ON - London diocese sued for sex abuse, SNAP responds
Our hearts go out to Fr. Robert’s alleged victims as they come forward with this lawsuit. We thank them for their courage – it is usually incredibly difficult for childhood victims to come forward even well into adulthood. Far too many people have experienced ongoing suffering like David Turrill's.
It is necessary that anybody who sees, suspects, or suffers sexual abuse speak up and contact police, not church officials. Abuse thrives in secrecy and silence, and even the smallest, oldest information can help people start healing and achieve justice.
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Statement by Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, Outreach Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (+1-314-503-0003, SNAPdorris@gmail.com)
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By Trevor Wilhelm August 12, 2011 1:03 PM
TILBURY, Ont. -- Four area men are accusing a Roman Catholic priest with sexually abusing them in the Tilbury area and are suing the Roman Catholic Diocese of London for $8-million.
The men allege that Father Bernard Alphonse Robert abused them during the 1970s, when they were altar boys at St. Francis Xavier Church in Tilbury.
One of the victims, David Turrill, 44, said during a press conference that the emotional damage from the alleged abuse has carried over into his adult life.
"I've been through so many jobs, drinking, dope, promiscuous behaviour, living on the streets," he said. "It just affectged everything in my life."
Turrill also said that he spent much of his adult life wandering across the continent and attempted suicide on two occasions.
Fr. Robert, who died some time in the 1990s, also served as pastor in churches in Blenheim, Watford, Wallaceburg and Alvinston.
50 State AG Call for Grand Jury
Any investigation must be:
- independent of and separate from the church
- must have subpoena powers and ability to compel testimony under oath
Anything short of these criteria is a sham and whitewash.
In addition, write letters to the editor, make phone calls to politicians as they can apply pressure to keep them responsive to our demand. We need to make efforts to ensure that they follow up on what the state is doing to investigate these crimes.
The Attorneys General of forty states have inquired about the grand jury process in Pennsylvania. Let's get statewide investigations going in fifty states.
Note to Letter Writers
Use your own words and style of writing. Cut and paste from the templates as you wish. Include your experiences, whether as a survivor or as a member of the community. And relate your letter to the state you were abused in or state now living in.