Update – End Doesn’t Justify Means

by Susan Matthews

A lawyer who privately came forward was not able to help a survivor, whose story you read about in the previous post. The survivor now wants his name made public.

David Eyes was a child when he was abused by Father Robert L. Brennan. He spent too much of his adult life embroiled in a grand jury investigation. The grueling emotional process cut fresh wounds into his already scarred psyche. Suicide attempts and subsequent hospitalization made it clear that self preservation meant stepping away from it all. It was the right decision for him and his family. David is working, married and surviving.

But now, his hard-won and tenuous stability is threatened. Lawyers prosecuting a civil case against the Philadelphia archdiocese on behalf of another victim asked him to testify. David explained why he couldn’t – how it might cost him his life. They responded with a subpoena.

Cornered and forced to ensure something horrific as child, David is once again cornered and being forced to do something terrifying as an adult. The subpoena compels him to appear in court on Monday, May 7 or he’ll be held in contempt – which carries the possibility of arrest and fines. Yet, the price he’ll pay for testifying is far worse. So he and his family have decided he won’t comply with the subpoena.

David is refusing on behalf of all survivors. No one should be re-victimized, he says.

Civil and criminal cases have been the best means of gaining public awareness, preventing abuse and offering an opportunity for justice. But the end does not justify the means when a survivor is forced to testify.

16 thoughts on “Update – End Doesn’t Justify Means

  1. Shame on the survivor if they won’t tell their lawyers to back off.
    The pursuit of justice should not put another victim in danger.

    1. The civil suit was filed by the family of a deceased clergy sex abuse victim. They may not even be aware of the tactics being taken. And if they are, I would like to extend them the same grace I would want as a parent in this situation. I’m sure the desperation for justice is blinding. It’s the lawyers and judge who should have clear vision and be held to an ethical standard. Thank you for caring about David. It is greatly appreciated by him and his family.

  2. My comment may sound or “on the surface” seem odd or a seeming scenario of “just how will that help”. David (or Susan, on behalf of David), I am a catholic clergy sex abuse survivor. As I typed word “survivor”, it seemed I could use each letter of that word “survivor” & place a word -feeling -definition for each letter, if that word. I am too embroiled, I was subpoenaed, I was abused, repeatedly, I want to help you. I live 1 small hour from Philadelphia. May or could I come on Sunday, to be with you & your family. I would get a room. Monday, bright/early A.M., I WILL BE BACK AT YOUR HOUSE. I feel compelled to help you & God Blessed – your family. I will stay into Tuesday if you wish, truly, whatever it takes. My “gut” is telling me others will be there, but so would I, a fellow survivor. Tell you, similarly, after “it” happened – I became the only person in the world w/ this issue. How wrong I was. It sounds odd, my offer, of course, as you have a family, you seemingly decided “you will not comply w/subpoena”, That is ONLY YOUR & YOUR FAMILIES DECISION. Simply, I come, you won’t be alone. If you need a child keeper, in another room, I will do that.
    ••You decide – fellow – your NOT ALONE-. If you take me up on this offer, I will provide ALL MY DETAILS AS TO WHO I AM, TO SUSAN 1st & TO YOU! I too am currently in the news. I too took an unsure “Believe In MY PRINCIPLES” type decision, just last week. Your family is supporting you, FEEL BLESSED, JUST IN THAT! Of “chance”, I took, my family has ostracized me. I am on PENNLIVE ( H-BURG ). Currently pertaining to the PA statewide Grand Jury.
    -David, I deeply wish to help you- How May I do that?

    1. David, well, it is Monday early morning, throughout this entire weekend, after contacting “the powers that be, to send me some info., how may I find him (you)”, truly, maybe, (as I thought, maybe for sake it is the weekend), I haven’t heard details. I don’t know where you are! Maybe, it was NOT TO HAPPEN ! God is a mystery, for sure.
      Tell you this, my belief is, this WILL NOT END today, you find you could use help tomorrow or beyond, please, please, contact Susan, to reach me. As said, 1 -small- hour away, I am. Need groceries, need a ride to an appointment, need “SOMEONE TO TALK TO, or DOES YOUR WIFE NEED SOMEONE NEUTRAL TO TALK TO? I am AWESOME AT HELPING CHILDREN UNDERSTAND, I have -some- training in behavior develpment/understanding UTILIZE MY OFFER. Contact Susan, whom Susan, I ask, contact me!!
      Why all of this for you David? Because, Your steadfastness from this comment, helped ME, HELPED ME, MOVE ON FURTHER…
      “David is refusing on behalf of all survivors. No one should be re-victimized, he says.”
      That is powerful & that is selfless. You deserve help.
      Just as Jesus, would help!!
      Thank You David – Family

