The photo is of my son who was a freshman at Archbishop Ryan High School in North East Philly. He’s standing with his Mom at his first “mother/son” dance. The head principal of the school approached my wife and said: “What a fine looking son you have.” This is when the grooming began.
My name is Arthur and I am here to tell you the story of my son’s sexual abuse. He cannot share this story with any of you. You see, he is dead. And I believe he is dead because of his sexual abuse.
The principal of the school did everything to “groom” my son. When he grades slipped, he forged them. He forged his driver’s education certificate. He took him on trips to Colorado for “bonding time” and to “get him on the right track” or so we were told. Little did we know our son was being raped on these trips.
The perpetrator introduced opiates and cocaine to him and my son became addicted. At age 16 my son thought he was gay because why else would an adult male want to have sex with him? He got his girlfriend pregnant while trying to figure out if he was gay. At age 16, he was a Father.
The principal passed him around to another faculty member and they sexually abused my son together. The abuse continued until age 20 when he decided to move away from his abusers. His abusers found where he lived and continued to send envelopes of cash to keep him quiet and help feed the drug habit.
In his early 20’s, he got sober. He told me in a letter that he was sexually abused and feels his drug struggles are directly related to it. My son struggled with sobriety throughout his 20’s, he tried very hard to stay clean and go through all proper counseling and therapy channels. I’m a former detective with the Philadelphia Police Department and I felt totally helpless. I know that when it comes to opiate addictions, it wears you out and you don’t get rid of the addiction, it gets rid of you.
At age 28 my son committed suicide. One of my son’s abusers is in prison, but not for sexual abuse. The school figured out he stole hundreds of thousands of dollars to pay for my son’s drugs habit, pay for his trips, an apartment to be abused in and so forth. So, he’s in jail for stealing money. He gets out in 3 years time and guess what? He will not be on a sex offender’s list. He could easily find another job that has something to do with children and abuse all over again.
House Bills 878 and 832 are not about the bank account of the Catholic Church, or any other religious institution. They are about giving victims, like my son, a voice; the voice of a boy who was repeatedly silenced and muffled by fear, embarrassment, shame and unspeakable pain. House Bill 878 with its 2 year window allows us identify predators and keep them from innocent children TODAY! Give victims a voice, expose sexual perpetrators, and protect children from these hidden dangers. Be courageous; protect children, not predators.
Please visit our Resources page to find and contact your state representatives. Let them know you support the above bills. For more information on the bills, please visit Justice4PAkids.com.
WHAT YOU CAN DO NOW:
Call 215-686-8000 and ask for District Attorney Seth Williams’ office. Or, you can email – DA.WEBMAIL@phila.gov Please tell him you want him to stay tough on the alleged Archdiocesan clergy sex abuse cover up.
Call Archbishop Chaput’s office at the Archdiocese at 215-587-3800 and tell him you’d like the Archdiocese to follow all the recommendations of the 2011 Grand Jury Report.
Those recommendations follow (excerpted from 2011 Grand Jury report):
Obviously, nothing will really change in the church until there is a will to change. In the meantime, there are steps to be taken, both inside and outside the Archdiocese, that may be of some help in preventing new victims and assisting old ones.
First, experience now demonstrates that programs for aiding victims of clergy sex abuse cannot be operated by the church itself. Victims should be assisted by the state Victim Compensation Board, or by a completely independent non-profit organization that is not subject to Archdiocesan control. In either case the church must provide the necessary funding. The church, through its lawyers, is of course entitled to defend itself against civil or criminal claims; but it can no longer try to play both sides of the fence with its victims.
Second, as the previous grand jury requested seven years ago, the Legislature should pass a “civil window” statute that will allow for lawsuits on otherwise time-barred claims. That is the only way the public will be able to learn of and protect itself from abusive priests that the church’s review board refuses to reveal.
Third, there is another way in which the Legislature may have power to influence the actions of the church. Although parochial schools do not operate at public expense, they do receive various targeted funds for ancillary items. The Legislature should consider reduced funding to schools, public or private, that fail to create a safe environment for their children.
