By ERIC JONATHAN BREWER
CLEVELAND, OH – Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro’s investigation of sexually-deviant Catholic priests who abused his state’s residents were transferred to parishes in Johnstown and Altoona from dioceses in Ohio. Dan Tierney of Ohio Attorney General Richard Michael DeWine’s office confirmed to EJBNEWS that his boss has been contacted by prosecutors working for Shapiro.
Tierney said Pennsylvania prosecutors are investigating how priests who should have been criminally-charged for known sex offenses in Ohio escaped prosecution so they could be reassigned to prey on the residents of Shapiro’s state and others.
Across the nation state attorney generals in New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Florida, Missouri, Illinois and Michigan have followed Pennsylvania in opening Catholic church sex abuse investigations and they’ve got the same rhetorical questions as Shapiro’s prosecutors.
“How did these sick priests end up in our states?”
The Boston Globe newspaper has called for every state attorney general to investigate the “cover up” of sex crimes that exists between Catholic officials and local prosecutors and judges in dioceses across the nation. No investigation of Catholic church sex abuses have been discussed for Ohio.
What Shaprio and other attorney generals are going to learn is the example O’Malley is setting now that his ex-boss William D. Mason set before with the help of Irish Roman Catholic Judge Brian Corrigan in 2002. Catholic prosecutors and judges have been protecting the church and not justice. Faith has been placed ahead of duties by officials like O’Malley and others in a nation with laws separating the church and state. O’Malley and DeWine are both Roman Catholics.
Tierney said he was aware that in 2002 Corrigan decided a motion from former Bishop Anthony Pilla of the diocese of Cleveland to seal evidence of felony offenses committed by 496 priests and clergy against 1000 believers in just Cuyahoga County.
Tierney said his understanding of Mason and Corrigan’s roles in concealing the criminal evidence was different.
“My understanding of the Cleveland grand jury case was that he (Mason) argued against sealing and the judge denied it,” Tierney told EJBNEWS.
When presented with information that both Mason and Corrigan agreed to seal evidence of felony sex offenses that affected over 1000 victims in the county, Tierney’s response was different.
“As a result of that I will make sure our prosecutors are aware of this call,” Tierney said.
Tierney looked up 18 U.S.C. 4 and acknowledged the existence of the federal “misprision of felony” statute making it a federal law violation to know of a felony’s existence and not report it. DeWine’s spokesman said he was not an attorney but would also raise the issue with “our prosecutors.”
As an example, EJBNEWS asked Tierney about the Cleveland diocese’s handling of Rev. Theodore Lucas; who may have committed offenses connected to the 1000 victims Mason and Corrigan were aware of in 2002 who’d been sexually abused before, during and after Pilla.
Tierney searched Lucas’ suspension on the Catholic diocese website while on the phone and confirmed its existence with EJBNEWS. It was pointed out that O’Malley has not brought criminal charges against a priest who’s alleged crimes have been known by the Cleveland diocese since before May 2015.
Tierney said the information should have been delivered to O’Malley by the Cleveland diocese. If not, he said priests in Cincinnati were prosecuted under the state’s “failure to report” criminal statute. That state law would apply to officials of Cleveland’s Catholic diocese if Lucas’ offense was not reported to O’Malley.
DeWine’s spokesman did not say what steps the attorney general would take if a review reveals O’Malley and other Catholic officials are prosecuting and judging Cuyahoga county Protestants and members of other faiths for sex offenses while opting not to prosecute Catholic church sex abusers. Ohio is 82 percent non-Catholic.
EJBNEWS also asked Tierney why DeWine has not joined other state attorney generals to investigate Catholic church abuses since there were more offenders and an equal number of victims in just one of Ohio’s 88 counties in contrast to the entire state of Pennsylvania.
Tierney said he would discuss the question with DeWine and share an official response with EJBNEWS.