REPORT OF THE GRAND JURY INTO SEXUAL ABUSE OF MINORS BY CLERGY IN THE PHILADELPHIA ARCHDIOCESE
In 2004, the Archdiocese removes Monsignor Giliberti from ministry based on the same evidence discounted by Cardinal Bevilacqua.
On January 14, 2004, the Archdiocese removed Msgr. Giliberti from ministry, finding the allegations of Jay and Patrick credible. Monsignor Giliberti had been allowed to retire three weeks earlier.
After Msgr. Giliberti's retirement and removal, in Apri1 2004, a Florida man named "Gerald" informed the Archdiocese that Msgr. Giliberti had abused him and another boy when the priest was still a seminarian, more than 30 years earlier. Gerald wrote that Giliberti had taken him and five other boys to the New Jersey Shore house of a fellow priest, had shared a bed with three of the boys, and had fondled the genitals of Gerald and a boy named "Joey." The victim explained that he had not come forward earlier "out at fear and shame."
On October 16, 2004, faced with the possibility of involuntary laicization, Fr. Giliberti agreed to live "a supervised life of prayer and penance" at Villa Saint Joseph, a retirement home for priests.
Father Giliberti appeared before the Grand Jury and was given an opportunity to answer questions concerning the allegations against him. He chose not to do so.
In August 1968, a mother brought to the pastor of Saint Joseph's Church in Hatboro two letters written by the parish's recently reassigned associate pastor, Fr. John H. Mulholland, to her son while he was at summer camp. Amid cut-out illustrations of chains, ropes, and people suffering various forms of bondage, the priest wrote to the boy:
Plan and prepare to break me on vacation, if you can get me to beg to be punished by you even more and beg to be your slave -- I will offer a just homage payment -- such as -- you can be my financial bookkeeper for the school term, possessing the checkbook with signed blank checks -- or an outright fee each month of maybe 10% of the balance. You really have no imagination -- this is your chance -- take over -- become master in fact as well as word -- make me know what it means to squirm, sweat and fear and to understand what slave means.
In the other letter, the priest discussed plans for proving submission by "kneeling next to toilet when master craps then wiping ass with paper then with tongue. Also being forced to lick master's ass and kiss it frequently."
At the time the mother brought the letters to the rectory, her son was on a two-week trip with Fr. Mulholland, The letters mentioned several other parish boys and suggested that they also participated in sado-masochistic rituals with Fr, Mulholland. After the boy returned from the trip, the Archdiocese's Vicar General, Gerald V. McDevitt, recorded that he "confessed a relationship with Father."
Yet Msgr. McDevitt told Fr. Mulholland that the Archdiocese's response to learning that its priest victimized parish boys with his sick behavior would "depend on the attitude the mother of the boy took and how far she would want to follow up the matter." Archdiocese officials did nothing.
Two years later the Chancery received a report that a boy at Fr. Mulholland's next parish "was being strung up and Father Mulholland (was) piercing him or at least jabbing him with some instrument all over his body." Again, Archdiocese officials left the priest in place.
The Archdiocesan Review Board in 2004 found that "Reverend Mulholland's letter to a young boy in his parish "though "quite disturbing in its language regarding issues of power, descriptions of human excrement and use of restraint," did not "fall under the definition of sexual abuse as contained in the Essential Norms."
Ordained in 1965, Fr. Mulholland
apparently has never undergone even the
Archdiocese's concept of treatment. He remains at last report an active
unrestricted faculties in the Philadelphia Archdiocese.
The Grand Jury was given no records of allegations against Fr. John Mulholland from his first assignment as associate pastor at Saint Patrick Church in Kennett Square (6/65-6/66). However, the priest's own letter of July 1968 to "Stan," a boy in his next parish, indicates he had inappropriate relations with boys at Saint Patrick.
In the middle of a long letter illustrated with chains, nooses, and "adults only" signs, Fr. Mulholland wrote to Stan, two years after he had left Kennett Square:
I met some kids I know from Kennett this week -- three brothers 18, 17, and 15 years old ... so they went on a four day camping trip and little brother was jumped and tied with his arms stretched out on a pole and all equipment tied on his back and the pole. He was led by one with a long rope around his neck with the other prodding behind with a short switch. POOR BOY!! He was stripped by the loving brothers, hung by his ankles with his hands tied up tight with a light rope or heavy cord going from his wrists and under his crotch and ending in a loop around his well-known privates (struggling could be painful). He was pulled up high and a low charcoal fire was shoveled under him, then wet leaves put on the fire -- heat and smoke right up his body -- an old Apache torture ... Little brother now obeys. (Appendix D-22)
Cardinal Krol transferred Fr. Mulholland after one year in Kennett Square to Saint Joseph Church in Hatboro.
Father Mulholland takes boys from Saint Joseph Church on a vacation described as "a two week torture treatment."
By the time Stan's mother found Fr. Mulholland's letters to her son in the footlocker that he had taken to camp, the priest had been transferred to still a third parish. (The Archbishop in June 1968 appointed Fr. Mulholland to Saint Anastasia parish in Newtown Square.) In August 1968, though, he was vacationing with boys he knew from Saint Joseph.
In his letter to Stan at camp, Fr. Mulholland described the anticipated vacation as "a two week torture treatment" to "purge" the priest of all resistance and "break" him into "complete nothingness, thereby rendering [Fr. Mulholland] a perfect slave." He wrote of other parish boys who would participate, referring to them as "Emperor ["Lewis']" and "Sadistic Duke ["Smith"]." Stan, he named "Sadistic Prince [Stan], Man of Steel." The priest called himself "Barney" and played the role of the slave. He wrote about a 15-year-old being tied "spread-eagled" on the ground and "used as a toilet." He wrote to Stan:
If Barney is bored from lack of torture or is not chained or tied at night Prince may also become prisoner as shown [there is an illustration of two people hanging by their wrists in chains]. Barney promises never to jump or molest Prince as long as daily punishments continue EXCEPT -- A PROMISE -- NEVER LET BARNEY SLEEP UNFETTERED -- UNTIED -- OR UNCHAINED OR PRINCE will die at night as above.
