Fatal Fallout of Clergy Child Sex Abuse Continues

I’ve been told, “Just let it go. It’s over.” The cover story from the The Philadelphia Inquirer linked below is an example of why Kathy and I won’t let “it” go. The clergy sex abuse scandal continues to claim and destroy the lives of victims and those who love them. “It” continues to put children at risk. Read James Brzyski’s timeline to see how. PA’s current statute of limitation laws allow these men to evade justice and live among us undetected.

We will shut down this site when the Catholic church makes real and lasting corrections, when the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference stops fighting child sex abuse legislative reform and when victims feel fully supported by society. In other words, we hope our nursing homes have good wifi.

Please read: “Stolen Childhoods,” by Maria Panaritis, The Philadelphia Inquirer, October 26, 2017.

We believe the victims. Please let us know how we can help.

 

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24 thoughts on “Fatal Fallout of Clergy Child Sex Abuse Continues

  1. You are absolutely right. Until the clerical culture and its errors in thinking are fundamentally converted and humbled by true and deep remorse, the “changes” will remain cosmetic and superficial. Eve McFarland, LCSW

  2. We will not let it go and anytime this site goes quiet for a bit please do not interpret that as a white flag. In the past few weeks there are various child protection issues that have surfaced that I have been working on, seeking answers to questions from the Archdiocese and the end result will probably end up being some type of policy enacted that will not even begin to fill the massive holes in the child protection policies of the Archdiocese. I like to call them priest protection policies because these policies sure aren’t protecting the children.
    As always if people need help, have victims or child protection issues to bring to our attention,or have information to share please use the contact category on the page or email me at kmkane242@gmail.com.

  3. You are absolutely right in your pursuit of justice, I applaud your efforts. I read the article in today’s paper and was disgusted as much by the cover up and continued despicable behavior of so called religious with no conscience as I am by the sickening behavior of these priests toward innocent children. They all need to be brought to justice.

  4. Susan and Kathy,

    Thank you for your steadfast support of survivors and your reports on Chaput and others in perpetrator protection mode. Where is the outrage by clerics who are focused more on their own careers than justice? Their actions betray their true motives.

    My disgust and anger are overwhelming at times. Yes, I believe survivors, and condemn unreservedly the oily language of chanceries that masks the reality of re-victimization. Bishops have no shame apparently in essentially denying they did anything wrong. Mistakes were made, they say.

    Damn it, they need to own the active voice in the first person: I lied, I deceived, I covered up, I obstructed justice, I was an accessory after the fact, I was a coward, I criminally endangered children. Those are the confessions we never hear. Stop the spin and stop the whining about good intentions. Grow up, learn self-awareness about your culpability and admit it for a change.

    “The actions of men are the best interpreters of their thoughts.” Thank you, John Locke. An Essay Concerning Human Understanding (1689), Book I, Chapter II, paragraph 3

    For good measure, here is what it means to tell the truth, according to theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer: “Communicating truthfully means more than factual accuracy…There is a way of speaking which is…entirely correct and unexceptionable, but which is, nevertheless, a lie…When an apparently correct statement contains some deliberate ambiguity, or deliberately omits the essential part of the truth…it does not express the real as it exists in God.”

  5. I am glad you are not letting go. I believe there are still “issues” that remain regarding the transparency of the Catholic Church and we must all be diligent in our efforts.

    That being said, reading articles such as the Inquirer article and hearing the stories of Harvey Weinstein bring back painful memories for survivors such as myself. I was particularly struck by the story of Jim Cunningham – handsome, intelligent, successful – who eventually gave into his demons and took his own life. That could have been me – could have been others I know. There by the grace of God – and the love and support of my friends.

    Thank you Susan and Kathy – for always believing us – “the Survivors” – I refuse to be called a victim. And thank you for never giving up!

