Church lawyer says Michigan bishop lied to him

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.


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Showing 3 comments

  • Jeannie Guzman
    commented 2012-05-15 14:05:58 -0500
    Bishops, who are promising to be “open and honest about child-sex crimes,” have about as much credibility as those behind bars saying that they are “innocent!” I’m convinced that any words out of the mouth-piece for the US Council of Catholic Bishops is designed to be nothing more than another “Dog and Pony Show” or Madison Avenue – PR Campaign. They’ll do anything or say anything to postpone the time when they are finally made accountable in a court of law. The longer they postpone things, the more bishops succumb to the ravages of old age, dementia and the grave, as in the case of Cardinal Bevilacqua. For the Catholic Church, time is the biggest healer! I just hope that the trial up in Philly will start giving prelates some quality “time” in prison to reflect upon their actions or lack thereof!
  • Jeannie Guzman
    commented 2012-05-15 13:57:36 -0500
    I didn’t know that lying to a lawyer was against the law. One doesn’t swear to tell the truth to a lawyer or do they, when they bring a lawyer on board to defend their case. I just presume that someone, defending a criminal would obviously know that criminals don’t always tell the truth! Duh? Almost everyone in prison claims to be “innocent” or “framed!” I’m sure this will be the excuse of any cleric, who is ever made to serve a prison sentence for covering up in the Priest Pedophilia Scandal. I just hope they don’t let them wear their black garb and Roman Collars in prison. I hope they need to wear little, orange jumpsuits like everyone else.
  • David Clohessy
    published this page in Official SNAP Media Statements 2012-05-15 08:56:35 -0500

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