The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
SNAP Press Statement
For immediate release: Tuesday, August 25, 2009
For more information: David Clohessy 314 566 9790, Barbara Dorris 314 503 0003 cell
Virginia man, abused by convicted priest, settles for $600,000 & comes forward
Child molesting cleric changed his name & was sent to unsuspecting Missouri parish
He started assaulting boy again & hurt one for five years while giving him drugs & liquor
A Virginia man who just settled his child sex abuse case, is speaking out publicly for the first time, disclosing his identity and revealing details of the horrific sex crimes he endured as a youngster by a predator priest and the stunning betrayal he's experienced as an adult by Catholic officials in three church institutions.
The victim, Dr. Mark Mcallister, lives with his wife and son in Roanoke.
More alleged victims of Jersey City priest's sex abuse come forward
by Michaelangelo Conte/The Jersey Journal - Monday August 24, 2009, 4:36 PM
/The Jersey JournalDr. Mark McAllister of Roanoke, Va., right, speaks about how he was sexually abused by the Rev. Carmine C. Sita, now known as the Rev. Gerald "Gerry" Howard, outside St. Aloysius Church in Jersey City, where Sita once worked. Sita's photo is held up by Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests State Director Mark Crawford during today's news conference.
News of a settlement between a man sexually abused by a former Jersey City priest has prompted four more alleged victims to come forward, including two from Jersey City, according to David Clohessy, national director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.
The news comes on the same day that a man molested in Missouri by the Rev. Carmine Sita, now known as the Rev. Gerald "Gerry" Howard spoke out for the first time about being abused.
Dr. Mark McAllister has reached a $600,000 settlement with the Catholic dioceses in Newark and in Missouri as well as a New Mexico counseling center where the former St. Aloysius Parish priest was sent after he was found to be molesting a teen in Jersey City.
At a news conference outside Sacred Heart Cathedral in Newark this morning, which was followed later in the day by a news conference outside St. Aloysius, McAllister said he once met that 17-year-old victim.
"I met him in person and my impression of (name omitted) was that he was tragically addicted to illegal drugs," McAllister said. "He looked like he was in a downward spiral."
McAllister, who is now working with SNAP, said more victims of Sita have come forward as a result of publicity about his settlement, and Clohessy confirmed that two said they were abused in Jersey City and the other two in Missouri.
No legal actions have been taken and while the men have reached out to SNAP, they haven't spoken publicly.
"When they're ready to come forward, they will have to do it in their own time,'' Mark Crawford, state director for SNAP, said. "If they're willing to come forward and speak, they will when they're ready."
In the original Jersey City case, Sita was criminally charged with "an act of penetration with a male juvenile on diverse dates" as well drug distribution while at St. Aloysius Parish from 1976-1982.
On Sept. 15, 1982, Sita pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting the unnamed 17-year-old boy.
In January 1983, Sita was sentenced to five years probation and ordered to undergo treatment.
After getting treatment in New Mexico, Sita legally changed his name and joined Ss. Peter and Paul in Boonville, Mo.
Archdiocese of Newark spokesman Jim Goodness said today that the archdiocese informed Ss. Peter and Paul of Sita's background at the time.
But McAllister said parishioners were not informed.
In May 2008 McAllister, now of Roanoke, Va., told church leaders at Ss. Peter and Paul that he was sexually abused by Sita in 1983, when he was a teenager and he and his family were parishioners there.
This morning McAllister said he met the Rev. Howard when he was 13 and the priest abused him mentally, physically, emotionally and sexually.
"For five years, I was brainwashed, drugged, beaten and tormented," McAllister said, adding that was also given alcohol by the priest. "I was forced to perform masturbation, oral sex, anal sex, and to exhibit myself in the most humiliating of ways. ... I lived my entire adolescence in fear, shame, disgrace, and self-doubt because of this man's sick behavior."
McAllister said he had no recollection of the molestation until the birth of his own son three years ago triggered flashbacks and nightmares.
"The only tools I was ever given by this man to deal with his mental, physical and sexual violations of me were illegal drugs," McAllister, who is a medical doctor, added that later in life he relied on the same coping mechanisms. "My addictions and many other self-destructive behaviors I chose have brought devastation to my career and much pain and suffering to my loved ones and others. I make no excuses for the choices I have made in the past but today I have found there is a better way."
He said he finds healing in speaking out against Sita and the church he says "protected him, secluded him, disguised him and ultimately unleashed him on my hometown with full knowledge that he would devastate more defenseless children."
Goodness said Sita is still registered as a priest of the Newark archdiocese but is not paid and has not performed priestly duties since 1984.
The archdiocese recently began the process of defrocking him, Goodness said.
As McAllister contacted the archdiocese in 2008 "we immediately made an offer of counseling for him and we took his information and at that point I contacted New Jersey authorities and the authorities in Missouri to let them know we had an allegation that had just come forward 25 years after it happened," Goodness said. "We began our review board process of investigating the situation. We took the allegation very seriously."
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests