on 8 March 2002, Anthony J.
O’Connell admitted publicly
that he is a child molester.
The method that you and
others used to shield the
disgraced bishop of Palm
Beach and former rector
of St. Thomas Aquinas
Seminary is another link
in the long-established
criminal conspiracy to
victimize the vulnerable.
The evidence glistens in the sunlight that you and your accomplices live
your lives between the lines of law and custom: a display of empty cassocks
with no inner core of conviction. For example, Timothy M. Cardinal Dolan,
as archbishop of Milwaukee, Wisc., paid thousands of dollars in “hush money”
to a serial predator priest — the Rev. Franklyn W. Becker — in exchange for
Becker’s cooperation with the laicization process. Dolan let Becker move
quietly into an unsuspecting small community where he’s been getting
Consequently, whether in St. Louis, Milwaukee, or New York, it is appropriate to note Benedict XVI’s reconfiguration of the College of Cardinals with Dolan as we complete our updated commentary, published originally 29 March 2009 at Come to the Stable/The Stephen Spalding Foundation. And we would like to remind you that the first chairman of the Committee for the Protection of Children and Young People, a former prosecutor, offered this public evaluation of the American hierarchy:
I think, is very unhealthy. Eventually it will all
come out. . . . To resist grand jury subpoenas,
to suppress the names of offending clerics, to deny,
to obfuscate, to explain away; that is the model of
a criminal organization. . . . I make no apology.”
― Gov. Frank Keating
USCCB National Review Board
that he paid a man $450,000 (est.) during the course of a long-term relationship. Weakland claimed he never accessed archdiocesan funds for these cash transaction, citing his music royalties; but a forensic audit proved otherwise. Weakland resigned in disgrace in 2001.
Bishop Robert N. Lynch of St. Petersburg, Fla., and Bishop Robert H. Brom
of San Diego, Calif., each have paid out $100,000 to men in exchange for sex (Brom is a member of USCCB Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life, and Vocations). Neither man has had the good grace to relinquish his office.
In addition, Bishop Howard J. Hubbard of Albany, N.Y., purchased his innocence by paying the New York law firm of Debevoise and Plimpton $2 million to explain away two allegations (the principle attorney investigating the case charges
$770 an hour). In 2004, Bishop Thomas L. Dupre resigned as bishop of Springfield, Mass., as a result of his actions being disclosed to the public
(Dupre resigned in September 2004 after he was indicted by a Hamilton
County grand jury on two counts of child rape; Hamilton District Attorney
William Bennet did not prosecute the case because the statute of limitations
had expired and he allow Dupre to be hospitalized at St. Luke's Institute in
Silver Springs, Md., a private psychiatric facility operated by the church to
“treat” pedophile priests).
G. Patrick Ziemann, the former bishop of Santa Rosa, Calif., embezzled
hundreds of thousands of dollars for trysts and left the diocese with a
$16 million deficit. In addition, the diocese of Santa Rosa agreed to pay
$535,000 to the Rev. Jorge Hume Salas, who claimed that Ziemann forced
him into sexual slavery in exchange for covering up the priest's 1996 theft
of church funds from St. Mary of the Angels in Ukiah. Ziemann resigned in
1999 only after Salas filed suit. Ziemann died 22 October 2009.
The list is further extended to the following:
In 2010, Tod D. Brown,
retired as bishop of Orange
County, Ca., after settling 90
childhood sexual molestation
cases and paying $100 million
in restitution to the victims
of pedophile priests.
molestation involving the bishop of Orange,
Calif. (retired), was made public in 2007.
According to the report, Brown molested
a 12-year-old boy in 1965. Brown denied
the allegation. A church-appointed
commission exonerated Brown. Launching
a public relations campaign, Brown issued
what he called his “Covenant with the Faithful,”
promising to support the victims of pedophile
priests. Instead, he reverted to secrecy until
he was forced to settle 90 cases that tallied
$100 million in restitution.
Louis E. Gelineau: In 1997, the bishop of Providence, R.I. (retired) was implicated in
the 1951 molestation and attempted murder
of young boy living at St. Joseph’s Orphanage,
Burlington, Vt. According to the allegation, the boy fled Gelineau,
who was working as a religious brother at the orphanage, attempted
to drown the youngster. The history St. Joseph's Orphanage is replete
with documented cases of physical and sexual abuse. In a 1997 deposition, Gelineau stated that he remembered the boy at the orphanage as well as denying sexual contact with an altar boy in 1993.
Bishop Joseph H. Hart
Cheyenne, Wyo. (ret.)
in the early 1970’s when he worked as a priest in Kansas City, Mo. These allegations were reported to the Kansas City diocese in 1989
and 1992. A third allegation pertaining to Hart’s tenure as auxiliary bishop of Cheyenne (1976-1978) was deemed not credible by a church-appointed investigative committee.
In 2004, three civil suits were filed, alleging Hart molested three young boys. One suit
noted that Hart used out-of-state trips with
one of the boys for purpose of multiple instances of sexual molestation, including bringing the boy back to Kansas City for
sexual purposes while he was bishop
George E. Rueger: The auxiliary bishop of Worcester, Mass. (retired),
was sued in 2002, alleging that he molested a teenage boy in the 1960's.
