SNAP 2007 STORY #46: MY CROSS TO BEAR
The past fourteen months have been quite a journey. It has been an emotional rollercoaster. Also a time of learning and healing.
In September of 2006 I came forward about two priests that abused me for a period of two years from 1981 through 1983. Father X and Father Y. Father X left the priesthood in the late 80’s. When I came forward, Father Y was a Pastor of a kindergarten through eighth grade. Also he was acting principal at a high school. He was forced to resign.
I recommend that any victim that wants to come forward hires an attorney to contact the church on there behalf. I hired Jeffrey Herman, from Miami after I contacted the church. I wish I had prior to. Always have somebody that has your best interest at heart. The church has damage control and intimidation as a motivator.
The Archdiocese sent a representative to my home to speak to me and my wife. He started by telling me that he used to be a high powered attorney before he became a priest. He told me that something that never happens did. Father X admitted to abusing me and two other boys. He then said something that to this day is burned in my memory forever.
He said. “ John, what you went through. The pain and suffering you have endured all these years. Like Jesus, is your cross to bear. To make the church a better and stronger church.”
I had the privilege of meeting three of the other victims of Father X. One of them thanked me and said I saved his life. He was addicted to drugs and contemplating suicide. He came forward also and has been clean and sober for a year. I’ve never been responsible for saving a life. It is the most powerful feeling I have ever experienced.
I have walked a similar path to other victims during my life. I understand weakness, fear, and shame. I had ownership of these emotions. But I found these belong with the church. The church fears more victims coming forward. They are the ones that are weak and hypocritical. And they are the ones that should be ashamed. I removed those feelings from my life.
I went to SNAP meetings and was uncomfortable with being considered a survivor. I couldn’t make sense of being considered a survivor. I felt that I hadn’t survived anything until recently. Every victim can blame there past on the abuse. I did. But I made a decision. I wasn’t going to be a victim anymore. I wasn’t going to move forward in life as a victim. I choose to live my life. Not live the past. It’s easier said than done. These two men destroyed my childhood and most of my adult life.
I guess for me, I found a way to find the positive in what happened. I can help other victims. Also I was abused by two master manipulators. So I have figured what motivated these abusers. It’s about control and manipulation. So I use that to help others now. I am an online decoy in chat rooms. I pose as an 11 year old boy or girl and catch internet predators. I turn the chat logs over to my local police department and they arrest them.
I hope this is some help for someone reading. If someone wants to contact me please do so. My email is at the top of the story.