Nation

Nun testifies of inaction on sex abuse

PHILADELPHIA - A Roman Catholic nun testified Thursday that she and two relatives were sexually abused by a priest who was described by a church leader as “one of the sickest people I ever knew.’’

The nun testified in the clergy-abuse trial of Monsignor William Lynn, the first US church official charged with felony child endangerment for allegedly leaving predator-priests in ministry.

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The nun said she, her sister, and her cousin went to the archdiocese in 1991 to report 1970s-era abuse by the Rev. Nicholas Cudemo and to ask that he be removed as a pastor. They met with Monsignors James Molloy and Lynn, who worked in the Office for Clergy.

The sisters had been molested and the cousin was repeatedly raped, they reported.

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Cudemo was put on leave and sent for a psychiatric evaluation. But the family soon learned he was saying Mass at other parishes.

“I felt misled in thinking that taking a leave of absence would mean he would not be able to say a public Mass,’’ the nun testified.

The nun said she talked to Lynn about Cudemo again in 1998, when Lynn led the Office for Clergy.

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The woman gave her name in court, but the Associated Press does not generally identify people who say they have been sexually abused.

Cudemo was allowed to retire in 1996 in good standing.

The grand jury accused him of sexually molesting 11 girls. He violated one girl with a Communion wafer, let another priest have sex with her, and took her for an abortion when he got her pregnant in junior high school, the grand jury said.

“Cudemo, ordained in 1963, was described to the grand jury as ‘one of the sickest people I ever knew’ by . . . Molloy, Cardinal Bevilacqua’s Vicar for Administration,’’ the 2005 grand jury report said.

Cudemo was removed from ministry that year. He had worked at three archdiocesan high schools from 1969 to 1977 - allegedly transferred amid abuse claims - and later at several parishes.

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