Report: MontCo Coroner Probing Bevilacqua Death
The former Cardinal died last week, a day after a judge ruled he may have to testify in a child sex abuse trial involving three clergymen.
Montgomery County Coroner Walter I. Hofman is probing the death of the late Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua at the request of Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Ferman's office, according to a report published Thursday night by the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Bevilacqua died on Jan. 31 in Wynnewood at the age of 88, a day after Common Pleas Court Judge Teresa Sarmina ruled that he could be compelled to take the witness stand in the child sex abuse trial of three priests who served in the archdiocese during his 15-year leadership.
According to the Inquirer report, Hofman conducted a postmortem examination of Bevilacqua's body after it had already been embalmed by a funeral home in Upper Darby. Hofman's office returned Bevilacqua's body to the funeral home Tuesday, prior to its interment later that day in the crypt of the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul in Philadelphia.
Hofman told the Inquirer that county prosecutors "wanted to make sure there were no intervening events that could have speeded up [Bevilacqua's] demise."
Hofman would not comment on whether he saw signs of foul play and said it would be a few weeks before he officially declared the cause of death.
Ferman did not return a message seeking comment late Thursday night.