The Vicar General of the Archdiocese, Gerald V. McDevitt, met with Fr, Mulholland on September 25, 1968, after he had returned from his two-week vacation with Stan and the other boys. The priest acknowledged that he wrote the letters. He said that his relationship with Stan was one of "testing strength and wrestling and things of that nature." He denied anything sexual.
McDevitt informed Fr. Mulholland that Stan's mother had consulted a lawyer and that Stan had "confessed a relationship with Father." In his memo recording his conversation with Fr. Mulholland, Msgr. McDevitt wrote that the lawyer had persuaded the mother not to have police attempt to interrupt the priest's trip with her son. In the Archdiocese file is a handwritten note with the name of the lawyer supposedly representing the mother -- Stanley Gordon -- and a notation that he was "sympathetic to both sides."
According to his notes, Msgr. McDevitt instructed Fr. Mulholland to have "no further contact or communication with the boy." The Vicar General advised Fr. Mulholland that he "did not know what he might hear further from us since much of that would depend on the attitude the mother of the boy took and how far she would want to follow up the matter."
Monsignor McDevitt recorded no effort to contact the other boys involved. He "suggested the possibility of [Fr. Mulholland's] seeing a psychiatrist," but wrote that the priest said he "thought he knew himself well enough and that he did not need the help of a psychiatrist." The record shows no effort even to find out what happened during the two- week "vacation," much less to protect the other known victims from Fr. Mulholland's ongoing depravity or to inform their parents.
Two years later Assistant Chancellor Vincent M. Walsh would matter-of-factly write of Mulholland: "Part of the interview with Bishop McDevitt was a promise that he would stop going back to the parish. We had some reports later on that he was still returning to Hatboro."
In 1970, the Archdiocese is again warned in graphic terms of Father Mulholland's sadomasochistic practices with boys, and again takes no action.
Father Mulholland was transferred to Saint Anastasia in Newtown Square in June 1968. While he was there, the Archdiocese received several reports of inappropriate sexual contact involving the priest. Once again, the Archdiocese left him in place; ironically, it did so at the request of parents who continued to support the priest because the Archdiocese had not revealed to them his sadomasochistic activity. The Archdiocese abandoned plans to transfer Fr. Mulholland or send him for diagnosis and possible treatment when the perceived level of scandal lessened.
While he continued to visit victims from his previous parish, Saint Joseph Church in Hatboro, Fr, Mulholland also assembled a group of boys at his new assignment. Parents, unaware that the Archdiocese had sent them a priest known to corrupt and abuse parish youth with sadistic and depraved behavior, welcomed Fr. Mulholland's obvious interest in their sons.
"Lyle" reports continued deviate behavior.
In October 1970, Lyle, a sophomore at the University of Pennsylvania and a junior adult advisor to the CYO at Saint Anastasia, alerted the Archdiocese that Fr. Mulholland's degenerate behavior was continuing and that he had many new victims. Lyle named six boys who had traveled over summer vacations with Fr. Mulholland, "Jack," "Steve," and "Louis" (no last names were recorded) had gone camping with the priest in the Southwest over the summer of 1969; "Jared," "Randy," and "Gene" had accompanied Fr. Mulholland in 1970. Lyle described how the relationship between the boys and the priest seemed to change after the trips, He said that Gene and Randy were "pretty tight lipped" about the trip, but that they did mention one incident. According to notes kept by Assistant Chancellor Walsh, Gene and Randy told Lyle that Jared had been "strung up" and that Fr. Mulholland was "piercing him or at least jabbing him with some instrument all over his body."
Lyle also reported walking into a room and seeing Fr. Mulholland running his hands up and down Jared's leg. Another time he saw a boy's head in the priest's lap. He described "wrestling" that took place frequently with the same boys. Lyle said it was not really wrestling, though, since there were no wrestling moves. The priest, he said, would merely lie on top of the boys. He said this happened regularly before CYO meetings. Lyle told of seeing Fr. Mulholland walking hand-in-hand with a boy in the schoolyard. He reported that the priest seemed to conduct some sort of private Masses in the church basement with only his "special boys."
"Barbara" confirms her brother's report.
Lyle's sister, Barbara, was a member of the CYO and confirmed her brother's account to Fr. Walsh. She provided Louis's last name and said that Fr. Mulholland regularly drove Louis home after CYO meetings, often taking many hours to do so. She described the wrestling and told how, in a recent meeting, Fr. Mulholland and Jared had spent the entire time behind the stage.
The Grand Jury notes that the behavior reported was consistent with that described in the 1968 letters to Stan, letters Fr. Mulholland admitted to writing. Thus, the Archdiocese's failure to respond appropriately to the 1970 report is even more inexcusable.
Saint Anastasia's pastor corroborates Lyle and Barbara's observations and reports additional behavior.
The pastor at Saint Anastasia, Fr. Joseph T. Kane, told Fr. Walsh that Lyle and Barbara were credible and responsible. In addition, Fr. Kane told the Assistant Chancellor that Fr. Mulholland had "boys in his room" at the rectory on either a daily or weekly basis -- Fr. Kane was unsure which. Father Walsh wrote that Fr. Kane verified "that certain strange activity is taking place concerning which he is not totally aware." There is no indication that Fr. Walsh enlightened the pastor, who lived with Fr. Mulholland and could have been enlisted to monitor him, by letting him know what Archdiocese officials had known for years -- that the associate pastor sent to his parish had been known to involve parish youth in sadomasochism.
To avoid scandal, Archdiocese officials plan to reassign Father Mulholland, but the decision is reversed.
