Monday, May 7, 2012

Former Teen "Jesus" Talks About Being Abused in Perverted Archdiocese Passion Play

He was a 13-year-old eighth-grader chosen by his classmates for the lead role in the annual parish passion play.

"I was elected to play Jesus," Shawn Magee told the jury Monday in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia sex abuse case. Magee, now 39, recalled how he originally thought it was an honor back in 1986 to be singled out by his classmates at Annunciation BVM Church in Havertown.

Then he found out the passion play was being directed by a pervert priest, Father Thomas J. Smith.

Magee told the jury how Father Smith brought him upstairs to the sacristy, and locked the door behind him. He had the boy disrobe until he was "completely naked," Magee said. Then Father Smith kneeled down in front of him, with his mouth full of safety pins.

Magee told the jury how Father Smith's face was "six to eight inches" from his groin while the priest took between 15 and 20 minutes to pin the boy's loincloth together. This was done before every performance, Magee testified. He estimated that he had to strip for the priest between 15 and 20 times, as the passion play hit the road, and was performed at other parishes, as well as Villanova University.

When Magee asked the priest why he had to be naked to play Jesus, Father Smith told him it was "to make things more authentic."The priest was clumsy with the pins, and Magee ended up bleeding. When he complained, Father Smith would apologize and tell him, "I'm doing the best I can," Magee told the jury.

Father Smith had the boys playing Roman soldiers whip Magee with knotted leather bootstraps, to the point where the boy had welts and cuts on his body.

"My ears were cut open," Magee told the jury. When he complained, Father Smith told him the whippings were necessary for " the authenticity of the play."

Magee said he told his parents he didn't want to act any more in the passion play, but his parents told him, "there's no way you're quitting."

Father Smith also took Magee and several other eighth grade boys to the Springton Racquet Club, Magee told the jury. The priest falsely told Magee and four other boys that it was a club rule that they had to take off their bathing suits before they got into the hot tub. The priest was happy to drop his trunks and join the party.

None of his perversions hurt Father Smith's career. When he put on his perverted passion play, Father Smith was the assistant pastor at Annunciation. In 1996, Cardinal Bevilacqua promoted Father Smith to pastor of Good Shepherd Church in Philadelphia. In 1998, Bevilacqua named Father Smith regional vicar for Delaware County.

Meanwhile, Magee began drinking heavily as an eighth-grader. He wound up in Alcoholics Anonymous, but told the jury he has been sober for 20 years.

Magee came forward in 2002, after the Boston diocese sex abuse scandal. He told Msgr. William J. Lynn that he didn't want money. "I was just looking for healing," he said. He also wanted to "save some other kid from going through what I went through."

But Magee testified he didn't find much comfort in Msgr. Lynn's office. He recalled how Lynn told him that Father Smith was a "close friend" of the monsignor's, and that he was also a vicar, just a few rungs below Cardinal Bevilacqua on the archdiocese organizational chart. If Magee came out against Father Smith, there would be "severe consequences," Magee recalled Lynn telling him.

Magee, who said he had no objections to his name being used in this story, told the jury that his trip to Lynn's office left him feeling uncomfortable and angry.

On cross-examination, Jeff Lindy, a lawyer for Msgr. Lynn, got Magee to agree that Lynn had told him that it would be helpful for Lynn's investigation if other former victims came forward.

But Assistant District Attorney Patrick Blessington asked Magee if this request was made after Lynn warned him that there would be "serious consequences" to criticizing Father Smith.

"Yes," Magee said.


  1. This pattern of rebuffing, stonewalling, intimidating, and threatening the victims who came forward is pure evil. This kind of conduct represents the ethics, integrity, compassion, love and faith of our Catholic "leadership" here in Philadelphia? What a horror!

  2. These pigs will all burn in the hottest corners of hell! They are not Catholic, they are not Christians, they are barely human!

  3. The problem is this system is continuing to produce such men and Rome is adamantly refusing to do anything about it. We can bet we in the US will see more of the same kind of twisted 'piety' in the future.

    We have yet to hear from countries in the third world where this kind of abuse is used as a war strategy. If Ireland is any indication we have a very long way to go in Southern latitude countries steeped in Catholic 'leadership'. None of what is happening in Philadelphia will ultimately mean anything if laity don't find a way to say enough is enough. We owe it to the rest of the Catholic world.

    1. It's starting to come out big time in Australia, where there has been so much horrific abuse. Quite like Ireland.

  4. What a fraternity of bizarre freaks.

  5. Mr. Magee has my respect for his courage in testifying yesterday. I'm sorry he encountered such sadistic perversion as a child. I am disgusted at Mr. Lynn's handling of Magee's complaint in 2002. Lynn thinks it is the victims job to find other victims and urge them to come forward? It is also worth noting that the 2005 grand jury reports the diocese found Magee's report "not credible". I hope there will be more testimony now about how Lynn handled another "non-investigation".
    Also, congratulation on Mr. Magee's sobriety.

