A lawyer for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia testified yesterday that he was lied to about child sex abuse when he questioned aides to former Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua. One of those aides was Rev. Joseph Cistone, who today is the Bishop of Saginaw.
This disturbing testimony unfortunately comes as no surprise. Catholic Church officials have had a long and sordid history of promoting those who protect abusers instead of kids. Time and time again we see the upper levels of the church hierarchy taking steps to cover-up abuse, avoid scandal, and move predators around. Later, their subterfuge is often rewarded with a miter and more power in a new city.
This cycle must end. For the protection of kids, the church must reverse course and instruct bishops, monsignors and others to immediately turn any suspicions of abuse over the police, not to destroy evidence and move predators around. Only when the secular and independent authorities are allowed to take the lead in abuse investigations will children be safe. We hope that every Catholic prelate across the country, starting with Cistone, will begin to honor their decade-old promise to be open and honest about child-sex crimes.
In February of this year, we publicly urged Cistone to "come clean" and explain his role in the awful Philadelphia abuse and cover up scandal. He ignored our request. We hope that today he will step forward and give a full account of his role in these cover-ups.
Read the story here: http://www.philly.com/philly/news/religion/20120515_Lying_alleged_on_abuse_records.html