Civil lawsuit says two cardinals, others failed to prevent sex abuse

PHILADELPHIA – A 28-year-old man who says he was abused by clergy on two separate occasions has filed a civil lawsuit against the two alleged abusers, the Catholic schools he attended, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, the city’s past and present cardinal archbishops and others he said failed to prevent the abuse.

The man, who filed suit anonymously in Philadelphia’s Court of Common Pleas Feb. 14, said he was first abused by seminarian Martin Satchell in the early 1990s when he was a second- or third-grader at St. Aloysius Academy in Bryn Mawr. Satchell was ordained in 1993 but left the priesthood in 2004, according to the lawsuit.

Later, as a high school freshman at Malvern Preparatory School in Malvern, he sought counseling from Father Richard Cochrane, who also abused him, the suit said.

Also named in the lawsuit were Cardinals Justin Rigali and Anthony J. Bevilacqua, the present and retired archbishops of Philadelphia; Monsignor William J. Lynn, archdiocesan secretary for clergy from 1992 to 2004; the Order of St. Augustine, which runs Malvern Prep; Karen Becker, director of child and youth protection for the archdiocese; and Maggie Marshall, victim assistance coordinator.

The suit accuses the archdiocese of implementing “programs and procedures that were misrepresented as providing help to victims of childhood sexual abuse by clergy, but were instead maliciously used to develop information to protect the archdiocese.”

A spokesman for the archdiocese said Feb. 15 that there would be no comment on the lawsuit at this time.

The suit was filed four days after Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams released a new report by a grand jury investigating clergy sex abuse. As a result of the report, four priests or ex-priests and a parochial school teacher were charged with rape and Monsignor Lynn was charged with endangering the welfare of children.

The lawsuit said the man was seeking more than $50,000 in damages, the threshold at which a jury trial is triggered.

Catholic Review

Catholic Review

The Catholic Review is the official publication of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.