October 14, 2005

Despite knowledge of abuse, his goal was avoiding 'general scandal'

Philadelphia Inquirer

Msgr. Francis J. Statkus

Now semiretired in residence at St. Ignatius of Antioch Parish in Yardley, where he assists with Masses and other duties.

As chancellor under Cardinal John Krol, Statkus comes under heavy criticism in the report. For instance, after learning that one priest, Raymond Leneweaver, had abused boys in three counties, Statkus said in a 1980 letter that Leneweaver would have to be transferred next to a Bucks County parish "because it is one of the few remaining areas where his scandalous action may not be known."

Church documents show that Statkus repeatedly sat on information about abusers with the goal, as he wrote to Krol, that "general scandal" be avoided. After another priest, Joseph Gausch, admitted molestations to him, he told Gausch that if he did not have another "lapse" or cause suspicions, he would be considered for a pastoral appointment.

In 1982, Statkus met with a police detective complaining of sexual advances against his son from another known abuser, the Rev. Francis Trauger. In a memo, Statkus noted that the parish priests had not been informed and "I suggest that no mention be made to the priests." He also said he had convinced the detective "of our sincere resolve to take the necessary action" and he "does not plan to press any charges, police or otherwise." Trauger was subsequently transferred four more times.

Posted by kshaw at October 14, 2005 09:45 AM