Philly Prosecutors Show Venom for Catholic Church, Not Desire for Justice

Prosecutors in the high-profile abuse cases in Philadelphia are revealing that their cases are more about their open distaste for the Catholic Church than their desire for justice for abused children.

In a hearing on Tuesday (1/24/12), Assistant District Attorney Patrick Blessington (a so-called “Chief of Special Investigations”) actually asserted the following to the presiding judge:

"Time and time and time again, [Catholic officials] lie to victims because they are not concerned about the victims; they are just concerned about the almighty dollar and mother Church."

Blessington’s remark was made after Monday’s hearing where another Assistant District Attorney, Mark Cipolletti, claimed:

“The archdiocese was supplying [an accused ex-priest] with an endless amount of victims … It was a willful blindness.”

Notice Blessington’s use of the present tense when claiming that Church officials “lie” and “are not concerned about the victims.”

The prosecutors’ words are not just grossly inflammatory, but patently false. They reek of venom, and they play into the worst of anti-Catholic indulgences.

The claim that Church officials willfully allowed children to be abused is simply sick.

The truth is that the Archdiocese of Philadelphia has very aggressively investigated allegations of abuse that have been brought to its attention. It has employed a review board that has been stacked with child welfare advocates who have thoroughly reviewed countless cases of abuse. The board has recommended the removal of scores of priests. (I have written about this before. Also, see the lengthy list of removed priests at the Archdiocese of Philadelphia’s own web site.)

The statements from the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office more resemble those from the bigoted group SNAP than those from merely aggressive prosecutors.

This should not be a surprise. As we have carefully chronicled, members of the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office have closely aligned themselves with members from SNAP on numerous occasions in the past several years.

As observers can clearly see, this angry and surly alliance is soon reaching its climax.

Stay tuned. There is a lot more to come about these cases.

In the meantime, I highly recommend this excellent piece of journalism from the late David Shaw in the Los Angeles Times in 1990. (It earned the Pulitzer Prize for Criticism in 1991. I hope the AP’s Maryclaire Dale, the Philly Inquirer’s John P. Martin, and the Philly Daily News’ Mensah M. Dean take note of the following observation: “Pack journalism. Laziness. Superficiality. Cozy relationships with prosecutors.”)