Church Militant has learned exclusively that the attorney general office of the state of New York is now outlining plans for a Pennsylvania-style grand jury report.
Before we get to that, it was just announced that the publisher of Cdl. Donald Wuerl's upcoming book has yanked the deal, canceling publication. The book had been titled What Do You Want to Know? and was described as Cdl. Wuerl's advice to everyday Catholics when inviting non-Catholics to friendship.
Church Militant spoke with New York State Attorney General Barbara Underwood, who told us:
The Attorney General has directed her Criminal Division leadership to reach out to local District Attorneys — who are the only entities that currently have the power to convene a grand jury to investigate these matters — in order to establish a potential partnership on this issue.
In the wake of the release of the Pennsylvania grand jury report, speculation around the country has begun that grand juries should be convened in every state — an idea that fed-up faithful Catholics are now supporting publicly.
Brad Miner: "I'm in favor, frankly, of 50 grand juries, including, you know, we've already had one in Pennsylvania, but we need one in the District of Columbia too — so that makes 50. Every single state, we got to do this, and it's got to be the civil authorities, I'm sorry to say."
Joining Miner are the likes of Illinois State Supreme Court Justice Anne Burke, who was a member of the 2002 U.S. bishops' national review board. Burke says, "I think every state should convene a grand jury into this culture of secrecy that protected offenders at all costs."
Miner's and Burke's public sentiments may soon become a reality. In addition to the Pennsylvania grand jury, Nebraska is now sending signals that it too is prepping for the possible convening of its own grand jury. This as a result of revelations of homosexual predation on seminarians in the diocese of Lincoln.
But the eight Catholic dioceses in New York could prove to be a target-rich environment for any grand jury investigation.
The eight dioceses of New York are Albany, Brooklyn, Buffalo, New York, Ogdensburg, Rochester, Rockville Centre and Syracuse. Each diocese has more than its fair share of abuse and episcopal cover-up spanning many years, including recent years.
In the diocese of Albany, the homosexualization of the Church got underway in the late 1960s under Bp. Edwin Broderick, ordinary from 1969 to 1976. Broderick was a protege of powerful New York Cdl. Francis Spellman, whose active homosexuality was well known but covered up by Church officials and the media.
During Broderick's tenure, Albany became known for accepting and promoting gay seminarians and priests. When Bp. Howard Hubbard succeeded Broderick, the gaying of the diocese accelerated greatly. Hubbard was bishop for nearly 40 years and among many disturbing cases, he was linked to Thomas Zalay, who, in 1978, committed suicide at age 25.
The revelations surfaced when Zalay's brother, Andrew, discovered a letter, written by Zalay shortly before his death, alleging homosexual activity with Hubbard. Zalay said Hubbard justified homosexual acts by suggesting the Bible defined celibacy as being free of sexual contact with women; therefore, according to the bishop, homosexual acts aren't sinful.
Zalay regarded homosexual acts as sinful. He didn't consider himself a homosexual and wanted to get away from Hubbard. The only way to escape him, he concluded, was suicide. Zalay set himself on fire at his parents' home.
Hubbard also let a known homosexual predator priest, Fr. John Fitzpatrick, free access to high school students, whom he would take on regular outings after school. His predatory behavior was known as early as the late 1960s and continued over decades. After a sex abuse allegation in 1993, Hubbard sent Fitzpatrick away to a treatment center, only to place him back in ministry as a chancery aide for the next three years when further allegations of abuse surfaced.
Over his nearly 40-year reign, Hubbard became infamous for covering up cases of homosexual predator priests. In the nearby diocese of Rochester, Matthew Clark was bishop from 1979 to 2012, largely overlapping Hubbard's time in Albany. In fact, Hubbard and Clark were known to be extremely intimate associates. They often appeared together and were seen as essentially inseparable.
As a point of interest, Bp. Clark was the spiritual director to the young Timothy Dolan during his time in seminary at the North American College in Rome.
Brad Miner: "As we've seen, the abuse, and to a very great extent, I think, the cover-up, comes from this gay network."
Clark's longstanding embrace of homosexuality earned him a public rebuke from then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who castigated him for supporting homosexuality.
In late 1990s, Clark allowed Fr. Jim Callan to conduct same-sex weddings until the Vatican discovered and forced Callan out. In 2002, Clark had to place three priests on administrative leave after being threatened with a lawsuit for sex abuse cover-up.
