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Thread by @danibostick: "I'm reading the grand jury report on sex abuse in Pennsylvania's Catholic Church so you don't have to. In sum, the Catholic Church shielded […]" #TimesUP #MeToo

, 156 tweets, 24 min read
I'm reading the grand jury report on sex abuse in Pennsylvania's Catholic Church so you don't have to. In sum, the Catholic Church shielded themselves by shaming, degrading, and discrediting survivors. This report is a reckoning. #TimesUP #MeToo THREAD

cnn.com/2018/08/14/us/…
All of the survivors were "brushed aside, in every part of the state by church leaders who preferred to protect the abusers and their institution above all." We've seen this dynamic in the Olympic Movement, non-Catholic churches, schools, and the corporate world. 2/
"We are going to shine a light on their conduct, because that is what victims deserve." Predatory organizations and predators themselves thrive on secrecy. One way to bring about positive change is to break the silence. Silence only benefits the oppressors. 3/
Speaking of secrecy: "Abuse complaints were kept locked up in a "secret archive." That is not our word, but theirs; the church's Code of Canon Law
specifically requires the diocese to maintain such an archive. Only the bishop can have the key." 4/
The Catholic Church's playbook for concealing the truth included: conducting sham investigations, using euphemisms to describe sexual assault (@USASwimming, your Safe Sport program needs to stop doing this), using sham "experts" for evaluations, continue supporting perps 5/
Even when the priests admitted to raping children, the Church often left them in positions where they had continued access to children. If priests were removed, the Church refused to say why. 6/
Once a bishop wrote, "This is a very difficult time in your life, and I realize how upset you are. I too share your grief." The bishop did not write this to the victim. He wrote it to the rapist priest. Victims were perceived as the enemies; perpetrators the allies. 7/
Grand jury: "We know their might be many additional recent victims, who have not yet developed the resources to come forward either to the police or to the church." (Or perhaps they know they will be attacked and invalidated if they come forward.) 8/
A sad fact is that state law is skewed against victims. The grand jury noted room for improvement with respect to confidentiality agreements, statutes of limitation, and mandated reporting laws. How victim-friendly is your state? 9/
Priests admitted their crimes to the grand jury: "And, on over a dozen occasions, the priests themselves appeared before us. Most of them admitted what they had done." 10/
The Church passed the trash and provided recommendations to priests even if their new line of work meant they still had access to children. One priest "asked for, and received, a letter of reference for his next job at Disney World." 11/
It was a common for files on predatory priests to be kept but not shared: One diocese admitted, "this is one of our worst ones" - but of course told no one about him." We came across the same statement in the files of several priests." 12/
The grand jury identified hundreds of priests, but "We should emphasize that, while the list of priests is long, we don't think we got them all. We feel certain that many victims never came forward & that dioceses did not create written records" every time abuse was reported. 13/
The grand jury report his not exhaustive. It only includes credible reports and it does not include files involving "sex between priests and adults, or financial wrongdoing, unless these related directly to the abuse of children." 14/
As a side note, abuse perpetrated by priests on adults has received recent coverage in the New York Times. 15/

nytimes.com/2018/07/16/us/…
"Many of the priests who we profile here are dead. We decided it was crucial to include them anyway, because we suspect that many of their victims may still be alive - including unreported victims who may have thought they were the only one.... 16/
... Those victims deserve to know they were not alone. It was not their fault."

