Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Cardinal Bevilacqua Appointed A Known Pedophile As Assistant Pastor

The therapist, Dr. Thomas J. Tyrrell, warned in the secret archive files in 1989 that his patient, Father Peter J. Dunne, was "a very sick man" who should be "relieved from active ministry."

Father Dunne was, according to the archdiocese's secret files, an extremely intelligent homosexual with addictive sexual behavior. He was also an untreatable pedophile, and a narcissist with an obsessive-compulsive personality disorder. "We are sitting on a powder keg," Dr. Tyrrell warned in 1989.

Archdiocese officials had known since 1986 that Father Dunne had sexually abused a 13-year-old member of his Boy Scout troop. The archdiocese knew that the abuse went on for three years, and that the priest had paid the victim $40,000 to keep quiet. They also knew there had to be other victims. In the archdiocese's secret files, Dr. Terrell stated that he suspected the priest was guilty of being involved in a "myriad number of sexual misconduct cases."

In 1989, a second therapist, Dr. Eric Griffen-Shelley, reported to the archdiocese that Father Dunne was skipping out on his mandatory group therapy sessions. The therapist said he was "wondering if the archdiocese is putting itself at risk with someone so uncooperative on the loose."

"I believe that he [Father Dunne] is quite likely acting out sexually and needs to have firm limits set on his behavior," Dr. Griffen-Shelley concluded. On April 1, 1990, the doctor recommended removing Dunne from active ministry, adding, "A parish assignment is out of the question for a pedophile."

Yet, on May 25, 1990, Cardinal Bevilacqua wrote a letter notifying Father Dunne that he had just been appointed as assistant pastor of Visitation BVM in Trooper, Pa. In the letter, His Eminence waxed eloquent on the priestly ministry of a known pedophile.

"As an assistant pastor, you are called to know and love the people you serve, to care for the poor and needy, to teach the youth, to attend the sick and dying, and to assist in the overall maintenance of the parish," the cardinal wrote Father Dunne. "It is my fervent prayer that all of your priestly efforts will bear fruit in the hearts of God's people, and that the coming years will bring you ever closer to sanctity and salvation ... Sincerely yours in Christ, Anthony J. Bevilacqua, archbishop of Philadelphia."

On Monday and Tuesday in Courtroom 304, Detective James Dougherty read into the record more than 90 documents about Father Dunne that were culled from the priest's personnel records, and the archdiocese's secret archive files.

The documents told the story of a unrepentant pedophile priest, and an archdiocese bureaucracy that nurtured his predatory lifestyle. In 1986, a former boy scout wrote the archdiocese to tell them about how he had been abused between the ages of 13 and 16 by Father Dunne. The victim asked the archdiocese to look into the priest's activities, "to ascertain that he is not hurting other young people."

In subsequent letters, the victim's therapist and lawyer said the abuse began when the boy went to confession, and told Father Dunne he was attracted to other boys. In addition to having the boy say a few Our Fathers or Hail Marys, Father Dunne took the boy on a camping trip to his cabin in Bucks County. The priest had the boy sleep in his bed, and sleeping bag. The priest slept naked, and had the boy fondle his penis until the priest ejaculated.

Father Dunne's former victim grew up to become an abuser of young men. He lost his license as a doctor after he was convicted of sex abuse. In one letter, the victim's lawyer named three other boys that he said were victims of Father Dunne's.

When archdiocese officials questioned Father Dunne, the priest said he "may have been cuddling" but "not fondling" young boys. The priest admitted that he slept in the nude in the same bed with young boys, and that he swam nude with young boys. Father Dunne admitted he had two young men living with him at the rectory. But he denied abusing anybody.

Later in 1986, Father Dunne stopped denying the accusations, archdiocese officials noted in their records. "He didn't remember any such happenings -- maybe, he stated, he has a mental block," the records stated. Father Dunne also admitted to "six or seven other incidents of misconduct."

Father Dunne spent nine months at St. John Vianney, the archdiocese facility that treated priests with sex disorders. His therapist recommended that he be assigned to a specialized ministry which "would control his contact with children and adolescents, and [a residence with] someone who will assume responsibility for his whereabouts on a 24-hour per day basis."

But Cardinal John Krol in 1987 assigned Father Dunne to a job as assistant pastor of Nativity parish in Warminster.

When Cardinal Bevilacqua took over the archdiocese in 1988, he received a four-page report from the chancellor of the archdiocese that detailed the "very complicated case" of Father Dunne. The report warned the cardinal that Father Dunne had held "very sensitive assignments in the archdiocese,"  serving as a teacher for 13 years, administrator of St. Francis Vocational School for youths under court supervision, and assistant director of the archdiocese's scouting program.

