False Shepherd, Part I: The Figure Eight

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by Joseph M. Hanneman  •  ChurchMilitant.com  •  January 6, 2020   

Bp. Daniel Ryan a study in corruption, deceit and cover-up

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Editor's Note: This series of stories contains graphic descriptions of sexual abuse of minors and adults that readers might find disturbing. This material is not intended for children. If you or someone you know was sexually abused, contact local law enforcement for help.


They called it the Figure Eight.

Homosexual men cruising for sex partners in Springfield, Ill., drove a regular route around the downtown Amtrak station. East on Washington Street to Fifth Street, south to Adams Street, west to Fourth, north on Fourth back through the station to Jefferson Street. It was an endless loop. One of the frequent travelers on this path of perdition was none other than the Most Rev. Daniel L. Ryan, then-bishop of the Catholic diocese of Springfield in Illinois. His trips were not about saving souls, however — indeed, they put his and many others in deep peril.

Image

The Amtrak station in downtown Springfield was the nexus of
male prostitution activity in the 1980s. Bishop Daniel Ryan and
several diocesan priests were frequent visitors. (Photo: Google Maps)

"He was one that would do the cruise. It was common knowledge," said Frank Robert Bergen, a one-time runaway who worked the streets as a prostitute. “If you were gay or you were a prostitute or you were a drug addict down there at that time, you knew the bishop."

It was in the Amtrak parking lot where Bergen first met Bp. Ryan in late 1983. A teenage Catholic school graduate, Bergen was living on the street after running away from home. He turned tricks to make quick cash. He was around 16 at the time of that first meeting. Ryan was 53. "Being in downtown Springfield alone and without ... money, I found out prostitution was an answer," Bergen said. "Around that time I was introduced to Bp. Ryan through other prostitutes in the downtown area as good money and a way to live. I was pretty, blond-haired, blue-eyed and he took a liking to me." 

Bergen approached Bp. Ryan as he sat parked in his maroon Toyota Corolla. "He asked me if I was a cop and I said, 'no.' And I asked him if he was looking for company and he said, 'yeah.'" That first meeting ended with Bergen and Bp. Ryan having sex in a room at the Holiday Inn South. It was the first of countless similar paid meetings over the next dozen years. Bergen said he came to know the bishop as steady money: $50 for starters, upwards to $200 — with an occasional $300 the bishop's limit. As he became a regular favorite of Bp. Ryan, Bergen was treated to meals at the Red Lobster on Dirksen Parkway and other restaurants. The bishop paid for groceries and bought clothing, but cash was Bergen's favorite payment method. It helped him feed his appetite for cocaine, LSD and the occasional crystal meth.

That first meeting ended with Bergen and Bp. Ryan having sex in a room at the Holiday Inn South.

A former student at Springfield's Little Flower Catholic School, Bergen became a petty thief to support his drug habit. He was among some 80–100 men and women who worked Springfield's sex trade in the 1980s and early 1990s.1 When he was on the street, Bp. Ryan was his financial lifeline. He did what the bishop asked for sexually and the bishop forked over crisp bills drawn either from his wallet or from the ATM near the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. The trysts eventually moved from hotel rooms to the bishop's residence in the cathedral rectory. 

Image

The Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, the mother church
of the diocese of Springfield in Illinois. The rectory can be seen
to the right. (Photo: Faragutful/Wikimedia Commons)

Bergen recalled being spirited through a private garage entrance on Lawrence Avenue, past an old-fashioned walk-in vault and up an elevator to the bishop's quarters. He was impressed with the marble and gold furnishings in the spacious bathroom. He recalled the huge bed in Ryan's sleeping quarters and the gold-leaf wallpaper in his study. He even described the bishop's genital anatomy by size and shape, and noted various liver spots and skin markings on his body.2 As for the sex, the bishop could be rough with his teen friend. He often told Bergen, "I love you," "Christ loves you" and "Jesus sent me here to love you," in the heat of the romps, according to Bergen.