Fourth, we urge victims of clergy sexual abuse to come forward to the District Attorney’s Office. You are not required to go to the Archdiocese first; nor are you precluded from going there if you first report your abuse to law enforcement officials. There is no other class of crimes where we expect victims to rely on their assailants for a resolution. That was the attitude in the past in relation to domestic abuse, but the criminal justice system has worked to change that mindset. The same should be true in relation to clergy abuse. We think the wall of silence may be cracking.
A final word. In light of the Archdiocese’s reaction to the last grand jury report, we expect that some may accuse us of anti-Catholic bias for speaking of these painful matters. We are not church-haters. Many of us are church-goers. We did not come looking for “scandal,” but we cannot close our eyes to the powerful evidence we heard. We call the church to task, to fix what needs fixing.”
54 thoughts on “What If This Was Your Son? A Heart Changing Story”
WOW, Susan and Kathy, what effective advocacy for Philly’s kids and victims. Seth Williams office’s inexplicable weak handling of the effort to get Avery’s treatment records suggests Philly citizens must be very alert here. If you fail to be alert and vocal, you may wake up some morning to the announcement of a “sweet deal” for Lynn, Avery, et al., and a complete pass for Bevilaqua and Rigali.
Given the broad range of Seth Williams’ prosecutorial discretion and his widely reported closeness to the Archdiocese in the past, each of you must stay alert and keep reminding Seth Williams that you are scrutinizing his every move. Write, call, demonstrate, whatever it takes.
Do the same with your state legislators, who will respond to voter pressure even more than to Chaput’s legion of high-priced lobbyists.
All we want is to see alleged child rapists and their enablers get justice to deter others and give suffering victims a day in court to get some justice.
Let’s go Philly Catholics; time to stand up and be counted!!
As a father of 4 and grandfather of 6, I was and am very moved by Arthur’s story, as well as by Arthur’s courage in speaking out about such a painful experience. I personally know a young man who had a similar experience (but was not suicidal, so far). He was abused by his priest Uncle who, thanks to NY’s short statute of limitations and a deceitful cover-up program designed by Bevilaqua’s priest/lawyer nephew and other clerics, was never even charged.
I was so excited as a former practicing lawyer about the forceful way Susan Matthews and Kathy Kane are organizing Philly Catholics to defend their children, I omitted unintentionally acknowledging Arthur. We are with you, Arthur, and will do whatever we can to prove your son did not die in vain.
God bless you and may your son now have the peace that heartless priests and their enabling bishops denied your son in life.
What is most discouraging is that I have contacted all of these folks, with the exception of Seth Williams because I thought he was doing his job, and have heard back from none. I think some of the most effective voices would be those of the ordered and archdiocesan priests who also believe that our church must do better and do the right – not the least costly or embarrassing or difficult – thing. I simply cannot understand how the institutional church thinks this is going to go away. That we can be distracted with liturgical changes in the Mass or whatever. The pews are empty, the people are appalled, and certainly whatever money I might have is now going to other just and charitable organizations If they’re worried about scandal all they have to do is look in the mirror and in the papers, on the news and on the web to hear the opinions of Catholics and non-Catholics alike that their behavior is the most scandalous of all..
Just keep speaking out, Grace. Sooner or later someone who counts will listen, sometimes without even telling you. I got involved 18 months ago with the Irish mess initially, since my parents were born and bred in Donegal. I wrote by e-mail to religion reporters here and abroad, to politicians, to human rights groups and lawyers, etc., never knowing for sure whether I was being heard.
Then in a relatively brief period, Amnesty International and the Irish prime minister denounced the Vatican’s failures and a NY civil right group filed a credible criminal complaint against the Roman clique with the International Criminal Court.
I have no idea if my efforts helped, but its gives me some satisfaction thinking I may have had some small role in these hopeful developments.
We must pray as if it is all up to God; but work as if it is all up to us. Hang in there; the tide is beginning to turn. I am certain of that.
I haven’t written over 900 letters to lawmakers and other politicians in four different states and the only reply I have recieved is a Holiday Card from the White House during Christmas time in 2009.
Sometimes I feel like I’m just wasting my time writing the letters, paper, ink, envelopes and stamps, but believ it or not, it actually helps me when I write so much about myself to these politicians and why I think the law needs to be changed. At the very least, it has become “free therapy” for me. Hopefully someday, people will start to listen to what I have been through and what so many others like me have had to deal with in their lives.
