John Clarke Russ | BDN
By Charlie Specht, WKBW Buffalo •
November 21, 2018 11:13 am
Up to date: November 21, 2018 11:16 am
PORTLAND, Maine — At a information convention two weeks in the past, Buffalo Bishop Richard J. Malone stated he had an excellent report on coping with sexually abusive clergymen.
“You call it cover-up, we call it confidentiality,” he advised reporters in Buffalo, New York.
Malone pointed to his time in the Diocese of Portland, Maine, the place he served for eight years before coming to Buffalo.
However on the bottom in the bishop’s previous diocese, advocates for victims of sexual abuse and new paperwork obtained by the 7 Eyewitness News I-Workforce paint a a lot totally different image of the bishop’s previous — particularly when it comes to coping with sexual abuse.
“The Bishop Malone that I came to know here in Maine … is an actor on a stage,” stated Paul T. Kendrick, an advocate for victims of sexual abuse in the Diocese of Portland. “Malone is a fake, a phony. He’s not telling the truth when he likes to say, ‘I never knew.’”
Kendrick sparred with Malone many occasions, calling for him to be extra clear about abusive clergymen in his diocese. His battles with Malone drew nationwide consideration when the bishop threatened to deny Kendrick Holy Communion after claiming Kendrick’s actions constituted “harassment.”
However even Kendrick didn’t know concerning the contents of two confidential paperwork obtained by the I-Workforce that describe how Malone dealt with abuse controversies involving two accused clergymen in Maine.
The paperwork are summaries of two separate investigations carried out by John S. Brennan, former director of the Workplace of Skilled Duty for the Diocese of Portland underneath Malone.
Brennan, who can also be a Catholic deacon, joined the diocese after a 30-year profession in regulation enforcement, the place he superior to management positions inside the Portland Police Division, retiring as deputy police chief.
Brennan declined an interview request as a result of he’s cooperating with FBI brokers in Maine, however he confirmed the authenticity of the paperwork to the I-Group.
‘Cover-up of the highest order’
“With respect to the Vatican and Bishop Malone,” he wrote in one report, “this was a complete cover-up of the highest order that cannot possibly be explained or defended and still screams out for justice.”
That case unfolded in 2004 at St. John the Evangelist Church in South Portland, the place the Rev. Paul E. Coughlin was suspended for befriending a violent sex offender and permitting him to reside in the parish rectory.
Bob DeLong | BDN file
The sex offender was John Skinner Sr., a Maine man who was sentenced to 18 years in jail, with all however 5 years suspended, for sexually abusing two boys he met via Catholic church youth teams, in accordance to information stories from the Bangor Daily News.
In his investigative studies, Brennan described what he referred to as two “outrageous situations” relating to the pedophile and the priest.
The primary concerned a 15-year-old boy whom Skinner allegedly raped. The report stated Skinner introduced the boy to Father Coughlin, who failed to name the police, as was required by Maine regulation. Later, in accordance to the report, Father Coughlin tried to get Skinner employed as a youth minister at his parish and allowed him to reside in the parish rectory — steps away from a parish middle frequented by youngsters.
“Are you kidding me?” Kendrick stated. “You have a man who served time, been convicted of child sexual abuse, rape … you have him living in your rectory?”
Brennan wrote that after his investigation, the Vatican issued “a mild rebuke” of Father Coughlin and allowed Bishop Malone to take away him from ministry.
However after two years, “Bishop Malone took it upon himself to secretly return this priest to ministry,” the report states.
Newspaper archives affirm Brennan’s account, quoting Bishop Malone as saying, “I believe Father Coughlin has had adequate time to reflect on his actions.”
Malone then took the weird step of barring Coughlin from ministry in three cities whereas permitting him to function a priest in the remaining of the state.
Brennan stated Malone reversed the choice solely after staff on the Portland chancery, in an emergency assembly, expressed their outrage.
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“I mean, what kind of insanity is that?” Kendrick requested. “This so-called crisis in the church has been going on about protecting children and this guy Coughlin brings in a convicted pedophile in to roam around. And Coughlin would think that’s OK and then Malone would go to bat for Coughlin?”
In a written assertion, Malone stated:
“I sought and obtained Father Coughlin’s resignation from ministry but Canon law required I review his case periodically. After three years, I allowed him to resume some priestly duties — saying Mass in convent chapels and filling in at weekend Masses. There was a significant outcry to this decision so I re-evaluated my decision and restricted his ministry.”