Records show Clark, who routinely officiated at gay Masses, had allowed the priests to remain in active ministry for decades in spite of multiple credible allegations of abuse of teen boys.
The archdiocese of New York, home to almost half the Catholics in the whole state, has a long sordid history of homosexual acceptance on the part of the hierarchy and covering up cases of abuse. At least 80 priests stretching all the way back to Cdl. Francis Spellman's tenure have been publicly accused of sexual predation — most of them of males.
Spellman was the bishop who ordained homosexual predator Theodore McCarrick who, the next year, began his sexual assaults.
The cases are in fact so many that the archdiocese just last year had to take a $100 million line of credit with CitiBank to begin paying off victims, many of whom had their cases covered up for years and decades under the tenures of Cdls. Terence Cooke and Edward Egan, something that Cdl. Timothy Dolan has been criticized for being slow to address.
Critics say he has exacerbated the homosexual clergy plague by cozying up to pro-gay elements in the Church.
He has been leading the charge among New York's bishops in fighting against victims being able to come forward — by opposing the New York state legislature's push to expand the statute of limitations for reporting sex abuse.
Church Militant interviewed a well-informed source who wanted to remain anonymous for fear of retribution.
Michael Voris: A whole network is built that protects this sort of secret, double-life infrastructure, gay mafia that runs the archdiocese.
Anonymous source: Yes, yes — that is absolutely true.
Shuffling over to the diocese of Buffalo, current bishop Richard Malone recently went on a tirade against Catholics withholding donations to the diocese because of sexual abuse allegations and bishops covering it up.
And for the record, his complaints came while he was vacationing on Cape Cod. He said:
Regarding the Catholic Charities Appeal, though, I do not understand, and cannot accept, the logic behind the decision on the part of some individuals to express their dismay by holding back on their contributions to Catholic Charities. ... My heartfelt thanks to those of you who did not succumb to such unfortunate and, I believe, flawed thinking.
Malone also said that his vacation time had been "clouded by the challenges we are facing right now in our diocese."
At least 90 people have applied for financial compensation through the diocese's pay-out program for clerical sex abuse victims — which was rolled out in March 2018. Sixty-five priests in the diocese of Buffalo stand accused of sexual misconduct.
In late May and early June, there were calls for Bp. Malone to resign, after investigative reports by Buffalo's ABC affiliate shed light on decades of negligence and cover-up by the diocese. The three-part investigation highlighted the cover-up under Bp. Edward Head, who led the diocese from 1972 to 1995 and the continued cover-up under Bp. Henry Mansell, from 1995 to 2003.
In a 10-minute interview on Feb. 27 this year, retired Buffalo diocesan priest Norbert Orsolits admitted sexually abusing "probably dozens" of underaged males, after one alleged victim had accused him publicly.
A few priests from Buffalo also appeared in the Pennsylvania grand jury report.
In one glaring case, Fr. Dennis Riter has three male victims who've given evidence of his abuse to the diocese. A witness to one of Riter's assaults informed the diocese by letter in the early 1990s and the diocese swept it under the rug. The victim was a 10-year-old who had come running out of a rectory with semen on his face and chest.
Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio of the diocese of Brooklyn, who was consecrated by then-Archbishop Theodore McCarrick in 1996, has also resisted reforms in New York state's statute of limitations for reporting sexual abuse.
In 2016, New York State Assemblywoman Margaret Markey claimed DiMarzio offered her a $5,000 bribe if she would pull her support for the proposed legislation that would increase the statute of limitations for reporting sex abuse — the same legislation Dolan is vigorously campaigning against.
The next year, in 2017, the diocese, together with the archdiocese of New York, paid out $1.8 million to six victims of a total of eight priests implicated in the lawsuit.
In 2002, two lawsuits were filed against the diocese, which were both lost on appeal due to the statute of limitations.
Bishop John Barres, current bishop of Rockville Centre, was highlighted in the Pennsylvania grand jury report for his time as bishop of Allentown from 2009 to 2017.
It was during his time as bishop that accusations against the notorious Fr. Thomas Benestad resurfaced, and according to the grand jury report, Barres made no attempt to remove Benestad from ministry.
