US Politics

Cardinal Egan was profoundly unsympathetic to sex-abuse survivors: report

Edward Cardinal Egan, who shepherded New Yorks Catholic population throughout the 2000s, “took a dismissive, uncaring and at times threatening attitude toward survivors” of church sex-abuse during his earlier tenure in Bridgeport, Connecticut, a damning report said Tuesday.

Egan — the Bishop of Bridgeport from 1988 until his move to the Archdiocese of New York in 2000 — routinely placed the interests of the church and its abusive priests over those of the laity, according to the 250-page report by Robert Holzberg, a retired Connecticut Superior Court judge hired by the Bridgeport diocese to investigate abuse.

“Bishop Egans response was profoundly unsympathetic, inadequate and inflammatory,” Holzberg wrote. “He openly acknowledged to his staff, and signaled to the public through his behavior, that he believed his principal responsibility was to preserve the assets and reputation of the diocese rather than to work for the well-being of survivors and secure justice for them.”

To that end, Egan repeatedly looked the other way on even the most glaring signs that there were wolves among his flock, Holzberg concluded.

“Bishop Egan consistently ignored red flags and/or explicit warnings about sexually abusive priests, almost always choosing to credit a priests denials over a victims accusations,” Holzberg wrote. “He engaged in a pattern and practice of transferring abusive priests to other parishes and/or granting these priests leaves of absence.'”

Egan — who abdicated the see of New York in 2009 due to his advanced age, and died in 2015 — was often only spurred to react under the threat of legal action, and then was a bulldog in court, Holzberg found.

Edward Cardinal Egan and Andrew Cuomo in 2013AP

“When survivors sued the diocese, Bishop Egan adopted a scorched-earth litigation strategy that not only re-victimized survivors … but also increased the financial cost of the suits, and created what continues through today to be an irreparable breach between the diocese and a significant segment of its laity,” Holzberg wrote.

In an effort to bridge that chasm, current Bridgeport Bishop Frank Caggiano retained Holzberg in 2018 to assemble the wRead More – Source

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