The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception has banned from its premises a Catholic journalist who has been investigating Cardinal Donald Wuerl’s role in the sexual abuse scandal currently rocking the Catholic Church.
Wuerl was caught up in the scandal when he was named in the shocking Pennsylvania grand jury report detailing allegations of widespread sexual abuse by more than 300 priests against more than 1,000 children over decades. The embattled cardinal is accused of helping to cover up the crimes of predatory priests while serving as the bishop of Pittsburgh from 1988-2006. Pope Benedict XVI appointed Wuerl archbishop of Washington in May 2006.
Wuerl was also accused of knowing about former D.C. Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick’s history of sexual abuse and doing nothing about it. According to Archbishop Viganò in his 11-page bombshell exposé, the cardinal’s denials are “laughable,” as he brought up the McCarrick issue with Wuerl himself. “The Cardinal lies shamelessly,” wrote Viganò, who is now in hiding, fearing for his life.
American Spectator reporter George Neumayr, author of The Political Pope, has been on the ground in Washington, D.C., trying to get answers since the Pennsylvania grand jury report dropped in mid-August. In recent weeks, Neumayr has broken a series of stories, such as the cardinal living in a multi-million-dollar penthouse on Embassy Row—where he employs a “personal chef”—and his sheltering of serial rapist Theodore McCarrick at an archdiocesan-owned mansion near American University Law School.
Neumayr has further reported that, according to a chancery-connected source, Wuerl is secretly building a costly retirement home for himself at John Paul II Seminary. Neumayr also recently discovered that the embattled cardinal hired Barack Obama’s disgraced director of the Secret Service, Mark Sullivan, to lead his security team.
Perhaps most embarrassing of all to the cardinal is Neumayr’s reporting on a problematic priest, Father Emmanuel Betasso, who was arrested in 2011 for groping an 18-year-old male while sitting naked with him in a hot tub at a country club in Milwaukee County, Wisconsin.
Father Betasso was ticketed for disorderly conduct after the Waukesha County district attorney’s office declined to file criminal charges. The victim declined to file charges and they were later dropped. Betasso, however, admitted to touching the young man’s buttocks for a “cheap thrill.”
Father Betasso was suspended from his religious order, the Discalced Carmelites, pending an investigation, according to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, and “the archdiocese revoked his faculties to serve as a priest locally.”
Betasso now gives retreats at various parishes on the East Coast and is said to be “stationed” in the Washington, D.C., archdiocese.
A spokesman for the archdiocese denied that Betasso is “a priest of the archdiocese.”
Despite “reports,” Fr. Emmanuel Betasso is not a priest of the Archdiocese of Washington, has no faculties, which were taken from him by his order years ago, and is not active in any way in the Archdiocese.
— edmcfadden (@edmcfadden) September 9, 2018
“Wuerl is now hiding behind lying legalisms in denying any responsibility for protecting his flock from Father ‘Hot Tub,’” Neumayr told LifeSite News, adding, “I know from sources that prominent members of the chancery were alerted to the problem of this ‘Father Hot Tub,’ and nothing was done to remove him from the archdiocese.”
Neumayr’s inconvenient reporting has apparently ruffled the feathers of the cardinal:
The “confidential” memo addressed to the basilica’s security office under the subject “Current Photos of Barred Individuals,” states: “If any of these people are spotted at the Basilica a Security supervisor should be alerted and the police contacted immediately.”
PJ Media asked Neumayr if he could think of anything he’d done to warrant being banned from the basilica.
He answered that he had merely “employed standard journalistic techniques.” PJ Media reached out to Brandon Pettet at the basilica for comment and did not receive a response.
Cardinal Wuerl traveled at the end of August to Rome to meet with Pope Francis, news that Neumayr broke on Twitter. The pope reportedly advised him to consult his clergy within the archdiocese about whether or not he should resign. During a meeting with his priests at the Little Flower Parish in Bethesda, Maryland, on Labor Day, a “significant number” of priests reportedly supported his resignation.
While Neumayr was out in the parking lot live-tweeting the event, someone (presumably) from the embattled cardinal’s security detail accosted him and likely called the police; six police cruisers soon turned up and the small group was ordered off the property, according to Neumayr. His colleague, Evan Maguire from the American Spectator, recorded their unremarkable confrontation with security on his phone.
Neumayr later discovered that the security official he met in the parking lot was none other than Mark Sullivan, former President Barack Obama’s Secret Service director, who resigned in disgrace in 2013 amid a series of breaches and scandals — including a high-profile prostitution scandal in Cartagena, Colombia, in April 2012.
Neumayr wrote about his troubling discovery at the American Spectator and “the subsequent harassment” he received from “security goons clearly working for Cardinal Wuerl.”
In a new post at the Spectator, he explains why he’s been targeted by Wuerl: “I am gradually smoking out his corruption, breaking a series of stories that have caused his face to turn as red as his robes,” Neumayr explained.