Bergen eventually became deeply conflicted about his homosexual activities with Bp. Ryan. Bergen said he was heterosexual and only engaged in homosexual acts for money to feed his drug habit. He said he begged the bishop to help him get into a church-run drug rehabilitation program, but the prelate refused.

Bergen asked Bp. Ryan to hear his confession after each homosexual encounter. "Go and sin no more," Bp. Ryan would tell him, then add with a wink, "see you later." This was sacrilege — a latae sententiae excommunicatory offense for any priest. Such an excommunication can only be lifted by the pope. That didn't seem to worry "The Bish," as the street people called him. It kept the young man coming back. Bergen said he didn't want his faith to be smothered by his immoral way of life. Eventually, he said he agreed to share his story publicly in order to clear his troubled conscience and call the bishop to account for years of homosexual predation.

Misdeeds Well Known but Ignored

Bergen's story is among the extraordinary details in a nearly 570-page investigative report compiled over eight years by The Roman Catholic Faithful, Inc. (RCF), a nonprofit watchdog group based in Petersburg, Ill. The document was initially filed with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Office for Child and Youth Protection. It provides an unprecedented, close-up look inside a dysfunctional diocese with a chief shepherd who was a wolf — thinly disguised in a bishop's miter, chasuble and crozier.

Starting in late 1996, RCF went to great lengths to alert the Catholic Church hierarchy in America and Rome to the homosexual activities of Bp. Ryan. The report alleges the prelate regularly used male prostitutes — some were underage teenagers and some had AIDS. He put active homosexual priests in charge of the diocese, ignored other priests who had sex with barely legal-age young men and told at least one priest to embrace being "gay." Bishop Ryan moved four priests accused of sexually assaulting minors out of state in the 1980s. He initially opposed prosecuting a serial sexual predator in 1985 and was less than cooperative with state agents in a sixth priest sexual-abuse case that we found during an 18-month review of RCF records, lawsuit documents and dozens of other sources.

RCF went to great lengths to alert the Catholic Church hierarchy in America and Rome to the homosexual activities of Bp. Ryan.

The RCF report said Bp. Ryan sexually harassed some diocesan priests and had consensual sex with others. Ryan denied it all, although he never granted a media interview or provided a detailed response to myriad charges leveled against him. He died in December 2015 at age 85. He was among the first three Catholic bishops in the United States accused of serial homosexual misconduct and pederasty, some six years before the sex-abuse scandal blew up in the archdiocese of Boston in early 2002. According to news reports and the records of Bishop Accountability, a watchdog group, the number of U.S. bishops accused of sexually abusing minors now stands at 36.3 The vast majority of cases involved pederasty — sexual contact or a sexual relationship between an adult man and an adolescent boy.

Image

Daniel L. Ryan meets with reporters after being
named bishop of the diocese of Springfield in
November 1983. (Photo: State Journal-Register)

Exposure of such corruption, one would think, would lead to a bishop being removed from ministry pending a third-party investigation and a possible canonical trial. None of that happened. Bishop Ryan had a network of supporters among his brother bishops, the report alleges, that kept him in office even as evidence piled up of sexual corruption and abuse of episcopal authority. The report paints a troubling picture of a corrupt diocesan chancery, a licentious homosexual bishop and a group of enablers that included two prominent U.S. cardinals, an Illinois bishop, the papal pro-nuncio to the United States and a local network of active homosexual priests. The document describes in detail the anatomy of a cover-up of one of the most extensive cases of homosexual corruption in a U.S. diocese.

Stephen G. Brady, president of Roman Catholic Faithful, described Bp. Ryan as a "predatory homosexual."4  Brady testified before the National Review Board for the Protection of Children and Young People on March 14, 2003:

Despite many years of rampant sexual misconduct and flagrant abuse of his episcopal authority, which included having sexual relations with underage boys, Bp. Ryan was protected by members of the Roman Catholic hierarchy in order to save themselves embarrassment and in some cases to prevent the spotlighting of their own compromising situations. The hierarchy involved in this cover-up showed no concern at all for [Bp.] Ryan's victims, both adult and underage males.

