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.”