Thursday, July 19, 2012

Inside The Jury Room, Part Two

Taleah Grimmage, Juror No. 7, has finally explained why that not guilty verdict on the conspiracy charge against Msgr. Lynn left her with knots in her stomach.

Every juror believed Lynn was part of a conspiracy at the archdiocese, Juror No. 7 explained in an email posted on this website. It just wasn't the conspiracy that the prosecutors thought was there.

In subsequent emails, Grimmage elaborated on her complicated views about Msgr. Lynn. Yes he was just a "yes man," she said, but he was also the guy left holding the bag for the archdiocese.

I'd like to publicly thank Taleah for providing invaluable insights into jury deliberations. Here's what she posted about the conspiracy verdict:

Hi everyone, This is Taleah Grimmage (Juror #7). I stated before that my stomach was in knots about the conspiracy charge because, almost every single juror believed that there was a conspiracy. We just didn't believe that the conspiracy was to endanger children.
I specifically requested that the foreman send out a question (which he did) asking if the result of a conspiracy was that a child was endangered, did the endangerment also have to be the intent. Judge Sarmina told us that it did, which made it nearly impossible to convict, with the elements that we were given of conspiracy. Once the trial was over, I asked one of the D.A.'s why the Conspiracy was to EWOC (endangering the welfare of children). He stated that every conspiracy has to have a goal. Well why on earth didn't they charge him with Conspiracy to commit fraud, or something like that?
We ALL agreed that they conspired to hide things from the parishoners and keep things hush-hush to continue receieving monies and etc., and as a result kids were endnagered, but we didn't believe the endangerment was the actual goal. 
I'm sick about this because I felt like my hands were tied, and I personally don't think it matters whether the object is endangerment. In my opinion, its fruit of the posionous tree. One juror used the example: if you rob a bank and during the course of a robbery, a guard is killed. You conspired to rob the bank, you didn't conspire to commit murder. We all agreed with this example. However in some states, the murder would be part and parcel and you'd be convicted of that as well. I was one of the last hold outs on ths conspiracy charge until the very last day. I almost wish I HAD held out so at the very least the commonwealth could retry it under a different conspiracy charge. But alas, he was acquitted so, that's that.

Here's what she had to say about Msgr. Lynn:

Personally, I think Father Lynn was just a cog in a wheel. I think that he was a very good 'yes man' who unfortunately was left holding the bag. I don't think Lynn is a malicious person, and I think in his mind he was doing what he thought was appropriate.
I think that he believed this because he's from an organization that for some reason doesn't seem to have much empathy for the very people they are supposed to protect. I think that he learned through a course of action, just how little the victims meant to the church. It was evident from how he initially conducted his interviews with them. It was always a sort of interrogation to see if THEY were telling the truth. Of course he also let his superiors know that the person didn't ask for money, or the case was beyond the statute of limitations etc. 
Not to get too dramatic but I bet deep down inside the soldiers at concentration camps had some empathy. However, if after years and years of systematically learning that this is just the way business is done, its easy to tell yourself that you're doing what's right. 
All that being said, when you find out your best isn't good enough, you have to pay the piper. When Lynn got the job and a few years into it, realized it involved funneling pedophile priests from one place to another, he shouldve marched into Molloy and Bevelacqua's office and told them I'll go so far but no further.

Grimmage said she didn't buy the defense argument that Lynn was doing his best to help abuse victims:

I didn't buy [defense attorney Tom] Bergstom's explanation that he [Lynn] documented the abuse. He certainly documented it, not because he wanted to run out and tell the world, but because he knew darn well it would never see the light of day. A smart person would have done the job, but eliminated the paper trail.

She also was surprised at the conduct of Msgr. Lynn's boss:

When I found out the cardinal [Anthony J. Bevilacqua] was a cannon and a civil attorney, I almost fell out of my chair. You mean the man at the top had ALL the information? He (the Cardinal) knew darn well he didn't have to assign these priests. If cannon law says you have to have a ministry and not an assignment, he could have sent these priests to St. John's Villa, the graveyard for shamed priests.

