Catholic League president Bill Donohue comments on the ongoing war on the Catholic Church in Pennsylvania:
The war on the Catholic Church conducted by Pennsylvania Attorneys General and District Attorneys is strewn with lies, hypocrisy, bigotry, and corruption. Here are some incontrovertible facts that the citizens of Pennsylvania need to know before assessing the upcoming grand jury report on six dioceses in the state.
In 2001, Philadelphia District Attorney Lynne Abraham was given a specific charge “to investigate the sexual abuse of minors by individuals associated with religious organizations and denominations.” She never did. Instead, she chose just one religion to investigate—the Catholic Church. All Jews, Muslims, and Protestants were given a pass.
On March 31, 2001, I sent a letter in the overnight mail to Abraham asking her to identify which “religious organizations and denominations” she pursued other than the Roman Catholic Church. She never replied.
In 2005, Abraham gave up: not a single priest was prosecuted. That was the end of Round 1.
Five years went by before Round 2 of the war on the Catholic Church started, this time led by Abraham’s successor, Seth Williams. This Philadelphia District Attorney relied heavily on his star witness, Daniel Gallagher, a.k.a. “Billy Doe.”
Gallagher was described by police investigations and court-ordered psychiatric evaluations as “immature and self-indulgent,” and “hedonistic.” He was also a chronic liar, an alcoholic, a drug addict, and a thief. Kicked out of two high schools, even his own mother testified against him. This was the guy Williams found persuasive.
The prize catch for Williams was Msgr. William Lynn. In one of the most incredibly unethical trials in recent memory, he was convicted of not doing enough to protect minors from predatory priests. But this decision was overturned by the state Supreme Court in 2016 after deciding that jurors were “prejudiced” against Lynn: they were treated to hearing endless testimony about past acts of alleged priestly misconduct having nothing to do with Lynn. He is still awaiting a retrial.
We know for sure one person who is guilty: Seth Williams. In 2017, he was found guilty of bribery. He is now sitting in prison.
The Pennsylvania chief cops’ war on the Catholic Church entered Round 3 in 2014 following the launch of grand jury investigations of six Catholic dioceses. The person who pulled the trigger was Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane.
What motivated Kane to conduct this probe? An internal investigation by Catholic Church officials in Johnstown. How’s that? Instead of congratulating Bishop Mark Bartchak, who leads the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown, for immediately notifying the police upon learning of the conduct of a serial abuser, Kane took the opportunity to launch a massive probe of the Catholic Church.
At that point, the bishops of Pennsylvania should have held a press conference branding this effort for what it was—a rank expression of anti-Catholicism.
Sometimes justice works very slowly. Like Williams, Kane is now sitting in prison for abusing her office. She was also convicted of two felony perjury charges. Not only that, she leaked grand jury reports in a bid to destroy a critic and then lied about it to a different grand jury.
Kane’s successor, Josh “Salacious” Shapiro, started Round 4. He is now about to release the grand jury report. From documents made public so far, almost all of these are old cases, some which extend back to the 1940s, involving men who are either dead or were thrown out of the priesthood. Shapiro can do nothing about these cases, but he can use his cherry-picking ploy to stick it to the Church by releasing salacious details. That is what this is all about.
Catholics in Pennsylvania need to arm themselves with the facts. They are being played by some very sinister, dishonest, hypocritical and vindictive officials.