Unlike some instances of priestly pederasty and sexual misconduct in the U.S. since 1980, the ugly details of Springfield and Bp. Ryan were not completely hidden from the faithful. Brady's group tried for years to get the hierarchy to investigate and remove the prelate. They started in back channels, and when that failed, took the story public. The RCF investigation alleged serial sexual misconduct, sexual assault, attempted sodomy, abuse of authority, threatening witnesses, misappropriation of Church funds, and abuse of the holy sacraments.

The investigation eventually led to the Vatican and the curia of Pope St. John Paul II. Bishop Ryan was asked to step down several times before the Holy See abruptly announced his resignation in October 1999, the report said. For years afterward, though, Ryan was a bishop emeritus in good standing who led retreats, said Masses, confirmed Catholic youth and assisted in the consecration of an auxiliary bishop in Joliet, Ill. This, despite evidence he had attempted to rape and indeed sexually abused teenage boys, cruised the streets for male prostitutes, sexually harassed and assaulted diocesan priests and even threatened to "damage" a witness who was cooperating with investigators.5

Bishop Ryan was eventually banished from ministry, but the Vatican insisted its formal rebuke of him remain a secret. Punishments for some of Springfield's miscreant and criminal priests were publicly announced, but this bishop was protected by the Vatican for the rest of his life. The truth remained secret for more than two years after his death, when his immediate successor publicly shared what really took place.6

In his national review board testimony, Brady posed a question similar to what is being asked today about those who have protected and promoted pederast priests, bishops and cardinals:

[Bishop] Ryan's very active homosexual lifestyle, his complete disregard of God's law, Church law and the rights of the faithful, along with the complete indifference to the scandal and shame he has brought upon the Church begs the question: Who is protecting him — and why? What does Daniel Leo Ryan know that would warrant his protection by his fellow bishops at the risk of their own credibility? In God's time, we will have the answers.

Beginning of a Public Scandal

One of the Springfield diocesan priests who traveled with Bp. Ryan said his boss liked to add immoral extras to Compline, the final of the canonical hours of prayer in the Church day. The night prayer is intended to signify repentance of sinful man: "For my soul is filled with evils, and my life hath drawn nigh to Hell. I am counted among them that go down to the pit: I am become a man without help, free among the dead." (Psalm 87)7

Bishop Ryan "liked to 'pray' Compline together," the priest later recalled. "I thought that was great, except for the fact that as he sat next to me he would rub (my) leg. The last time I went on a trip with him he did the same thing, except his hand went higher and inside my leg up to my crotch. I gently moved his hand away and moved away from him."8 After this priest rejected Bp. Ryan's sexual advance, he said the bishop ostracized him and belittled him at public events. "Every priest that eventually said 'no' to him fell into his disfavor and suffered for it. For quite a while, I hated Bp. Ryan and even refused to concelebrate Mass with him. Thank God I am over that. I don't wish him harm, I just wish he was not our bishop. We deserve better!"9

Bishop Ryan's predatory behavior began during his time in the Diocese of Joliet, where from 1956–1983 he served roles including diocesan chancellor, vicar general and auxiliary bishop. He was accused of groping "Father J," a Joliet priest and one-time curia official, and sexually abusing two teenage brothers, Brady said. Father J told Brady and writer Ted Slowik of the Joliet Herald-News that Bp. Ryan made sexual overtures in 1982 on an overnight trip to confirm youth at a remote section of the diocese.10  

Image

Joliet Bp. Joseph L. Imesch knew Daniel Ryan was
accused of groping a fellow priest in 1982, RCF says.

