Wednesday, July 22, 2015

This Time It's About The Money

By Ralph Cipriano
for BigTrial.net

At both of Father Andrew McCormick's criminal trials, the alleged victim in the case, as well as the prosecutor, made a point of saying that the victim who claimed he was sexually abused as a 10-year-old altar boy wasn't in it for the money.

That's why he hadn't filed a civil suit, the victim said on the witness stand at both trials.

On March 6, 2014, at Father Andy's first trial, the priest's defense lawyer, William J. Brennan, cautioned the jury that although the alleged victim had not yet filed a civil suit against the archdiocese, "I don't know what he's gonna do tomorrow."

If people keep telling you, "It's not about the money, it's about the money," Brennan told the jury.

On July 10, the alleged victim in the case fulfilled Brennan's prophecy by filing a civil suit in Philadelphia Common Pleas Court, John Doe v. Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia, Msgr. William Lynn, and Father Andrew McCormick.

Both of Father Andy's trials ended in deadlocked juries. On April 10th, after the second mistrial in 14 months, Assistant District Attorney Kristen Kemp told Judge Gwendolyn N. Bright that the D.A.'s office would not retry the case a third time. But now the alleged victim is after Father Andy in the civil courts. And in the civil complaint, "John Doe" is seeking damages of more than $50,000, plus punitive damages.

The victim in the case was a slender, 26-year-old business manager for a large New York cosmetics firm.

He claimed that back during the 1997-98 school year when he was a 10-year-old altar boy in fourth grade, Father Andy lured the boy up to his room in the rectory at St. John Cantius Church in Bridesburg. Then, according to the alleged victim, the priest locked the door, shoved the boy down on the bed, tore off his clothes, and tried to jam his penis in the boy's mouth.

Fourteen years later, the alleged victim came forward to publicly accuse the priest after he had a dream where the priest was supposedly attacking the victim's 5-year-old nephew.

At Father Andy's first trial, on Feb. 27, 2014, the alleged victim was red-faced and dabbing his eyes with tissues when Assistant District Attorney Kemp asked, "Why are you doing this?"

"So this does not happen to another little boy," he responded. Then he told the jury he had not filed any civil lawsuit against the archdiocese.

On cross-examination, defense lawyer Richard J. Fuschino asked, You say you're not suing the archdiocese for money, but didn't you go see a lawyer to check out a possible civil lawsuit?

"I went to see a lawyer," the alleged victim said. But it was for his own protection, he said. He did not file any civil lawsuit. He was not seeking money from the archdiocese.

"I have a full-time job," the alleged victim told the jury. "I don't need money. I have a very successful career."

When she gave her closing statement on March 6, 2014, Assistant District Attorney Kemp told the jury, "This was never about money."

At Father Andy's second trial, on Feb. 27, 2015, the alleged victim again testified that he was not in this for the money. "I don't need to, I have a pretty successful career," he said. The only reason why he's doing this, he testified, is to make sure "another little kid doesn't go through this."

On March 6, 2015, when Assistant District Attorney Kemp gave her closing statement in the second criminal trial of Father Andy, she stated that the alleged victim didn't file a civil lawsuit against the church because he wasn't after money.

 "He wants nothing from this man," Kemp said, while angrily pointing at the defendant.

As far as the civil case is concerned, the alleged victim is in it for the money this time around but he still wants to remain anonymous.

On July 10th, in John Doe's lawsuit, lawyers Brian D. Kent, Jeffrey F. Laffey, and Samuel I. Reich wrote that John Doe is a "pseudonymous designation for a plaintiff who was a victim of sexual abuse while he was still a minor." The pseudonym was being used in the complaint "to protect the health, safety, welfare, and privacy interests of this plaintiff." The alleged victim's "identity will be made known to the defendants by private, non-public communication," the lawyers wrote.

In an interview, lawyer Brian D. Kent said whether his client was pursuing Father Andy in the criminal or civil courts, his motive was the same.

