Philadelphia wasn't a focus of the landmark grand jury report that state Attorney General Josh Shapiro released Tuesday accusing hundreds of priests across Pennsylvania of sexual abuse involving more than 1,000 purported victims over decades. But it was inevitable there would be links to the state's largest city and its only Roman Catholic archdiocese.

Some priests accused in the report had postings in the region during their careers. Some victims said they were abused here. And two towering figures in the history of the Philadelphia Archdiocese – the late Cardinal Anthony J. Bevilacqua and his former aide Bishop Edward Cullen — played significant leadership roles in two of the dioceses investigated, either before or after they came to Philadelphia.

Read on for a summary of links to the Philadelphia and South Jersey region.

Accused Priests 


Diocese where abuse occurred: Pittsburgh

Length of career: 1962 to 2002

Philadelphia-area postings: 1962, St. Francis of Assisi, Vineland, N.J.; January 1966, St. Mary, Gloucester City; June 1966, faculty of Paul VI High School, Haddon Township, and St. Rose of Lima, Haddon Heights; 1970 to 1985, theology teacher and golf coach, Bishop Eustace Preparatory School, Pennsauken.

Allegations: Connor was arrested in 1984 for molesting a 14-year-old at his house while he was teaching at Eustace. He admitted to the crime, but the Cape May County Prosecutor's Office agreed to let him enter a pretrial diversionary program at the request of officials in the Camden Diocese. He was later transferred to the Pittsburgh Diocese and then the Philadelphia Archdiocese, both under the oversight of Bevilacqua. Despite his history, he was assigned for a period as an assistant pastor of St. Matthew in Conshohocken, a parish with a grade school and where Connor formed what supervisors described as a troubling attachment to a young boy. After Connor was featured in the 2005 grand jury report on clergy sex abuse in Philadelphia, at least two more accusers came forward to allege he had abused them during his time in Pittsburgh.

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Diocese where abuse occurred: Harrisburg

Length of career: 1977 to 2016

Philadelphia-area postings: 1995 to 1997, St. Norbert, Paoli

Allegations: Fisher told Harrisburg diocesan officials in 2011 that he often viewed pornographic images of children online, but he was allowed to remain in ministry. Years later, when a bishop discovered Fisher's file in the diocese's archive, he was sent to the church-run St. John Vianney Center in Downingtown for treatment and in 2016 was removed from active ministry.


Diocese where abuse occurred: Erie

Length of career: 1956 to 2000

Philadelphia-area postings: 1976 and 1977, St. Joseph's University, Philadelphia

Allegations: Starting in 1987, Presley was accused of raping, choking, and punching more than five victims over 16 years during the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. Though diocesan officials in Erie concluded that Presley was extremely violent and predisposed to assault in 1987, they dismissed the claims and allowed Presley to refuse their recommendation of therapy. Presley admitted to sexually abusive behavior in 2002 and was removed from ministry. But it was not until four years later – when Presley had been laicized and the statute of limitations on his abuse had run out – that church officials informed Lancaster County authorities of his abuse.

>> READ MORE: If the grand jury report doesn't force a reckoning in the Catholic Church, it's time to walk away | Mike Newall


Diocese where abuse occurred: Allentown

Length of career: 1947 to 1965

Philadelphia-area postings: March 1954 to November 1955, St. Mary of the Assumption, Philadelphia

Allegations: Royer was accused in 2003 of abusing a 12-year-old boy at a Bethlehem parochial school in 1948, when the Allentown area fell under the jurisdiction of the Philadelphia Archdiocese.


Diocese where abuse occurred: Allentown

Length of career: 1930 to 1980

Philadelphia-area postings: June 1931 to September 1934, St. Mary of the Assumption, Philadelphia

Allegations: Ruffenach was accused in 2001 of beating, paddling, and sexually assaulting a pupil at an Allentown-area parochial school in the 1940s, when the boy was in first through eighth grades. He died in 1980, before his accuser came forward.

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Diocese where abuse occurred: Pittsburgh

Length of career: 1974 to 2003

Philadelphia-area postings: 1974, faculty, Holy Ghost Preparatory School, Bensalem; 1993-94: administrator, St. Peter Claver, Philadelphia

Allegations: Spangenberg, a member of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit, was accused in 1988 of abusing a boy in Millvale, Pa. Another man – a former teenage prostitute — came forward in 2009 saying Spangenberg frequently paid him for sex and asked him to recruit other young boys, whom he referred to as "chickens." The accuser said Spangenberg paid him with $1 bills taken from his parish collection box.


Diocese where abuse occurred: Allentown

Length of career: 1938 to 1967

Philadelphia-area postings: 1938 to 1942, St. Ladislaus, Philadelphia

Allegations: Zmijewski, a registered psychologist, was accused in 2004 of abusing a high school student during hypnotherapy sessions at a Reading parochial school in the 1950s, when it was part of the Philadelphia Archdiocese. His accuser said that when she feigned that she was hypnotized during one of their sessions at Zmijewski's house, he instructed her to strip naked, left the room, then returned a short while later and told her to get dressed, the report says. Zmijewski died in 1968, before his accuser came forward.

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Diocese where abuse occurred: Pittsburgh

Length of career: Unspecified

Philadelphia-area postings: Diocese of Camden, assignment unspecified

Allegations: Hopkins was accused in 1992 of having told a high school student decades earlier to remove his pants for a "medical exam." His accuser said Hopkins made several lewd comments. Hopkins was transferred to the Camden Diocese in the '70s and pleaded guilty in 1995 to sexually molesting an altar boy there.


