PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Prosecutors in the priest sex abuse trial are trying to bring Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua to testify. They asked a judge to order the Cardinal to videotape his testimony, since his knowledge is critical in the trial of Monsignor William Lynn, his Secretary of Clergy.
Cardinal Bevilacqua led the Archdiocese of Philadelphia for fifteen years. But in 80 hours of testimony before the 2005 grand jury, member Jerry Corrento, says the Cardinal sounded more like a lawyer than a cardinal.
“We asked a lot of questions of him and we learned nothing,” said Corrento.
Watch the video…
Cardinal Bevilacqua faced 10 days of questioning between June 2003 and February 2004, but Corrento says the questioning led nowhere.
“It was just like every other priest that was in there,” remembered Corrento. “Just nothing to say, don’t remember anything, can’t recall.”
In fact, according to an Eyewitness News analysis of the testimony posted by the Philadelphia Inquirer, Cardinal Bevilacqua said the words “I don’t recall” or “I do not recall” at least 162 times in those sessions. And that does not include “I don’t know” or “I don’t remember.”
When the Cardinal was asked why the archdiocese did not inform parishes about allegations of abuse against clergy, he responded, “We did not announce the alleged allegations because they were not proven. Credible allegations were not proof.”
Cardinal Bevilacqua’s lawyers say he suffers from dementia and cancer and is too sick to testify, but abuse advocates want proof.
“There’s been not one piece of paper produced that says that he is suffering dementia and has memory loss,” said Karen Polesir, spokeswoman for SNAP, the Survivors’ Network of Those Abused by Priests.
It has been eight years since Cardinal Bevilacqua served as the archbishop of Philadelphia, but what he knows remains critical to a sex abuse trial years later.
Reported by Oren Liebermann, CBS 3