Monday, July 2, 2012

Inside The Archdiocese Spin Machine

By Ralph Cipriano

Today, I'd like to talk about Jay Devine, a former spokesman for the archdiocese of Philadelphia, and what an outrageous liar he is.

Devine used to work for Brian Tierney, the former mouthpiece for the late Cardinal Anthony J. Bevilacqua, back when His Eminence was running a criminal enterprise out of the archdiocese. According to a 2005 grand jury report, Cardinal Bevilacqua and his predecessor, Cardinal John Krol, orchestrated a systematic coverup spanning four decades that managed to successfully shield from prosecution 63 priests who had raped, molested and sexually abused hundreds of innocent children. Nice references, huh?

I have already detailed on this blog how Tierney and Devine could stoop so low as to enlist a couple of pedophile priests in their PR campaign to boost the cardinal's image. I've written about how Devine and Tierney used a pack of lies 19 years ago to cover-up Bevilacqua's embarrassing $1 million spending spree to redecorate his seaside villa, at the same time he was closing poor minority parishes and schools in North Philadelphia.

Today, I'd like to talk about how Jay Devine made an "amazingly stupid" admission to one of my editors at the Inquirer in 1998. And how I included Devine's amazingly stupid quote in a book that I wrote about my former lawyer, Jim Beasley, in 2008. And how when Devine heard this quote read on the air in 2009 by co-host Rhea Hughes on WIP, who said it the most outrageous quote in the book, Jay Devine, that outrageous liar, hired a lawyer, brazenly rewrote his amazingly stupid quote of 11 years earlier, so he could threaten to sue me for libel.

The beauty of it is I have all of this in writing. And I'm eager to share.

At the time he threatened to sue me, Devine was working as the spokesman for the Inquirer, which had been taken over by his old pal Brian Tierney. Tierney had so much fun bullying Inquirer reporters
and editors while serving as archdiocese spokesman that he decided to buy the whole damn newspaper in 2006.

Here's the amazingly stupid quote uttered by Jay Devine back in 1998, when he was trying to stop the Inquirer from printing a completely truthful story I wrote about Cardinal Bevilacqua's lavish spending habits, to the tune of $5 million. Why was it truthful? Because disgruntled Catholics inside the archdiocese had given me the archdiocese's own documents! But that didn't deter the dynamic duo of Devine and Tierney from mounting a savage campaign to cover up the truth. Sadly, they succeeded in their mission, but when the Inky wouldn't run it because it was supposedly "anti-Catholic," I got the full story printed in the National Catholic Reporter.

But let's get back to what was going on at the Inky, while Devine and Tierney were in the process of killing my story. Devine told my editor, Jonathan Neumann, who was taking notes, that he represented 1.4 million Catholics, and, "We have a responsibility to make sure the newspaper doesn't tell them things we don't want them to know."

On Feb. 23, 2009, I went on WIP, the local sports station, to talk about the Beasley biography, Courtroom Cowboy. Co-host Rhea Hughes brought up the Devine quote, and read it on the air. Devine hired a lawyer, William H. Roberts of Blank Rome, who sent me the following letter on May 1, 2009, reproduced below in its entirety:

Dear Mr. Cipriano: 
I represent Mr. Jay Devine, who is mentioned in your recently published book, Courtroom Cowboy: The Life of Legal Trailblazer Jim Beasley, by Ralph Cipriano. On page 293 and 309, you use what you claim there to be a direct quote of Mr. Devine in a conversation with your former editor Jonathan Neumann, "... we have a responsibility to make sure the newspaper doesn't tell them things we don't want them to know."
This alleged quotation of Mr. Devine is repeated on page 309 of your book: "We have a responsibility to make sure the newspaper doesn't tell them things we don't want them to know."
Mr. Devine never made this statement. Mr. Devine recalls the conversation which you have inaccurately described and the entire discourse with you and with Mr. Neumann. All of those discussions focused on the accuracy of The Inquirer's reporting. In sharp contrast with what you have written, he recalls saying, "We have a responsibility to make sure you report the truth." 
Your attribution of the statement in its context defames Mr. Devine and is actionable. The attribution incorrectly characterizes Mr. Devine as an untruthful person who lies to the media and the public. This is a particularly damaging statement concerning a man in Mr. Devine's profession of public relations, where integrity and credibility are key elements in his dealing with clients and the media.  
Moreover, your post-publication appearance on WIP radio and comments during the segment aired on February 23, 2009 at 8 o'clock a.m. discussing your book, compounded the damage you have done to Mr. Devine. As you will recall, one of the co-hosts of that program, Rhea Hughes, commented on air during that broadcast that the most outrageous quote in the book is the one you erroneously attributed to Mr. Devine. 
On behalf of Mr. Devine, whose reputation you have seriously damaged, I insist upon an immediate retraction of this publication concerning him, in a form and content that we approve in advance, so that further damage to him can be avoided. 
William H. Roberts
In response, my lawyer, Jim Beasley Jr., wrote back the following hand-delivered letter on May 11, 2009:
Mr. Roberts:  
I represent Ralph Cipriano ... Contrary to what you've written in your letter, Mr. Devine did state those exact words to Mr. Neumann, as reported in a 1998 City Paper article. I am curious why Mr. Devine, a man of "integrity and credibility," did not choose to threaten the [Philadelphia] City Paper, or Frank Lewis, who wrote the article, in the same fashion that you've just threatened Mr. Cipriano. 
The City Paper article, entitled Holy War: sects, lies and video-conferencing, began with the paragraph: 
"In this call, the Church's PR specialist made a surprisingly candid remark. The Archdiocese is the spiritual home of approximately 1.4 million Catholics, he said, and "we have a responsibility to make sure the newspaper doesn't tell them things we don't want them to know." What's more startling than his candor, however, is that he and his associates may have succeeded in their mission."If you want to read a copy of this piece,
it's attached to the numerous filings made my Mr. Devine's present employer, The Inquirer, in its unsuccessful defense of Cipriano v. PNI. I am sure Mr. Devine has a copy for you.  
The contemporaneously created documents also support that Mr. Devine did say it. Mr. Neumann described Mr. Devine's comment as an "amazing stupid" thing to say [1] and not the falsehood fabricated in your letter. We look forward to you taking the position that a Pulitzer prize winning reporter and editor of Mr. Devine's newspaper is not a reliable source. 
Mr. Devine will be deemed a public figure and you will have to prove malice. He will not be able to prove that he didn't say it [because he did] and you will never meet your malice requirement. Even more compelling is that, for a decade, Mr. Devine sat dormant, never correcting this alleged false attribution, in spite of it being accessible to anyone on the internet, and to those who read the City Paper article. We know that you know that in 1998 it was also published in the National Catholic Reporter, the article that created such a fuss with the Archdiocese and The Inquirer. Mr. Devine didn't do anything about that, either.
Your creation of what Mr. Devine now claims he said is nonsense. Had you investigated this, you would have learned that The Inquirer's lawyers unsuccessfully tried the same tactic, and all it ended in was a settlement and an apology by Mr. [former Inquirer editor Robert J.] Rosenthal to Mr. Cipriano. And while your letter may be an attempt to impress your client, it only shows that you come to this with virgin eyes. 
Here's my suggestion: tell Mr. Devine to forget it. If you and/or he are foolish enough to start a lawsuit, we will prove Mr. Devine actually said it, and that Mr. Cipriano had very credible and reliable support. Additionally, you will open up discovery into areas that I just don't think Mr. Devine or Mr. Tierney really want. It is clear that Mr. Devine, on his own and/or on behalf of someone else, is continuing to harbor the animosity created in the 90's when he was doing his best to destroy Mr. Cipriano. The continuation of that vendetta in your ill-conceived representation will be problematic for him. 
Should you sue, when it is terminated in Mr. Cipriano's favor, you, your Firm, Mr. Devine and anyone else we learn was involved in the procurement, initiation or continuation of your improper lawsuit will be subject to a Dragonetti claim. Be careful how far you press your manufactured story surrounding the discussion with editor Neumann ... 
Now do the right thing and tell Mr. Devine to acknowledge that he said it, that it really was "an amazingly stupid" thing to say, and the last thing you folks or The Inquirer need is for this to develop into litigation. 
My direct dial is above if you feel the need to chat. 
Very truly yours, 
James E. Beasley Jr. 
[1] It really was.

