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May 21, 2009

Victim Impact Statement
Sentencing of Rev. Charles Newman, O. F.M.

Reverend Charles Newman, O.F.M., the former president of Archbishop Ryan High School, was sentenced today to three to six years in state prison, followed by ten years probation, for theft of funds from the school. The school's current president, Mr. Michael McArdle, read the following statement in court today:

Your Honor:

My name is Mike McArdle and I am the president of Archbishop Ryan High School. I want to thank you for this opportunity to address the Court and describe what a terrible toll Father Newman's actions have taken on our school community. On behalf of Archbishop Ryan High School and the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, please allow me to begin by offering condolences to the family of Arthur Baselice III. Their loss is unimaginable. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Baselices as they endure this tragedy.

The faculty and staff of Archbishop Ryan High School strive on a daily basis to provide the most supportive spiritual and educational environment for our students. Parents entrust their children to us, and in return they expect that we will provide a high-quality academic experience in a Catholic setting that promotes social justice and teaches the Good News of Jesus Christ.

That trust was violated by the fraud and sexual abuse perpetrated by Father Charles Newman, O.F.M., former president and teacher at Archbishop Ryan High School and treasurer at the Franciscan faculty house. That a man of faith and a school leader would engage in such unlawful and immoral actions has caused irreparable harm.

Father Newman took advantage of the trust generously given to him over the years by the Archbishop Ryan faculty, staff, administration, students and alumni. As a result of the fraudulent use of funds, a number of families did not enroll their children and donors withheld their support. The work of rebuilding trust and restoring the school's reputation is still ongoing. As we now know, Father Newman's betrayal was not limited to the fraudulent use of funds, but was part of a much greater tragedy --- sexual abuse of minors.

The Mission of the school is to educate our students through a comprehensive curriculum within a Catholic setting. United in faith and goals, the faculty endeavors to teach as Jesus did so that our young people become contributing members in the communities of faith, of knowledge, of service. Father Newman did great damage to that mission; he represents the polar opposite of what Archbishop Ryan High School stands for in educating our students.

The damage is deep. Archbishop Ryan has worked hard to rebuild trust in the wake of this tragedy. In 2007, the Director of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia Office for Child and Youth Protection and I sent a letter to tens of thousands of alumni to offer assistance to any other possible victims of sexual abuse. We sincerely wish that any other victims will seek help by contacting their local police or the Archdiocese's victim assistance program.

We will not allow one former administrator's criminal actions to define us. Through our faith in Jesus Christ we pray for healing and continue to find hope in our faculty, school families, supporters and most of all, our students.

Reverend Charles Newman ~ Case Timeline

On November 18, 2003, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia received information about possible theft of funds from Archbishop Ryan High School in Northeast Philadelphia. This information identified former President of Archbishop Ryan High School, Father Charles Newman, O.F.M., as one of the alleged perpetrators of the fraud.

Upon receipt of this information the Archdiocese immediately scheduled an internal audit and notified Archbishop Ryan High School on November 19, 2003, of this decision but did not indicate the reason.

On November 20, 2003, representatives of the Archdiocese met with Father Charles Newman, O.F.M., and informed him that he was terminated from his position and that he was not to return to the school. Simultaneously, other representatives of the Archdiocese were sent to Archbishop Ryan High School to change the locks on the doors, cabinets and other items containing financial records and documents.

On November 21, 2003, Archdiocesan representatives returned to Archbishop Ryan High School to remove the name of Father Charles Newman from all bank accounts and to begin a more detailed investigation.

On November 24, 2003, the Archdiocesan external auditors, PricewaterhouseCoopers, LLC, were notified of the suspected fraud and asked to perform a forensic audit.

By early December 2003, PricewaterhouseCoopers had begun a forensic audit, a specialty practice of accounting which addresses fraud or other criminal investigations.

During this initial phase of the forensic audit, the Archdiocese learned of possible sexual abuse of a minor that was connected to the misappropriation of funds.

On December 12, 2003, the Archdiocese promptly reported to the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office regarding the suspected fraud and the possible sexual abuse of a minor.

On April 29, 2004, the Archdiocesan Victim Assistance staff took an in-person report by the victim of the allegation of sexual abuse by Father Newman.

On May 5, 2004, the Archdiocese once again reported this information to the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office.

On December 20, 2007, a grand jury indicts Father Newman with six counts of felony theft and one count of felony forgery.

On December 24, 2007, Father Newman surrenders to the District Attorney's office on the felony theft and felony forgery charges brought against him four days prior.

On March 19, 2008, Father Newman waives his preliminary hearing in court.

On March 9, 2009, Father Newman pleads guilty to one count of theft and two counts of theft by unlawful disposition.


Donna Farrell
Director of Communications

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