They say child abuse is soul murder, and there is no Statute of Limitations on murder, but I’ll tell you this… I feel like I died when I was 15. (I was when at least 8 years of sexual abuse/rape finally ended.) Those guys took it all from me. They didn’t leave me with enough to live.
That was supposed to be, I “have” written over 900 letters…
Rich,the tide is turning,things are changing. Now you are not writing your letters alone,but with a group of people. Look at this website – 175,000 site visits. Justice4PA kids was just formed a few months ago and we just held a press conference in Harrisburg last week.
The victims campaign of which Art’s story was a part,has been hand delivered to all 203 State Reps offices. We now have Republicans and Democrats coming together to support the Bills and stand up for children. We can do this, We WILL do this!
This dad is so courageous and is to be commended to sharing his sad story of losing his son to abuse by catholic clergy, and the church officials who care more about their own power and image.
The only way to get this abuse and cover up stopped is to allow victims to have their day in court. Kids will never be safe within the secret archaic system until criminals are held accountable.. they don’t have to… as long as they can still get away with it.
Judy Jones, SNAP Midwest Associate Director, USA, 636-433-2511
“Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests” and all clergy.
Arthur, I am sick to my stomach and angrier than ever when reading that story, which I had seen before. If no one has told you this so far, rest assured that none of this was your son’s fault or your fault. It is entirely the fault of the priest that committed the crime, and the Catholic church that enabled and hid these criminals.
I’m not sure why the predator priest wasn’t mentioned by name, but he is Rev Charles Newman, and his name should be known everywhere, especially through Google, so that when he gets out, everyone will know about his crimes, and treat him accordingly.
Catholics should see where he ends up, and whether the church pays for all of his retirement expenses, like they did for Fr Robert Larson of Missouri. Fr Larson raped at least 17 boys, and at least FIVE of his victims committed suicide in their twenties. He has new retired and lives for free at the St. John Vianney Center, courtesy of the Catholic church and your contributions. Most known Catholic pedophile priests still receive full, complete retirement benefits. They protect their own very well.
Instead, Newman should be treated … differently.
This story is tragic beyond belief, and my heart goes out to the family. The pain and loss they have endured is just plain horrible. I don’t think words are adequate to actually encompass it.
And it is very very generous of the parents to share the story. Hopefully we will all learn from it.
At the end of the Dads story, there is a clear and ringing statement from the Dad about HB 878 and 832 and the justice of opening up a two year window so that victims can come forth and predators are identified…which will help protect future victims. From a Dad who has lost HIS son.
I very much liked the specific suggestions with phone numbers at the end of the article, and the GJ recommendations are very important too. Just a nit picky suggestion but you might want to ‘bold type’ the numbers on the recommendations as they are super important but one can get a little lost in the detail.
Jesus never asked us to cover or gloss our weaknesses & crimes. We need to protect our children from these satanic perpetrators, who are Wolves (or priests) in the garb of sheep or shepherds.
As Jesus himself told us give Ceasur’s to Ceasur & God’s to God. We can forgive them for their deeds only when it’s asked, But we need to respect the Law of the Land & these perpetrators of heinous crime need to be tried under the Law & pay for their crimes against the State & God.
May God Bless & Guide this movement for Justice.
Way to go, Art! Arthur’s story needs to be told and read by as many people as possible. I’m thrilled that you took the time to write this letter today and explain to everyone here, mainly non-victims, just what your son and your family endured throughout your lives. I didn’t know Arthur obviously, but after knowing and becoming friends with you over the past couple of years, I feel like I did know your son. His memory lives.
Arthur’s son didn’t have to die. That’s just how bad it is for many of us throughout the course of our lives when trying to deal with the aftermath of being sexually abused by an adult man when we were just little kids. While the abuse is occurring, I don’t think I could have ever imagined anything more physically painful and psychologically confusing. After awhile, the pain goes away and the abuse eventually ends, but not after a few years that felt more like a lifetime. Later, the brain takes over and opens doors that we’ll spend a lifetime trying to close, and before we’re even given a chance at life, we’ve managed to somehow become afraid of life. I know that’s how it is for me. Before I even developed the idea of trust, I swore I’d never trust another person for the rest of my life. Fear has invaded my world and I live with it every day, always afraid of someone or something, and always triggered by smell, taste, sounds, and sights that cause panic, memory, and pain from a time when I had no control and no protection. The “grooming” process started as early as 7 years-old for me and it has continued throughout my life. They didn’t just groom that little boy I was, but they also groomed the kind of man I am today, and they continue to control and ruin my life. I call abuse the Hallmark Card you wouldn’t want to receive, “It’s the gift that keeps on giving.”