After hearing from Barbara and another parishioner, "Walter," that Fr. Mulholland's reputation for "play[ing] around with boys" or "something" was widespread, Fr. Walsh informed Fr. Mulholland, on October 26, 1970, that he would have to be reassigned because of "scandal." Father Walsh recorded that he confronted Fr. Mulholland with the whole litany of accusations against him and that the priest "merely stayed silent and accepted them as true."
Yet Cardinal Krol did not remove Fr. Mulholland. On November 2, 1970, a group of parents from Saint Anastasia visited Fr. Walsh to say that they favored keeping the priest. Ironically, two of the parents were fathers of boys who went on trips with Fr. Mulholland and were "favored." One, the father of Gene (age 16), praised the priest for taking his son on a summer trip for 21 days and not asking the parents for any money. Another, the father of Jack, was appreciative because "Father ... was instrumental in getting [Jack] into Priory." He told Fr. Walsh that Fr. Mulholland spent "a lot of time at [Jack's family's] home." (Appendix D-23)
Although aware of Fr. Mulholland's history of taking boys on these "trips" to engage in sadomasochism, Fr. Walsh listened to these parents who, obviously, trusted the priest with their children. Yet Fr. Walsh said nothing, even though it was clear from what Lyle, Barbara, and the pastor had told him that Fr. Mulholland was still abusing the boys.
Not only did Fr. Walsh not warn these parents, the Archdiocese decided to allow Fr. Mulholland to remain in the parish where he could continue to abuse their children. On October 27, 1970, after hearing that Fr. Mulholland's reputation was widespread, Fr. Walsh wrote: "I also made it clear to Father that there is no possibility of his remaining in the parish." On November 5, 1970, three days after the uninformed parents' group came to the priest's defense, Fr. Walsh informed Fr. Mulholland "that we would have no difficulty allowing him to stay at St. Anastasia." The explicit reason for the change of heart was because "the amount of scandal given seemed to lie only with a very small minority. " Archdiocese officials knowingly used the ignorance of the parents whose children were being victimized to justify leaving the priest in their parish. (Appendix D-24, D-25)
The decision to order treatment for Father Mulholland is also reversed when the Archdiocese perceives the threat of scandal to have abated.
The position of the Archdiocese regarding the necessity of psychological treatment was, likewise, determined not by the priest's obvious depravity or the danger he posed to children, but by the perceived level of scandal. Archdiocese officials purported to leave the decision regarding inpatient treatment to Dr. Anthony L. Zanni at Saint John Vianney Hospital in Downingtown. But the decisive factor determining that Fr. Mulholland did not require treatment was Fr. Walsh ' s conclusion that the threat of scandal was smaller than previously thought. In an October 27,1970, letter to Dr. Zanni, Fr. Walsh related that he had warned Fr. Mulholland not only that the priest would have to be reassigned, but also that Dr. Zanni would likely "want him to go to Downingtown." After determining that the "scandal" was limited to "a small minority," however, Fr. Walsh called Dr. Zanni to inform him of this development. Father Walsh recorded in a memo dated November 5, 1970: "Dr. Zanni, with this new information, decided that he would probably not ask Father Mulholland to go to Downingtown."
Continuing reports obliquely refer to Father Mulholland's depravity.
Father Mulholland's fellow priests at Saint Anastasia complained repeatedly about him, but Archdiocese records obscure their concerns. In April 1971, Chancellor Francis J . Statkus wrote that the pastor, Fr. Kane, reported that Fr. Mulholland "has not been effective with the CYO" and asked that he "be changed." On March 5, 1973, Fr. Walsh, now the Vice Chancellor, recorded the complaint of a fellow priest at Saint Anastasia, Fr. Joseph Shields: "He mentioned that the problems that were present about a year and a half ago and brought to our attention are still present. He states that Fr. Mulholland ministers only to a certain few in the parish and that the parish has more or less accepted the strangeness of that ministry. He felt that we should talk to Father Mulholland since there might be need for professional help." (emphasis supplied)
There is nothing in the files turned over to the Grand Jury recording complaints made a year and a half earlier -- which would have been September 1971. There was a letter from Dr. Zanni to Fr. Walsh, dated September 12, 1972, informing the Vice Chancellor that Fr. Mulholland "never contacted my office for the purpose of making an appointment as you had informed me he would." Records do not indicate what prompted Archdiocese officials to ask Fr. Mulholland to see the therapist again. Apparently no action was taken either in response to whatever the pastor and Fr. Shield had reported or to Fr. Mulholland's refusal to get psychiatric help.
Despite the vague and seemingly meaningless way in which Fr. Walsh and Msgr. Statkus recorded complaints about Fr. Mulholland, Archdiocese officials were aware ever since receiving Fr. Mulholland's letters in 1968, of the danger he posed to his "special" boys. They knew that the criticism that Fr. Mulholland had "not been effective with the CYO" could well have meant that he was lying on top of his favorite boys or spending meeting time with one behind the stage. They knew that ministering "only to a certain few" meant spending all his time with teenage boys. And they knew that the "strangeness" of his ministry to these boys might have involved, according to the priest's own letters, binding, hanging, beating, punishing, molesting, and torturing.
Even in the face of continued complaints from the clerics at Saint Anastasis, Fr. Mulholland might have remained in the assignment were it not for Cardinal Krol's Policy of moving associate pastors every five years. On March 20, 1973, Fr. Walsh wrote to Dr. Zanni, informing him that Fr. Mulholland was being transferred. Father Walsh said he hoped Fr. Mulholland would see the doctor and expressed concern, not that boys in the new parish would be subjected to the abuses of a demented priest, but that the new parish might not tolerate Fr. Mulholland's behavior as well as the parishioners at Saint Anastasia had. Father Walsh wrote to Dr. Zanni:
At your home on Saturday, we discussed the fact that the people in [Fr. Mulholland's] present parish have more or less accepted his way of going about the priesthood; however, the parishioners in the parish to which he might be assigned might find his ministry somewhat different, since he tends to spend his time with a small group of people, especially teenagers.