  3. My son took his like last year after posting on facebook that was abused by a known pedifile priest when he was an altar boy . He was 45 years old! He never told us about it! Two years before he died he went to a friends funeral who also was abused by Father Bryzski! I wised my son would have spoken out earlier, so he could have gotten help’

    1. Donna, I am very sorry for the loss of your son. The pain caused by Bryzski is far reaching and heartbreaking.

    2. Donna, That’ s so terribly tragic. I will keep you and your family in my prayers.

      1. My name is David Pietrasanta. I am a survivor of child sexual abuse. I have been sharing my story as a guest speaker at the Virtus class, ( Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church in Encino California), since 2007. Today, my life is all about giving back through my experience, strength and hope as a substance abuse counselor. In addition, I work with many people who were sexually abused as children. The best way to make the transition from victim to survivor is to talk about it with someone who is a qualified professional. It helps if that person is also a survivor, but from my own experience, nearly 20 years of psychotherapy, it’s not a must that the qualified professional be a survivor. However, I can tell you from helping other’s it’s a huge plus. One of the replies regarding this article is from a Mr. Miguel Pratt. His reply to the article started with, “Shame on the survivor………………….”. Mr. Pratt, the victims / survivors of sexual abuse are consumed with the feelings of shame and guilt. We don’t need anyone else to remind us by piling on. I think you mean well, it’s just the choice of using the word, “shame”, is not helpful.

        Nothing can replace good ‘ol talk therapy. You have to talk about it. You have to get that “stuff” that is eating away at you out. Otherwise, today is going to be the best your life is going to get. Secrets can make us sick, mentally, physically, emotionally and most of all spiritually. My suggestion to Mr. David Eyes is that it’s time to think outside your box. By testifying in court you are telling all the other scared victims out there that they also have the courage to begin the recovery process. A life long process. Your testifying is an example of hope, strength and courage for other’s who struggle to face their own experience(s) of sexual abuse.

    3. Donna, I am very saddened to hear of your loss…of you life blood…your child. So many things, people & mere situations, seemingly light or light hearted can be an act which someone said the wrong thing or wrote in a tone of greedy self centeredness, or simply, wrote selfishly. With Social Media, it’s so delicate. We write “stuff” before we think of the “after-shock”. No, I am certainly not saying that is what happened here, I just wished to place that statement out there for…SOMEONE ELSE, TO THINK IT THRU BEFORE YOU POST. Whatever you post, at the moment, how will you feel in 24-48 hours, same? Follow your heart. I am not on social stuff, per se. Donna, I can’t imagine what could or would be said, to allow you to continue moving forward. Maybe JUST THIS note, that someone took the time to speak kind words, towards your loss. I AM SORRY, as a fellow abuse survivor, it was extremely hard on my Mom…extremely. Her guilt (needless) was stuff headaches are made for. She never allowed a conclusion to occur, that I am aware of. This I DO KNOW, AS CATHOLICS WE EACH SEEMINGLY – are easily able to find GUILT behind every Station of the Cross. Assured, Other Survivors (eg. me tonight) need to experience “how other handled, or what “role” others took, etc, & all of that”. God maybe sent me here tonight to simply speak to you!
      Please Be Well, Mom!

  4. The lawyers and judges in Philly should explore how lawyers and judges in England and Wales (and soon to be adopted in Australia) go about ensuring that the justice system does not re-victimized and/or re-traumatize survivors. When a survivor reports abuse, he or she is interviewed by a trained police officer. The interview becomes “evidence in chief” in any and all court proceedings, removing the burden of survivors having to testify, repeat their abuse over and over, or having to be questioned on cross-examination. Too, professional intermediaries are used when survivors are children or vulnerable adults. “The intermediary assesses the witness’s abilities, and– as a professional and impartial adviser– assists the court and the parties in how best to communicate with the witness.”

    It’s not like lawyers and judges in Philly are inexperienced with survivors of sexual abuse. And maybe, on some level, they are sensitive to their plight. But it’s a disgrace that they have not explored and implemented how other thoughtful and intelligent justice systems in the world concretely go about protecting survivors, minimizing their plight, and fostering their well being. Meanwhile, in Philly, they are winging it. It’s business as usual.

    “Calls for child victims of sexual offences to have intermediaries” by Jon White, May 6, 2018, The Canberra Times.

    David, my thoughts are with you. I support you all the way.


  5. Kate, Thanks for posting the above information. What Dave is protesting against is very real and I do believe the court should update and examine the effects of the court process on survivors and make changes where needed especially now that more survivors are coming forward because society I believe is becoming more educated on child sex abuse and the court should impliment our new understanding as a society.

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