So many victims think they are the only one; and so many think it was their fault. The grand jury really seems to understand the struggles that survivors of child sexual abuse experience. 17/
A victim interviewed by the grand jury tried to kill herself during the process. From the hospital, she asked "that we finish our work and tell the world what really happened." 18/
"We feel a debt to this woman, & to the many other victims who so exposed themselves by giving us their stories. We hope this report will make good on what we owe." 19/
Allentown: A pattern uncovered was that Dioscean reps left priests in the ministry even after they found out about abuse. "This conduct was enabling to offenders and endangered the welfare of children." 20/
Allentown: The Diocese talked to lawyers about priests who sexually abused children and entered into settlements with victims that included confidentiality agreements. Victims lost their settlements if they spoke up. 21/
Allentown: The Diocese often conducted deficient, biased investigations. (This point is painfully familiar to survivors who have been harmed by biased, sham Title IX investigations conducted by schools who prioritize self-protection over survivor well-being.) 22/
Allentown: I should mention that this report names names. From the Allentown Diocese there are 37 offenders listed (one is redacted). The Diocese failed to protect children from these predators. 23/
Allentown: The Diocese "chose to take a position hostile to the victim." One priest humiliated his victim in front of her religion class in horrifying fashion. This was not an isolated incident or pattern of behavior. 24/
Many children reported, and many children were antagonized. One said she "failed her English and Algebra... the abuse haunted the victim her entire life." Another victim was expelled for reporting the abuse and felt "worthless." 25/
"It was not until after the Boston Globe broke the story of child sexual abuse within the Archdiocese of Boston, that Julianne was ready to pursue reporting criminal conduct to law enforcement." Victims feel empowered to report when they read stories like their own. 26/
When this particular victim reported, she found out her abuse was working at a church with a grade school. "(The survivor) testified that she is aware from fielding phone calls that there are hundreds of victims who have not yet come forward." This is courage. 27/
When the Allentown Diocese received information about abuse, they worked with their lawyers "to exchange information meant to discredit the victim with unrelated and irrelevant attacks on her family." 28/
Allentown Diocese victim-shaming: "Among other things, the memo noted that Tom Traud found the survivor to be "overly dramatic in that there were some times she was crying in the meeting" and that "this woman made an awful amount of assumptions that were unwarranted." 29/
The Diocese spent more time investigating this victim than it did investigating the perpetrator. "The Diocese asked Fromholzer if he did it. Fromholzer said no. Fromholzer then suggested it might be a good time for him to retire." 30/
This retaliation on the part of the Allentown Diocese discouraged reporting: "Victims are reluctant to report to law enforcement or take any action for fear of retaliation from the Dioceses. That retaliation and intimidation takes many forms." 31/
The Diocese used "sick leave" or "health leave" to describe leave taken related to the perpetration of child sexual abuse. Meanwhile, child abuse was called "inappropriate contact." 32/
A known predator priest was transferred to another state and was found to have sexually abused children there. People who could have removed this particular priest from the ministry chose not to. 33/
When reports of this abuse came up, officials for Allentown claimed they were "surprised" and only knew of vague rumors. This was a total falsehood. The diocese had already labeled this priest a 'risk' and 'legal liability.' 34/
Meanwhile, the victims of this priest (Father Graff, now deceased) "have struggled to move forward" and question why the institution who made this abuse possible has not been held accountable. 35/
Still Allentown: The Church knew about Father Michael Lawrence's "pedophile behavior" in the early 1970s, but he was still allowed to lead retreats for children. By the 1980s the diocese had received reports of extensive child sexual abuse perpetrated by this priest. 36/
Despite this, Lawrence was assigned to teach high school religion classes for several years. Though Msgr Muntone referred to a "sticky situation" (euphemism for child sexual abuse" in a 1998 memo), Lawrence continued priestly duties until 2002 when he retired w/ benefits 37/