"As I was leaving, Ryan tried to kiss me. It was no hug, and he groped me. I told him he was drunk and needed to go to bed. I left and bolted my room door," the priest said. Auxiliary Bp. Raymond James Vonesh and Joliet Bp. Joseph L. Imesch were notified. Father J said he was shamed by Bp. Imesch. "I felt like I had done something wrong," he said. "I will not soon forget that conversation."

Brady received information from a family member indicating two now-grown men were sexually molested by Bp. Ryan in the Joliet diocese. The men did not want to go public with their story.11 Despite Bp. Imesch knowing at least some of these allegations, Ryan's name was forwarded as the favored candidate to be bishop of Springfield in fall 1983 after the death of Bp. Joseph A. McNicholas.

A native of Mankato, Minn., Bp. Ryan was the only son of Leonard "Pat" Ryan and the former Irene Ruth Larson. He spent his upper elementary and high school years in Springfield, Ill. He was ordained a priest of the diocese of Joliet on May 3, 1956. Father Ryan later earned a licentiate in canon law from the Pontifical Lateran University in Rome. After serving as notary and assistant chancellor for the diocese of Joliet, he was named chancellor in 1965, a post he held until being named vicar general in 1977. Ryan was ordained an auxiliary bishop in 1981.

As chancellor, Aux. Bp. Ryan was deeply involved in the recruitment of candidates for the priesthood in Joliet. He helped steward the seminary education and ordination of Lawrence M. Gibbs, who later became the most notorious sexual predator in the Joliet diocese.12 Despite Gibbs admitting he was "very strongly attracted" to men and drawing significant concern that he could one day bring scandal, Gibbs was ordained a priest in 1973. He became the target of numerous lawsuits, including one by a man who said he was "brutally raped" by Gibbs as a 13-year-old altar boy.13 Ryan was named as a co-defendant in the suit, which was settled out of court.

Other candidates who came into the priesthood during Aux. Bp. Ryan's Joliet tenure included Phillip J. Dedera, Donald O'Connor, Carroll D. "Pud" Howlin, Michael Gibbney and John C. Slown. Each of these men was later accused of sexually molesting boys and removed from the priesthood. Some were shuffled from parish to parish for more than a decade, despite loud complaints about molestation, alcohol abuse and other reckless behavior on the part of the priests.

Image

Joseph Bernardin’s chief of staff said the cardinal
did not wish to get involved in the Bp. Ryan case.

Ryan was installed as the fourth bishop of the diocese of Springfield on Jan. 18, 1984 at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. Chicago's Joseph Cardinal Bernardin told the more than 1,300 in attendance it was a "joyful day" that "signifies a new era" in the diocese.14 Those turned out to be prophetic words.

Brady first learned of trouble in Springfield in mid-1996, when a 46-year-old priest contacted him to report Bp. Ryan had sexually harassed and abused him. Brady, a pizza restaurant owner who founded RCF to fight heterodoxy and liturgical abuses, first contacted Cardinal Bernardin, the archbishop of Chicago and metropolitan of the Illinois province of the Catholic Church. Bernardin refused to intervene. Cardinal Bernardin's chief of staff, Sister Mary Brian Costello, wrote to Brady that while the cardinal had "carefully considered" his concerns, he did not feel "it would be appropriate for him to enter into matters not pertaining directly to his archdiocese." The responsibility, she wrote, "rests with the local bishop."15

Brady was flummoxed. A corrupt bishop isn't going to investigate or sanction himself. Bernardin "had an obligation to pass on to the Holy See any information about situations or occurrences concerning the bishops under his jurisdiction that could be detrimental to the faith," Brady said. It was the first in a long line of setbacks for RCF. The situation demonstrated the Church hierarchy's omertá — a code of silence — regarding homosexual abuse committed by bishops and cardinals, he said. It was the first of numerous times when Bernardin protected Bp. Ryan or tipped him off about complaints lodged with Church authorities.

