Home » US News » Saginaw’s top Catholic bishop — called ‘kingpin’ by lawyer — to be named in Philadelphia clergy sex abuse lawsuit, reports indicate

Saginaw’s top Catholic bishop — called ‘kingpin’ by lawyer — to be named in Philadelphia clergy sex abuse lawsuit, reports indicate


Attorneys plan to name the leader of the Diocese of Saginaw in a lawsuit surrounding clergy sex abuse allegations at his former assignment in Philadelphia, media reports indicate.

Bishop Joseph Cistone earlier this year was not named in any criminal indictments, but lawyers say Cistone and others will be named in a civil case brought on by a former Philadelphia altar boy who claimed sexual abuse in 1992, CBS Philly reports.

“My best description of them is that they were the kingpins,” Slade McLaughlin, a Philadelphia attorney, told the news station when describing Cistone and another former Catholic administrator in Philadelphia.

Attorneys during a criminal trial this year claimed Archdiocese of Philadelphia administrators shredded documents naming priests accused of sexual abuse while allowing one priest to remain in active ministry with the Northeast Philadelphia parish, where the 10-year-old altar boy was abused, media reports indicate. [more]


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  1. John O says:

    Pray for all persons abused by fallen Priests that God grant them the grace to heal and find acceptance if not forgiveness to those who sinned against them.

    It is such a sad commentary on our faith that those we trusted with our children could abuse them and continue on as hypocrites to their vows.

    Yes there will be many religious in Hell for sins they have committed and did not repent from.
    Kindly stop calling every priest or bishop who was in a leadership position in the past and in error did not react swiftly or properly to intercede for those hurt by sinful priests criminals or worse.

    The behavior of pedophiles for many of them were unbelievable acts from people they trusted.

  2. Florian says:

    The Philly grand juries unearthed plenty of evidence on which to charge Bishop Cistone criminally, likewise to prompt civil suits on behalf of priest-abuse victims. The cover-uppers, of whom Bishop Cistone is an admitted member, bet the church farm on keeping things quiet, in effect trashing victims and families and ignoring the truth. A major remedy for this studied insouciance lies with the courts, where the “greedy” lawyers have already proved themselves to be better pastors than the pastors and pastor-bishops by geing the truth out in the open. Still, the bishops have yet to accept responsibility for their misdeeds, in spite of their frequent confessions.

    • Jim says:

      Well, you’ve made your case, Florian — those who go to confession (the bishops) are bad, and those who do not (you and the attorneys suing the Church) are good. So, that proves that the sacramemt of Reconciliation moves us further from God, and we all should follow your lead and never go to Reconciliation.

      • Jim says:

        We all should be as good as you, Florian — perfect and sinless and not in need of the sacrament of Reconciliation.

      • Recovering Catholic says:

        I thought that if a priest heard “crime” being confessed that the priest had a moral duty to withhold absolution to the “criminal” until the criminal went to the legal authorities and admitted his wrongdoing. Am I wrong about that?

        • Jim says:

          I don’t know, Recovering — but my gues is absolution does not depend on going to the authorities, but rather it depends on genuine sorrow for our sins and an intention to do better in the future.

          • Ann says:

            Hey, the Sacrament is magic; no need for legal authority. Genuine sorrow trumps any reconciliation to the victims in the here and now. God forgives; forget about the damaged brother or sister.

        • Catholic Lady says:

          My understanding is that the priest will strongly suggest that the person who confesses a crime will report it to the proper authorities. (you may be correct about witholding absolution but somehow I do not think so) However if a criminal is truly repentant I would think that he would take the priests advice as it would be helpful in making amends..

        • blag says:

          As far as I know, priests are not allowed to withhold absolution, but they are allowed to make the conciliatory actions (of which completion is a requisite to forgiveness by god) include turning oneself over to the legal system and accepting the secular judgment.

          Source: Priest friend of mine. I very well may have misunderstood.

  3. joseph Francis says:

    Its good to see Jim and Tony in the boxing ring again. We missed them. Lets get real. This sex scandal and the failure of the Bishops to protect the children of God so they could protect their brother priests has cost the church billions of dollars and the Bishops their prestige and authoruty that Bisops once had. From the image of a German Shepard dog barking to that of a Mexican-chiwawha barking. Its going to take fifty years or so for the church to start to move away from this sin. The Bishops are trying to be moral teachers with one hand tied behind their backs. We are such a wounded church and need of much prayer.

    • Jim says:

      Yes, Joseph Francis, we are a wounded Church — and evil people smell blood in the water, and are exploiting the circumstances to attack the Church for their own gain.

      • Jim says:

        And even some good people, like Tony, are being used (unwittingly) by Satan to attack Jesus’ Church, the only way to Heaven.

        • Ann says:

          Oh get real Jim. The church is strong and needs to stand up and recognize its sins, reform its ways, and get on with proclaiming the good news.

          • Jim says:

            The Church HAS recognized its sins, Ann — how many times do they need to do that before you hear them? Go have another glass of wine that you don’t drink.

            • blag says:

              Yeah, it’s that “reform its ways” that they haven’t done. The same secrecy that allowed the sexual abuse to go unpunished and unnoticed for years has not been changed, and there has been no explicit guidelines as to how to handle future cases of sexual abuse.

              Furthermore, I’ve heard that one of the contributing factors giving the priests the sick perversions they had was the pre-Vatican II training they received on becoming celibate – as in: none at all. But, instead of embracing openness and adopting training for celibacy, the church has run away from the problem as much as possible – fighting against releasing church documents, supposedly destroying documents indicating guilt, and avoiding legal penalties in every way they possibly can.

              Until they accept the logical change this should bring about, they haven’t truly accepted the fact that their culture helped the perpetrators get away with their actions. Part of reconciliation is appropriately changing systems and habits that obviously need to be changed, and until the Catholic church does so, any recognition of their culpability is useless.

  4. Tony says:

    Another example of why the bishops are picking on the nuns, to deflect the garbage that they themselves are I involved in.

    • Jim says:

      Complete and total speculation on your part, Tony. Here’s another possibility: this bishop is being picked on by a greedy Philadelphia lawyer. Attorneys smell blood in the water, and they are going after the Church whenever they can.

      • Tony says:

        Jim, where there is smoke there is fire, I love the church and I demand that the leaders of the church act like the mature grown adult men they say they are. The Bisops are ruining the church.

        • Jim says:

          Tony — “where there’s smaoke, there’s fire” — not necessarily, and that is exactly why we have a legal system: to examine the evidence. You jumped to conclusions about this bishop already, Tony, without knowing any of the facts of the case. This is what I mean by there being blood in the water: these attorneys, and the population at large, can smell the blood, and these evil people are using that to their advantage to attack the Church. It is open season on the Church, and it is hastening our fast slide into immorality.

          • blag says:

            So in your last post you said that people are abusing the legal system to extort money from the church, but then in this post you said that the purpose of the legal system is to coldly evaluate the evidence against the defendant.

            The second one appears to be all that is going on, after all, any unfairness in legal judgments is the fault of the legal system, not of the people bringing the lawsuits to begin with, as you suggest by saying, “the population at large, can smell the blood and these evil people are using that to their advantage to attack the church”. Bringing a lawsuit is not attacking the church, it is asking the legal system to evaluate whether or not monetary remunerations are necessary to compensate for a legal injustice. Stop attacking the victims of abuse (eg: the ones who are bringing the lawsuits) and start placing the blame right where it belongs: at the bishops that shuffled offending priests around for years and fought public disclosure as much as they could.

    • Ann says:

      So agree Tony.


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