October 10, 2005

Abuse report isn't a liability for D.A.

Philadelphia Inquirer

By Thomas Fitzgerald
Inquirer Staff Writer

If you're a Philadelphia politician, you might want to avoid the risk of angering up to a third of the voters with an attack on their church.

Yet District Attorney Lynne M. Abraham is cruising to reelection, despite having issued - just seven weeks before Election Day - a scathing grand-jury report on sexual abuse by Roman Catholic priests that accused the church of an "immoral" coverup.

Seeking a fourth full term in office on Nov. 8, Abraham faces an unknown and underfunded Republican challenger, 41-year-old Louis S. Schwartz, a defense lawyer who handles traffic violations, DUI and drug cases.

Lawyers for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia said the three-year investigation into priest abuse was motivated by bigotry, but so far no groundswell has materialized against Abraham.

"You'd be astounded how many people come up to me and say - they put their hand on their chest and say, 'I'm Catholic and you did a great thing,' " Abraham, 64, said last week when asked about the report at a senior citizens meeting in the Northeast.

Posted by kshaw at October 10, 2005 09:48 AM