Without any record of treatment, restrictions, or even warnings to Fr. Mulholland, Cardinal Krol reassigned the priest to be associate pastor at Blessed Virgin Mary Church in Darby, beginning June 5, 1973.
Father Mulholland remains in active ministry for 30 more years.
Knowing that this sick and dangerous priest had never been sent for treatment, Cardinal Krol kept reassigning Fr. Mulholland, with no restrictions on his faculties, to one parish after another. Father Mulholland served as associate pastor at Blessed Virgin Mary Church in Darby (6/73-9/77); Holy Child Church in North Philadelphia (9/77-9/82); Stella Maris Church in South Philadelphia (9/82- 6/87); and Saint Francis Assisi Church in Norristown (6/87-6/96). Each of these parishes had a school.
When Archbishop Bevilacqua took over the Archdiocese, Fr. Mulholland began to ask to be a pastor. He asked repeatedly, beginning in 1990. He pointed out that most of those in his ordination class had become pastors. Despite his requests, Fr. Mulholland was passed over each year. Finally, in March 1995, Cardinal Bevilacqua's Secretary for Clergy, William J. Lynn, had his assistant tell Fr. Mulholland he would not be made a pastor.
The fact that Cardinal Bevilacqua refused Fr. Mulholland's request strongly suggests that Archdiocese officials were well aware of his past predations, and that those abuses were the reason he would never advance. Presumably, Msgr. Lynn had reviewed the priest's file and consulted Cardinal Bevilacqua, who had sole authority to make decisions about pastorates. Prominent within Fr. Mulholland's file are the handwritten, multi-page letters illustrated with pictures of chains, nooses, and people hanging from chains in prison cells. The words "burning," "torturing," and "killing" are triple-sized on the front of one letter. Yet Cardinal Bevilacqua for years continued to grant Fr. Mulholland access to parish children.
Despite all the evidence of severe and dangerous mental illness and abuse of adolescents in his file, and after Fr. Mulholland had complained to Msgr. Lynn that his pastor at Saint Francis Assisi had removed him from supervising altar boys, Cardinal Bevilacqua nevertheless in May 1996 assigned Fr. Mulholland to be associate pastor at Immaculate Conception Church in Levittown. As with all his other assignments, this one afforded Fr. Mulholland easy access to the parish school's children. And there is no indication that his new pastor was told of his problems. Without such notice, he could not know what the previous pastor apparently discovered for himself¬ the need to keep Fr. Mulholland away from altar boys.
Had he been informed about Fr. Mulholland, the pastor, Joseph L. Logrip, surely would not have put the priest in charge of the parish CYO -- a post that Fr. Mulholland had held and abused in other parishes. Father Mulholland remained at Immaculate Conception until June 2002, when, in response to the pastor's request, he was removed. Father Logrip by then had discovered for himself that Fr. Mulholland was a problem. In addition to complaining that the associate pastor was rarely present, Fr. Logrip told Msgr. Lynn; "Father Mulholland is supposed to be in charge of the CYO. He does attend meetings, but it might be better if he did not." The pastor, according to Msgr. Lynn's notes, had also noticed what was a pattern in Fr. Mulholland's abusive behavior -- he had a "small following in the parish."
On June 17, 2002, Cardinal Bevilacqua named Fr, Mulholland Chaplain at Immaculate Mary Nursing Home in Philadelphia, and assigned him to live at the rectory of Saint Dominic, a North Philadelphia parish with a grade school. Archdiocese documents do not indicate where the priest has resided since December 2, 2002, when the pastor at Saint Dominic, Fr. John D. Gabin, wrote Msgr. Lynn a one-sentence letter: "Father John H. Mulholland does not live at St. Dominic rectory."
The Archdiocesan Review Board investigates.
On March 10,2004, the Archdiocesan Review Board concluded that Fr. Mulholland's was "not in violation of the Essential Norms defining sexual abuse or a minor contained in The Charter for Protection of Children and Young People adopted by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops." The board made that determination despite finding that "Reverend Mulholland's letter to a young boy in his parish indicates that he is a disturbed individual in need of mental health intervention."
That letter included explicit language describing sexual abuse, such as the priest's promise "never to jump or molest" the boy so long as he continued his "daily punishments" of the priest. In addition, the boy, according to a memo written by Fr, Walsh in 1970s Archdiocese-style language, "confessed a relationship with Father." The Review Board investigator reported that one suspected victim "declined to discuss the nature of his relationship with Reverend Mulholland ... stating that the only other person who knew what happened between him and Reverend Mulholland was his wife." And finally, Msgr. Lynn reported to therapists in June 2004 that many of the victims admitted to the investigator that, "in retrospect," Fr. Mulholland's behavior with them would have to be considered "sexual."
Although it did not find sexual abuse, the Review Board did not treat the reports of Fr. Mulholland's dangerous behavior as Cardinal Bevilacqua had. Having labeled the behavior as something other than sexual abuse, the Review Board did not simply ignore it. Board members were troubled by the fact that Fr. Mulholland had never received a mental health evaluation or treatment. The board's recommendations stated: "This raises concern in that the letter gives evidence of serious mental health problems that have gone undiagnosed and untreated for many years. As a result, the vulnerable populations with whom Reverend Mulholland comes in contact may be at risk."
The Review Board called for "prompt mental health intervention." It recommended that Fr. Mulholland's ministry not include youth. Board members also recognized that one does not have to be diagnosed a pedophile to be dangerous to children and other vulnerable populations. In Fr. Mulholland's case, they recommended that his evaluation "should address risk related factors in Reverend Mulholland's continued ministry with the elderly."
As of the Archdiocese's last report to the Grand Jury, Fr. Mulholland was still a priest with full faculties, still ministering to the elderly at Immaculate Mary Nursing Home. His residence was unrecorded.