I have found myself in those deep dark places of personal sadness and shame, public humiliation, and inner pain. The thought of death supersedes even the remote possibility of life. It just gets that bad. I can’t think of anything that is more devastating to my mind than being afraid of going to sleep at night, or waking up in the morning, or seeing a priest out on the street, and more and more stories of men and women like me, who were abused when they were children and the children who are being abused today, and still, nobody cares. Guys like Arthur and I have been on the streets, in front of the media, with signs in our hands and screaming from the rooftops about abuse, and people walk by and call us “gold diggers,” and they tell us to “get a life.”
If not for you, Arthur, I’m not so sure I would be where I am today. I think I’m dealing with this recovery much better because of your strong words of hope, encouragement, and possibility. I think I’m a better man because of what I have learned from you, and I think I have better tools to handle certain situations because of your good advice. (I also have a bigger stomach because of the great restaurants you take me to:) I can only hope that you know, even while dealing with the tragic loss of your son that you have meant a lot to me and you have contributed to my own healing. You have been there for me whenever I needed to talk. You have never told me that I was crazy or effed up, even though I know my lights aren’t always on upstairs. I can’t imagine what it’s like to go through what you and your family have, but then to step forward and help other people like me deal with the same type of abuse your son went through… Wow! You must have been known as Super Cop.
We won’t ever let Arthur’s memory die. Someday, maybe not tomorrow, those priests are going to get what’s coming. As long as we keep telling our stories and screaming their names, we’re either going to die trying to expose these guys or people will finally hear our pleas and do something about it. Every letter I write to lawmakers, I think about Arthur, and I think about my own personal hell, and the shit I know some many people are living with today and that’s what keeps me going. Someday Art, we’re gonna get ‘em!
Thanks for being my friend. Thanks for all that you do to expose our abusers. And thanks for being a man I can finally “trust!”
If anyone is interested in the victims accounts that were delivered to each of the 203 State Reps offices, please email me at email@example.com and I will forward the info to you. Each account is a one page write up and photo of a survivor who is advocating to have legislation passed that will make Pa. safer for children. I think if people shard these victims accounts with friends and family through email,it would be a very effective way to inform people and bring more people to support the efforts .
Everyone please call Rep Marsico’s office TODAY and ask why House Bills 832 and 878 have not been put on the agenda Hon. Ron Marisco, Republican Chair, 717-783-2014, http://www.ronmarisco.com.
I also called the D.A.’s office this morning and left a message and recieved a return call that my message was received and would be delivered. My message was to please continue in their pursuit of exposing the cover up of child sex abuse within the Archdiocese and to not allow any deals to be made. Please take a minute and make some calls.Stand up for children-they can’t defend themselves!
The correct email is http://www.ronmarsico.com. I think a phone call is better though.
Kathy, here’s his address.. firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks Jack,I hadn’t even realized I listed the website rather than the email.
Kathy, I am so glad that you sent the victims accounts to your 203 State Representatives.
Folks calling their Representatives AND the Judiciary Committee members ( phone numbers in Resource link at top of website) asking them to move HB 832 and 878 out of the Judiciary Committee, might want to ask if the Representative and staff had read the victims accounts?
And I think you are totally right about sharing the victims accounts with family, friends, YOUR CHURCH COMMUNITY, et al.
There was a lot of discussion in a previous blog about how to reach the folks in the pew relative to HB 832 and 878, I can’t think of a better way than the victims stories!
It’s one thing to intellectually debate the matter, it’s wholly another to read those accounts!
Joan The feedback we have received has been extremely positive. The victims accounts have reached the desks of the State Reps. When one member of our task force met with her local rep -he had the victims accounts with him to discuss with her. He is a Republican and has now signed on to the Democratic sponsored House Bills 832 and 878.The victims accounts were hand delivered to each 203 State Reps offices by courier service. The donor who paid for the costly courier service is a devout practicing Catholic. Yes,the tide is turning.
