'Kingpin' bishops to be named in latest Philadelphia abuse case

Lawyers in the latest Philadelphia sex abuse case could include two bishops in their lawsuit, according to multiple reports.

CBS Philly reported Aug. 24 that lawyers for an alleged victim intends to name Saginaw Bishop Joseph Cistone and retired Allentown, Pa. Bishop Edward E. Cullen in the lawsuit.

"My best description of them is that they were the kingpins,” Philadelphia attorney Slade McLaughlin told CBS Philly.

McLaughlin represents a former altar boy, now 29 years old, in his case against Fr. Charles Engelhardt and former archdiocesan teacher Bernard Shero, both accused of sexually abusing the boy in the late 1990s.

Their trial is scheduled to begin Sept. 4.

The altar boy is the same that former priest Edward Avery pleaded guilty in March to sexually assaulting in 1999.

Both bishops came up during the trial of Msgr. William J. Lynn in relation to a list the monsignor compiled that named 35 abusive priests.

Lynn said he was unaware of a 1994 memo from his superior then-archbishop Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua that directed all copies of the list shredded.

A copy of the memo was found in 2006, and a copy of the list emerged days after Bevilacqua died in January, as well as a separate memo that described the shredding order, signed by Cistone and Msgr. James E. Molloy, another top cardinal aide.

Lawyers in the Lynn case alleged Cistone witnessed the shredding, though he was never called to testify in the three-month trial.

Cullen has also been tied to the shredding.

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