A couple of years ago, the Philadelphia archdiocese heard about three priests who had allegedly raped two boys. It gave the priests' files to law enforcement, and a grand jury began to investigate. Then, the grand jury stumbled on a bombshell. A church employee testified that there were many other priests the panel should know about.
"The grand jury found that a policy of zero tolerance was not actually in effect," says District Attorney Seth Williams, "and that there were many priests that had allegations made against them that were still in active ministry."
But, like the first, the new two-count criminal "information" just filed by the U.S. Attorney in Charleston, W. Va., does not directly involve the April 5 blast at Massey Energy's Upper Big Branch mine, which killed 29 mine workers and injured two others.
The archbishop of Philadelphia has suspended 21 priests connected to allegations of child sex abuse, the latest in a series of actions by the archdiocese to deal with findings in a disturbing grand jury report released last month.
The grand jury report accused a monsignor, three priests and a parochial schoolteacher of abusing kids or failing to prevent abuse by others. It also said that as many as 37 priests remained in active ministry with allegations or reports of inappropriate behavior or sexual abuse of minors.
Lt. Col. Reid Sawyer, a career intelligence officer, runs the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point. This week, at a New York Fire Department training center, Sawyer stood before a classroom of 40 fire marshals, chiefs and firefighters who are taking an 11-week course in terrorism. The evening's topic: the evolution of al-Qaida.
"So, the question is when you are sitting in the firehouses how do you make sense of the threat that is before you?" Sawyer asked the class. "How do you understand when you are reading the newspapers what it means?"