“The donor who paid for the costly courier service is a devout practicing Catholic.”
Thank you! For money well spent. On behalf of my husband (a survivor of clergy abuse), myself (a survivor) and our family…we thank you!
Kathy, I just sent an e mail to Marsicos office (and yes phone calls are much better, but I am not a PA resident)
I used your e mail info and got to his website, but I then had to use HIS e mail link on the website…just a minor point, but other folks might need to know this.
Very special congratulations to you for the wisdom in using victims stories, to the donor who paid for the courier services, to the Republican Representative who signed on and most especially to the victims who have suffered so much and been willing to share their stories!
Your family is just one of the many reasons I continue my advocacy for clergy abuse victims. I can’t tell you how many times I wanted to give up, but then I read about another case of clergy sex terrorism and I realize I can’t give up.
I sometimes ask people a question, it goes like this: Would you rather navigate a jet into an office building killing thousands or rape and sodomize a 10-year-old boy? Neither question is a pleasant thought, but I can tell you, based on peoples reaction, it drives home what these dysfunctional sex freaks did to innocent children.
Why just clergy abuse victims?
The other abuse victims are not important to you???
Do you only want justice and exposure of the clergy in the Catholic Church and protect the many other pedophiles? I understand this site is “to change the Catholic Church” and how it has and will handle abuse by priests in the future; however i do not feel that we should stop there.
It happens in all religious venues; it has no boundary of just Catholics, Christians, Jews, etc. Sexual abuse of children happens everywhere and yes, the victims need to come forward and identify the abusers. The abusers are not a protected class.
My father molested me and many other children and took advantage of the cover of the church (not a Catholic church) and as “good man of the church” since he was “helping” with the youth group.
The church in this instance is in Newtown, PA Crossing Community Church. He no longer is affiliated with that church but i’m sure there are other kids (now adults) that suffered at his attention to them. He was a groomer.
His name is James M. Breece and he resides in Yardley, PA Bucks County at 1530 Edgewood Road (currently).
See link below for newspaper article.
Me and a few other abusers came forward and he pleaded no contest (civil suit is why) and was given a long probation sentence and required sex abuse counseling. He feels he did nothing wrong of course. The sentence was light because the judge “felt” he had changed and would not do this anymore since we were all older and this happened “so long ago”. It’s amazing how judges have no clue sometimes, and i got to see if first hand.
I’m sure there are others out there that he abused and hopefully they will someday come forward so he can stand in front of the judge again and the judge can say “so James you told me it was ONLY these 3…..”. When i approached my dad about 15 years ago he told me it was only me, then only 2, then only 3….as they come forward the progression will grow. he will not give up who or how many there are but he knows.
So there is my story (short and missing a lot but i don’t have all day :)) and my abuser, my father.
We need to see this as not a Catholic “thing” but a child “thing”. How do we protect the kids and expose the offenders.
Talk to your child, ASK him/her if someone has touched them, don’t be afraid to ASK or years from now you may regret it. Do it often too, not just once. Assure your child that it is OK talk about it too. When i was being molested no one ever asked me or told me that what was going on to me was wrong. i didn’t know it was “not allowed”; all i knew is i didn’t like it but didn’t know what to do about it. TALK TO YOUR CHILDREN. Don’t be afraid to say “how was your playtime with John. What did you play? Did his Dad or Mom play with you too or, as i do, ask specifically did anyone touch you anywhere or try to touch you anywhere”. Doesn’t have to be just touching of genitals, usually doesn’t start there anyway.
I want to know if someone is touching my child and if so why. Be diligent, not afraid because the latter could be disastrous.
Alan, You are exactly right and that is why it makes me so furious that the Catholic Church feels that they have any right to influence these House Bills which will provide justice for ALL survivors of child sex abuse.
In the victims campaign to all 203 Pa. State Reps there were accounts of child sex abuse in foster care,clergy,families etc…While the Catholic Church has a horrific record of not turning in predators,child sex abuse affects people in every walk of life.
Thank you so much for your courage and honest words.
I don’t know what to say…
You lost your son…I am sorry. Each time my husband or I speak on this topic, we ask for a moment of silence for every person who didn’t make it.
The blood is on their hands…and for that they must be held accountable.