‘The whole trial is a farce’
The second case concerned the Rev. Thomas M. Lee, who was accused of sexual abuse courting again many years that spilled out in the early 2000s.
Brennan, the church investigator, interviewed greater than 10 adults who stated Father Lee would take them tenting once they have been youngsters and:
— “Allow them to swim nude as he shined a light on them”;
— “Suggested they should take turns showering”;
— “Entered the shower area and took photographs of them”;
— “Invited the children into his bedroom … and while they were still naked … covered their bodies with powder”;
— “He would then massage their entire bodies, including their genital areas … often using an electrical device as he massaged them.”
Brennan wrote a 60-page report, however the allegations went nowhere, even after the diocesan assessment board unanimously affirmed the grievance towards Father Lee had been substantiated.
[Opinion: The evil that flourished in Pennsylvania — behind church doors]
After a primary inner church trial discovered Father Lee harmless, Brennan stated he put strain on Bishop Malone, telling him in a dialog in the diocesan mail room that “the Father Lee case would come back to haunt him and that if the Father Lee case resulted in a civil trial or some kind of criminal investigation, I would not lie or cover-up the facts to protect the diocese.”
Malone took Brennan’s recommendation and petitioned the Vatican for a second trial, however Lee was once more discovered “innocent” after the three judges — all clergymen — discovered Father Lee’s actions “to be imprudent, but none of them were sinful in any respect.”
Brennan stated he was not allowed to submit his reviews at both trial and Sister Rita-Mae Bissonnette, chancellor for the Portland diocese and a prime aide to Bishop Malone, informed him he was not to contact witnesses to testify, he stated.
7 Eyewitness News requested Thomas P. Doyle, a priest and canon lawyer who’s a nationwide professional in issues of clergy sexual abuse, to assessment and touch upon the Lee case.
“My conclusion, based on what I read, is that the entire canonical process is completely invalid,” Doyle stated in a telephone interview. “It appeared that the thing was rigged. The whole trial is a farce. They shouldn’t have even have held one.”
The bishop informed reporters in Maine he was “stunned” and “disappointed” on the consequence of the case, however Brennan wrote, “When I complained to Bishop Malone that this was yet another extraordinary cover-up by the Vatican of child sexual abuse by a member of the Catholic priesthood, he indicated that there was nothing more that he could do.”
[Report identifies more than 1,000 victims of priest abuse in Pennsylvania]
Doyle disputed that declare, saying “there’s certainly more that he could do,” like hiring an outdoor investigator to full a extra thorough investigation.
“He was, I would say, complicit in the whole thing,” Doyle stated of Bishop Malone.
In a written assertion, Malone stated:
“In the case of Father Lee, when the tribunal determined that the allegations were not proven, I supported an appeal. When a second tribunal reached the same conclusion, no further appeal was possible. Nevertheless, I continued the restrictions on his ministry. I know some were critical of the canonical process because they did not like the result. It’s no different than when people become frustrated with our justice system if they do not like the verdict. But the verdict stands.”
Malone did ask Lee to resign, information studies present, and Lee is retired however nonetheless listed as a priest in the Portland priest listing.
This summer time, he was honored at a mass at Good Shepherd Parish, in accordance to a parish bulletin from June.
Brennan stated he “personally witnessed Father Lee proudly standing at the altar of the diocese’s Cathedral during major celebrations and I have even encountered him at a private reception at Bishop Malone’s home.”
[Opinion: Why am I still a Catholic?]
Between New York and Maine, Bishop Malone has now been criticized for the best way he dealt with 5 separate instances of misconduct involving minors.
Many have questioned why a bishop would take an opportunity supporting clergymen accused of abuse, however Kendrick has a concept.
“I see Malone as a career-climber,” Kendrick stated. “He thought he’d go from here to I think Boston or Philadelphia or Chicago perhaps, one of the larger dioceses. That’s what he’s interested in. Because guess what? If he yells too loud, he’s not gonna go to Philadelphia, or Buffalo even. He knows that.”
In a written assertion, Malone stated:
“I stand by the fact that the canonical process, as it relates to Father Thomas Lee and Father Paul Coughlin, was scrupulously followed during my time as bishop in Portland, Maine. For anyone to imply that there was any sort of cover-up in either case is patently false. We were transparent, issuing press releases and letters to the faithful throughout both investigations.”
Bissonnette and a spokesman for the Portland Archdiocese didn’t reply to messages left for remark. Fathers Lee and Coughlin additionally didn’t reply to requests for remark.
This seems courtesy of WKBW in Buffalo.