Court motion in Philadelphia case names Bishop Cistone - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

Court motion in Philadelphia case names Bishop Cistone

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(02/28/12) - Jury selection continues in the child sex abuse case involving three members of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

That is where Saginaw Diocese Bishop Joseph Cistone served before coming to Mid-Michigan.

Bishop Cistone's handling of the scandal is getting some attention in court.

Lawyers for one of the defendants in the case say a recently discovered memo indicates a list of 35 possible abusive priests in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia was drawn up.

That list was later ordered to be shredded, and Bishop Cistone was a witness to that shredding.

Monsignor William Lynn is charged with conspiracy and child endangerment in the Philadelphia abuse scandal. His attorneys tried to have his case dismissed, based on a note written by a now-deceased church official in 1994. The note was recently discovered. In it, the church official wrote that he was ordered by Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua to shred a list of suspected abusive or pedophile priests in the archdiocese of Philadelphia, and that Bishop Joseph Cistone watched when the order was carried out. Monsignor Lynn's lawyers say that's evidence of a cover-up by Lynn's superiors, including Bishop Cistone. The Catholic Diocese of Saginaw referred questions to Bishop Cistone's attorney, William Winning.

"Bishop Cistone has done nothing wrong or improper in any sense of the word, he has fully cooperated with the Philadelphia District Attorney office from the beginning of this matter and will continue to do so," says William Winning, attorney for Bishop Cistone.

"We are not against the church, we just want to get the truth out," says Brad Sylvester. Sylvester is a member of SNAP, Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests. He has been calling on Bishop Cistone to fully explain his role in the Philadelphia case. Sylvester says if the story about the list is true, it would be worse than Pennsylvania's other high-profile sex abuse scandal.

"Penn relate it to that case, there is one Jerry Sandusky, here we are talking about 35 Jerry Sanduskys," Sylvester said.

"Bishop Cistone has not been charged with anything and in fact the allegations as to Bishop Cistone that are set forth in that recent motion are false and utterly groundless," Winning said.

That motion by Monsignor Lynn's attorneys was dismissed by the judge and his criminal case continues.

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