Brady interviewed two other priests who reported that Ryan sexually harassed them. Father John Reeves, 44, told Brady the bishop forcibly kissed him during overnight diocesan trips. At a motel in St. Louis in July 1985, "Bishop Ryan came out of the motel bathroom clad only in his underwear to grab and kiss me on the lips, stating he loved me very much," Fr. Reeves said. A similar thing happened at a motel in Palatine, Ill., in February 1986. The following morning, Reeves entered the motel sauna. "I found Bp. Ryan with another gentleman in a 'compromising position,'" Fr. Reeves said.

In the summer of 1991, Fr. Reeves said he reported the abuse to the Rev. Thomas P. Holinga, 43, director of priest personnel for the Diocese of Springfield. "He only laughed at me and told me I was making all of this up," Fr. Reeves said in a statement to RCF and later in lawsuit testimony. Reeves passed a polygraph test as part of litigation against the diocese of Springfield. Father Reeves eventually left the Catholic Church to become a bishop in the schismatic Catholic Church of the Americas. He was excommunicated for it. Father Holinga did not return messages asking for comment on Fr. Reeves' assertions.

Another priest, Fr. "R. Doe," 46, had it worse.16 If he gave in to Bp. Ryan's demands for sex, he would be rewarded with a plum parish assignment. If he refused, he could be committed to a psychiatric hospital for "treatment." Father Doe, just a few years out of the seminary, was invited by Bp. Ryan to live in the cathedral rectory in March 1987. On numerous occasions, he said, Bp. Ryan grabbed him and forcibly kissed him on the lips. One day when Fr. Doe stood on a ladder changing the battery in a smoke detector, the bishop placed his hands on the priest's buttocks. On other occasions, Bp. Ryan showed up naked at Fr. Doe's bedside, asking for sexual favors, the report said.

He offered me money. And he said he could make me a bishop.

"Well, to put it in a nutshell, Bp. Ryan made sexual overtures," Fr. Doe said. "There was nothing ambiguous about his behavior." Offenses included "groping," "putting his hands on me" and "kissing me on the lips," he said. Bishop Ryan told the priest he "could have any parish in the diocese" if he acquiesced. "He offered me money. And he said he could make me a bishop."17 

Father Doe said he reported the harassment to his confessor in the archdiocese of St. Louis. That priest betrayed his confidence and shared the story with St. Louis Abp. John L. May. In turn, May told Cdl. Bernardin, a Ryan ally, according to Fr. Doe. Cardinal Bernardin then told Bp. Ryan. "I know for a fact Abp. May and Cdl. Bernardin knew of the facts at that time," Fr. Doe said. "Nobody did anything to Bp. Ryan. And nobody did anything for me."

Image

St. Louis Abp. John May betrayed
confidence and shared information
with Cdl. Bernardin, Fr. Doe said.

Father Doe's brother begged RCF for help:

I have known for many years that my brother was the victim of Ryan's venom, but only recently have I come to understand how very sick this anti-bishop is. I want him removed from power and excommunicated, formally. ... Is the Vatican so afraid of another scandal that they are willing to sacrifice an entire diocese and all its priests and members to this diabolical maniac? Dan Ryan obviously doesn't fear future consequences for his actions. I can only pray for a swift and just resolution to his reign of terror and that whoever is protecting him will have the strength and the wisdom and the courage to stop this evil man.18

Father Doe said in 1992 that two top chancery officials told him to pack up his belongings and get out of the diocese. Bishop Ryan would no longer provide him a priestly assignment or salary. He enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps and served for four years as a military chaplain. As his discharge approached, Fr. Doe said he was told by military officials that Bp. Ryan intended to have him sent to a hospital for sex abusers. He began receiving mailings from the Wounded Brothers Project near Dittmer, Mo., a treatment center for priests who had committed sexual abuse. Fearing retaliatory incarceration, Fr. Doe went into hiding. "The bishop is going for my jugular," he said. "I've got nothing to lose."19

According to then-Father Reeves, that fear was justified. "If the bishop was ever exposed, he would show how these priests were unstable and point to their St. Louis (mental) evaluation," Fr. Reeves told Brady. "The bishop controlled their money and reputation. Who would believe a priest with a mental problem?"20