The plaintiff dropped the suit in 2003 and a church-appointed commission found no proof.
Daniel L. Ryan: In 1999, the bishop of Springfield, Ill. (retired), was implicated in a child molestation case involving at 15-year-old boy.
The bishop also is alleged to have maintained an active sex life, engaging
in relations with other men. Ryan’s successor is George J. Lucas, who
was rector of Kenrick Seminary in St. Louis, and now is archbishop of Omaha, Neb.
William S. Skylstad: The bishop of Spokane, Wash. (retired), denies the 2005 allegation that he molested an 18-year-old multiple times between 1961 and 1964. Skylstad, then president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops denied the allegations.
J. Kendrick Williams
Bishop of Lexington (ret.)
USCCB: A Club for Gentlemen of the
Cloth or Just Ecclesiastical Pariahs
Sadly, the United States Conference of
Catholic Bishops still considers these men
as respectable gentlemen-of-the-cloth when, in fact, they are really pariah status prelates rather than role models for Roman Catholics to emulate.
Anyone making a quick perusal of the USCCB website will find some of the most notorious child molesters and sexual predators working for the Catholic Church today are included as Members in Good Standing. Their names are prominently displayed: Anthony J. O’Connell, bishop of Palm Beach; J. Keith Symons former Bishop of Palm Beach; Lawrence D. Soens, former bishop of Sioux City, Iowa; Robert H. Brom, bishop of San Diego; Robert N. Lynch, bishop of St. Petersburg, Fla.; Thomas L. Dupre, former bishop of Springfield, Mass.; and Rembert G. Weakland, O.S.B., former archbishop of Milwaukee and Dolan’s immediate predecessor. This list also comprises Tod Brown, Louis Gelineau, Joseph Hart, George Rueger, Daniel Ryan, William Skylstad, and J. Kendrick Williams.
And the fact remains that only death will remove a bishop from his lifetime membership in this club. G. Patrick Ziemann, who died in 2009, was followed by Robert F. Sanchez, archbishop of Santa Fe, N.M., who died 21 January 2012.
Dolan has paid thousands of dollars of “hush money” to a serial predator priest — the Rev. Franklyn Becker — in exchange for Becker’s cooperation with the laicization process. Dolan let Becker move quietly into an unsuspecting small community where he’s been getting no treatment.
Models Protecting Pedophile Priests
culture of clerical corruption we
should circle back to Msgr. Costa
of Springfield, Ill. His chief defender,
a Kenrick alum and one of my
classmates, is now the bishop of
Fort Worth, Texas: Kevin Vann.
In 2004, Vann, a canon lawyer
and superintendent of priests
for Springfield, offered minimal cooperation with the police. He
kept the judges and courts at
bay to the benefit of Costa.
Vann also managed to make
headlines during the 2004 election
by refusing to give Holy Communion
to Catholic politicians who supported reproductive healthcare legislation.
Vann, in turn, reported to his handlers: George J. Lucas, now archbishop of Omaha, Neb., and Daniel Ryan, who resigned in disgrace in 1999.
than reject the actions of their colleagues, they continue to hold them up as
role models and persevere in maintaining an image of innocence and highlights the boyhood friendships destroyed by an educational system that nurtures a corrupt sense of elitism glossed with theological fervor.
In America: Cabal Or Conspiracy Theory
each other, especially within their respective
spheres of influence. Their club, the USCCB,
is small: about 450 active members. Dolan,
for example, has known O’Connell for many
years as a seminarian, priest, seminary rector
at the North American College, and bishop
of three dioceses now. The closeness of this
fraternity is revealed in O’Connell’s 2000
e-mail to one of his victims who was travelling
to Rome with Dolan’s private telephone
numbers and Vatican contacts.
facets to a single highly-polished gemstone.
of confederates or random acts of loners? Six
degrees of separation or a web of deceit?
Your New York predecessor, Edward M. Egan, has not moved beyond his own disgrace as bishop of Bridgeport, Conn., nor as archbishop of New York. Smugly, in February, he abdicated his responsibility for the pedophile priest scandal,
lied about his involvement in the cover-up, and retracted his personal apology
to those victimized.
he told Connecticut Magazine in an 8 February 2012 interview. He, then, continued by retracting his apology to victims of pedophile priests that he employed: “I never should have said that. I don't think we did anything wrong.”
with a scattered pattern of dots that can be connected to form a picture of events in full detail. We do know that these youthful friendships remain intact today despite acknowledged criminal acts or sincere efforts to conceal the facts:
“Vanity is a mortgage that must be deducted from the value of a man.”
― Otto Von Bismarck
Timothy M. Dolan, the next
Cardinal “Bubbles” Spellman?
the next Francis Cardinal Spellman with a career
as boldly outlined as John Cooney detailed in his 1984 epic: The American Pope: The Life and Times of Francis Cardinal Spellman. I wonder who his Roy Cohn
will be since even a priest must do things to prevent harm to society.
Roy Cohn, read Citizen Cohn: The Life and Times of Roy Cohn, by
Nicholas Von Hoffman.
Next Time: Jefferson City and Clergy Assignment Histories.