Father Mulholland appeared before the Grand Jury and was given an opportunity to answer questions concerning the allegations against him. He chose not to do so.
Church officials in 2000 considered Msgr. John E. Gillespie a risk. He had admitted molesting several boys over his many years as a priest. But what appeared to worry Archdiocese leaders and therapists more than the danger Msgr. Gillespie posed to parishioners was his stated desire to "make amends " to his victims. An apology might have helped the victims heal and the priest find peace. But it might also expose the Church to scandal or liability. Archdiocese officials were determined to prevent such an admission of guilt.
In 1994, two brothers -- now middle-aged men -- confronted Msgr. Gillespie and accused him of repeatedly fondling their genitals nearly 40 years earlier at Immaculate Conception parish in Levittown. Monsignor Gillespie, pastor at Our Lady of Calvary in 1994, informed Secretary for Clergy William J. Lynn. He also showed Msgr. Lynn letters he had written to his victims, apologizing, explaining, and trying to persuade them that events had not happened precisely as the victims remembered. The Secretary for Clergy instructed the priest not to write to the victims again.
The Archdiocese received more allegations against Msgr. Gillespie in 1997 and January 2000. In February, 2000, after the priest admitted inappropriately touching several boys, Archdiocese- affiliated therapists concluded that Msgr. Gillespie "would be a risk to have in parish work," not only because of the sexual abuse and its impact on the victims, but also because of his "drivenness to make amends." Again, he was ordered not to apologize to his victims.
Monsignor Gillespie was still pastor at Our Lady of Calvary in February 2000 because Cardinal Bevilacqua had ordered no further investigation or action in response to the earlier allegations. The Cardinal asked for Msgr. Gillespie's resignation as pastor only after learning that the priest had admitted victimizing two current parishioners at Our Lady of Calvary and wanted to "make amends " to them. Archdiocesan therapists warned: "If he pursues making amends with others, he could bring forth difficulty for himself and legal jeopardy."
Upon Msgr. Gillespie's resignation as pastor, the Cardinal bestowed on the 73- year-old priest the title of Pastor Emeritus of Our Lady of Calvary. Monsignor Gillespie continued to minister, including hearing confessions of schoolchildren. It wasn't until Msgr. Lynn received a report, in November 2001, of yet another victim that the Secretary for Clergy wrote: "I told Monsignor Gillespie that because of these rumors, and in order to preserve his reputation and the reputation of the Church, I thought it might be best if he retire."
Cardinal Bevilacqua keeps Monsignor Gillespie as a pastor after receiving allegations in 1994 and 1997.
On January 10, 1994, Monsignor John Gillespie, ordained in 1953, and the pastor at Our Lady of Calvary in Northeast Philadelphia, visited Msgr. Lynn, having recently received two troubling phone calls. The first, on December 15, 1993, was from the mother of two former altar boys, Mark and Andrew. They had been at Immaculate Conception in Levittown during Msgr. Gillespie's tenure as assistant pastor between 1954 and 1962. Monsignor Lynn recorded that the mother accused Msgr. Gillespie of "molesting her boys." She said that one son, Mark, had told her about his abuse after entering therapy. The second call Msgr. Gillespie received was from Mark himself a few weeks later, accusing the priest of repeatedly putting his hands down the boy's trousers and touching his genitals.
Monsignor Gillespie told Msgr. Lynn that he had been close to the boys' family, which he said "was split for a while" because the father was an alcoholic. Before the abuse was alleged, the priest had married the boys and buried their father. In 1985, Msgr. Gillespie had loaned Mark $2,500.
The priest gave Msgr. Lynn copies of letters he had written to the victims. To Mark, Msgr. Gillespie wrote:
As a young and perhaps immature priest, I was exuberant in reaching out, embracing, and touching people for whom I had affection. This may have caused discomfort for you and [Andrew] and for that I apologize. You mentioned or stated in our brief conversation that I reached down your trousers and touched you sexually. To this I respond in all honesty, I did at times touch your belly and kidded you about gaining a few pounds, but again I say, I was extremely careful to avoid touching your sexual parts.
Monsignor Gillespie begged Mark "In remembrance of the many good times we had together," to give him the "benefit of the doubt" and allow him to finish out his remaining years as pastor without scandal. His letter to Andrew was similar.
Monsignor Lynn took the copies of the letters from Msgr. Gillespie and told him not to write to the victims again. Monsignor Lynn forwarded them to Cardinal Bevilacqua the same day, with a memo explaining the allegations Msgr. Gillespie had reported. Although Msgr. Lynn informed the Cardinal that "Mark did not threaten anything or make any demands for money," the Secretary for Clergy said he would consult legal counsel as to precautions that should be taken.
Cardinal Bevilacqua told the Grand Jury that, even at the time, he found Msgr. Gillespie's denials odd and that the priest's language concerned him. But, despite his misgivings, the Cardinal did not request an investigation.
On January 11, 1994, the day after Msgr. Gillespie first came to Msgr. Lynn, Archdiocese officials made their decision. They had conducted no investigation and had not contacted any of the victims; Msgr. Lynn's sole effort was to consult with counsel. Yet, without the benefit of investigation, Cardinal Bevilacqua wrote on Msgr. Lynn I s memo: "I believe Msgr. Gillespie." Describing the priest's alleged experience of "false accusations," the Cardinal added: "What a heavy cross." He left Msgr. Gillespie as pastor at Our Lady of Calvary.
Three years later, in November 1997, the mother of Neil wrote the Cardinal, threatening to go to the police because of a "situation ... between one of your priests and my 12 year old son." The situation involved questions her son was asked in the confessional at Our Lady of Calvary. Monsignor Gillespie admitted to Msgr. Lynn that he was the priest in the confessional at the time of the incident. According to Neil s mother, the questions the priest asked the 12-year-old were: "Are you married? How old are you? Do you touch yourself? Did you ever sexually hurt yourself? Did you ever sexually hurt someone else?"
