April 17, 2005

2 who accused monsignor to testify

Philadelphia Inquirer

By Nancy Phillips
Inquirer Staff Writer

The District Attorney's Office has quietly acknowledged that it let two sisters' sex-abuse allegations against a Philadelphia priest languish since 2002, and has invited the women to testify before a grand jury.

Pat McMenamin of Atlantic Beach, Fla., says a top prosecutor told her the allegations she had made against Msgr. Philip J. Dowling had been "buried" in a box - and that her sister's account had been lost altogether.

McMenamin said Assistant District Attorney Charles Gallagher had explained to her that because of the statute of limitations, prosecutors had chosen to focus on abuse reports from 1967 or later. McMenamin, 53, and her sister, 54, say they were abused starting in the early 1960s.

She said Gallagher had called and said he was "very, very sorry," and asked McMenamin and her sister to appear before the grand jury that has been secretly hearing testimony in the long-running investigation into alleged sex abuse by clergy.

Gallagher and his boss, District Attorney Lynne M. Abraham, declined to comment, citing rules of grand-jury secrecy and a court-imposed gag order.

Posted by kshaw at April 17, 2005 08:28 AM