Two other Springfield priests said they were also victims of unwanted sexual advances by Bp. Ryan, but they told RCF they did not want to go public for fear of "loss of standing." One is still an active priest. The other said Ryan was known to frequent Springfield's Douglas Park, which was notorious as a homosexual hangout. A friend was at the park one summer evening reading a book when a car pulled in. The driver exposed his genitals in the side window and began to masturbate. The shocked man, a parishioner at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, recognized the exhibitionist as Bp. Ryan.21 Bishop Ryan was also known to frequent Douglas Park and other homosexual haunts on a bicycle.22

'Keep Your Mouth Shut. Nobody Cares.'

Brady prepared a report on the priests' abuse allegations. Noted theologian and author Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J., an RCF adviser, took the report to Washington, D.C. and presented it to the apostolic pro-nuncio to the United States, Abp. Agostino Cacciavillan. A meeting was held at the nunciature on Nov. 25, 1996. The result was not what Brady hoped for. Hardon planned to ask Abp. Cacciavillan to arrange for a financial offer to be made to Ryan in exchange for his resignation. Cacciavillan's only response, Hardon told Brady, was to send a copy of the confidential report and the names of the accusers back to Bp. Ryan. Cacciavillan never interviewed the victims before declaring the case "closed."

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Stephen Brady’s 1996 letter demanding that Bp. Ryan resign his post

"The nuncio refused to take any action and sent the clergy statements to Bp. Ryan, thereby placing his accusers at risk of persecution," the report said. "This was a clear message to all clergy: 'Keep your mouth shut. Nobody cares.'" One canon law expert opined that it was a mistake to involve Cacciavillan at all, since he had a track record of protecting the American bishops. "Don't deal with the nuncio," he said. "He is a company man all the way."23 Now age 93 and retired in Rome, Cacciavillan could not be reached for comment on Bp. Ryan.

Brady next made a bold (critics said audacious) move: he sent Bp. Ryan a letter demanding his resignation. "In some cases, you have engaged in physical sexual harassment of these priests," Brady wrote. "In other cases we have learned that you have had consensual sex with priests. This is a scandal of the highest order and an affront to God." Brady's letter gave Bp. Ryan five days to step down as bishop. "If you do not step down, I am prepared to take whatever other action is available to me in canon law and civil law in order to effectuate your removal," the letter said. 

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Brady later determined that the anonymous letter was written by
Dale Daniels, a landlord and local Democrat committeeman.

The same day, the diocesan law firm, Graham & Graham, threatened legal action. "We know that there is absolutely no truth to these baseless claims made in the Brady letter and know that you would, with an absolute minimum of investigation, find these claims are utterly fantastic," wrote attorney Hugh J. Graham III. Despite the threat, no legal action was taken against RCF or Brady, who said he welcomed bringing the case details out in public.

Brady planned to take the story public at a press conference in early 1997. Father Hardon interviewed Fr. R. Doe, then agreed to give him safe haven with the Franciscan Friars of Mary Immaculate in Michigan, the report said. After learning of the pro-nuncio's betrayal of the priest-witnesses, Fr. Hardon told Brady it was the "worst times in the history of the church," the report said. Father Hardon "made it clear to me that the hierarchy had known of Bp. Ryan's problem for some time," Brady said. In early January, Brady faxed details of the priests' accusations directly to the Vatican, informing curia officials of his planned news conference.

On Feb. 11, 1997, RCF held a press conference at the Hilton hotel in Springfield. Brady outlined the allegations made against Bp. Ryan. To the great frustration of the secular reporters, Brady would not divulge the victim priests' names. Not a single media outlet published or broadcast RCF's charges against the bishop, citing a lack of evidence to support the allegations.

