Parishes given update on scandal

Over the weekend, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia distributed to all of its 268 parishes an “informational bulletin” related to the ongoing sexual-abuse cover-up scandal.

A spokeswoman called the bulletin an effort to “ensure the integrity of the Priesthood.” It offered bullet-point information about priests placed on administrative leave, those who have been indicted and the delegate for investigations position. The latter role was created in February, after the district attorney released the grand-jury report which resulted in the arrests of three priests, a parochial-school teacher and a monsignor.

After reading the bulletin, John Salveson, a victim who serves as president of the Foundation to Abolish Child Sex Abuse, still urged anyone with a sexual-abuse complaint to go directly to the district attorney’s office as opposed to reporting it saying: “[The archdiocese] has a horrendous track record of how they treat people. Their goal is to protect themselves, not the victim.”

“I don’t think it’s a bad thing,” he said of the informational sheet which references the work of Gina Maisto Smith, a former child-abuse prosecutor who has already made some recommendations landing priests on administrative leave.

“The jury’s still out on her. There’s no reason to think she’s a tool [of the archdiocese], but we’ll have to wait and see what she comes up with. Like the bulletin says, we’re six to nine months away from that.”

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