I never again heard from Mr. Roberts.

I still have several copies of  that 1998 email Jonathan Neumann sent me shortly after Devine made his amazingly stupid comment. Why would I keep an email for 14 years? When you deal with outrageous liars, you tend to hang on to documents that prove they're outrageous liars, because you can never be sure if they'll ever stop lying about you.

Here's what the email from Jonathan Neumann recounting that conversation with Jay Devine:
An associate of Tierney (Jay Devine) ... told me after I prodded him that he and Tierney want to warn Rosey (Robert J. Rosenthal) that if we publish the story, they will begin an all-out campaign against you and the Inquirer. I spoke to Devine in a very straight-forward, non confrontational way. I told him Tierney's PR firm is trying to bully the Inquirer into printing or not printing what they want us to do; and telling us which reporters to use or not use. I told him that strategy has backfired. I said it's gotten to the point that Max [former Inquirer Editor Maxwell E.P. King], Rosey and the rest of us no longer believe what Tierney and his people say because they're perceived here as bullies, and no more. I said "as a courtesy to you -- and I don't know why I'm doing this -- I'd recommend that you try a different PR strategy in dealing with the Inquirer. The one
you're using now will do you more harm than good." He actually seemed to get the point. 
I think I really caught him off guard, because I was so direct. At one point, he slipped and said something amazingly stupid. He represented 1.4 million Catholics; then he said: "We have a responsibility to make sure the newspaper doesn't tell them things we don't want them to know." Yes, he said that. I don't think he realized he said it ... 

The Jaybird may still not realize he said it. When you're dealing with the Archdiocese Spin Machine and outrageous liars like Devine, they tend to believe their own lies. 


  1. Hoisted on his own petard.
    Here's the thing about a decaying system. Like Versailles in the 18th century, the 1%ers are so used to never being questioned about anything they do; that they have no idea what to do when they are. They become vestive appendages; absolutely skilless.

  2. Wow!

    Who would you believe, the editor of the Inquirer and an accomplished reporter or a PR guy?


    You rock, Ralph.

    1. I loved the quote (full foot in mouth): "We have a responsibility to make sure the newspaper doesn't tell them things we don't want them to know."

  3. Lol. Just too funny. Bill Roberts is a good lawyer who is not the type to bring frivolous cases. The fact that he never responded to the letter or filed suit speaks volumes.

  4. This is why I read Ralph's blog...the ONLY source for information on the Trial! Here's to Ralph!!!

  5. pbs ftontline .0rg the hand of god or the silence documentary for added research into how a devious criminal organization systematically raped the community and their innocent children.

  6. he clerics should not stand up say how horrible this sexual abuse tragedy of human suffering is, when they have allowed the tragedy to occur again & again over decades and longer…and the clerics wring their hands about injustice in the secular world and at the same time as a fortress of injustice they practice blatant injustice toward our children, this is evil…the church cannot credibly exert moral authority in any area externally where the public perceives it is incapable of maintaining moral authority internally...but now, the Philadelphia jurors who found Msgr. Lynn guilty have done more than any Vatican cleric (in the last two millennia) to stop this systemic injustice to our children…give thanks for the Holy Spirit…

  7. Max: I do believe the Holy Spirit is working WITH the Philly verdict not only in the States, but all over the world. Just a couple of days ago I saw an Australian Documentary called "Unholy Silence." The documentary was about molested altar boys, who had committed suicide in the "Four Corners" area of Australia. The documentary opened with a mention of the LYNN TRIAL in Philly! Yes! Australia was watching. The inference was made that 3 priests, who performed "Internal Investigations" never contacted Law Enforcement. Their inability to act on criminal charges of abuse resulted in the deaths of altar boys, years after their abuse. Cardinal Pell defended them and he didn't look any too convincing to me! He's allegedly part of the BIG coverup, and if he's not running scared by now, he should be. Move over Cardinal Law, you might get a room-mate. Link to documentary: "Unholy Silence"


Thoughtful commentary welcome. Trolling, harassing, and defaming not welcome. Consistent with 47 U.S.C. 230, we have the right to delete without warning any comments we believe are obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, excessively violent, harassing, or otherwise objectionable, whether or not such material is constitutionally protected.

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.