I should add that Lawrence had at one time confessed to his some of crimes, yet the Diocese never warned parents or parishioners. When another victim came forward in 2009, Lawrence claimed the contact was accidental. The parish did not tell the victim of the previous reports 38/
Now on to Erie. The Diocese of Erie serves 221,508 Catholics, over a quarter of the region's population. For decades, the children of this Diocese have been abused by priests who were known by the Diocese to be predatory pedophiles. 39/
As in Allentown, Diocesean administrators-- including Bishops-- were aware that priests were sexually abusing children. Despite knowing about this, abusive priests continued in the ministry. Diocesean officials "enabled offenders and endangered the welfare of children. 40/
As in Allentown, the Diocese of Erie made settlements related to child sexual abuse. They effectively bought the silence of victims, forbidding them to speak about the abuse under threat of penalty. 41/
41 predatory priests from the Diocese of Erie are identified in the grand jury document. This is not exhaustive: "They provide a window into the conduct of past Pennsylvania Bishops and the crimes they permitted to occur on their
watch." 42/
In Erie, Bishop Michael Murphy received complaints about child sexual abuse perpetrated by Father Chester Gawronski. He reported it immediately to the police & fired the police Actually, NO. He did not. Just like the others, he covered it up and the priest kept abusing. 43/
Erie was very concerned about PR and keeping the matter a secret. So, they assured the families that they would take action. In documents cited in the grand jury report, the Church seems more preoccupied with "discretion" and secrecy than anything else. 44/
Example from Erie's response: I can't stress enough the necessity for discretion in this matter.... Undue attention or publication of this information to other families, or other priests would be harmful and certainly unnecessary." 45/
Meanwhile, in 1987, Gawronski himself provided a list of 41 potential victims to the Diocese and confessed to many instances of sexual abuse. Nonetheless he was allowed to hear confessions for people w/ disabilities and was in active ministry until 2002. 46/
Bishop Donald Trautman-- we are still in Erie- continued to say there were no pedophiles in the Erie Diocese and rebuked a victim for going to the press instead of contacting him directly. Eventually, Trautman disclosed the abuse to Rome, but not to the victims or the public 47/
Erie also knew about Father William Presley's sexual abuse as early as 1987. The brave victims who came forward were labeled "troubled" and the church noted one victim might have been abused previously by a family member. 48/
In 1988, Diocesan officials agreed "Presley was extremely violent and predisposed to assaultive behavior." He remained in the ministry until he retired in 2000. In 2003, the diocese released false statements to the media about the priest. 49/
The Diocese of Erie said they did not know about other allegations, but Bishop Trautman "had personal knowledge of at least 3 victims, one as young as 13." The Diocese also knew of abuse by Presley as early as 1987. 50/
Also disturbing: "Diocesan records showed that Presley was so violent that priests who interacted with him were concerned for their safety." More disturbing details of child sexual abuse were reported in 2005. 51/
Despite long-standing reports in the Diocese, in 2006 Bishop Trautman lied and said, "We were unaware of these allegations until they came to light only a few years ago. As a result, no criminal charges were ever brought forward because the statue of limitations had expired" 52/
The statute of limitations expired only because the Diocese of Erie intentionally waited out the statute of limitations and limited their investigation so that they would not find other victims, according to the grand jury report. 53/
We are still in the Diocese of Erie. Father Thomas Smith sexually abused children and was placed on "health leave" (a favorite euphemism for leave related to child sexual abuse) after Bishop Michael Murphy was told about it. 54/
After his "health leave" and after the abuse had been reported to Bishop Murphy, Smith had continued access to children in the ministry. In 1986 he received residential psych treatment. He admitted to abusing 15 children between his first treatment in 1984 & the 1986 one. 55/
Bishop Murphy was told Smith "suffered from a "driven, compulsive, and long standing" obsession with sexually assaulting children." He sexually assaulted boys as young as 7. Murphy STILL assigned him to another parish in 1987. 56/