The Archdiocese declined to ask Msgr. Gillespie about what he had said to the boy in the confessional. In a meeting with Neil's mother and grandmother, the Secretary for Clergy led them to believe that he could not question Msgr. Gillespie about the incident. Father Francis W. Beach, the Vicar for Northeast Philadelphia, accompanied Msgr. Lynn on the interview and wrote: "Many times during the conversation, Father Lynn and I spoke about the seal of confession. [Neil's mother] and her mother understood ... that we could not question [Neil] or Monsignor Gillespie on what was said in the confessional." Cardinal Bevilacqua, likewise, used the seal of confession to excuse his and Msgr. Lynn's failure to take any action against Msgr. Gillespie in 1997. Despite the mu1tjple allegations against the priest, the Cardinal permitted Msgr. Gillespie to continue as pastor with no restrictions on his faculties and no supervision of his access to parish children.
Monsignor Gillespie is again accused of sexual abuse and, again, makes a qualified admission.
After two more years as pastor at Our Lady of Calvary , Msgr. Gillespie was again accused of molesting an adolescent -- this time, a former altar boy at the parish where he still presided. On January 21, 2000, the victim, "Gabriel," now a 29-year-old policeman, told Msgr. Lynn and his assistant, Fr. Vincent Welsh, that Msgr. Gillespie had molested him from his freshman until his senior year of high school. Father Welsh recorded the interview in a memo.
Gabriel told the Church officials that Msgr. Gillespie touched him, over a period of two to three years, every time he assisted with Mass. Gabriel said Msgr. Gillespie summoned him, complimented him on his athletic build, touched his stomach and chest and reached into the boy's pants, usually fondling the boy's genitals, and on occasion grabbing and pulling his penis. Gabriel came forward on the advice of a therapist, He told the Church officials "he did not want this type of situation to happen to anyone else ..."
Monsignor Lynn and Fr. Welsh interviewed Msgr. Gillespie three days later. According to a memo recording that meeting, Msgr. Gillespie admitted touching Gabriel inappropriately on "a number of occasions." Specifically, Msgr. Gillespie admitted that he "touched [Gabriel's] stomach and reached into his pants and touched his pubic area," but denied touching his penis.
When Msgr. Lynn reminded Msgr. Gillespie of the Mark's and Andrew's accusations, which also included genital fondling, the priest again protested that he never touched anyone's genitals. Father Welsh wrote: "He also stated that he was more sure that he had 'never gone that far' with the ... brothers than [Gabriel], because the ... brothers were usually together." This was certainly an unusual form of denial for someone accused of abuse, and one that should have caused concern and inquiry.
Monsignor Gillespie told the Archdiocese officials that he thought Gabriel, 14 years earlier, had been his last victim. He would subsequently tell Msgr. Lynn that he had not molested anyone for 10 years. Another time he said it was seven.
Monsignor Gillespie is sent for evaluation and treatment; Archdiocese therapists offer opinions on the legal ramifications of returning the priest to his parish.
Archdiocese managers sent the priest to Saint John Vianney in February 2000 for a four-day evaluation. Monsignor Lynn explained to Msgr. Gillespie that "since the allegation was presented by [Gabriel] to the Archdiocese, it had to be properly addressed." The contrast here is stark: notwithstanding the seriousness of Mark's and Andrew's 1994 allegations, the Archdiocese managers perceived no need to respond in any way because the victims did not complain directly to them (even though the accused priest brought them the allegations). Thus, on the referral form to Vianney, Msgr. Lynn wrote: "Since they [the brothers] did not come to us, there was no previous history or concerns, & Msgr. G, [Gillespie] brought this to our attention himself, no further action was taken." The referral made no mention of the 1997 incident in the confessional with Neil.
While at Saint John Vianney, Msgr. Gillespie told Msgr. Lynn that he had abused two other boys at Our Lady of Calvary , also several years earlier. He said that these victims, now adults, still attended services at the parish and that he still spoke to them. He expressed a strong desire to apologize to these victims and to try to "make amends."
The diagnoses that resulted from Msgr. Gillespie's outpatient evaluation included: "Sexual Abuse of a Child," "History of Sexual Misconduct," "Sexual Disorder," and "Personality Disorder with Obsessive Compulsive Features." The therapists concluded that his "history of relationships" and "his lack of appreciation of the impact he had on others makes Monsignor dangerous to others."
But the Church-affiliated therapists did not limit their assessment to the risk Msgr. Gillespie posed to minors. They also proffered their opinion that "return to his parish does carry potential for further scandal and a possible lawsuit." They concluded that he was a risk, not only because of his abusive behavior, but also because of "his drivenness to make amends." "If he pursues making amends," the report of Saint John Vianney stated, "he could bring forth both difficulty for himself and legal jeopardy."
After receiving the hospital's report and a recommendation from Msgr. Lynn on March 3, 2000, Cardinal Bevilacqua decided that Msgr. Gillespie should be asked to resign as pastor of Our Lady of Calvary. In a note to Msgr. Lynn, the Cardinal suggested that the priest be offered "Senior Priest status" or that he resign "for health reasons." Monsignor Gillespie acceded to Cardinal Bevilacqua' s wishes and was permitted to continue as pastor for three more months until a new pastor was named in June 2000.
When asked by the Grand Jury why he allowed a pastor labeled "dangerous" by his therapists to continue in his parish for three months, the Cardinal blamed his Secretary for Clergy. He told the Grand Jury: "That was a judgment by Monsignor Lynn."
Knowing of Monsignor Gillespie's abuses, Cardinal Bevilacqua nevertheless names him Pastor Emeritus, and asks him to retire only after receiving another complaint.