"The chief motivating factor behind this lawsuit is holding those people responsible," Kent said. "His chief motivation has never changed," Kent said of his client. "He wants the people who are responsible to be held accountable."

"I don't see any contradiction," Kent said. The two criminal trials ended in hung juries. Regarding the civil case, "This is the last opportunity that he's going to have to hold these people responsible," Kent said.

Trevan Borum, Father Andy's lawyer in the second criminal case, said, "I would like to say I am shocked at this turn of events -- unfortunately I am not. Not even a little."

Borum called the alleged victim's claim that it wasn't about the money "a bold-faced lie."

"He intentionally deceived the jury to secure a conviction to cash in on his civil suit," Borum said of the alleged victim.

"Despicable."

Borum said that Assistant D.A. Kemp knew that the alleged victim had seen a lawyer.

"What exactly did she think they were talking about," Borum said. "She's not an idiot. She either knew it was a lie or she just didn't care to bother to dig at all. Which was the way she investigated her whole case. Ignore anything that doesn't fit the script."

Kemp could not be reached. A spokesman for the D.A.'s office did not respond to a request for comment.

The lawsuit filed on behalf of John Doe claims that school and the church under Lynn and the archdiocese "had a history . . . of transferring priests . . . who were known and/or suspected to have engaged in inappropriate conduct with children, including, but not limited to, sexually abusing young boys."

The archdiocese and Lynn "failed to sufficiently and adequately investigate" Father McCormick's background, the suit alleges. "Specifically, it is believed and therefore averred that Defendants knew, and/or had reason to know, that McCormick was a pedophile, child molester, and/or sexual predator who posed a danger to children."

"It is believed and therefore averred that Defendant Archdiocese knew that McCormick had began masturbating to pornography at age seven years old and masturbated one to two times a day through adulthood because he 'likes it,'" the complaint states.

The complaint alleged that the archdiocese "forced McCormick to submit to a polygraph examination concerning the Archdiocese's concerns/suspicions that McCormick may be a pedophile."

The complaint states that in bold print that "McCormick failed the polygraph issued by the Archdiocese specifically relating to his answers concerning whether he had ever abuses children and whether he had watched child pornography. [emphasis added]."

But the archdiocese took no action and allowed "McCormick to remain in ministry until the February 2011 Grand Jury Report was issued," the complaint states. The complaint further charges that Msgr. Lynn and the late Cardinal Anthony J. Bevilacqua had exhibited "callous indifference" to the "safety and well-being of children."

Borum, however, said that the lawsuit is in error and that Father McCormick did not fail the lie detector test administered by the archdiocese. Instead, the retired FBI agent in charge of the test concluded "the exact opposite," Borum said.

"I also had Father McCormick take a polygraph exam prior to trial at his request," Borum said. "He passed with flying colors."

"I shared the results of my test with Ms. Kemp prior to trial," Borum said. "She couldn't have cared less."

Kemp could not be reached. A spokesman for the D.A.'s office did not respond to a request for comment.

As the result of "forcible oral rape, Plaintiff sustained severe psychological and emotional distress, including post-traumatic stress disorder, manifested by physical ailments and complaints, including, but not limited to, sleeplessness, loss of appetite, attempted suicide and drug addiction," the complaint states.

"Plaintiff has suffered and continues to suffer great pain of mind and body, shock, emotional distress, physical manifestations of emotional distress, embarrassment, loss of self esteem, disgrace, humiliation, and loss of enjoyment of life, and has suffered and continues to suffer spiritually," the complaint states.

The "significant emotional and psychological injuries" have "dramatically transformed" the alleged victim's personality, the complaint states. "Plaintiff turned to marijuana use at the age of eleven and began using prescription painkillers. He also attempted suicide."

The archdiocese and Msgr. Lynn, according to the complaint "knew that at least 120 members of its clergy and teaching staff had reportedly sexually molested children, committed acts of violence upon children, or otherwise preyed upon children." But they did nothing to protect children, the lawsuit charges.

Ralph Cipriano can be reached at ralph@bigtrial.net.