  6. I believe one of the most earthshaking things “reported”, was an “alleged victim”. (Please, don’t quote me word for word, as I don’t have the Philly.com article, in front of me), but an “alleged victim”, centered in on THAT “ALLEGED” statement. He said, “people call me an alleged victim, & the only reason I’m an alleged victim is because my oppt’y to no longer be alleged, is because my abusive story has never seen the light of day, due to the STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS stated, THAT REALLY HAD AN IMPACT ON ME, another alleged victim of clergy abuse. Fact, even if you were part of a PA Grand Juries report, (believe 3, in all, since 2002), still ONLY MAKES YOU AN ALLEGED VICTIM, as hardly but 4 of PA Clergy Abuse Survivors have EVER fallen within the 2 year Statute of Limitations timeframe. For that ALONE, I thank (cynically), a Ron MARSICO, Head of the House Judiciary Comittee, because HIS FAMILIAL RELATIVE, GUY D MARSICO, was accused & I can tell you factually, accused…RIGHTFULLY SO, AS I REPEATEDLY “LAYED THRU IT”, yes, disgusting! Ron plays the fools game, & has been, for years now. Guy Marsico showed me multiple family albums that CONTAINED PICTURES OF MANY MARSICOS…RON MARSICO, INCLUSIVE. Guy Marsico also, on the sidewalk of St. Patrick’s Cathedreal, prior to an ordination, ( I was 12 & yes, OLD ENOUGH TO REMEMBER, WELL! ) Guy Marsico pointed TO THE CAPITAL, & made sure, at my age of 12, I understood that was where he had 3 family members working. Ron, Ed, & a Secretary, all with last name MARSICO.
    This does go back to the “alleged victim” because the lobbyists & the $$$ trail follows too many & influentually, too closely in the Harrisburg Gov’t, OR, is it following too closely to the lobbyists PIGgy bank, just not sure which. It’s sick, sad & CAUSING DEATH TO DANG GOOD PEOPLE, so unfairly. God, Bless the victims soul!

  7. It is interesting that the Inquirer published this story on the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther nailing his 95 theses to the door of the cathedral in Wittenberg. I suspect that a lot fewer people had their lives damaged or ruined by a purchased indulgence.

  8. THE problem, which the Church is not and NEVER will address, is the theology of the priesthood. We ( I was a victim myself at age 11 ) were taught and still are that the priest is ” ALTER CHRISTUS ” – ANOTHER CHRIST, and a child will never say no to God.

  9. Hi Susan,

    I totally agree with you. It is far from over!

    It concerns me that there is a feeling that this won’t or isn’t happening again. We have bloggers insisting that the trials in Philadelphia were all without merit and that even the sexual assaults at Penn State never happened. While I agree that our District Attorney was a disgrace to our City, his office & himself, I refuse to believe that there was no merit to the convictions that were handed down in these cases.

    My wife passed away almost exactly a year ago and while the official cause of death was lung cancer, I can assure you that the sexual assaults by Catholic Priests was a contributing factor to her death. It tore her up that many lives were destroyed by these men.

    I want you to know that despite all of this I hold no grudges with the church or the many fine priests who have and continue to be faithful servants of God & Jesus Christ. As an example, today I attended the funeral of the Deacon at my church. He was a faithful servant of the church for over 25 years. No better man has even served in his capacity. I was proud to know him and will forever remember what he did for my family.

    The missing ingredient is what is the church going to do to police itself? What actions will they take in the future? What will be different than the last time? They have yet to reveal their plan.

    Keep at it!