In 1990 Bishop Trautman comes into the picture and allows Smith to continue working in the ministry despite Smith's confession to sexually assaulting young boys. Trautman said Smith was "a person of candor and sincerity." 57/
Smith found a friend in Trautman, the same guy who lied to the media earlier in this thread. "He thanked Trautman for truly caring about him. In
reference to his desire to stay in active ministry, Smith wrote, "And so why did I worry?" 58/
Per the report, Smith was transferred to a parish in 1992 where he was very active in a children's ministry. Meanwhile Trautman was informed of more abuse and became "worried about appearances" since Smith was still working w/ kids. 59/
Trautman never notified parishioners about Smith's history abusing children, even though Smith had admitted years earlier to having abused 15 young boys. 60/
In 2002 Trautman wrote a letter to a family about curtailing Smith's ministry," but a short time later told the media "we have no priest or deacon or layperson that I know of that has, in any way, a pedophile background." 61/
In 03, Trautman wrote in a memo "I felt he had made a complete recovery from alcoholism & sexual abuse. He had been faithful to his treatment program & gives every indication of having taken full responsibility for his actions." In 06, Smith was removed from the priesthood 62/
Greensburg, Pennsylvania. Population 137,641. 21% of the region is affiliated with the Catholic Church. Like the other dioceses, Greensburg received reports of child sexual abuse and ignored them. They enabled offenders and put children at risk. 63/
Greensburg also adopted a similar MO of reaching settlements related to abuse that involved silence from victims. They also dissuaded victims from reporting to law enforcement and conducted their own biased and deficient investigations. 64/
The Grand Jury identified 20 priest-perpetrators of child sexual abuse in the Greensburg diocese, along with their enablers. One was Father Edmond Parrakow who was the subject of abuse allegations when he was assigned to a parish in Bronx, NY over a period of 17 years 65/
In 1985, a victim came forward about abuse that started 15 years prior. Parrakow was evaluated at St. Bernadine Clinic in Maryland and then was referred for in-patient treatment in New Mexico at a facility for priests accused of sex abuse. 66/
In 1985, the Archdiocese of NY asked if Parrakow could spend 3 or 4 months in the Diocese of Greensburg, saying he needs "time to sort out his problem." Meanwhile, Parrakow admitted in treatment he abused 35 male children over 17 years. 67/
Greensburg accepts Parrakow for a post-pedophile treatment assignment. NY knew about the pedophilia and confessions, but in writing Greensburg was told he was in treatment for 'burn out.' Via phone Bishop Connare was told the truth. 68/
Greensburg's Bishop Connare said "it seems his problem is in the past... He realizes he must limit contacts with young people & work on developing patterns of mature conduct." Connare was told not to assign him a parish w/ a school by the treatment providers. 69/
Bishop Connare let the director of the treatment facility know he would have to assign Connare to a parrish with a school for logistical reasons, so when he went to Greensburg, he had frequent contact w/ Catholic schools.. despite his documented pedophilia. 70/
Greensburg follows the same pattern as Erie and Allentown. Parrakow, a known pedophile, was unsupervised and began abusing kids again. At one point in 1989, a "violent argument" broke out between a victim's parent and Parrakow. 71/
Parrakow requested he be permanently transferred from NY to Greensburg. So, Greensburg received Parrakow's full treatment records, which included his admission to abusing 35 boys. The disclosure of records is happening at the same time as the new allegations of abuse. 72/
Meanwhile, Monsignor Klinzing wrote to Bishop Bosco about Parrakow concerns, "Father Connaughton asked if there were any incidents because he was worried about legal ramifications. I told him we have suspicions but no hard evidence." 73/
Parrakow did not engage in priestly activities, but continued residing in the Greensburg Diocese between 1989 and 2003. In 2004 he was removed from the priesthood. In 2017, Parrakow testified that he'd confess his crimes and then continue abusing after he received absolution 74/
As a footnote, Parrakow now works at a shopping mall and William Connare had a retreat and conference center named after him. 75/
We are still in the Diocese of Greenburg, Pennsylvania. Father Raymond Lukac was ordained there in 1954 even though there was serious resistance to him becoming a priest because of his inability to "follow the rules of the priesthood." 76/