She also had some final thoughts on the Father Brennan case, and the credibility of his accuser, Mark Bukowski. Combing through the timeline on this site, Grimmage said she was shocked to learn that the Bukowski story had drastically changed from the time of the grand jury report:

Mark Bukowski initially said at the grand jury that he was indeed RAPED?
I am furious that this was withheld from the jury. We spent a lot of time discussing why Fr. Brennan stopped himself that night and to now learn hat at one point Mark was saying he DIDN'T stop is frustrating. 
Had I personally known the victim was saying at one point he actually was sodomized, my reaction would've been quite different. Mark never once indicated that something else occured while on the stand. He seemed adamant that it was just spooning with both of them being clothed.  That's a HUGE difference from being sodomized. 
I can understand the legal reasoning behind not allowing the jury to know and hear every single thing in order to keep a fair and balanced view of the facts. But good grief. Thats the kind of thing I'd like to know. Either Mark blocked it out (which is a fair assumption), or it actually did happen and the prosecutor told him NOT to mention it since it conflicted with other testimony, or he's lying. 
I'm also curious if Mark was such a shaky witness, was he the only bullet they had? I hear Walter Levingoode refused to participate. Why did they choose to proceed with all these holes in the case against Brennan? Was it because Mark was the most recent person they could use? All these other priests had victims decades old. I guess they had to go with what they had. 
Dear Lord, what else didn't they tell us?


  1. What about the Avery deal prior to the trial? How did the jury reconcile his disappearance?

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. The jury did not discuss Avery's dissappearance. We were instructed by the judge to not concern ourselves with why he was missing.

      Honestly anyone who has seen an episode of Law and Order (the original) knows there are only so many reasons a defendant who was present during jury selection is absent from the trial.

  2. I am wondering if Taleah knew that Mark had a history of making up stories to the police before. (Yes, I know very well that this fact alone does not mean that Fr. Brennan didn't molest him, so please spare me the attacks.) But I am curious if this was a factor at all, or if they even knew about Mark's criminal record.


    1. Always smear the victim.

      You know what Pierre? If there are any false claims against the Church (and I've seen none.) to damned bad.

      That's the price you pay when it has truthfully happened time after time after time after time.

      It's so clearly obvious you care more for the Church's money than you do for the Church's victims.

  3. Well, we knew his story has some holes in it from the beggining. He seemed to change minor details about the night in question (whether the computer was a laptop or desktop, he never knew how he got hom from Brennan's etc.) And virutally every juror dismissed the shed story in its entirety. (The story about Fr. Brennan touching himself in a shed).

    I believed that Mark's embellishment was simply a normal thing for him. he seemed to have some self esteem issues and proibably this situation is the most attention any has ever paid to him. It almost seemed like, "if they think this is strange... wait til they hear this one!"

    I took what Mark said with a grain of salt, but I steadfastly believed Brennan did what Mark says he did that night. Even if the molestation was false, Brennan himself admitted to the pornographic incident, which in my mind is endangering behavior.

    Other jurors felt that if Mark was prone to embellishment, they couldnt truast ANY of what he said. Hence the split decision.

  4. That makes sense Missmeem. I think that you all did the best that you could under the constraints of the charge given to you, and the difficulty described by Taleah. It's not about how much time Lynn does, in my opinion, it's the fact that he was convicted and will serve a sentence. That is justice.

    Other personnel professionals are on notice whether they are church workers or scout masters. None want to be the next Lynn no matter the length of his sentence. I would hope.

    Had there been an additional Brennan victim, the outcome would have been different.

    Thanks for your response.

    1. Jack... Missmeem is Taleah. We are the same person. LOL Missmeem is just my screename.

  5. This is such a wonderful forum, to be able to have a chat with such a thoughtful and eloquent juror. Thank you Taleah, for sharing with us.

  6. I agree Ralph. I was under the impression that there were two jurors, but I see now that it is Taleah.

    Also, I'm trying to recall the Avery victim, but I guess two out of twenty or so isn't so bad.

  7. Yes, Thank you Taleah, for sharing with us.

    Judy Jones, SNAP "Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests"


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