Victim Impact Statement to Judge Sarmina

Dear Judge Sarmina,

My name is Bob Fisher and I had the opportunity of testifying at Msgr. Lynn’s trial April 25th. I wanted to take a few minutes to share with you how my life has been affected by my abuse and its aftermath. Edward Avery’s assault on me was psychological and spiritual as well as sexual in nature. Its effects on my life have been global and pervasive and have altered its trajectory. That is not to say that it has ruined my life by any stretch of the imagination. I have in many ways an amazing life and family despite what happened to me. However, these accomplishments and blessings do not mitigate the pain, I have carried because of Edward Avery’s actions.

My abuse led to great difficulties in the area of trust and relationships particularly with men resulting in my having a fairly small support circle at this point in my life. I have struggled with my own psycho sexual identity and the disruption of my spiritual center. There were bouts of depression and thoughts of suicide with attempts at self medication with alcohol and just general numbing out over the years. The only way forward had been a rigid compartmentalization of this part of my life away from the “normal” life I was pursuing. This took considerable energy and attention away from my becoming the husband, father and physician I wanted to be and has exacted an incalculable toll on our lives over the years. There has also been a direct and indirect negative financial impact related to my abuse, its aftermath and more recently to this trial.

I first broke my silence regarding what Edward Avery did to me in 1992. I had been struggling with the pain and shame for over 10 years and I wanted to make a break with the past I had also become concerned that Avery might do the same to someone else. I approached the Archdiocese through the office of Secretary for Clergy as I was advised to do. Msgr Lynn represented the church and resolution of this matter to me. I put my faith in and trusted that the right thing would be done; approaching Msgr Lynn with the expectation that his actions would be consistent with the values I had learned through my faith. I stressed in my communications with Msgr Lynn that I felt that Edward Avery might offend again. I conveyed the great difficulties that the abuse was causing me in my life. I never received the acknowledgment or validation from him confirming what I had experienced. I never knew that he had concluded as early as 1994 that Avery was guilty of abusing me. I was left to wonder whether he and the Archdiocese even believed me. I later had to pursue the truth of whether Edward Avery was in a safe assignment after I began to hear that he was DJ-ING and was around young people. I was assured by Msgr Lynn that Edward Avery was in a safe assignment.

When I was the DA’s office in the fall of 2010 my worst fears were confirmed and I learned that at least one more child had been abused by Edward Avery. I felt that despite everything I had done in exposing this that I had failed this young man. However this was not my responsibility and I learned about the utterly negligent way in which my allegation and the subsequent decisions regarding Edward Avery’s treatment and supervision were handled. Msgr Lynn had all the information he needed to conclude that Edward Avery was a sex offender in 1994 and did so. Edward Avery was laicized in 2006 based on the investigation Msgr Lynn launched in 2003 into my original allegation. Nothing had changed in that 10 year period with regard to the allegation. However for one little boy at St Jerome’s everything changed. Msgr Lynn had all the information he needed to save this young man from a lifetime of pain, instead he made a series of choices to maintain an evil status quo. At the end of the day that is what this all boils down to – a young boy was raped and those who could have prevented it had other priorities. Nothing would make me happier than to see Msgr. Lynn accept responsibility for his role in the unjust system he influenced for many years and become an outspoken advocate for the rights of the abused. That would truly be a sign of his rehabilitation. I hope to live to see that day. I thank you for your careful consideration of this matter.

Robert Fisher MD

23 thoughts on “Victim Impact Statement to Judge Sarmina

  1. Thank you….I would like to take this letter and send it to every parish in the AD including St. Josephs in DTown that CONTINUES to pray for Lynn… The Pew Sheep need to read this thus Susan may have a way to get this out to a wider audience…..

  2. Sir, Mr. Fisher, strong man, this morning, after a night of sleeping irregular, hence, off/on, as I have done most of my life due to molestation by a priest upon me, when I was 13, never did I expect to awaken to a letter quite like this. (though the RC Church sees to it that after my Fr. Molester was simply fired, the church has paid for meds to help me sleep, pd. for in the last 1 1/2 year). Sir, your letter is not only numbing, healing and appreciated…after reading this, as a victim myself, I feel as though I am standing by the sea casting a fishing line, looking to feed the townspeople, as is their need. Your letter is aweinspiring, refreshing and one of intensive hope, for all.
    I could not say more, THANK YOU & GOD BLESS YOU & YOUR FAMILY. I pray this letter serves everyone well, yes, including Fr. Lynn

  3. Reblogged this on Fossil054s' thought's on others desire to sexually influance those vulnerable. and commented:
    This letter bears so much weight, frankly, I feel it to my heartfelt inner core. I DO agree wholeheartedly with “WR”, though this letter should be sent to every Church, Parish facility around the world,as to the devastating effects of this heinous act, as well as the Vatican…read to the masses of gatherers in Vatican Square and then used as an example of reaching clergy and as a teaching tool for reform.

  4. Today is the day! I’m going to be very disappointed if Lynn doesn’t get slapped down hard.

    The Pew Sheep hopefully will have several years to perform a work of charity, PRISON VISITATION.

