The Philadelphia Archdiocese was named an “unindicted co-conspirator” today by prosecutors in a case involving clergy sexual abuse. At the pretrial hearing, Assistant District Attorney Mark Cipolletti made accusations against a defrocked priest, Edward Avery, and the archdiocese. Cipolletti said “the archdiocese was supplying him [Avery] with an endless amount of victims.” Msgr. William Lynn will also face trial in March. He is charged with covering up incidents of sexual abuse for the archdiocese.

[The article by John P. Martin of the Philadelphia Inquirer is the source of the remarks attributed to the parties in this dispute.]

Catholic League president Bill Donohue comments as follows:

Attorney Thomas Bergstrom, who is representing Msgr. William Lynn, calls Assistant District Attorney Mark Cipolletti’s remarks “nutty.” He does so by citing the fact that all but one of the seven allegations made against Edward Avery were made after Lynn had left his post in the archdiocese where he was responsible for dealing with these cases. Bergstrom notes that the prosecutors are conceding this issue—they know that Lynn wasn’t aware of these cases—yet they continue to hammer away.

It is too kind to say that Cipolletti is “nutty.” He’s malicious. Just think about what he is saying. We are to believe that “the archdiocese was “supplying [Avery] with an endless amount of victims” [my italic]. This boggles the mind. Was the Archdiocese of Philadelphia operating a human conveyor belt—lining the boys up single file before feeding them to predators? Or did archdiocesan officials follow the advice of therapists and allow for treated abusers to return to ministry, just the way every other institution, religious and secular, did up until recently?

In other words, was evil at work or bad judgment? Cipolletti says it’s the former. Let him prove it.

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