Several days later, however, local media broke their self-imposed silence when Bp. Ryan published a column in the Catholic Times, the diocesan newspaper. "I categorically deny his accusations," Bp. Ryan wrote, although his column did not specify what the accusations were. The local State Journal-Register ran a story in which it described RCF as an "ultra-conservative fringe group." Over the years, the paper used other loaded terms, calling RCF a group of "self-styled 'orthodox' Catholics" and a "small group of ultra-conservative Catholics."24 A national weekly Catholic newspaper, The Wanderer, published an extensive story on the controversy. Its reporter landed an exclusive interview with Fr. Doe, who was by then in hiding in Michigan.

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Archbishop (later Cardinal) Castrillón Hoyos did not
take any action against Bp. Ryan after his priest accuser
visited the Holy See with Fr. John Hardon, S.J.

Father Hardon and Fr. Doe flew to Rome and met with Abp. Darío Castrillón Hoyos, prefect of the Vatican's Congregation for the Clergy. Doe related the story about Bishop Ryan's sexual harassment and retaliation. Castrillón Hoyos took it seriously enough to arrange for Fr. Doe to remain in the archdiocese of Detroit, but no action was taken against Bp. Ryan. The bishop was warned by the Vatican not to contact Fr. Doe.25 Father Doe spent several years as a publishing assistant to Fr. Hardon, a professor and prolific author based near Detroit.

Back in Springfield, an anonymous letter sent to the State Journal-Register made stunning accusations of sexual misconduct and other malfeasance against Bp. Ryan. The letter said, "the more you investigate, the more you are going to be shocked." It contained a preview of where the RCF investigation would go next. Littered with typos and grammatical errors, the letter said the bishop would "cruise the area downtown, late at night" and "pick up young, good-looking hustlers" and take them back to the rectory at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. "He would then unrobe himself and these young hustlers would perform sexual acts unop (sic) the bishop." The writer included the names of nearly two dozen alleged male prostitutes and some of their other clients.26 

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Roman Catholic Faithful placed this ad in The Washington Times in July 1997

Brady hired a private investigator to delve into the names in the document. The investigator confirmed some as local male prostitutes and added another group to the list of men who might have been sexually involved with Bp. Ryan. Several were described as teenage runaways.

Brady attempted to step up pressure on Bp. Ryan by writing all Illinois bishops that Ryan's administration "is not authentic Catholicism." He continued, "We also wish to make it perfectly clear the hierarchy in America has, in our opinion, been shamefully negligent in addressing these issues."

Brady spoke at venues around the diocese, greeted by hostile media coverage calling him "controversial." He was attacked by one priest who claimed Brady had placed himself outside the Catholic Church by speaking against a bishop. In July 1997, RCF placed a display ad in The Washington Times touting its work to oust Ryan.27 The ad said the group wanted to send a powerful message to "those cowardly American bishops who say and do nothing in defense of the Faith."

Next — Part Two: Floodgates Open


Part One: End Notes

1 "Officials Find HIV Transmission Law Difficult to Enforce," Jenni Davis, State Journal-Register, Springfield, Ill., April 25, 1993, Page 4. The story quotes a Springfield beat cop who estimates the sex trade employs 80 people in the city. A "street person" who hung out with some of the male prostitutes in the 1980s told Catholic World Report there were as many as 100 prostitutes in the city at that time.

2 "Statement of Facts," hand-written letter from Frank Robert Bergen to attorneys Stephen C. Rubino and Frederic W. Nessler, Jacksonville Correctional Center, Jacksonville, Ill., May 27, 1999, Page 2.

3 Author's analysis of news accounts and data published by Bishop-Accountability.org, accessed online Oct. 5, 2019. List updated on Nov. 14, 2019. Accusations made between 1985 and November 2019.

4 "Introduction," Stephen G. Brady report to Office for Child & Youth Protection, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, March 14, 2003.

5 "Ryan Investigation Events Timeline," Stephen G. Brady, letter to Robert S. Bennett, Esq., Office for Child & Youth Protection, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, March 14, 2003.

6 In a mid-2018 podcast, now-Archbishop George Lucas of the archdiocese of Omaha revealed that he was forbidden from disclosing Ryan's rebuke from the Vatican. See more details in Part Three of this series, "We Are in Schism."

7 Compline, Angelus Press, Kansas City, Mo., ©2012; "Saturday Compline," Page 53.

8 Faxed statement from Rev. (name redacted) to Stephen G. Brady, Roman Catholic Faithful, Petersburg, Ill., Dec. 22, 1997.

9 Ibid.

10 Author's e-mail exchange with Ted Slowik of The Daily Southtown, July 9, 2019. Original Slowik article, "Cloak of Secrecy," published in the Joliet Herald-News, Joliet, Ill., Aug. 11, 2002.

11 E-mail from Stephen G. Brady to author, Aug. 2, 2019.

12 "Worst Kept Secrets," Ted Slowik, Joliet Herald-News, Joliet, Ill., May 5, 2002; article retrieved from BishopAccountability.org on Oct. 9, 2019.

13 "Joliet Diocese Priest 'Brutally Raped' Teen in '70s: Lawsuit," Joseph Hosey, Patch.com, Joliet, Ill., June 14, 2003; accessed at Bishop Accountability on Oct. 19, 2019.

14 "Ryan's Message at Installation — Thanks," Sandy Hoefler, State Journal-Register, Springfield, Ill., Jan. 19, 1984, Page 1.

15 Sister Mary Brian Costello, R.S.M., letter to Stephen G. Brady, June 24, 1996; copy contained in report to Robert Bennett, Esq., Office for Child & Youth Protection, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, March 2003.

16 "Father R. Doe" requested anonymity in 1996 and again in 2019 because he said he fears recriminations for speaking out against a bishop and active homosexual priests.

17 Written statement of "Father R. Doe" to Stephen G. Brady, Roman Catholic Faithful, Petersburg, Ill., 1996.

18 "The Anti-Bishop Ryan," e-mail from "P. Doe" to Stephen G. Brady, Roman Catholic Faithful, Petersburg, Ill., March 22, 1998. The writer's surname is being withheld to protect the identity of his brother, "Father R. Doe."

19 Notes on Fr. (redacted), Roman Catholic Faithful, Petersburg, Ill., Page 3 of 4, included in report to Robert Bennett, Esq., Office for Child & Youth Protection, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, March 2003.

20 "Fr. John Reeves, Fr. (redacted) and Others," Stephen G. Brady, Nov. 5, 1996; Page 3 of 5, notes included in report to Robert Bennett, Esq., Office for Child & Youth Protection, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

21 Statement of priest (name redacted) to Stephen G. Brady, Roman Catholic Faithful, Petersburg, Ill., 1997, contained in the report to Robert Bennett, Esq., Office for Child & Youth Protection, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, March 2003.

22 "Sandra Elraghy and Frank Bergen," notes from Stephen G. Brady interview of Frank Robert Bergen, Jacksonville Correctional Center, Jacksonville, Ill., Dec. 27, 1997, Page 4.

23 "Roman Catholic Faithful Accuses Bishop Ryan of Sexual Harassment," Thomas A. Droleskey, The Wanderer, St. Paul, Minn., Feb. 20, 1997.

24 "Archbishop Spot Unlikely for Ryan Now," Ralph Loos, State Journal-Register, Springfield, Ill., April 8, 1997, Page 10.

25 "Six Years Later: the Case of Bishop Daniel Ryan," Thomas J. Droleskey; article included in report to Robert Bennett, Esq., Office for Child & Youth Protection, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, March 2003.

26 Anonymous letter sent to Ralph Loos, writer for the State Journal-Register, Springfield, Ill., Feb. 15, 1997.

27 "Sexually Abusive Bishop Must Be Removed," display advertisement placed by Roman Catholic Faithful Inc., The Washington Times, Washington, D.C., July 18, 1997, Page A10.
 

--- Campaign 31877 ---

 

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