Almost immediately, in 1955, Chancellor Vogel had been accused of having been "romantically involved with the 18-year-old organist for the parish." Everyone around town was talking about it, per notes from that time. He was transferred as a result of the "scandal." 77/
In 56, Lukac started a "relationship" with a 17-year-old. Head pastor of the parish, Father Yanosek, wrote that he let the father of the child know about it. Yanosek also had a forged marriage certificate w/ the victim in his room. Yanosek asked that Lukac be replaced. 78/
Bishop Lamb also requested he be removed, but before he could go for treatment, he eloped with his victim and married her in a legal ceremony. He attended the same treatment facility as Parrakow, divorced his victim, and was transferred to a diocese in Indiana. 79/
In Indiana, Lukac's duties included teaching, and he was reported to Bishop Connare back in Greensburgh to have had "lack of prudence" in his dealings with female students. Lukac was moved from IN to IL by Bishop Connare. (That conference ctr really needs a new name, btw) 80/
Later, reports surfaced of a third victim in Chicago from the 1960s. There was also a note in Lukac's Indiana file that he had "teenage sex relation" (a 4th victim). Greensburg new from the very beginning Lukac was a risk, yet they continued to allow him access to children. 81/
More in Greensburg- Father Robert Moslener is another priest enabled by William Connare (who has no business having a conference center named after him. New name needs to happen ASAP. It gets worse and worse the more I read). 82/
In 79 he admitted to abusing a 15-year-old victim. Connare knew. The Diocese had a despicable analysis of this crime: "incident with the 15 yr old boy may well have represented an unacceptable yet understandable waystation on his path to more adult sexual integration" 83/
Moslener got an evaluation, but somehow still had access to children. (Somehow = Connare knew about it and let it happen). In 1986, elementary school and middle school children reported Moslener was describing sexual acts to them during his religion class. He got another eval 84/
Also in 1986, the police dept told the Diocese that Moslener had been investigated for "committing sexual acts against male juneniles" and that they had "records on file to substantiate the charges." 1987-- another evaluation. 85/
Klinzing & Connare both knew about the reports of abuse. He was assigned Chaplain of a retirement home from 1988 to 1992, but from 1992 to 2002 he was allowed to serve as pastor in parishes around the Diocese. In 1999 there was another report of abuse. He served until 2002 86/
We are in Harrisburg now, home to 89 parishes. The grand jury identified 45 priests (along with their enablers). Like Greensburg, Allentown, and Erie, the diocese Harrisburg knew about sexual abuse and allowed priests continued access to children. 87/
One example is Augustine Giella who was ordained in 1950 in New Jersey and suddenly sought ministry in Harrisburg in 1979. Newark confirmed he was in good standing, and Harrisburg accepted him. I'm guessing he wasn't actually in good standing. 88/
Giella is a monster. He abused five of eight girls in one family and engaged in other extremely deranged acts. This abuse was preventable since Harrisburg had received reports that Giella had abused school girls at Bishop Newman School. 89/
The diocese said that no action should be taken until it was discussed with their legal counsel. Again, we have the Church prioritizing legal strategy over the well-being of victims, a common occurrence in other organizations as well. 90/
Even after reports of deviant and deranged behavior, Giella was able to remain in the ministry. And, he was able to continue abusing the same girls for five years. In 1992 there were more reports. And more inaction this time by Bishop Dattilo. 91/
The police became involved, and evidence of Giella's abuse and deviance was discovered in his home along with child porn. After Giella's arrest, other women called police and reported abuse by Giella back in New Jersey. They had been afraid to come forward. 92/
The Church has used its power and authority to squelch discourage reports of sexual abuse, effectively silencing victims. When victims did come forward, the church ignored their complaints, prioritizing legal strategy over survivor well-being and public safety. 93/
FYI at the beginning of each section, there is a list of enablers and perpetrators, by name. For the Catholic Church, this will end up being a blip on the radar. Survivors, however, can know they are not alone, they are not crazy, and it is not their fault. 94/