Bevilacqua was told that the priest had exhibited "a pattern of denial," regarding his behavior. Father Dunne also didn't bother showing up for group therapy sessions. "I have beaten the system," Father Dunne bragged in 1988 to archdiocese officials.

And, despite being told not to do it, Father Dunne continued to counsel young boys one-on-one, and also go on overnight camping trips with young boys. In the archdiocese secret files, Dr. Tyrrell warned that Father Dunne was exhibiting all the behavioral aspects of a pedophile, with his denials, resistance to change, and "grooming behavior" when it came to young boys.

The priest was not interested in any efforts to rehabilitate him. "He does not believe he is a sexual addict," the secret archives said. The priest's therapists kept saying Father Dunne should be removed from ministry, because they did not see any signs that the priest wanted to change. If he leaves the ministry, "He would become a dirty old man," one archdiocese administrator predicted in 1989.

Even Cardinal Bevilacqua had his doubts about Father Dunne. On Sept. 15, 1989, an archdiocese administrator, Father John J. Jagodzinski, wrote Bevilacqua, "Doctor Thomas Tyrrell and three other therapists maintain  there is much potential for a recurrence of sexual abuse by Father Dunne. They have not ben able to move Father Dunne past the 'denial stage.'"

Father Jagodzinski told Bevilacqua that Father Dunne "must be given an ultimatum; either make a serious commitment to therapy or leave the active ministry."

"Thanks," Bevilacqua wrote back at the bottom of the memo in his own handwriting. "Be very cautious. I think he is trying to manipulate so that we can act according to his agenda. AJB."

In 1993, the program director at St. John Vianney sent a letter to Msgr. William J. Lynn, secretary for the clergy, informing him of the latest diagnosis of Father Dunne. He was a pedophile suffering from major depression, and a narcissistic personality disorder. The priest "should be held accountable for his behavior," the letter said.

Later that same year, Msgr. Lynn wrote Cardinal Bevilacqua, warning that Father Dunne was a pedophile who should be removed from active ministry. The cardinal instructed Lynne to tell Father Dunne to seek voluntary laicization, the process where a priest is busted down to layman. But Father Dunne said no, he had other ideas. In 1994, Father Dunne told Msgr. Lynne that he wanted "to go to his cabin to live," where he said, it would be virtually impossible to reach him by phone.

The following year, 1995, Father Dunne informed the archdiocese that he decided to retire, on a salary of $650 a month, plus benefits, room and board. He status was unchanged until 2004, when threatened with involuntary laicization, he agreed to live a "supervised life of penance and prayer" at Villa St. Joseph, a retirement home for priests.

On cross-examination, Thomas Bergstrom, representing Msgr. Lynn, asked Detective Dougherty if the documents in the secret archive files showed that Msgr. Lynn had a "quick response" when he received a 1992 letter from the wife of Father Dunne's first known victim of sex abuse.

"It would seem to indicate that, yes," the detective conceded.

Within three days of receiving the letter, Lynn told the wife the archdiocese would pay for the victim's therapy.

Bergstrom went through the list of archdiocese officials who knew that Father Dunne had sexually abused a 13-year-old boy back in 1986. The list included Cardinal Krol, Cardinal Bevilacqua, several therapists, and several other archdiocese officials. They all knew "this guy has abused a child," Bergstrom asked.

"It would appear that way, yes," the detective said.

The defense lawyer pointed out that in the secret archive files, Dr. Terrell had recommended two or three times that Father Dunne be removed from ministry. And yet, Cardinal Bevilacqua ignored that advice, and in 1990, appointed Father Dunne as assistant pastor to Visitation BVM in Trooper.

"Cardinal Bevilacqua had to know, had to know that he was appointing a pedophile," Bergstrom stressed.

"It would appear so to me," the detective said.


  1. I wrote about this perp at CofA Blog here:

    Weirdest thing is just now I went to read this post and somehow, ALL my posts from 2009 had been taken down. I don't know how it happened. Or who did it. I am working now to try to retrieve them. Someone hacked the Dashboard for my blog and removed everything from Jan to Nov 2009.

    Weirdest thing ... God knows what else has been done to City of Angels Blog while I was looking the other way. These bishops do a lot more evil things than people realize, there's more to these stories than has yet come out.

    I am SICK from the things that have been done to me while I was doing CofA Blog. Hacking my site and removing my posts is just one of the things they've done to me...