No words…just thank you for sharing.
My deepest sympathy on the loss of your son, I commend you and all the others who have individually, or as part of a group, come forward to address the problem of abuse of children by adults they trusted to keep them safe. This abuse should receive the same status of no statue of limitations accorded to crimes such as kidnapping and murder.
As part of a multidisciplinary team of highly skilled professionals in the field of child abuse who have volunteered countless thousands of hours over the last 20 years to deal with the issues that have surfaced in the church, I am convinced that it is the voice of the victims that need to heard.
It is also imperative that we assume responsibility as individuals to do whatever we can to
keep the issue out there and not let victims who have not yet been able to come forward feel
it is too late, or people don’t want to hear about it, or feel that they are judged as being in it for the money.
When each person who cares steps forward things change: when Frank Fitzpatrick decided to investigate the status of Father James Porter who had abused him, the real movement
began in the Boston Area (10 years before the major revelations of 2002), In the mid-eighties Jason Berry wrote of the crisis in Louisiana, and Fr. Tom Doyle and others reported on the widespread abuse discovered in their investigation at the request of the Bishops Conference. Though they were not given the respect that their efforts deserved they
continue to speak out at times to an audience still unwilling to accept the truth of their findings.
It is the voice of so many caring individuals that has kept the issue out there when the
institutions that have covered this up for, at least, the last 800 years (as Saint Anthony of Padua addressed the issue of pedophiles and his support of victims during his time) still refuse to accept the need for systemic change to prevent this from continuing through a conspiracy of silence.
The courage of parents who have lost children to such abuse, or who deal daily with the pain of watching an adult son or daughter struggle with the impact of abuse, enables the movement to bring justice to victims maintain momentum through out the years..throughout
May this thought bring them peace.
Sister Katherine M. Donnelly
Franciscan Sister, Boston, Mass.
Thank you for sharing your pain and your strength. We will not forget you. Please keep telling your story.
I often ask friends of mine who are in the pews and who tell me that all priests are not bad, to think as if it were one of their children who were abused. Unfortunately, they do not think that this terrible thing could happen to them or their children. How foolish can some parents be…
What a wonderful Dad you are, and how joyful is your son for the work you do in his name.
When San Francisco District Attorney Terence Hallinan demanded Archbishop William Levada ( now the Vatican Cardinal) turn over 75 years of files, it resulted in numerous indictments of San Francisco’s “honored” priests, all of which were dismissed because of Statute of Limitations. Legislator John Burton was among those who achieved the passage of the Bill in 2003 which allowed a one year window for victims to come forward and hundreds did. Because of the courageous acts of Hallinan and Burton ( and others) the survivors voices were found, finally, and Roman Catholic hierarchy, none of whom spent a day
in a jail cell, were at least hit in the pocket book.
It is heartening to know that such a Bill is at work in Pennsylvania. Keep up the Great Work.
May Arthur’s spirit, so present in the life of his Dad, rest in peace and continued joy.
I think that the comments of Sr Katherine and Sr Maureen concerning child sex abuse,are the words we have been expecting from Fr Chris and the clergy of Philadelphia. Thank you both Sr Katherine and Sr Maureen for your efforts in protecting children and work with victims. Also thank you for your honest words and acknowledgment of the crisis in the Church.
Kathy, I certainly don’t want to discourage your readers from Phoning their elected representatives, especially Judiciary Committee members, but for those of who live afar, could we have the e mail addresses of all the Judiciary Committee members?
Couldn’t find Sr Maureens comments but very much liked Sr. Katherines input!
Joan, until I get a chance to add them to the Resource page directly, here is the link from that page.
You can get state rep email information via the following Web site. http://www.pasen.gov/index.cfm
Joan, if you go to the “search site” (right above Susan’s photo on the top right) enter “Sr Maureen” and it will take you to some of her posts.
To you and yours, I extend my deepest sympathy on the loss of your beautiful son.
Kathy remarked that the comments from Sr. Katherine and Sr. Maureen contain words that have yet to be spoken by the clergy. Similarly, yet to be displayed by them is your courage.