The report also includes recommendations for legislation at the state level that would have prevented some of these injustices and horrors. That is important as well since many states are not at all victim-friendly 95/
Will this report fix the problem of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church? No. Will it make a difference for survivors who have been ignored for decades and survivors who have been too afraid to come forward? I think so. 96/
Returning to Harrisburg: Father Arthur Long was a Jesuit priest & another notorious abuser whose crimes were enabled by officials in his diocese. In 1974, Bishop Dale approved Long's service in the diocese at a hospital. 97/
In 1987, Monsignor Overbaugh mentioned "numerous complaints" about Long's work, but also mentioned "all the good" Long accomplished. Overbaugh had a history ignoring and responding poorly to abuse (he had a big, bad role in the Giella ordeal). 98/
At that time, Overbaugh wrote that Sister Raymund wanted "Father Long to be out of the home, certainly before the high school girls return to the Academy in the near future." Later, Long admitted abusing a girl, calling it a "relationship." 99/
Overbaugh noted in a letter that since sexual involvement did not happen while the girl was a student at the school that it would eliminate "the possibility later of a pedophilia suit." He suggested Long be reassigned. 100/
The diocese's fear at this point was that the victim "may reach the point where she will seek to embarrass all her 'enemies' by one rash step." Once again, the church prioritized image and viewed a victim as an adversary. 101/
Still in Harrisburg: Long got a new assignment and church officials were super-worried that his victim would find out and that "the whole matter would explode again." They weren't worried about him abusing again. They were worried about the potential for bad PR. 102/
One key player-- a bad one-- in the Long matter is Keeler, the current Cardinal of the Achdiocese of Baltimore. He was in charge of the diocese of Harrisburg when it received reports Long abused children. He returned Long to ministry. 103/
Transferring predatory priests to other places, the report notes, is really, really bad. It "expanded the pool of unknowing potential victims on which these offenders could re-offend.... Such conduct endangered the welfare of children, Catholic parishioners, and the public. 104/
More Harrisburg: The diocese received warnings about Joseph Pease in a letter alleging pedophilia, and in 1995wondered if it could be "small town gossip" or b/c of a "vindictive or malicious spirit." 105/
So here we have a diocese that is no stranger to pedophilia and predatory priests framing itself as the potential victim of vindictiveness and a "malicious spirit" because of a letter alleging pedophilia. A month later, a male victim came forward about past abuse by Pease 106/
This victim said the abuse occurred between 1971 and 1973 when he was between 13 and 15 years old. He decided to report because he saw an article & upset Pease was still active in the ministry and at a church his 12-year-old nephew attended. 107/
Father Paul Helwig took an anti-victim stance, writing: "He has felt some guilt
over his cowardice at not being able to report these incidents to someone in authority, but he always hoped that someone else would come forward first." 108/
The Diocese received other reports, but did not pass on reports to law enforcement, contact Pease's past parishes, or conduct a "meaningful investigation." Instead, they planed to put Pease in a "treatment facility." 109/
Grand Jury on treatment facilities: "Put plainly, these institutions laundered accused priests, provided plausible deniability to the bishops, and permitted hundreds of known offenders to return to ministry." 110/
Monsignor Overbaugh, who dropped the ball on Long & Giella, met with Pease to talk about the allegations. Pease made odd & incriminating statements, yet Bishop Dattilo did not remove him from the ministry. 111/
Of note, Pease owned a boat along with Francis Bach, who was another alleged abuser. Both belonged to a group of Harrisburg priests who abused children and shared info about their victims. Pease is said to have abused a victim on this boat. 112/

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The sham evaluation of Pease in 1995 found "no reason to recommend that Father (Pease) not be active in the ministry at this time." Bishop Dattilo ended up sending Pease a reminder to stay in public areas with children. 113/
After the Boston Globe report, more victims came forward. Harrisburg chose to send Pease for an evaluation and allow him continued access to children even though they knew of credible allegations against him. Terrible. All of it is terrible. 114/
