Among the prominent men accused of sexual abuse in a cache of recently unsealed court documents tied to financier Jeffrey Epstein’s alleged trafficking of underage girls, one name stood out to clergy sex-abuse victims in Philadelphia: George J. Mitchell.
Better known for his stints as a Senate majority leader and a U.S. special envoy, Mitchell until May had led the board overseeing the Archdiocese of Philadelphia’s compensation fund for those abused by priests.
Although he has forcefully denied the claims and his accuser has offered few details of their alleged encounter, the news has drawn consternation and bewilderment from Philadelphia-area victims and their advocates.
Some simply smirked at the optics that the man handpicked to oversee the archdiocese’s most significant attempt to date to compensate abuse victims had himself been accused as an abuser. Others said that Mitchell’s ties to Epstein have only deepened their reservations about the church’s reparations process — a program many of them already viewed with skepticism.
“It doesn’t surprise me at all,” said John Delaney, who has alleged his childhood priest raped him when was a 12-year-old altar boy at St. Cecelia Parish in Northeast Philadelphia and who rejected a compensation offer from the fund. “It definitely calls into question the entire effort, if [Mitchell] did this.” – READ MORE