    Gene ________________________________

  10. Susan this site is about hope. Hope that the truth will be known, that people will be educated and understand our survivors pain and suffering, hope that child abuse numbers go down and eventually in a perfect world never happens. Hope that known abusers are removed from contact with children so more children will not suffer. Hope that abusers and those that enabled them are brought to justice. Hope that survivors can heal in time or their suffering lessen. To “let it go” would in my mind be letting go of hope. Letting go of hope kills and numbs the soul. Suffering can destroy hope or it can make the world a better place. Suffering can poison our heart, minds and bodies or it can create compassion for ourselves and others. This site is an expression of compassion.When these child survivors met pure evil hope was crushed and a sense of a good God blotted out for many. The mind, body and soul are connected our survivors are living proof of that. When these monsters violated a child’s body they violated the mind and soul as well. Child sexual abuse damages the mind, hurts the soul and traumatizes the body. There is a very real struggle going on between good and evil. The devil does seek to ruin souls. Pure evil does exist but if it exists so does pure good. And as a christian I know God wins in the end. That will always be my source of hope and comfort despite what may happen to me. Thankyou Kathy and Susan and please continue to be a source of hope and compassion. All of you on this site and in the story above are in my prayers. My prayer for you is that you know the depth of the love of God for you and that you see it especially in the love and concern for you on this site.

  11. I moved this past weekend and have been too busy to keep up with the news and the internet. Stories like this still bring me to tears, fifty six years after being abused by a Catholic priest in a suburban Archdiocesan Church. I was lucky in some ways if being abused in any way means that you are lucky. It only happened once, there was no penetration. But the lifelong effects are all so similar. Somehow I managed to graduate from high school and even managed to graduate from college despite the fact that I was well on the way to a full blown alcohol addiction. The stories victims tell are all too familiar to the rest of us who were victims. St. John of the Cross was the center of my universe as a kid. I went to school there, I went to Church there. I was an altar boy there. I played midget football there. The kids in my neighborhood played on the fields and parking lots at the Church. I lived only a few blocks from the school. I was also a newspaper delivery boy for the Evening Bulletin. Like one of the victims in this article, I was a skinny little kid who probably weighed about eighty pounds. After the abuse occurred, my life changed dramatically. I withdrew socially and attempted suicide twice about six months after the abuse. Thoughts of suicide have plagued me most of my life. I was forty when memories of the abuse came back to me. I was also two years sober. I never reported my abuse to the Church. I have had no contact with the Catholic Church since I graduated from College, with the exception of my parents funerals and a wedding or two. When I went to talk to my mother after recovering the memories of the abuse, she went to talk to her local parish pastor. He managed to pretty much convince her that I was making the whole story up because of my views of the Church. Life today is ok. I don’t think about suicide any more. I have two adult children and two grand children. I am amazed that I have survived this long. I am still waiting for the Catholic Church to take responsibility for the many lives that it has destroyed. I believe my life will end long before that happens.

    1. Thank you Jim for being here with your individual identity and the emotional security you offer. You offer this capacity to engage me emotionally and yet it seems this place is recognizing this ability to “let go” even more. The Big Book in AA says, “The result was nil till we let go absolutely.” Then we have the catholic church addicted to power, who cannot let go of their power and power is beyond any Christ message. For me, living apart from the catholic church I now feel like my powerlessness is the heart of faith. This powerlessness with God is edgy for me and maybe there is a meaning beyond. Life just seems to have this place of telling me who I am not in powerlessness and requires a high state than I have. And yet it is people like you who have mature acceptance that allows me to trust this God in powerlessness. It feels like the heart of faith and allows me accept more powerlessness. (The Christ seem to experience this powerlessness too, both emotionally and physically).

      Your acceptance Jim offers this serenity into this powerlessness more so for me. Maybe after all powerlessness is power and still somewhat beyond me because finding God here feels like a joke. When all is said and done, though, I just want to say thanks for your acceptance and your ability to let go, because your serenity in your acceptance offers a healing force to the world. You allow me the ability to accept powerlessness more fully.