When Msgr. Gillespie resigned as the active pastor at Our Lady of Calvary in June 2000, Cardinal Bevilacqua named him as its Pastor Emeritus. By not forcing a quick removal of the priest, and then honoring him with this title, Cardinal Bevilacqua helped the sexual offender preserve his reputation and cover as a respected senior priest. The Cardinal also allowed Msgr. Gillespie to continue ministering, assigning him to live and minister at the Motherhouse of the Grey Nuns of the Sacred Heart in Yardley. There, Msgr. Gillespie served as Chaplain to the sisters. He also regularly heard the confessions of children at Grey Nun Academy, a private school serving Kindergarten through 8th grade that was located on the convent grounds.
The 73-year-old Msgr. Gillespie finally retired after the Office for Clergy, in November 2001, received yet another report that the priest had molested a 15-year-old boy years earlier. The report came from a priest at Saint Ignatius in Yardley, Father Alan Okon. He told Msgr. Lynn's assistant, Father Welsh, that a woman had come to him because she had seen Msgr. Gillespie at the Motherhouse of the Grey Nuns and was afraid he was interacting with the students at Grey Nun Academy. The woman, he said, had heard from a friend that Msgr. Gillespie had abused the friend's brother, "Charles," 25 years earlier at Mother of the Divine Providence parish in King of Prussia, where Msgr. Gillespie assisted in the 1970s. The described abuse fit Msgr. Gillespie's pattern, with the priest telling the boy how handsome he was, putting his hands down the boy's pants, and touching his genitals.
On December 10, 2001, Msgr. Lynn wrote that he told Msgr. Gillespie "because of these rumors, and in order to preserve his reputation and the reputation of the Church, I thought it might be best if he retire." Monsignor Gillespie was asked to stop his public ministry in February 2002, along with several other priests who had admitted sexually abusing minors.
Meanwhile, Msgr. Gillespie's victims, denied the apology that might have helped them move on, have continued to suffer. In an e-mail forwarded to Msgr. Lynn in March 2002, Gabriel revealed his unredeemed sense of betrayal. After finding out that Msgr. Gillespie continued to give communion to children, even after he had told Msgr. Lynn of the priest's offenses, Gabriel wrote: "Basically I was lied to by Fr. Lynn who said that the pastor would never be around children anymore."
Since Apri1 2002, Msgr. Gillespie has lived at the Archdiocese retirement home, Villa Saint Joseph, in Darby. Cardinal Bevilacqua testified that he did not know what type of supervision, if any, the home provided for known sexual abusers. Given his predecessor's lack of attention to the supervision of molesters in retirement, it is not surprising that the Archdiocese learned in October 2004 that Msgr. Gillespie was still hearing confessions despite the supposed restrictions on his faculties.
Secretary for Clergy, Msgr. Timothy Senior, promptly informed the retired priest that he was not permitted to hear confessions of any lay people in the future. Monsignor Gillespie has agreed to live "a supervised life of prayer and penance" at Villa Saint Joseph, a retirement home for priests. In return, the Archdiocese will not to seek his laicization, but will allow Msgr. Gillespie to remain a priest.
Monsignor Gillespie was subpoenaed to appear before the Grand Jury in order to afford him an opportunity to answer questions concerning the allegations against him. He chose not to do so.
Monsignor Leonard A. Furmanski, ordained in 1959, sexually abused children throughout his 44 years as a teacher, principal, and pastor in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. As pastor during the 1980s at Sacred Heart parish in Swedesburg, Msgr. Furmanski started a sex education class for grade schoolers. He lay on top of a 12-year-old girl and rubbed his erect penis against her under the pretense of "instructing" her in sex education. He also arranged sexual encounters between the girl and an altar boy. Monsignor Furmanski later admitted to "fondling" boys in the 1980s. He was accused by one altar boy of forcing him to perform oral sex.
Cardinal Bevilacqua left Msgr. Furmanski in ministry following an allegation in 1999 that the priest had instructed an 11-year-old altar boy to, as the boy described it, "massage Monsignor's' leg." Despite evidence suggesting that sexual abuse had occurred, Secretary for Clergy William J. Lynn wrote to the Cardinal that "there is no reason for Furmanski not to return to the parish."
In 2002, Cardinal Bevilacqua left Msgr. Furmanski in ministry after learning that, as a teacher at Cardinal O'Hara High School in 1964, Msgr. Furmanski had sexually abused a freshman student after the boy confided to him about being raped by his algebra teacher in a janitor's closet at school. The victim told Msgr. Lynn that Msgr. Furmanski abused him for months, fondling the boy naked and having him do the same in return.
Still ashamed 38 years later, the victim asked if Msgr. Furmanski had been involved with other boys. The Secretary for Clergy, having personally handled the allegations of the 11-year-old altar boy three years earlier, told the victim he knew of no others. In 2003, an investigator hired by the Archdiocese's law firm accused Msgr. Furmanski's 1964 victim of lying. The investigator suggested that if the victim did not drop the matter, his wife might lose her job.
Monsignor Furmanski abuses a Cardinal O'Hara High School student in 1964.
On March 10, 2002, "Alex" wrote to Cardinal Bevilacqua telling the Cardinal that he had been abused as a young teen at Cardinal O'Hara High School 38 years earlier -- by his algebra teacher and then his religion teacher, Msgr. Leonard Furmanski. Alex asked to speak to someone about it.
On June 18, 2002, Alex met with the Secretary for Clergy, William J. Lynn, and his assistant, Fr. Vincent Welsh. Alex related that his ordeal began freshman year -- 1964 -- at O'Hara when his 6'6", 370-380 pound algebra teacher asked him to stay after school, took him to the cafeteria, bought him a soda, talked with him about his grades and problems at home between his parents, then bent him over a chair in a closet and raped him. The teacher fondled him in the closet on several other occasions. Alex told the Grand Jury that on one occasion his teacher suspended him by his wrists with a belt and groped his genitals, demanding, while squeezing the boy's genitals, that the boy keep the abuse secret. The teacher also told Alex, "this just stays between us, and you keep your nose clean and you'll graduate and get out of my class."