    1. Satan has his minions, like themediareport and Pertinax and all the other defenders of the Catholic child rape empire, and there are undoubtedly Catholics who work for companies that house these blogs that will delete ones that aren't favorable to the cause.

      Keep backups, and watch your back.

    2. this is absolutely true. it has happened to me many times since 2004 and i believe the perpetrator is a priest.

  2. OK It was not hard to retrieve them, and apparently not that hard for someone to hack my blog and "revert to draft" all of the posts from 2009. I think I got them all back up but there may still be some posts missing.

    Ralph, watch your back.

    God Knows how long all those posts had been taken down...

    These bishops hire thugs to do dirty work behind the scenes. I've had my phone tapped, had people feed me false information, and best yet, trying to get to Chicago, I got dropped off in West Virginia last year with no way to get out. I've been stranded here with no car, no transit, no one to give me a ride.

    It's hard to prove, but since I started doing the blog at City of Angels weird stuff keeps happening in my life, weird people who feed me information then disappear.

    I'm not crazy, I'm not paranoid, I just tried to blog about the pedophile priests and got my life screwed with on so many levels.

    Again, Ralph, watch your back.

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  4. Thanks, Kay. Have already had a few go-arounds with my friends at the archdiocese and their public relations goons. But all of this stuff is out in the open now. I am also puzzled at the connection between abuser priests who keep getting one pass after another from the archdiocese, and their bank accounts. Notice how Fathers Gana and Dunne and others have their own personal fortunes to throw around, in both cases to pay off victims? Is getting a pastorate in the archdiocese something that you can put a price tag on and buy? Just wondering.

    1. Ralph, I've enjoyed reading your posts. I'm glad that you noticed that Fr. Gana and Fr. Dunne had "their own personal fortunes." Since there is little oversight and accountability, when it comes down to counting the "offerings of the faithful," I have often wondered if some priests haven't used the offering plate as a slush fund for the purpose of having money to groom their victims as well as to pay them off, when the heats on? In the good, old days of the Church, the Borgias used to sell bishoprics. Maybe some pedophile priests "Buy-in" to their parishes by offering their lives in the service of the Church, in payment for the positions that will enable them to pursue their secret passions: Kids and Teens!

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    3. I knew Fr. Kevin Trautner. His family was quite well-off even before any bequests occurred, including having property at the shore. I also knew how he used personal funds (I'm guessing from the bequests)to help fix-up St Francis of Assisi Parish in Norristown. He also gave a lot of tuition assistance to families who couldn't have afforded a Catholic education. Please don't trash a dead mans name and make presumptions based on an Inquirer article.

      And by the way, people can give THEIR own money to whoever the heck they want to. Too often, family members could have cared less for these people while they were alive, only to resurface at thier death to collect $$$. I've seen that happen within my own and its sad.

    4. Fair enough. I never thought Fr. Trautner was a bad guy personally and I knew him as well when he was a very young priest; and ran into him from time to time. I do know that there were issues with families over whether the deceased intended to have bequests go to the parish, church, or Fr. Trautner himself; and sometimes issues raised over the capacity of the folks that bequested him the money or property. I also know that it was not a small amount of money.

      The point is that yes, priests do acquire significant wealth, in their priestly capacity, that they are free to use at their own personal disposal. At the time that Trautner was involved in these various bequests, there was no formal church policy forbidding individuals or parishioners from bequesting money to individual priests or pastors, rather than the parish or institution. (And given the recent revelations, it probably was better in Trautner's hands than in the hands of the AOP.) There is no dispute that he lived very well for a simple common priest but that is not a crime; and probably not a fair subject to link with priests who used their wealth to groom kids, WHICH TRAUTNER DID NOT DO. And I say that as someone who served as an altar boy for Trautner.

      In fairness to a dead man's name, I will delete my original post, and delete this one as well if you are inclined to delete yours. It's a fair comment on the general issue of priests getting wealthy and having tons of disposable income, but not fair in the context of this unseemly topic. Trautner put in the time visiting those old ladies; and may have been the only friend they had at the end. I do need to squelch my cynicism

  5. This article just shows jsut how commonplace and acceptable Catholic pedophile priest child rape is in the Catholic church. And of course, followers will defend the pedophiles and the buildings with all of their might, even if it goes against everything Christianity stands for.

    Cardinal Bevilacqua's body should be dug up and thrown in a cesspool that is forever named after him.

  6. I think that this eponymous Scandal in Philly should be dedicated to the sainted memory of Cardinal Bevilacqua. Neilallen suggested digging his body up and throwing it into a cesspool, which by the way I think is a creative idea, but it might contaminate the cesspool. Possibly we could combine both ideas and simply name the Philly Priest Pedophilia Scandal, "The Bevilacqua Cesspool!"