Arthur we are all made in the image and likeness of God including your beautiful son . If we truly value this gift we must strive to respect all human life because God is LIFE, strive to be loving because God is LOVE, strive to be truthful because God is TRUTH, strive to be just because God is JUSTICE . Arthur you truly personify all the above.You cherished the gift of your son and it is heart breaking to see the depth of your love for your son at the same time it is the depth of your love that will and does give many hope.Peace.
Thank you for that Beth, so well put. You might make a good priest, no insult intended!
Thanks for sharing, a Heart Changing Story. I am a retired Police Officer (Garda in Ireland). As my career drew to an end I investigated four decades of sexual abuse on children in the North West corner of Ireland in Donegal. What I discovered was so shameful. It caused so much devastation and suicide and a whole trail of destruction. I was so overwhelmed by it, of what happened compelled me to write the story in a Book called Breaking the Silence, by Martin Ridge. (ISBN 978-0-7171-4397-9; Gill & Macmillan). I am not promoting the book but it is an eye opener. I could not live with the horror without sharing.
Ireland is exploding at present with such revelations. The review of this Diocese, Raphoe in Co Donegal is due out shortly. I believe it could be damning. I met with so many barriers,denial,obstruction,obsfucation of truth. I met so many wonderful people, through no fault of their own they were imprisoned by the horror. I now know who told the truth. Bless you, caring is sharing. My God people have no idea what is kept hidden. Thank you, you also help to release me from this horror.
Martin I tell people all the time because of what I experienced with my husband in putting his offender(not a priest) in jail I will never be the same. I don’t trust many people. I have heard that many times not just from victims but from those near victims. The horror of it all….the abuse , lies etc. I believe in God because I know Satan exists. I have hope though because just as Satan can work through people so can Christ. Peace.Thankyou for your compassion and all you have done for our victims.
Martin, thanks so much for that. My mother, a McGinley, was born and raised in Dunfanahy, where my grandfather built the small Port na Blagh Hotel, run for many years by my aunt, Nina Walsh, and her family. My father was born and raised near Glenties. I thank God they did not live to see the disgraceful behavior of priests they obedientally obeyed. Too obedientally, it now clearly appears. Let’s look forward to cleansing our Church worldwide. I will track down your very relevant book. Up Donegal !!
Arthur thank you for your courage in telling us your story. I am so sorry that you lost your son but your story will touch many many hearts and I truly believe people like you who share their strength through such sorrow will help make the changes that are so needed for our children and our victims. God is certainly working through you.
The email to Seth Williams is DA.WEBMAIL@phila.gov. I called yesterday and left a message and received a return phone call,I emailed and
recieved a follow up email also.
I know first hand, that there are many prosecutors in the D.A.’s office who have given their heart and soul in working on this issue. They have been working diligently since Lynn Abraham was in office. I know people have been upset with William’s association with the hierarchy in Phila. and rightfully so, but I don’t want to come down hard on the many fine people within the D.A.’s office who have spent so much time working to expose the problems within the AD. The following is the email I sent.
“As a local Philadelphia Catholic,I fully support the efforts of the D.A.’s office in the criminal prosecution of Monsignor Lynn and the fellow priests and lay teacher. My hope is that if Cardinal Bevilaqua is found competent,that he also will be indicted. We need to keep children safe,please continue and do not allow any deals to be made which would in any way infringe upon the massive cover up of child sex abuse from being exposed. Thank you for your efforts. Kathy Kane
Though the church has behaved immorally and illegally, I believe in statutes of limits because I do not think it is fair to come back many decades later and expect to have a fair trial. Fair is fair, and statutes of limits are just that–fair. Would you want to be called to account for something that you couldn’t remember from 10, 20, 30, 40, 50 years ago?
If the church didn’t already exist, humans would invent it pretty much the same all over again. But now, with new knowledge never before known by the largely innocent faithful (thanks to the internet), is the chance to start with a new model.
Did you know there is no statute of limitations for murder in PA? There isn’t. Trials get thrown out if there is a lack of evidence. The burden of proof is on the prosecution (the victim). Removing the statutes only presents an opportunity for justice – not a promise of winning. That’s all many victims are asking for – an opportunity for justice.
As a sidenote, if you were the victim of rape I’d venture to guess that you’d remember every detail years later – despite wanting to forget.