14 comments:

  1. Follow Big Trial. The Inky sure does. They crib these stories within the hour.

    ReplyDelete
  2. This is true. The last three stories on this blog within an hour or two wound up on philly.com.

    The story about the rogue cops getting their jobs back was posted at 5:05 p.m. July 10th. The same story was posted on philly.com two hours later on July 10.

    The story about Msgr. Lynn being transferred out of a city prison the Pope plans to visit was posted on this blog at 10;57 a.m. July 14. It was posted on philly.com at 12:20 a.m.July 14.

    The story about the alleged victim suing Father Andy in civil court was posted at 5:12 p.m. July 22nd. The same story was posted on philly.com at 6:04 p.m. July 22.


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    Replies
    1. Where else are the INKY reporters going to get the truth, the feds wont let them see it, or print it, or speak it. Being censored they have to get their news elsewhere, they could also try the Washington Post, they are trying to wake America up to the injustice that has a stranglehold on the country. When will the INKY realize the harm they have done to the criminal justice system, defendants, and the innocently accused. Let the feds fight fair in the courtroom not unfairly in the media.
      My suggestion would be to allot the same size article they printed on the FBI hair analysis ( five line blurb ) that the Washington Post stated sent thousand to prison and others to their deaths as you would a story given to you by the federal prosecutors on a defendant preparing for trial. The odds would be somewhat better for the accused, it would be a good first start to level the playing field , if the INKY is willing to agree.

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  3. I guess June 10th became the tomorrow for this brave victim. There is no oath he would never file a law suit against the archdiocese, he only stated at the time of the trial he was not in it for the money and I hardly think $50,000 could be considered in it for the money. He is looking for restitution for what a sick minded individual did to him and since there was no verdict in the two cases I see no problem with this law suit.

    Look at it this way people. There was this reporter who filed a lawsuit some time ago because he felt offended by what his boss had to say about his reporting skills. I don't know if it was proper or not, but it must not have been because he walked away winning his lawsuit for some nice pocket change. There is no different then what this reporter did and what this clergy sexual abuse victim is doing now. They both wanted to punish those who they felt did them wrong by making those people dig into their pockets.

    How do you punish people who have money ? TAKE SOME OF IT AWAY.

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  4. How do you punish people who lie and deceive? how do you punish lawyers whose motivations is money? Just watch the tv ads---"we'll get you a large cash settlement." and "We don't get paid unless you get money." And then the worms take most of it, leaving the so-called 'victim' in the dust.

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  5. how do you refute false allegations of abuse at the hands of a priest, a teacher, an administrator? you can't, in this society that deems every person that is accused as "guilty as charged" at the time those allegations are made......

    oh by the way, it's not just 50K this guy is looking for, it's "in excess of $ 50,000" on every lawsuit that's filed particularly in the courts in Philadelphia .....jury can award nothing if they find those accusations were false or they can award any amount they choose if they find those accusations credible...........

    funny how it wasn't about the money as he testified and his attorney proclaimed so eloquently at those trials but it is now.....money, the root of all evil in this society........especially when there's a deep pocket to sue like the Archdiocese......

    frankly I'm tired of hearing about all these drug addicted Billy Doe's of this world who claim they were harmed by these priests 15 years ago with no witnesses, no physical evidence....
    how do you possibly defend those allegations? you can't.....

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  6. John Doe will be deposed before the civil trial takes place and his testimony from trial will be dissected to a level which may well show how deceptive he is. Since he did not win a conviction against Father Andy in both trials which ended up in mistrials - no acquittal and no conviction but you are not considered guilty at all as the DA declined to go for a third trial. And it has been said that those victims whose perpetrators were convicted in a jury trial has a much better chance of prevailing during a civil trial, even getting an offer to settle than those whose perpetrators were acquitted or their case ended up in a hung jury.

