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The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

SNAP Press Release

For immediate release: Tuesday, 2/15

For more information: David Clohessy 314 566 9790, [email protected]

Ex-MA therapist is on criticized church abuse panel

Former MA therapist is on widely-criticized panel

Grand jury says it leaves 37 credibly accused clerics around kids

A therapist who once treated sex offenders in Bridgewater now sits on a controversial Philadelphia Catholic church panel that is coming under fire from a prosecutor, a grand jury, child sex victims and advocates.

For the past five years, psychologist David Ingle has been on a Philadelphia archdiocesan “review board” that has kept 37 credibly accused child molesting clerics in positions around kids, according to a lengthy grand jury report released last Thursday. The board oversees the handling of clergy sex abuse reports.

"Ingle has put and is putting innocent children in harm’s way," said Barbara Dorris of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. "We strongly suspect that top church officials are giving he and his colleagues incorrect and inadequate information to make sound decisions to protect kids."

According to his resume, Ingle also is (or was) the Clinical Director of Forensic Health Service at the Sex Offender Treatment Program at the Massachusetts Treatment Center in Bridgewater. Ingle now owns Blackstone Valley Family Therapy in Cumberland, Rhode Island. He can be reached at 401 475 5500 and a photo of him is available at

According to a 2006 Providence Journal article, Bridgewater “is a continuing experiment in the rehabilitation of sex offenders. The inmates serve civil commitments, with their freedom and other privileges decided by a select group of therapists, some with track records that favor inmates at the expense of public safety.”

According to his website, Ingle was also once the Director of Adult and Forensic Programs at The Joseph J. Peters Institute in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, a treatment program for sexual offenders and victims of sexual abuse. He has also worked with sex offenders in New Jersey.

The Philadelpha grand jurors found that archdiocesan abuse procedures, overseen by Ingle, that are “designed to help the victims actually help the abusers and the archdiocese itself,” “is devoid of common sense” and “reaches the wrong result in the vast majority of (child sex abuse) cases.” Church officials continue “to engage in practices that mislead victims, that violate their trust, that hinder prosecution of their abusers and that leave large numbers of credibly accused priests in ministry,” the report concludes.

“Dozens of apparent abusers remain on duty in the archdiocese today with access to new young prey,” the jurors found, including at least 37 priests with “substantial evidence of abuse.” Only two of these have been listed on the Archdiocese’s website as credibly accused, “which means the identity of most of these priests remains unknown even to their parishioners.”

The archdiocese’s “victims assistance coordinators” “mislead victims,” “hound” victims to “give statements to “use as ammunition to impeach victims,” “turn over” victims’ statements “to archdiocesan attorneys,” “handed previously confidential” victim’s records “over to (one) victim’s abuser”

Ingle was appointed to the panel by now-retired Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua, who was also harshly criticized by grand jurors. In Saturday’s Philadelphia Inquirer, Ingle defended the panel’s decisions.

(Ingle’s RI residency is mentioned in the last sentence below.)

(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. Founded in 1988, we now have more than 10,000 members. Despite the word “priest” in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers. Our website is

Contact David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, [email protected]), Barbara Blaine (312-399-4747, [email protected]), Peter Isely (414-429-7259, Barbara Dorris (314-862-7688 home, 314-503-0003 cell, [email protected])


Members of Philadelphia archdiocesan abuse panel counter criticism

February 13, 2011|By John P. Martin, Inquirer Staff Writer

Three members of the independent advisory panel that reviews abuse allegations against Philadelphia-area priests said the latest grand-jury report misrepresented their work, and they bristled at its suggestion that they have failed child victims.

In a two-hour interview Saturday, Archdiocesan Review Board members Ana Maria Catanzaro, David Ingle, and Anne Shenberger said they were not defending the archdiocese, attacking the grand jury, or disputing all the assertions in its report.

But they took issue with the panel's depiction of their board as ineffective and its contention that some of their recommendations enabled priests to prey on children.

"In every step of the road, if I saw something that I thought was going to be harmful to children in any way, I got in their faces - and so did these guys," said Ingle, a psychologist and father of four who has acknowledged he was abused as a child. In those cases, he said, "we've been able to work through the dispute and come to a reasonable conclusion."

Catanzaro, who chairs the seven-member board, said the report gave an incomplete picture. "I was shocked at the sweeping statements that were made," she said, "because none of us testified before the grand jury."

A spokeswoman for District Attorney Seth Williams said the archdiocese had multiple chances to suggest people to appear before the grand jury. "They did not request, suggest, or offer that members of the board do so," spokeswoman Tasha Jamerson said.

Donna Farrell, a spokeswoman for the archdiocese, disputed that, saying: "Who appears before an investigating grand jury is solely within the province of the District Attorney's Office."

The board members' comments were the most extensive response from any of the individuals implicated or criticized in the grand-jury findings, which were released Thursday.

That 124-page report accused church officials of failing to protect children or respond to complaints of past abuse. It accompanied an indictment charging four priests and a teacher with having roles in the abuse of children in the 1990s.

The Archdiocesan Review Board was formed in 2002, part of a swath of changes mandated nationwide by the U.S. Conference of Bishops.

After the board hears details of abuse allegations, its role is twofold: Determine if there is enough evidence to recommend action against a priest, and suggest improvements in the system to protect children and identify abusers.

Composed of unpaid volunteers, the board gets cases that come through the archdiocese's victims' hotline but are not being investigated by police, often because they are outdated. Its members are largely professionals with some experience in child welfare. Catholics and non-Catholics, they meet quarterly.

Others members of the board are Sean Ryan, who heads the Bucks County Probation and Parole Department; James Amato, deputy secretary of Catholic Social Services; Edward J. Morris, a permanent deacon at St. Christopher's parish in Philadelphia; and Msgr. Thomas J. Owens, pastor of St. Alphonsus parish in Maple Glen.

The board members review evidence gathered by an archdiocesan investigator and can take into account statements from witnesses, victims, and the accused priests. They have no subpoena or enforcement power and cast secret votes on whether to recommend a priest's removal.

Resolving a case takes up to a year.

The grand jury said it had determined that the review board overlooked or ignored "very convincing evidence" of wrongdoing by priests.

In two cases, it said, priests were allowed to keep their posts despite failing lie-detector tests concerning allegations of sexual abuse. The grand jury cited another case in which a priest, facing two separate accusations of improper behavior, gave "evasive answers" to an investigator.

Catanzaro, the director of graduate nursing programs at Holy Family University in Northeast Philadelphia, said she and her colleagues could not discuss specific cases except to note that their recommendations "have been based on the evidence that was given to us."

The three board members estimated that they had weighed evidence in more than 50 cases against priests since 2003. They said that in most of those cases - including those of two of the defendants charged last week - they had recommended a priest's removal and that church leaders had agreed.

They also said they had proposed a number of changes adopted by the archdiocese, including establishing a website identifying offenders, requiring that all current and former priests' personnel files include reports of accusations against them, and establishing a supervised home for abusive priests.

"Our concern was if you just cut the strings and they're out there loose, they're even more dangerous," said Catanzaro. "So let's keep them contained and under supervision as much as possible."

The board members also said they welcomed more suggestions and revisions to the process, including the appointment of new board members. All are in their second five-year term.

"We're at a new place in the process, obviously, and it's very important to have fresh ideas, and fresh approaches, and fresh people," said Ingle, who lives in Rhode Island and commutes to Philadelphia for the meetings. "It's hard to do this work."

Contact staff writer John P. Martin at 215-854-4774 or [email protected].

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests