Friday, August 24, 2012

After A Tearful Apology, A "Humbled" Former Archdiocese of Philadelphia CFO Is Hauled Off To Jail

Why did Anita Guzzardi, the former Chief Financial Officer of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, embezzle $906,000 from her employer?

In court today at a sentencing hearing, four different people offered four different explanations.

The prosecutor said Guzzardi didn't need the money, but she was greedy, and liked "nice things."

Guzzardi's addictions counselor said she was a pathological gambler who suffered from depression.

Guzzardi's older sister said she came from a dysfunctional family with a father who was a gambling addict and a mother who was a compulsive shopper and also abusive.

And finally, Guzzardi's lawyer said she felt betrayed by the archdiocese, after she read the 2005 grand jury report, and discovered that for decades the church she worked for had been covering up the sexual abuse of children.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Bishops Cullen and Cistone To Be Named Defendants in Ongoing Civil Case Against Archdiocese of Philadelphia

They may have escaped criminal prosecution, but according to a memorandum of law filed Monday in Common Pleas Court, Bishops Edward P. Cullen and Joseph R. Cistone can expect to be named as defendants in an ongoing civil case against the Archdiocese of Philadelphia regarding the sexual abuse of a former 10-year-old altar boy.

Lawyers representing "Billy Doe" filed the memorandum of law in the civil case of Billy Doe V. the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. Doe is the pseudonym for the former altar boy sexually abused by Father Edward V. Avery, who pleaded guilty on March 22 to involuntary deviant sexual intercourse with a minor, and was sentenced to 2 1/2 to five years in prison. Avery's abuse of Billy Doe also resulted in the June 22 conviction of Msgr. William J. Lynn for endangering the welfare of a child. Lynn is now serving a prison term of three to six years.

The former altar boy allegedly was passed from one abuser to another at St. Jerome's parish. On Sept. 4, two more alleged abusers of Billy Doe -- Charles Engelhardt, a former priest, and Bernard Shero, a former archdiocese school teacher -- are scheduled to go on trial before Judge M. Teresa Sarmina at the Criminal Justice Center.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Defense Lawyers Ask State Superior Court to Grant Bail to Monsignor Lynn

Msgr. Lynn's lawyers are asking the state Superior Court to let their client out on bail pending appeal.

In a brief filed this week, Lynn's lawyers say the monsignor was convicted on June 22 of one count of endangering the welfare of a child [EWOC] "based upon a novel and controversial theory of liability that held him criminally responsible for inadequately supervising a priest ... alleged to have sexually abused a child."

The state's 1972 child endangerment law was usually applied to parents, guardians, and those in direct contact with children, say defense lawyers Thomas A. Bergstrom, Allison Khaskelis, and Alan J. Tauber. Lynn is the first supervisor in the history of Pennsylvania to be charged under the old child endangerment law, even though he never had any direct contact with the child, the lawyers argue.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Judge Denies Bail for Monsignor While Archdiocese Battles Its Own Lawyers Over Money For Appeal

Judge M. Teresa Sarmina today denied a defense motion that would have allowed Msgr. William J. Lynn out on bail pending an appeal of his historic conviction. Lynn, the first Catholic administrator in the country to be convicted in connection with clerical sex abuse, has been in jail since June 22, when a jury convicted him of one count of endangering the welfare of a child, a third-degree felony.

On July 24, Judge Sarmina sentenced Lynn to three to six years in prison for failing to protect a 10-year-old altar boy back in 1999 from a predator priest. The defense argued that by the time an appeal is heard, the monsignor may have already served his prison sentence, which is why Lynn's defense lawyers thought the monsignor should be freed during the appeal process.

Judge Sarmina, however, rejected that motion. She said that technically under the law, Lynn was not entitled to bail because his sentence was more than two years in duration. Jeffrey M. Lindy, one of Lynn's defense lawyers, argued that although Lynn did not have a right to bail, it was within the judge's powers of discretion to grant him bail.