  7. As an aside, Pertinax, a frequent commenter on this blog has another blog called "Sense Offenders" which is directed to members of the SO, or the Sex Offender Community. Among other persons, Pertinax defends former NAMBLA chaplain Paul Shanley. He uses the shorthand SO mostly in the blog but occasionally slips up and uses the full term:

    "The sex-offender community will recall that it is precisely this problem that the so-called Containment Model of sex-offender management seeks to solve by using a lie-detector as part of the post-release ‘management’ regimen: a ‘managed’ sex-offender will have his reports to the parole officer and therapist (and victim advocate) subjected to a lie-detector. Alas, it’s considered bad clinical form to use a lie-detector on those asserting ‘repressed memories’, and courts don’t even trust the things enough to allow their results into evidence. But it’s the very thing to use on sex-offenders."

    Accordingly, our friendly neighborhood commenter Pertinax is really the self-appointed spokesman and defender of the Sex Offender Community. So, please excuse me if I no longer continue my entertaining dialogue with him. But please keep his comments in that context.

    1. No surprise.

      Catholics are slow to learn, but it makes sense that there is just as large a percentage of Catholic followers that are pedophiles as there are Catholic priests that are pedophiles. The priests are the holiest of the Catholics, their best of the best, and their followers are going to be more "flawed", so there will be more sinners among them.

      The Catholic church admitted that 4% of their priests were child sex abusers in their own report, and they distorted the statistics. If you look at the 70s/80s, 8-10% were child sex abusers that got caught, and the real number was probably 3-5 times that.

      Therefore, its likely a huge percentage of Catholics are pedophiles. I'm not saying that most Catholics are pedophiles, but most pedophiles are Catholic. They know they will find millions of other pedophiles in the Catholic church, they will be accepted in the Catholic church, forgiven in the Catholic church, and will find the company of a billion pedophile protectors in the Catholic church.

      If you don't think lots of pedophile priests and pedophile Catholics are commenting on blogs defending other pedophiles, you're being naive, slow learning, and very Catholic.

  8. I grew up at St Francis and knew Fr Dunne very well. I traveled with him to his cabin in Canada with a group of other boys from the home as well as retreats to Camp Neumann in Jamison Pa. where he was at one time the Admin and last I heard the mess hall was named Dunne Hall after him. In all the years I knew him I never knew him to exhibited openly predatory behavior. As a survivor of sexual abuse from a foster father before moving to St Francis my "detector" if you will, was finely tuned. Looking back I suspect Dunne knew what I knew and stayed clear of me in that way as I was not one to keep quiet about it any longer. I do recall upon his arrival he brought a team of men to work with the boys in the capacity of "Prefects" (child care workers). Just this very morning I spoke to a man who was at St Francis the same time I was. I've known both he and his older brother since we were 6 or 7 and we all three lived in at least 3 different institutions together until we left at 17-18 years of age. I hadn't spoken to him almost 40 years now and he revealed stories of torment and abuse to me. Not at the hands of Fr Dunne but at the hands of some of his chosen team that he brought with him. One boy was found dead in 73 or 74 and we were told that he died of exposure. The man I spoke with today told me no that he was murdered, he named the perpetrator as one of Fr Dunne's team. When I asked him how he knew he told me "I know because he told me he'd do the same to me if I didn't let him rape me." Is this true? I don't know. I do know that my "detector" went off around these men when I was a boy and I recall unusual attention shown by these members to the boys we all deemed to be "weaker" do the point that we oft times referred to those boys as "pets". I have the names of the dead boy and his alleged killer (if indeed he was murdered). How would I go about passing this information on and to whom? There is no statute for this crime and if he was indeed killed then some measure of justice is owed him and his killer.

    1. You can contact me at and I will publish the story at City or Angels Blog, then the information will be out there. ( blog is at and I have written a bit about Father Dunne there a few years back. )

    2. My God!! This story in the others that I have read, leaves my skin crawling. I was at St Francis from 1975-80, I remember the pets, the guys who were at fathers house on the property, but I never knew this was going on. I received a call from a reporter in 05 or 06 asking me about father. He told me to read a report ( which I just did) about father. He informed me of what had been going on. I just told him, I didn’t see anything, but I did remember the boys who lived in his house. I remember the rumors being that they wanted to be priests. I think I received the call, because in 1999 I was getting married and I called looking for father to do the wedding. What a dope I am! I remember the prefects. Where they all in on this, because there’s no way they couldn’t have known?


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