  6. Could all of these priests who were "close friends" of individuals such as Smith have missed the signs of his deviance? How? Could his formation directors, spiritual directors, the faculty at St. Charles, and his confessor ALL have been clueless as to how he was likely to behave? Could the Ben Franklin Bridge be for sale for a hundred dollars?

    1. These passion plays were common in DELCO. In 8th grade, my 100 pound best friend walked around a church with 600 people in what looked like a diaper dragging a cross made of railroad ties; and the Roman guards were bare chested with leather sandals. Meanwhile, the parishioners were protesting Brooke Shield's "The Blue Lagoon." Our director was an IHM nun so no fondling, but nobody stopped to say "WTF." i do remember the nun laying into the Virgin Mary for wearing eye make up.

      This is common among "believers." Hasidim think its perfectly normal for their wives to show their menstrual pads to the Rebbe to see if it is safe to have sex; and the Mohles to use their mouth to suck on the blood after circumcision. Mormons have their teens go over to their neighbors house and field questions from middle aged Dads about their sexual conduct.

      This is about money. The RCC doesn't get enough from collections but the US government awards various catholic charities and groups more than a billion dollars a year on top of making taxpayer's contributions deductible. The other major religions are just as involved in moneymaking, lobbying, and spending government money. In many European countries there is direct financial support of this craziness. If Joel Olsteen was selling Thighmasters, you would laugh and wonder who would buy such nonsense. But he can sell Jesus, and nobody is supposed to laugh at the absurdity.

      If its related to religion and you are supposed to take it on faith that god wants this crazy crap, who are you to question it. After being away from Catholicism for a while, I go and watch a man wearing a dress pretend to turn crackers and bad wine into the flesh and blood of a 2000 plus old jew, and say WTF--how does any intelligent person believe this nonsense. But as a catholic school boy, we were terrorized into thinking that talking to your friend while mass was going on would get you sent to hell. And lots of catholic parents made their kids bring home the weekly church bulletin to prove they were at mass.

  7. I always come away from these testimonies wondering what the hell is wrong with the parents? We KNOW what's wrong with the priests, but what sane, competent parent doesn't listen to his or her child when he is clearly upset and troubled over a situation? At what point has your religion, your "faith", just become a mental disease? And we STILL have people telling us the Catholic Church is (and I quote) "the safest place for children today". Still.

    No. It's not. And parents who think it is are bad and stupid. Period.

    1. The problem is that most kids don't tell their parents, and parents think that teenagers exhibit odd behavior all the time.

      Read the grand jury report. One thing that is consistent is that these pedophile priests would

      - tell the child that the child would get in trouble for being raped
      - make the child go to confession, letting the child know they did something wrong
      - go to confession themselves, wiping away all guilt in 10 minutes, regardless of the lifetime of damage they did to the child for making the child think they were being raped by "Christ on earth"

  8. These victims are extremely brave for telling their horrific stories in court. This can not be and easy thing to do.

    It is overwhelming to think how MANY innocent children could have been spared the life sentence of being sexually abused..
    It's worse than evil..
    Silence is not an option anymore. And those responsible need to be held accountable and jailed. This is the only way to get this corruption and abuse stopped.

    Judy Jones, SNAP Midwest Associate Director, USA, 636-433-2511
    (SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world's oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims.
    SNAP was founded in 1988 and has more than 12,000 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 and increasingly, victims who were assaulted in a wide range of institutional settings like summer camps, athletic programs, Boy Scouts, etc. Our website is

  9. God!Judy,The same old saw about "brave victims" not injured victims or un"network"ed victims. "Courageous victims " another saw that leaves readers with what? The impression that all victims are afraid? Or that victims should be afraid and stay that way? Afraid of what Judy? You must know why victims are afraid. Yet we weren't afraid (we, being SNAP's 12,000 "members".) to call SNAP and have SNAP's super duper self help healing machine heal us. How can anyone still buy SNAP's bulls#*t? There is no network in SNAP. There is no democracy in SNAP. And there is no healing through SNAP. SNAP is Church run mission control. It has the balls to attempt healing victims on the cheap. No therapy just talk about shame and "courage". SNAP's a Church created and controlled fraud.


    is this is the same person? please tell us .

  11. I have directed the Passion Play on two occasions. Both times Jesus was played by a male teen. White trousers were used instead of a loincloth and n3ever was the actor asked to remove his boxer shorts. This entire story disgusts me and I am sure it saddened Jesus terribly


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