The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

Female Victims of Clergy Abuse
Recent stories of interest

Abuse by priest haunts Canadian woman

Even when she lived on a remote Gulf Island where no one locked their doors and everyone knew each other, Joanne Morrison felt nervous whenever her children stepped out the door. Morrison felt trapped by her own childhood memories of sexual abuse and felt paranoid over the safety of her own kids. Morrison was first molested by her priest when she was eight years old. The abuse lasted about three years, but the pain never went away, she said.

Complaints of sex abuse by nuns begin to emerge
Even now, decades later, the victims' voices falter as they describe the encounters that damaged them in ways they cannot fully cast off. Mary Dunford tells of a molester visiting her dormitory bed when she was 15. Susan Pavlak speaks of the teacher who talked to her of love, then seduced her at 16. Siblings describe how their piano teacher touched them in ways no adult should touch a child. In each case, the perpetrator was, or recently had been, a Roman Catholic nun. Minneapolis Star Tribune, June 25, 2006

Dozens allege sex abuse by nuns
Spotlighting the role of female clergy in sexual abuse for the first time, a victims advocacy group said yesterday that it had identified about 100 people in the United States who said they had been assaulted by Catholic nuns, sisters and other female religious workers. At a news conference, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) called for other victims to come forward so they could share their stories and receive help. Baltimore Sun, July 14, 2004

Boston review board dismissed accusations by females
When a woman complained to the Archdiocese of Boston in 1994 that the Rev. Lionel P. Ouellette had molested her as a schoolgirl in Lynn, the church ruled he could keep his job. When the Rev. Paul G. McPartland was accused by a woman, who said he had tried to sexually molest her in a car at Castle Island when she was 16, the church took no action. Records made public yesterday detailing alleged sexual misconduct by six priests suggest that women who complained that they had been assaulted as girls often received dismissive treatment by a church review board.
Boston Globe, February 7, 2003

Nuns as sexual victims get little notice
Already shaken by a yearlong sex abuse scandal involving priests and minors, the Roman Catholic Church has yet to face another critical challenge - how to help thousands of nuns who say they have been sexually victimized. A national survey, completed in 1996 but intentionally never publicized, estimates that a "minimum" of 34,000 Catholic nuns, or about 40 percent of all nuns in the United States, have suffered some form of sexual trauma. By Bill Smith, St. Louis Post-Dispatch - January 4, 2003

Women face stigma of clergy abuse
Jean Leahy kept her secret for 40 years: that she had had to fend off the Rev. Robert V. Meffan's repeated sexual advances - the hand on the thigh, the hug that lasted too long, the invitations to his bedroom - when she was a teenager studying at Sacred Heart Convent in Kingston. Why tell anyone, she reasoned, when few people would believe the word of a woman over the word of a beloved priest? But when Meffan's personnel file became public Dec. 3, and he acknowledged having sexual activity with teenage girls who, like her, were preparing to be nuns, Leahy decided there was no need for secrecy any more. By Sacha Pfeiffer, Boston Globe, December 27, 2002

My female pastor molested me
It's not just boys who have been violated by religious figures. Here 30-year-old Julie Prey-Harbaugh shares a particularly shocking tale of sexual abuse. Cosmopolitan, August 2002

In Massachusetts, women tell their own stories of abuse
There was more grief and betrayal expressed yesterday by victims of predatory clergy -- but this time the memories of abuse were delivered primarily by women. Over a half-dozen abuse survivors, mostly women, sat on the altar of North Parish Church and told members of the Voice of the Faithful, a lay reformist group, about experiences that came close to ruining many of their lives. - Lawrence (MA) Eagle Tribune, November 18, 2002

Clergy sex abuse of females complicates intricate issue
They are the forgotten victims of clergy sex abuse, neglected by the media and overlooked by church activists. Yet many experts estimate that females -- both girls and women -- constitute a sizable number of all victims of sexual abuse by priests. - Kansas City Star, July 12, 2002

Father Figure
In the controversy over child abuse by Catholic priests, one group is being overlooked--adult women. a growing number of adult women who are coming forward to charge priests or clergy members with sexual abuse and to demand that their cases be taken seriously. As the Catholic bishops struggle to control scandals over clergy sexual abuse of minors--including issuing a historic no-tolerance policy--women say their stories have been given short shrift. In these complex cases the priests were not pedophiles but heterosexual men who, the women say, broke their vow of celibacy and abused the power and trust placed in them. From the June 27-July 3, 2002 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

Women tell of priests' abusing them as girls
Linda Burke said that when she was a 14-year-old growing up in Chicago, her priest began wrestling with her on the floor, roughhousing so insistently that her clothing became undone. When she was 17, she said, another priest began to kiss and fondle her in a chapel, and later other priests used their spiritual influence to seduce her into full-fledged sex. - By SAM DILLON, The New York Times - June 14, 2002

Massachusetts priest says he abused dozens of young girls
The Rev. Robert E. Kelley admitted in a sworn deposition that he sexually molested “50 to 100” young girls while he was an associate pastor to St. Cecilia's parish in Leominster, Massachusetts, from 1976 to 1983. - Worcester Telegram, May 11, 2002

Female victims often overlooked in horror stories of clergy abuse
They are Californians with shared histories of violence, abuse and unspeakable betrayal. At age 6, one was sodomized in the church sanctuary by the family priest, then raped again at 8 by a second priest in another state. Another was lured into a sexual relationship at age 16 by one priest, who invited six other priests along for the "fun" over the next four years. Still another Californian remembers wandering into the rectory at about age 8, only to be raped. Who are they?, Sacramento Bee - March 21, 2002

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests