October 14, 2005

Vicar helped priest stay in service

Philadelphia Inquirer

Bishop Edward P. Cullen

Now bishop of the Diocese of Allentown.

As vicar for administration, Cullen was Bevilacqua's top aide from 1988 to 1998, attending meetings where cases were discussed and decisions were made.

According to the grand jury, Cullen facilitated the continued service of the Rev. Nicholas V. Cudemo, whom Cullen's assistant, Msgr. James E. Molloy, called "one of the sickest people I ever knew."

Cullen testified to the grand jury that Bevilacqua was insistent that parishioners not be told the true reason for the removal of a priest accused of sexual abuse.

Molloy testified that Cullen instructed him to never tell victims that he believed their accusations, according to the report. The reason, Molloy surmised, was that such a statement would have suggested that church officials knew about other complaints, making later denials difficult.

Posted by kshaw at October 14, 2005 09:42 AM