  5. this is a good letter for some friends(catholic)who couldnt decide if jail time would serve a purpose.ill have to admit that i was on the fence as to weather jail time would further or hinder the justice that is demanded here.also seeing lynns family with him does make one feel sympathy.i guess i overlooked what the VICTIMS and their families have went through and the years of captivity and jail time the VICTIMS and their families have had to endure.personally i now hope he goes to jail and i wonder what his assignment will be after he gets out.i have not heard a lot about the particulars from chaput.i guess there is a permanent gag order on him,


    VICTIMS: “What pedophiles and people who have sexual desires for children lose sight of to a terrible, terrible degree– a devastating degree– is that their victims are real people who will suffer forever whatever abuses are perpetrated on them.” Jock Sturges

    ADVOCATES: “It works both ways: there are victims of tragedy who come to me who have experienced grief of such magnitude that they cannot reconcile. Likewise, I cannot change the mentality of those who committed the crimes or the fools who followed them.” Paddy Ashdown

    PRIESTS: “You kept quiet… When these victims wanted your help to survive, you kept quiet.” Paul Kagame

  7. Bob,

    Thank you for speaking the words of my brother who would speak them if he could. Thank you for being the voice of all victims of sexual abuse. Thinking particularly of you, today, and the other victims who have shared their formidable voices over the past year on C4C. All of you have changed our lives.

  8. Thank you, Bob. I hope you will finally be heard. I too hope to live to see the day that Lynn, and many others, accept personal responsibility for thier role in all of this. I would love to see your letter posted in his ex parishes weekly bulletin, for it seems the majority still feel Lynn did nothing wrong. As Steve W said above, it seems that many are on the fence. Sadly it is imperative for people to hear victims stories, your story. All of these stories have changed my life, and my faith.

    The irony here, is the guilt you continue to carry even though you did all you could, took all steps you thought appropriate, and had faith and trust. Oddly enough, the institution and their representatives don’t share your sense of guilt, though it was in thier power to do something. You don’t deserve the guilt. I hope you, and all victims of abuse, can find peace.

  9. I liked every part of Bob’s letter….the sheer decency of it is stunning…but the ending…the expressed hope that Msgr. Lynnn might make restitution be becoming an advocate for abused kids, was especially fine.

    We have heard from the defense that Lynn has learned much in the last 10 grueling years….becoming an outspoken advocate for innocent kids WOULD be RESTITUTION…..after serving his sentence.

    Iam not sure, Bob if you have to testify today…but have been praying for you. Joan

  10. Bob this is an exceptional letter. When I read your story, I can’t help but smirk at the thought of these pedophile-hiding AD leaders. Drunk on their own power and arrogance, these fools certainly never banked on the likes of a kid like you growing up and coming back to haunt them some day… They gambled that the “victims” would disintegrate and go away eventually… But instead, you grew up strong and smart, and determined, and became educated and successful, before “reloading” and returning to tell the truth about what they did. Awesome.

    Thank you for telling your truth, and for fighting to win out over this thing. I wish you peace about it…and a life free of residual pain.

  11. The letter that Bob has written to Judge Sarmina pretty much sums up my own feelings toward those who continue to apologize for those who have molested children and those who continue to minimize the coverup by both the Catholic Church and those at Penn state. I can remember back when the abuse scandal exploded on the scene in Boston. In an interview with Cardinal Bevilaqua he asserted that the Archdiocese of Philadelphia had no problem in this regard. Yet he knew just the opposite to be true. Growing up I was taught that lying was a sin. Honesty was a virtue. As someone who has lived for fifty one years with the effects of sex abuse, I can relate to Bob’s statement that this didn’t ruin his life. He still had his family and other blessings. But like Bob, my ability to trust has been derailed.I have no close male friends because I cannot trust. I can relate to so much of what he wrote.

    1. Jim there’s no doubt that our late cardinal was a dirty, lying scumbag…and all the clergy knows it. The hierarchy dragged out the sleaziest thug they could find to manage Philadelphia….and our children paid the price.
      The Sunday after he died, his name was listed during mass, among the other deceased of our parish…no fanfare, no title, just Anthony Bevilacqua…. and even this was more than he deserved.

      1. …and Jim, let me also add that his remains should be removed from our cathedral –much like Joe Paterno’s statue was removed.

    2. And Bevilaequa said the same thing in Philly in April of 2002 when the cardinals returned to the U.S. after their trip their so called trip to the woodshed with John Paul II – lot of good that trip did!

      The hierarchy has lost all credibility and moral authority and it will take decades if ever for them to recoup even a small percentage of it.

      The feelings I had yesterday when Judge Sarmina rendered her decision in sentencing Lynn were not unlike that day in July of 2007 when we in Delaware got the Child Victims Law passed. It INCLUDED a two year civil window for bringing forward previously time barred cases of childhood sexual abuse – BY ANYONE.

      Opposition to similar legislation (PA House Bills 832 & 878) is being headed up by Archbishop Charles Chaput, the bishops of Pennsylvania and the PA Catholic Conference.

      We need to see that these laws are passed not any of the WATERED DOWN proposed legislation.

      Sister Maureen Paul Turlish

  12. Jim Tucker, I am so sorry for what has happened to you in your life. I also want to add that it may take a long time, but you will regain TRUST, and I can promise you Jim, that all those on this blog will be praying for that day to happen for you. You are in God’s hands, and you have always been.

  13. Dr. Fisher, God Bless You! Thanks so much for doing this! Please don’t ever stop shining the light of truth on what happened to you. I fear that someday Catholics and others will think this is way in the past and not relevant. Then, God forbid, the same conditions that allowed this to happen will re-occur.

  14. DR. BOB, As a fellow survivor I am so happy you made it through. Not only did you make it through, you are striving! In your great compassion you have used your pain to help others. I have great respect for you.

Leave a Reply