Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua’s testimony likely to be read to jury


The death of Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua on Tuesday will have a minimal impact on the upcoming cases of three priests accused of sexual abuse, according to those close to the case.

Bevilacqua’s death came one day after a court reaffirmed an earlier decision that he was fit to testify. The charges came to light after a scathing 2005 grand jury report named the three offenders, along with 60 others, and harshly rebuked Bevilacqua for allowing them to continue practicing despite having knowledge of the abuse.

Defense lawyer Chuck Peruto Jr., who previously represented one of the three priests charged, said Bevilacqua’s absence will be helpful to the prosecution, if it has any effect at all. “The cardinal already went through his direct and cross examination and either party is privy to that testimony and can read it to the jury,” he said.

“It probably benefits the Commonwealth because the jury doesn’t get flavor of how senile he is, how mentally incapacitated he may be, how frail he is, if he might not look credible – all these things. The jury won’t even get to view him, [they will] just hear the hard, cold evidence.”

But victims said that, regardless of the legal implications, Bevilacqua’s lack of testimony will leave open wounds. “For victims, I think it was important for him to come to court and tell what he knew,” said Barbara Dorris of the Survivor’s Network of those Abused by Priests. “It’s very healing for people for him to be accountable and have the truth come out. The hearing is for them.”

“We need to understand how this happened, what systems were in place and how these children got hurt to avoid it happening again.”

Mixed legacy
The Vatican emphasized Bevilacqua’s social services contributions, while alleged abuse survivors braced themselves for what they say will be a traumatizing memorial.

“We are reaching out to victims and letting them know that we know how difficult this time is going to be for them, watching press coverage of his funeral and all these praises of him,” said Karen Polesir of SNAP.

“I join you in commending the late cardinal’s soul to God,” said Pope Benedict XVI in a telegram to Archbishop Charles Chaput. “With gratitude for … his longstanding commitment to social justice and the pastoral care of immigrants, and his expert contribution to the revision of the church’s law.” 

Cardinal dead at age 88

A statement from the diocese called his 1998 pastoral letter condemning racism, “Healing Through Faith and Truth,” penned when racial tensions were flaring in city neighborhoods, one of the most important documents written during his tenure.

 Bevilacqua was one of 11 children born to a poor Italian immigrant family in Brooklyn, so he had a lifelong personal mission to fight for the rights of the needy.

 He established the diocese’s first Catholic Migration and Refugee Office in Brooklyn in 1971.
He served as Philadelphia Archbishop for 15 years, from February 11, 1988, to October 7, 2003, and became a cardinal on June 28, 1991.

 He had advanced degrees in political science and canonical and civil law.

Bevilacqua created a community development office to aid blighted neighborhoods in his last year of office. The archdiocese also began a $41 million human-services construction program consisting of seven projects, including the Cardinal Bevilacqua Community Center in Kensington.


Astoria minivan crash kills 1, injures 6: NYPD

Anthony Boyd, 45, died soon after what investigators believe was some sort of medical emergency as he drove his family through Astoria on Sunday afternoon.


NYC pension funds valued at $160b: Scott Stringer

The five NYC pension funds that thousands of city employees contribute to saw its fifth year in a row of increased returns, up $23 billion from last year.


Man dies trapped in elevator shaft at Bronx…

A man in his twenties died after being trapped in an elevator shaft of a Bronx building early Monday, police said.


Sierra Leone Ebola patient, recovered from family, dies…

An Ebola patient whose family sparked a nationwide hunt when they forcefully removed her from a treatment center and took her to a traditional healer has died.


Newport Folk Festival: Photo gallery of 35 moments…

As has been the tradition since Bob Dylan plugged in a bajillion years ago, the Newport Folk Festival embraces more musical genres than its name implies.


MKTO: Behind the bromance

MKTO's Malcolm Kelley and Tony Oller talk about the American Dream tour, Demi Lovato and getting turned down by girls.


James Earl Jones and Rose Byrne head to…

Two-time Tony winner James Earl Jones returns to the New York stage next month as an eccentric grandfather in a revival of the 1930s comedy…


Box office: Scarlett Johansson wins battle of brains…

Scarlett Johansson's "Lucy" handily dispatched with Dwayne Johnson's "Hercules" over the weekend.


Yankees looking to trade for Josh Willingham: Report

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Sunday the Yankees are interested in Twins outfielder Josh Willingham.


Joe Torre: I'm in Hall of Fame because…

Joe Torre spent 18 years putting together a near Hall of Fame career as a player. But it was the 12 years he spent as…


Yankees GM Brian Cashman breaks down art of…

The action frequently accelerates as the non-waiver trade deadline approaches, as it will on Thursday.

Auto racing

Jeff Gordon captures fifth title at Brickyard 400

Jeff Gordon captures fifth title at Brickyard 400


This Week In Health: Friends share similar DNA,…

Friends share similar DNA, study finds Location: U.S. Study subjects: Nearly 2,000 people Results: When it comes to our social networks, it seems that birds of…


Are liberal arts colleges turning away from the…

Bryn Mawr College, a small women's college located just outside of Philadelphia, announced last week that it would be making standardized tests like the SAT…


Recent grads discover school superintendent plagiarized parts of…

  Two recent high school graduates made a surprising discovery about the commencement speech their school superintendent delivered at their graduation: portions of it was copied…


Feeling stuck? Get out of the entry-level job…

Television and movies may be littered with 20-something characters who seem directionless when it comes to their careers, but author Mary Traina says she finds…