduct an investigation with any of the families precisely because we did not want to agitate the waters any more.”

More: News of the day in PA priest abuse: Vatican speaks, name change sought for Pittsburgh school

Diocese of Harrisburg

Bishop Kevin C. Rhodes’ response to the Rev. Francis A. Bach’s case:

In a letter dated May 1, 2007, Bishop Kevin C. Rhodes sent a summary of Bach’s sexually abusive behavior to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Rhodes wrote that he did not believe there was a need for any trial or process, judicial or administrative.

Bach was living his life in “basic solitude, doing good when he can,” and “spending time in prayer and penance, trying to make reparation for the harm he has caused others through his acts of sexual abuse that occurred early in his priesthood.”

Father Robert Gribbin’s response upon learning of the Rev. Anthony McGinley’s abuse:

The diocesan file for Father McGinley contained a handwritten memorandum, dated November of 1953, by Father Robert Gribbin, who was stationed at Lebanon Catholic High School. Three high school boys reported that McGinley made “immoral advances” toward them.

Gribbin asked the boys “if they realized the terrible gravity of these charges.” He asked if they “were so convinced of them, would they testify under oath to their truth.” The boys notified Gribbin that two senior boys knew of the “immoral advances.” Gribbin “warned them to be absolutely silent and dismissed them.”

Principal of Saint Joan of Arc school in Hershey upon learning of the Rev. Timothy Sperber’s abuse:

The Diocese of Harrisburg received a report in 2004 from a female alleging that a priest sexually abused her around 1979 when she was around 10 years old.

The victim told the principal that Sperber touched her in weird ways, and the principal became angry with the victim and said: “How dare you make these terrible accusations. You are a demon-child."

Diocese of Pittsburgh

Father James W. Donlon in reference to the Rev. John P. Connor’s case:

Records obtained by subpoena from the Diocese of Pittsburgh, show that in October of 1984, Father John P. Connor was arrested in New Jersey for sexually molesting a 14-year-old child.

An excerpt from the grand jury report reads: Archbishop Anthony Bevilacqua (who was promoted to cardinal) and the Philadelphia Archdiocese accepted this dangerous priest readily but did nothing to ensure the propriety of his future conduct. Father James W. Donlon, the pastor of St. Matthew Church since March 1989, testified to the grand jury that Bevilacqua never told him about Father Connor’s arrest or that he had been treated at Southdown for abusing alcohol and a 14 -year-old boy.

Donlon explained to the grand jury that he “would have been more careful about everything.”

Father John Markell upon learning of Father Richard J. Dorsch’s abuse:

The mother of one of Dorsch’s victims learned of the abuse to her son when Dorsch was arrested between 1994 and 1995. She stated that once she became aware of the abuse, she approached Father Markell, the parochial vicar assigned at the time with Dorsch at the parish.

Markell discouraged her from pursuing the matter any further and asked her son, “What did you do?”— as if implying he was responsible for, or encouraged, Dorsch’s sexual misconduct.

Then-Archbishop Anthony Bevilacqua in reference to the Rev. Joseph D. Karabin’s case:

In March 1980, the Diocese of Pittsburgh received a report from a victim who was sexually abused by Father Joseph D. Karabin while Karabin was assigned to St. Joan of Arc.

Handwritten notes by Bishop Bevilacqua on one of the memorandums in Karabin’s file stated, among other things, “I do not feel Father Karabin should be given another immediate assignment after leaving his present one. There should be some sign to him that what he did was very grave.”

Father Norman E. Bevan’s in reference to the Rev. Robert E. Spangenberg’s case:

The documents provided by the Diocese of Pittsburgh revealed that Spangenberg was involved with at least two children, possibly more.

The diocese was first notified of Spangenberg’s ministry in 1988 when a mother contacted the diocese on behalf of her son. Father Norman E. Bevan was assisting the family in counseling. In a letter to the diocese, Bevan wrote: “If we felt them to be true, we would recognize our responsibility to remove Father X from ministry and to insist on therapeutic rehabilitation. At the same time, we realize that a priest’s reputation could be irreparably damaged by false accusations.”

Father James Ruggiero upon learning of Father Paul G. Spisak’s abuse:

In October 1998, parish staff from St. Dominic reported Father Paul G. Spisak to the Diocese of Pittsburgh. Parish staff had found pornographic magazines, tapes and internet material in Spisak’s room that depicted homosexual and sadomasochistic activity. There were also several pictures of Spisak with two different underage boys including pictures of the boys showing their buttocks and pictures of Spisak pulling down his swim trunks and pulling down the boy’s pants.

An employee of the diocese was concerned with the relationship Spisak had with her son and reported her concerns to the diocese. In a letter dated April 23, 1999, Father Ruggiero wrote to the diocesan employee’s son and requested to meet with him to discuss disturbing information that his mother had provided to the church.

Ruggiero wrote in the letter, “I am sure revisiting these painful memories is not easy for you…I can only imagine how difficult it must have been to discuss this with your mother.”

Diocese of Scranton

Bishop James Timlin upon learning of the Rev. Robert J. Brague’s case:

On June 16, 1988, that same anonymous parishioner sent a second letter to Timlin, advising that the relationship between Brague and a teenage female was still continuing even after being reported. The parishioner stated that Timlin had disregarded the previous letter and further suggested that he did not have very much control over his priests.

On Aug. 29, 1988, Timlin received a letter from the sister of the high school female. She said Brague had had sexual relations with her sister at age 17 and became pregnant. She further advised that Brague had at least two other affairs.

Timlin responded to the letter by stating that as soon as the matter was brought to his attention, Brague was removed from office. Timlin noted that it was better to say as little as possible about the circumstances surrounding his removal rather than cause greater scandal through undue publicity.

In the letter, he further noted that, “Father Brague and your sister have a long, difficult road ahead. . . What has happened is their responsibility and certainly Father Brague will take care of his obligations.”

Bishop J. Carroll McCormick in reference to the Rev. Joseph Bucolo’s case:

On Jan. 4, 1971, Bishop McCormick was notified that the parents of a 10-year-old boy had reported that during the previous summer, Father Bucolo took their son on a two-day vacation to the New Jersey shore area. They advised that during this trip, Bucolo committed acts with their son that were “unbecoming a catholic priest.”

In a memorandum on the file, McCormick noted: “Father Bucolo called to see me this afternoon at my direction. He readily admitted the charge, insisting that once and once only did he commit an immoral act with the individual mentioned above - while on vacation last summer. He stated he had never before or since become involved in that way and said he was very sorry. He claimed that it was in a moment of weakness it had occurred.”

Monsignor Joseph A. Madden upon learning of the Rev. James M. McAuliffe’s abuse:

In 2010, a victim of McAuliffe met with Bishop Joseph Bambera to address concerns that even after reporting his abuse in 1963, McAuliffe continued to serve as a priest.

McAuliffe’s file contained information regarding this report and others. The file also showed that one monsignor in the parish at the time of the abuse, Madden, had written a letter to the parents of the abused in 1963.

Madden made the following remark to the father of the victim, “after all, your son was over the age of reason.”

Sam Ruland and Candy Woodall

• York Daily Record, Published 7:21 p.m. UTC Aug 17, 2018:
https://eu.ydr.com/story/news/2018/08/17/pennsylvania-priest-abuse-go-home-good-priest-how-pa-bishops-responded-sex-abuse-grand-jury-report/1009688002/