Yes but you think from an offenders view not a victim. Victims have to prove their case which is very hard to prove……they have the real disadvantage unless like many the abuse was documented by the catholic church. They have to remember place, time and date. I have been to court with my husband extremely hard to do and also they go by the laws of the time the abuse occurred unfortunately not that restrict back then……… his offender was in jail not long then house arrest and now walking up and down the grocery store aisles.In total after abusing 3 known victims he got 18months and life parole……….for destroying 3 lives and their families ……..
It is helpful if you post his name and location. People can then (morally and very legally) make it known on Google that he is a convicted child molester, and can make decisions about how to deal with him.
See above under Alan. There you will find what you asked for.That was very difficult for him to blog.
I think a very important point to make is that most molesters molest more than one child. When you have 3,10 or 40 people come forward I think it is really hard to say you did not do it. I know some people are afraid they might be falsely accused but evidence shows that most victims do not come forward and if they do it is usually after a long painful journey to the truth of the affects of their abuse on their lives.
Beth, this is a very important point. Many, perhaps most, victims of priest sex abuse were victimized after a bishop knew the priest was an abuser. That is why it is so important thet Seth Williams fully and diligently prosecute the Cardinal’s Secretary, William Lynn, and if the evidence warrants it, Anthony Bevilaqua and Justin Rigali as well.
It is also why the pope must command all his bishops to report every abuse allegation immediately to the police, which the pope has so far resisted doing even after last week’s criminal charges against the KC bishop for sitting on evidence of priestly misconduct. Incidentally, the KC bishop was a protege of Rigali’s in St. Louis.
Given the continuing brazen and dangerous policies of the pope and bishops, the main pressure on the bishops for change was and remains victims’ lawsuits, which is another reason why extending the PA statute of limitations is so important.
I have no idea how someone could not remember raping or abusing a child, even if it happened 100 years ago. Our victims certainly don’t have the good fortune to forget!!!!!!!!!!!
To Arthur, Just got a chance to read your story and I thank you for sharing it with all of us. You are a strong, courageous man who is an example of a wonderful parent. Through all your sorrow and I am sure rage, you keep the focus on protecting our children and our victims. You are truly one of God’s champions in helping to put an end to sexual abuse of children. Catholics in the pews must realize that yes, it could be their child, grandchild, niece, nephew, etc. May you be inspired by all those who fight this battle with you.
Ooops, I also replied yesterday, but I didn’t see my post until now. I am recovering after an illness and I am not totally with it yet. Please excuse me.
To Arthur and Alan, our thanks for your courage and efforts to help others. You and all our families dealing with this crime will always be in our thoughts and prayers. You have our word that we’ll do our part for as long as it takes. Grace
The Catholic Church cannot reform itself. Thus, it is imperative for the safety of the community for the civil government to step in. If the Church authorities continue as they have, they should expect laws passed that will raid the treasuries of the Church to compensate those injured. Since this will be public, the donations will fall.
Major corruptions in the Church required Caesar to step in. The Council of Trent took place because of Charles V who insisted that the bishops meet in Germany. Since we do not have an emperor anymore, we must demand that our state and federal governments do their job.
I have just forwarded this site on to Judy Courtin, a PhD Law candidate at Monash University in Melbourne Australia, thanks to anonymous NCR.
She is calling for the coroner to re-open 36 suicide cases, the result of clergy abuse, 26 at least in the diocese of country town Ballarat the other ten and counting, the Archdiocese of Melbourne. She, among others are calling for the Victorian Government to take over all aspects of an investigation using the Irish address board as a benchmark. It’s a sad thing for matters to come this far, I don’t even know if she is a Catholic or not. It also brings into the equation the difficulties of the few clergy, publicly out of conscience who tried to do something about it, at least one, not in Victoria, Maurie Crocker, who was treated terribly and he too eventually took his own life.
Here it is mid 2012 and I have yet to see even a small demonstration against the method bishops are appointed. Unless the process is turned 180 degrees with the people electing and the pope accepting, things will remain the same. Unless corporation sole is abolished, bishops will remain medieval barons. This was not the way it was once. But once Christianity emerged from the catacombs, the popes and the emperors stole the rights of the people. We have no emperor but we still have monarchical pope.
Our rights have been preserved in the rites at the time of acclamation. As week as it is we still need to use it. Just remember your RIGHTS ARE IN THE RITE.