We've arrived to the Diocese of Pittsburgh. Reading this report is revolting and exhausting. It is necessary, though, for as much as possible to become public, particularly since our society mirrors so much of the Roman Catholic modus operandi in harming survivors 115/
The Diocese of Pittsburgh is huge with 33% of the population. (I am also realizing I might have conflated diocese population with total population in some previous tweets). In any case, Pittsburgh has over 600k catholics. 116/
The Pennsylvania Catholic Church grand jury report names 90 predatory priests and a total of 99 from the Pittsburgh diocese. Bishops there allowed child sexual abuse to occur in a massive institutional failure, just as we saw in Erie, Allentown, and the other PA diocese. 117/
In the 1960s, Bishop John Write interceded to prevent Father Ernest Paone from being arrested for molesting young boys and using guns illegally. He was reassigned and the district attorney agreed to stop all similar investigations to avoid negative publicity for the church. 118/
In 2017, the grand jury confronted Masters, the district attorney, about his decision. When they asked him why he stopped investigating pedophilia he said, "Probably respect for the Bishop. I really have no proper answer." 119/
Masters also admitted he wanted political support from the Diocese. So, essentially, he stopped pursuing cases against pedophile priests in exchange for political support. Very corrupt. 120/
Paone dodged the criminal investigation. By now, we know the script. He was transferred to other parishes, and even though the Church had enough information about his sexual abuse of minors, he was allowed continued access to children throughout his career. 121/
In 1989 Bishop Donald Wuerl sent a letter to the Vatican and said that parishioners should be able to know if priests accused of abuse have been reassigned to their parishes. He said pedophilia is "incurable." He told Vatican pedophile priests should not be reassigned. 122/
Wuerl, knowing about the accusations against Paone, reassigned him anyway, aware he had continued access to children on a high school faculty. In 1992 Paone had to take a leave for "health reasons," a term often used as euphemism when predatory priests take leave. 123/
In 1994, the Diocese of Pittsburgh received a complaint that Paone had sexually abused a child in the 1960s. Paone was referred for an evaluation. Meanwhile by now, Paone had been teaching middle school for 19 years in San Diego. 124/
The Diocese of Pittsburgh had received numerous complaints about Paone dating back to the 1950's and had records documenting this abuse of children "as early as 1962." Yet he was able to teach middle schoolers for decades. 125/
Paone was allowed to retire 41 years after the Diocese knew he was abusing children. At least until 2006, he was "assisting with confessions for confirmation -age children, apparently asking inappropriate questions of the young penitents." He is dead now. 126/
Also in the Pittsburgh Diocese, Father George Zirwas was allowed continued access to children even though the diocese knew he had been acused of sexually abusing children. He died in 2001, and the grand jury found out that his records were intentionally destroyed. 127/
Secrecy is a big factor with a lot of these cases, and it seems the Pittsburgh diocese has a habit of destroying records after priests die. Summaries of facts remain, so we know that the diocese heard complaints of Zirwas abusing kids as early as 1987. 128/
Despite additional complaints, the diocese of Pittsburgh continued to reassign Zirwas between 1987 and 1995. Internal notes show diocese officials, including Bishop Bevilacqua had several meetings about Zirwas' "unwanted sexual contact" Zirwas underwent an evaluation. 129/
This is disturbing: The diocese of Pittsburgh was home to a pedophile ring of predatory priests who shared info on victims and exchanged victims between themselves. This ring included Zirwas, Francis Pucci, Robert Wolk, and Richard Zula. They also perpetrated sadism. 130/
Zula, Pucci, and Wolk were charged w/ sexually assaulting boys in 1988. Zula and Wolk were sentenced to prison. Pucci saw no punishment because the statute of limitations had expired. 131/
In 1996, Zirwas let the Diocese know about other pedophile priests involved in illegal activity. He wanted money in exchange for his info. Wuerl told him to name the priests or say he knew nothing about priest involvement in illegal activities. He chose to do the latter. 132/
Zirwas got his financial support and went to work with the "poor and needy in Cuba.." He was murdered inside of his Havana payment in May of 2001.

