2007 STORY #33: THE ANGEL ON THE STREET CORNER
I was in Walmart, doing my boring mundane shopping for supplies, when all the sudden I hear my phone cell ringing in my purse.
The caller was the editor of a southeastern Ohio newspaper, whom I had communicated with many times about SNAP press releases, etc. He explained to me that the Steubenville diocese had sent them a press release which stated that Father X had credible allegations of abusing a minor in 1976-1978. “Wow”, I was so excited that I was jumping up and down in Walmart. You see, I had been trying to make the information of Father X having been an abuser for several years, since the day that I had learned that he had abused many of my family members while pastor in our small town in Ohio.
That day in Walmart changed my life. Being a snap leader for that area of Ohio, I immediately jumped into gear to travel there to do a press conference and managed to have that priest's photo splashed on the news tv the night before my husband and I were to conduct a press conference in that town the next morning.
That morning at the press conference, while shaking in my boots and being very nervous about having 3 tv cameras focused on me there in front of the Cathedral where Father X had been ordained, I noticed an elderly gentleman standing on the corner. He motioned to us that he would like to speak to us after the press conference.
This man, now about 77 years old, had watched the news that night before and he saw Father X's photo on tv. He had come to the press conference to find us and to tell us that he too had been abused by this priest in the 1940's.
Well, I was in awe of this man, and I so admire his courage for coming forward, especially since he had kept this secret for so many years.
This was true validation for me because I had been so obsessed with this issue, since I had found out that my brother and several relatives had been sexually abused by this priest, and they had not yet come forward with their abuse. So I had been pretty much working in the dark until this guardian angel, standing on the street corner, confirmed to me that this priest was a monster.
I now have so much more conviction to keep pushing forward until I find every victim and every clergy predator in southeastern Ohio. Yes, I set my goals high, and yes it will not be easy, but all I have to do is remember that brave man standing on the street corner.
His whole life has not been extremely difficult, because a very prominent charismatic priest forced that little child into enduring terrible things just to satisfy his own disgusting personal needs.
I have been inspired tremendously by the gentleman angel, to move forward full speed ahead.