Diocese where abuse occurred: Allentown

Length of career: 1941 to 1982

Philadelphia-area postings: 1979 to unspecified, St. Joachim, Philadelphia

Allegations: Paul, a member of the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales, worked at various dioceses in Pennsylvania, New York, and Delaware. He was accused in 1979 of inappropriately kissing young girls in a parish in Schuylkill County. The Allentown Diocese removed him from active ministry that same year, but according to Oblates records, he was later assigned to St. Joachim parish in Philadelphia. He died in 1982.

Treatment Centers

Chester County is home to St. John Vianney Center,  a church-run treatment center in Downingtown where dioceses from across the state sent priests accused of sexual misconduct for "therapy" before returning them to ministry. But grand jurors took a dim view of the treatment there.

"Put plainly, these institutions laundered accused priests, provided plausible deniability to the bishops, and permitted hundreds of known offenders to return to ministry," their report read.

At least 25 priests named in the report Tuesday spent time at St. John Vianney, often officially described as "sick leave."

While staying at Vianney in 1988 after three accusations of abuse, the Rev. Edward George Ganster wrote to his superiors in the Allentown Diocese to report he'd decided to leave the priesthood, marry a woman he met at the facility, and move to Florida for a job at Walt Disney World — with a reference letter from his diocese.

Abuse in the Philadelphia region

Though the 301 priests singled out in Tuesday's report were largely assigned to other parts of the state, the grand jury described abuse that occurred in the Philadelphia region.

One unidentified Allentown priest – whose name has been redacted – reportedly took a 14-year-old Easton boy on trips to St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Wynnewood, where he wined and dined the boy and encouraged a physical relationship, saying, "Don't knock it until you tried it." Grand jurors alleged the priest's pedophilic behavior was first reported when the priest was attending the seminary himself in the '70s.

The Rev. Richard J. Barry of the Harrisburg Diocese headed to his mother's house in Philadelphia in 1981 to fondle and perform oral sex on an 11-year-old boy he met through his parish, the report says. The Rev. Charles R. Ginder of the Pittsburgh Diocese also came to the city for out-of-town excursions with an underage boy in the late '50s, one accuser said.

The New Jersey Shore served as a popular vacation spot for abusive priests and powerless children under their supervision. The Rev. Fabian G. Oris of the Greensburg Diocese, who once lamented to diocesan officials that "young girls are pretty and they throw themselves at you," took his preteen accuser on trips to Atlantic City in the late '50s, according to the grand jury report.

So did the Rev. Gregory F. Premoshis, also of Greensburg, who was accused of sexually abusing a teenage boy between 1980 and 1982. The Rev. Joseph Bucolo of the Scranton Diocese admitted in 1971 that he committed "acts unbecoming of a Catholic priest" with a 10-year-old he took for a two-day Shore vacation the year before.

But none of their conduct topped that of the Rev. Augustine Giella of the Harrisburg Diocese, who allegedly turned his home in Ocean County, N.J., into a trophy room for mementos of his underage victims. The report accuses Giella of abusing five sisters from the same family for years, starting on one when she was just 18 months old. The girls' parents considered him a close family friend and routinely let the girls stay at his house unsupervised. On one occasion in 1992, one of the girls reported, Giella tried to break down the door to the bathroom while she was showering so he could take her photo.

Later, her mother discovered several pairs of her daughters' underwear mixed in with Giella's laundry. When the family finally went to police and investigators raided the Whiting residence, they found vials of urine, photos of the girls in sexually explicit positions, and plastic containers containing the pubic hairs of his alleged victims identified by tags with their initials. Giella was criminally charged but died before he could stand trial.

The Philadelphia hierarchy

Before he was named archbishop of Philadelphia in 1987, Anthony J. Bevilacqua spent three years leading the Pittsburgh Diocese. And just as he was accused of failing to do enough to deal with predatory priests in two earlier grand jury reports, the panel behind the investigation unveiled Tuesday flagged points of concern from his tenure there.

Bevilacqua provided "little to no oversight" of one known pedophile priest, their report notes. He took no action after a boy reported inappropriate touching by another priest in 1987.

Most troubling, though, were his interactions with Connor, the priest from Camden who transferred to the Pittsburgh Diocese after an arrest for child molestation, the grand jury said. Bevilacqua was warned by the bishop of Camden of Connor's past before accepting the transfer. In a memo about Connor's impending arrival, he noted: "I cannot guarantee there is no serious risk." When Bevilacqua later moved to Philadelphia, Connor soon followed, and asked for and received a posting at St. Matthew in Conshohocken, a parish with a grade school.

Connor continued to cause headaches for Msgr. William J. Lynn, Bevilacqua's secretary of clergy in Philadelphia, who is fleetingly mentioned in several parts of Tuesday's report. Lynn — who is awaiting a retrial on child-endangerment charges for his own management of accused priests in Philadelphia — was concerned enough about an attachment Connor developed with a young boy at St. Matthew that he consulted with archdiocesan lawyers. No one, though, bothered to alert the child's parents, the report says.

Another of Bevilacqua's top aides in Philadelphia – then-Auxiliary Bishop Edward Cullen – came in for heavy scrutiny Tuesday for his tenure as bishop of the Allentown Diocese between 1997 and 2009. The report is full of instances of Cullen's swiftly removing several accused priests from active ministry shortly after credible allegations emerged. But the grand jury found that he, like many of the bishops cited in the report, was also responsible for shuffling several suspected child abusers between parishes and failing to fully disclose to parishioners details about those who he removed.

Staff writers Nathaniel Lash and Chris Palmer contributed to this article.

CORRECTION: A previous version of this article incorrectly reported that the Rev. David F. Dzermejko was sent to St. John Vianney Center in Downingtown after an allegation of sexual misconduct was filed against him. He was sent to a different site, St. John Vianney Manor in Pittsburgh.