The Diocese of Pittsburgh never told the police about Zirwas' statement that he had other info. 133/
One victim of Zirwas and the pedophile ring in the Pittsburgh diocese explained why he waited to come forward: I don't think there was anybody I could trust to tell, number 1. There was never -who do you tell? Like, at the time, I was a tough kid from the South Side. 134/
This entire report is heartbreaking and revolting, but the Pittsburgh diocese with its pedophile ring and overt corruption is just too much. 135/
Richard Zula was part of the ring with Zirwas. Again, reports of abuse ignored by officials in the Pittsburgh diocese. Meetings about victims and abuse between the perpetrator and Church officials. Then, "evaluations" and new jobs for the perpetrator in different parishes. 136/
Father Ted Rutkowski employed a common tactic often used by the church-- victim shaming and attacks. What did he say about Zula's accuser? That SHE, still a child, pursued Zula. Later, a church report described another victim as "sexually promiscuous and needy." 137/
What was the consequence for Zula? An evaluation and reassignment ("sooner reassigned the better.") Again, a total fail by the diocese of Pittsburgh (and countless others around the world, no doubt). 138/
Thankfully in this case the diocese of Pittsburgh did not implement a successful cover up. Because Father Wolk had also abused victims as part of the aforementioned pedophile ring, other accusers came forward and a criminal investigation ensued. 139/
This time, there was no exchange of silence for political favors & the DA's office went ahead with the case in 1988. There was no evidence that the Diocese "disclosed their prior knowledge of Zula's conduct or Zula's confession" to the police or public. 140/
Yes, like so many other priests in this thread, Zula confessed. The Diocese knew these were far more than rumors or allegations. The reports had been corroborated by the perpetrator himself. And yet they failed to act. 141/
Bishop Wuerl-- who is now a Cardinal!- was involved in this case as he was the others. His involvement did not help victims. Rather, he provided cover for the perpetrators. One city agency had to remind Wuerl that the Diocese was considered a mandated reporter. 142/
Wuerl-- again-- this man is now a Cardinal-- was also told that he should not conduct internal investigations first. He was required to report immediately. Wuerl's letters show he wasn't convinced that Diocesan personnel are mandated reporters. 143/
In 1989, the Diocese of Pittsburgh uses a favorite playbook and offers a settlement to victims. The settlement, like many others the Church devises, included a confidentiality agreement. Meanwhile, Zula pleads guilty. 144/
The Church invested a lot of money and resources to defend Zula at the sentencing. They hired an expert, Kenneth Stanko, who said that Zula was passive-dependent and would not be likely to initiate sexual activity. More victim blaming as he said the boys initiated the abuse 145/
** "The Grand Jury notes that while Diocesan resources were being used in such a fashion, unknowing parishioners were still actively tithing from their income without knowledge that church funds were being used to mitigate a convicted sex offender's sentence."*** 146/
Zula was in prison from 1990 to 1992 and received a check for $11,543 from the Pittsburgh Diocese when he was released from prison. Meanwhile, the Diocese received more and more reports of "criminal conduct" by Zula after his release from prison. 147/
In 1996 Zula resigned and the Diocese agreed to pay him $750.00/ month. For a while, Weurl was open to Zula receiving a one-time payment of 180k. Wuerl is now Cardinal Wuerl and is the archbishop of Washignton. 148/
Scranton is next on the list, but I am done for the night. We can safely assume the diocese of Scranton also ignored reports of abuse, prioritized itself over victims, and enabled the perpetration of countless, life-ruining sex crimes. 149
Actually, Scranton is the last diocese before the recommendations. Thomas Skotek was one of the priests named. He got a minor female pregnant and then helped her get an abortion. 150/
Skotek, like so many other predatory priests was sent for an evaluation and reassigned. That seems to be the main M.O. throughout the report (with a lot of secrecy, victim-blaming, and other cover-ups to go along with it all). 151/
Bishop Timlin wrote to Rome about the situation. The abuse and abortion seemed secondary to fear of bad publicity: Although I cannot absolutely give
assurance that this priest's criminal action will never become public, I do not
foresee that such would likely be the case. 152/
Continued... "This priest is currently residing in a parish quite far from the town where the crime was committed. He is awaiting a response to his request for a dispensation." In the letter, he hoped the dispensation would work out. Timlin is still active. 153/
After the Boston Globe article in 2002, a victim came forward who was abused by Skotek when she was in high school. Meanwhile, the previous victim of Skotek's had a hardship, so the diocese paid her $4,000. Timlin's response: That settles the matter- for now!" 154/ 155
Final tweet- Frankly the matter is never settled. Not for the victims in Pennsylvania and not for the scores of victims in other states. Shame on any organization that endangers children to protect itself. END
P.S. A big thanks is due to the men and women of the Grand Jury who worked so hard to expose this injustice and do right by victims-- past, present, and future.
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