Grand jury accusations that the Archdiocese of Philadelphia failed to stop the sexual abuse of children more than five years after another grand jury documented the abuse by more than 50 priests begs another question:
Did the same thing happen in Pittsburgh?
We are forced to ask this most difficult question given that the Philly grand jury directly implicates Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua, who stepped down as the prelate of the Philadelphia archdiocese in 2003 and is the former bishop of Pittsburgh.
The grand jury said it "reluctantly" decided to not file charges against Cardinal Bevilacqua because it did not have enough evidence. But he is accused of transferring problem priests to new parishes without divulging prior sexual-abuse allegations.
Did the same thing happen under Bevilacqua's watch in the Diocese of Pittsburgh between 1983 and 1987• It is an eminently fair question given the alleged audacity of the inaction in the Philadelphia cases.
Bevilacqua now is 87 and said to be suffering from cancer and dementia. But that should not preclude an independent and outside review of all allegations of sexual abuse against priests during his Pittsburgh tenure.
We cast no aspersions. We make no allegations. But given the facts as the Philadelphia grand jury has presented them, those in the Pittsburgh diocese deserve no less.
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