Alex explained to Msgr. Lynn and Fr. Welsh that he could not bring himself to tell his father or his mother, who had previously suffered a nervous breakdown, so he confided in Msgr. Furmanski, the priest who taught his religion class. To his dismay, Msgr. Furmanski responded by touching and fondling the boy's genitals, asking whether this was what the algebra teacher had done. Monsignor Furmanski told Alex that his, Msgr. Furmanski's, conduct was proper because he loved Alex.
Alex further told Msgr. Lynn and Fr. Welsh that he became a regular helper at a bookstore that Msgr. Furmanski ran at the school. There, once or twice a week, the priest had Alex take his pants down and he fondled the boy's genitals. The priest took down his own pants as well and had the student masturbate him. Monsignor Furmanski continued to abuse Alex throughout the semester until one day when he told him he was no longer needed because he had been replaced by other boys.
Alex confided in the Archdiocese managers that he never told anyone -- not even his wife of 30 years -- until stories of priest abuse hit the newspapers in 2002. He said he was embarrassed because he felt what Msgr. Furmanski had done was his fault. He related that he had dropped out of college after one year and began drinking heavily.
Monsignor Furmanski abuses an 11-year-old girl for almost two years, beginning in 1977.
"Regina" told the Grand Jury that she met Msgr. Furmanski in 1977 when he became pastor at Sacred Heart Church in Swedesburg and she was a 6th grader. The "boisterous," "outgoing," "always laughing" Msgr. Furmanski was well liked in the parish, leading to an increase in collections. Regina was happy when Msgr. Furmanski started a youth group for girls, and she became an enthusiastic member. Monsignor Furmanski initiated and began teaching a somewhat graphic sex education to her 6th grade class, including his frequent drawing of diagrams of male genitalia on the blackboard.
Monsignor Furnlanski began asking Regina to do clerical work around the rectory, where he also employed numerous altar boys. No other priests lived in the rectory. As one of the students chosen to help the popular priest, she felt special. She believed it gave her a certain status among the other students, and she knew her family was pleased as well.. Monsignor Furmanski was aware of and attentive to her vulnerability; he knew she came from a broken home, with no father and a sick mother, and talked with her about her family. Subtly, he moved the conversation to asking the girl whether she understood everything he was teaching in his sex education class. He asked whether she had a boyfriend, and whether she had ever been kissed. He pulled out a manual with pictures of male anatomy and explained to her that the penis went into the vagina -and not elsewhere. These private instructions in sex education were even more explicit and graphic than what Msgr. Furmanski taught in class. Regina told the Grand Jury that she felt a little embarrassed, but that she still trusted the priest at that point.
She began to feel less comfortable when, during 7th grade, Msgr. Furmanski asked whether she was a virgin and, upon hearing that she was, told her it was important for her to "feel what a man's erection is like." When they were alone he instructed Regina to lie on the floor. He then proceeded to lie, still clothed, on top of the 12- or 13-year-old girl and simulate intercourse, rubbing his erect penis against her. She told the Grand Jury that this so-called sex education continued for two years, three or four times a month.
Regina told no one, fearing they would not believe her and that she would get in trouble. She said the priest told her that, if she did try to report the abuse, he would say that she had seduced him.
After a year and a half of the "sex education," Msgr. Furmanski added a new dimension -- a 7th- grade altar boy, "Gregory." Regina told how Msgr. Furmanski called her to the rectory -- to do clerical work, she thought -- and then said, "Someone's waiting for you in the other room." There, in the dark, with music playing, she found Gregory. She described how he kissed her, touched her breasts, and put his hands down her pants and his fingers into her vagina. She explained how Msgr. Furmanski prepared her for these actions ahead of time. He told her what boys like to do and instructed her that she should let them, for example, put their fingers in her pants because "it only makes more frustration if you don't, if you stop and you say no ..."
She told the Grand Jury that because Msgr. Furmanski was orchestrating this behavior, she felt she could not say no. The priest questioned her about what happened with Gregory after their encounters -- although she suspected he might have been watching because he seemed already to know.
Only when Msgr. Furmanski began to pressure her to have sexual intercourse with Gregory did Regina finally escape her abuse. She told the Grand Jury that she became scared because the priest would get angry when she refused to have intercourse. One night while Gregory was making his unwelcome sexual advances, Regina broke away and ran from the rectory with her pants undone.
Monsignor Furmanski's abuse of Regina continued. Finally, one night when she was in 8th grade, she had had all she could take. The priest had waited until the housekeeper was gone for the day and locked the door as he routinely did before molesting the girl. As he was lying on top of her, grinding his penis against her, she told him that if he did not get off she would scream until someone heard her. The priest got up and allowed her to leave.
Monsignor Furmanski continued to pursue Regina. He called her house and told her mother that Regina should have been at the rectory working. For the most part, Regina said, she was able to avoid the priest, seeing him only at family functions such as funerals. Once she entered high school, she had very little contact with Msgr. Furmanski.
Regina testified that she told no one about her abuse at the time except a boy she dated in high school, "Martin," and his mother. She told them, she explained, because she had an extreme reaction when Martin, "just goofing around," lay on top of her. She said she "flipped out," "threw him off," and told him not to come near her. She said she "crumbled so bad there that he went and got his mother." Regina testified that she told Martin's mother the story but extracted her promise not to tell anyone.
Twenty-four years later, Regina testified that she still considered herself a Catholic but could not go into a church. The smells, the atmosphere, brought back all her horrifying memories of Msgr. Furmanski. She said that her marriage fell apart and ended in divorce because she "couldn't ... make love with my husband because, you know, I didn't -- I felt dirty, and he just said he couldn't -- I can't fight that ghost forever."