    2. Jim I wanna wish you and Susan, Kathy, Vicky and Rich and so many others Happy Thanksgiving. It was very nice and a gift to meet you all in person at various times thru the years. I don’t know if I shared this before but I suffered from signs and symptoms of PTSD and was told this by a PHD. I was not abused sexaully as a child but went through some really bad experiences.I have since healed from this. In fact other people have noticed it and my Uncle commented this summer ” I have my old niece back”. It took many years and knowing the Truth having kind people listen to my story and learning compassion for myself and others to do so. Its been alot of people that have helped me over the years including friends, family, counselors and even a few kind priests from Our Lady of Grace and Saint Andrews in Newtown. I met with these priests in their offices and in confession and they were very patient, kind and undertanding. Thats part of the reason I was so upset to hear about our survivors being abused by priests when they went for help etc I myself was so desperate I can’t imagine being faced with such an evil thing when someone is at a low point in their life. I also went to grade school and high school when 2 predator priests where stationed at both. I know your story was different but I have no idea how horrible that had to be. I just wanna say that the people that taught me the most are You, Vicky, Rich and Survivors Wife. I think when people are no longer afraid of looking at something as horrible as child abuse they are forced to re examine alot of things including themselves, other people, God, society, their childhood and so many other things.I think in the end the Truth does set you free but also the kindness, supoport and love of other people especially those who challenge you to look at the Truth even the truth about yourself and your experiences and beliefs. So thankyou very much and I hope you have a great Thanksgiving with your loved ones this year.

  12. Hi Susan,

    I totally agree with you. It is far from over!

    It concerns me that there is a feeling that this won’t or isn’t happening again. We have bloggers insisting that the trials in Philadelphia were all without merit and that even the sexual assaults at Penn State never happened. While I agree that our District Attorney was a disgrace to our City, his office & himself, I refuse to believe that there was no merit to the convictions that were handed down in these cases.

    My wife passed away almost exactly a year ago and while the official cause of death was lung cancer, I can assure you that the sexual assaults by Catholic Priests was a contributing factor to her death. It tore her up that many lives were destroyed by these men.

    I want you to know that despite all of this I hold no grudges with the church or the many fine priests who have and continue to be faithful servants of God & Jesus Christ. As an example, today I attended the funeral of the Deacon at my church. He was a faithful servant of the church for over 25 years. No better man has even served in his capacity. I was proud to know him and will forever remember what he did for my family.

    The missing ingredient is what is the church going to do to police itself? What actions will they take in the future? What will be different than the last time? They have yet to reveal their plan.

    Keep at it!

    Gene

  13. How you can help? Support in every way possible the Healing Circles for survivors of criminal sexual abuse, especially abuse by clergy, especially “Roman” Catholic clergy.

  14. Unfortunately until Chaput is gone this out of touch and disorientated attitude of The AD will continue. This is very evident in his “Open Letter” in The Inquirer this past weekend. In my opinion this letter is just another shot at victims and their families passing the blame of the scandal and claiming the media is painting the church in a negative light. Chaput loves to throw the blame on the victims subliminally with phrases like “What was the victims part in the abuse” and “Until the Victims move on The Church cant move on”. This is the same attitude that led to the years of abuse and cover ups. Obviously NOTHING has been learned from this whole ordeal and as long as this attitude and point of view continues NOTHING EVER WILL BE LEARNED OR CHANGED for that matter. If Nothing Changes, Nothing Changes and Chaput and The AD seem just fine with that.

  15. A victim of FR. Dunn while I resided at St. Francis in early 70s, It changed my perception of Church authority. Being brought up to reverend the people of the cloth, to obey what they commanded without reserve. My sexuality twisted into confusion, I am still at odds with myself everyday I question my morality, my faith in God, and the reason he allows people like Fr Dunn to exist and to try us with such perversion. How the Church takes such situations and tries to keep it in the dark, or sweep it under the rug. I know I need help to deal with the confusion, the mindset I have acquired, but in the meantime it has destroyed what I am, my relationships with family and society in general. I just happened to come across the articles concerning Fr Dunn when I was looking for pictures of St. Francis Vocational School. Sorry for my ramble. Just angry, Just glad to know he has been taken out of this world and can’t add to any more victims to his already too long list. prayers to the innocent peace to all

    1. Mike, I know it’s of little comfort, but Dunn had so many parents and kids convinced he was a great priest. If it wasn’t for the grand jury report in 2005, we’d be none the wiser. The archdiocese knew of his issue in the 60s! There’s no need for you to apologize. This is the place to get it all out.

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