Pennsylvania grand jury report: "The Diocese elected to rely on Benestad’s word rather than the word of the victims and the determinations of law enforcement. No attempt was made to remove Benestad from ministry. Benestad was granted retirement, resides in Boca Raton, Florida, and assists with a local parish."
Benestad is the priest singled about Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro during his Tuesday press conference for rinsing out the mouth of a 9-year-old boy with holy water after oral sex.
In February 2018, a report called "Hidden Disgrace II" was released by lawyers, outlining the abuse of 51 priests, following a 2003 Suffolk County grand jury investigation, which took place under the tenure of recently retired Bp. William Murphy — Barres' predecessor.
Turning to the diocese of Syracuse, also riddled with multiple sex abuse settlements, Bp. Robert Cunningham announced in February, following the model of the New York archdiocese, that it was launching a victims compensation program for 76 victims of priestly abuse.
Priests were routinely shuffled around even after credible accusations of sexual abuse.
For instance, Fr. James Quinn was accused of repeatedly molesting a 13-year-old boy during Catholic Youth Organization trips in the 1960s, where he would get the boy drunk and violate him when he was unable to resist. The victim sued the Syracuse diocese in 2003, but a court barred the lawsuit over the statute of limitations. The diocese then reinstated Fr. Quinn after an internal investigation revealed "insufficient evidence."
Another victim, raped more than 200 times by Fr. Thomas Neary when he was 10 years old, sued the Syracuse diocese in 2011. The rapes happened in the boy's own bedroom while his parents were home, the priest telling his parents not to worry if he heard the boy crying.
The priest was supposedly there to offer counseling to the boy on the priesthood and told the parents the boy was crying because "the priesthood is hard."
It turned out Neary had many more male victims, the total number remaining unknown, but in at least eight cases, when the victims approached Bp. James Moynihan privately to share their stories of abuse, Moynihan gave each of them the same line: You're the only one who has ever come forward about abuse by Fr. Neary.
In 2015, after Bp. Cunningham became head of Syracuse, a group of outraged Catholics petitioned Rome to force Cunningham to resign because of his callous attitude towards sex abuse victims. It became public that Cunningham had said during a 2011 sex abuse deposition, when asked whether he thought boys being raped by priests were sinning, Cunningham answered, "The boy is culpable."
His words caused such uproar that nearly 90,000 signed a petition to Pope Francis, urging him to remove the bishop from the diocese. Cunningham never resigned and remains the bishop of Syracuse to this day, each year making appeals to the laity to give millions of dollars to his diocese.
Bishop Cunningham: "This weekend, as you’re preparing for Mass as a family, I encourage you to experience a greater love by giving to the Hope Appeal. Thank you for answering your call to serve during this year of the family."
The diocese of Ogdensburg is also tainted by scandal, with multiple priests over the course of decades outed as sex abusers.
Ogdensburg has also launched its own victims' compensation fund, announced earlier this spring, agreeing to pay victims in exchange for their promise that they won't sue the diocese.
The bishop, Terry LaValley, has been criticized for his lack of transparency, refusing to follow the example of other dioceses in publishing the list of names of credibly accused priests.
Although LaValley headed the diocesan review board overseeing clerical sex abuse claims before he became bishop, he's been very secretive about the accused priests, making it impossible for the public to learn who most of the accused clergy are, when the diocese learned of their alleged crimes, and how the diocese handled it, whether they removed them from ministry or, like so many other bishops in so many other dioceses, transferred them to other parishes and kept them in active ministry.
Concerned Catholics say all of this must come out and responsible bishops disposed of.
The bishops' continual flow of statements expressing sorrow and regret just don't cut it anymore.
Brad Miner: "Every time someone comes forward, like Cdl. DiNardo or someone else, to make a statement, it's just more PR, it's more stuff crafted by lawyers, so that culpability is pushed away as far as possible from the individual speaking."
Sources tell Church Militant that if the New York attorney general does, in fact, pursue a grand jury investigation there will be many many more cases than this and the final report may be even more damning than the Pennsylvania one.
As various states now begin seriously considering launching their own grand jury investigations, it appears as though the American hierarchy will soon be buried under mountains of litigation and further scandal for years to come.
And all this while federal racketeering charges against the Catholic Church the U.S. Department of Justice are now being discussed freely in various media outlets.