    Most likely scenario is that the Archdiocese's insurance company will make the ultimate decision on whether to settle or to go fight the meritless lawsuit. Since Father Andy may well be penniless, it will be left to the Archdiocese to make the decision on whether to settle for the standard 15K to 30K or to go to trial an this may be changed by the insurance company defending the Archdiocese. Monsignor Lynn is listed as a defendant and this may well push the civil trial for John Doe to deeper into 2016 pending the results of a second trial that may well be granted him in the coming months. If Monsignor Lynn is acquitted in the second Billy Doe trial because of the discrepancies in Billy Doe's stories, his civil trial for both Billy Doe and John Doe will almost certainly be deep sixed.

    John Doe will not benefit from the results of the second Billy Doe trial if it results in an acquittal. However, he may well be amenable to accepting a settlement in the 30K amount with no admission of liability by the Archdiocese once he is shown how the Archdiocese has taken steps to protect current and future students from abuse situations by requiring tight control of children and the vetting of all those volunteers and employees before putting them in contact with children. He could decline the settlement and go to trial to take the risk of losing the civil trial once his testimony is completely dissected.

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  7. It's not about the money. Hahahaha.

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  8. After reading yesterday's AP article I can see a jury awarding this victim and Billy Doe millions in damages.



    RACHEL ZOLL, The Associated Press
    Posted: Thursday, July 23, 2015, 3:42 AM

    NEW YORK (AP) - Two months ahead of his first trip to the U.S., Pope Francis' approval rating among Americans has plummeted, driven mostly by a decline among political conservatives and Roman Catholics, according to a new Gallup poll released Wednesday.

    Fifty-nine percent of Americans said this month they had a favorable view of the pope, compared to 76 percent in February 2014, Gallup reported. The share of Americans who disapproved of the pope increased from 9 percent to 16 percent in the same period. The changes were most dramatic among political conservatives, whose opinion of Francis nosedived by 27 percentage points to 45 percent. Among Catholics, Francis' approval dropped by 18 percentage points to 71 percent.

    Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/pope/20150722_ap_ad52d32f0f3a47f88f1a2af8ffb13ebf.html#j6jyeUMXdWhXwvuA.99

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  9. Lynn named in another lawsuit. This guy will be in and out of courtrooms long after he serves his 3-6 year sentence.

    I would like to know though who pulled the strings to get Lynn moved out of Fromhold ? A July 6th article from Patheos a non-denominational, non-partisan online media states Lynn was indeed one of the inmates chosen to meet with Pope Francis. Does not sound like the correctional facility got word one day of a open cell and its time to move Lynn.

    Any input Ralph ?

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  10. Ralph, do you have a link to this story as it was posted on philly.com?

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  11. When I think of countries that suppress their populace with fear, imprisonment, death, I think of third world counties, banana republics, North Korea. Now that new light is being shed on the judicial system and the dealings of the church hierarchy , I am sure we are no different. Tactics of intimidation, humiliation, solitary confinement, trumped up charges, mandatory sentencing ,the death penalty, innocent people confessing to crimes they did not commit, child abuse, false imprisonment, all echo abuse of power. Misuse by those in authority over prisoners, police officers in command over citizens, priest over children, bishops over diocese, prosecutors and judges over defendants. Abuse of power is rampant in our country but we don't want to entertain the idea that we are not much different than those countries that we profess to be much superior to in all ways. We are entitled to deplete our life savings to defend ourselves, to face public scorn and ridicule at the hands of the media, persecution at the hands of ambitious power driven prosecutors Being endowed with authority over others is a monumental task , abusing that power is a betrayal against those citizens you took an oath of protect.
    No longer does the church hold its iron grip over the faithful , or the government over its citizens , honesty and respect have been eroded by deceit and deception , without a gargantuan effort on the part of the judicial system and church leaders we are headed to the certain demise of our society.

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  12. http://www.philly.com/philly/news/20150723_Alleged_victim_of_sexual_abuse_sues_Phila__priest_whose_two_trials_ended_in_hung_juries.html

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  13. Served with another deposition subpoena for 4/13/17 for this lying ass guy who lost two cases in court. Now trying to cash in with a civil matter. As a life long catholic I will not give a dime if they settle this case. Are the Archdiocese lawyers going on offensive are they just collecting fees.

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