News Story of the Day

The Heavy Toll of Priest Sex Abuse

Readers share their stories of growing up in the Catholic church and of the culture that allowed the abuse to happen.

To the Editor:

“‘Pray for Your Poor Uncle,’” by Elizabeth Bruenig (Sunday Review, July 19), about the child abuse victims of former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, features a conclusion both startling and important.

Ms. Bruenig writes that the main survivor profiled, Francis M., reflects that “he thinks it’s possible to distinguish the church from the people who have for decades debased it.” She adds, “How dearly I wanted to hear that; how crucial it was for me to believe it.” These are sentiments I appreciate as a member of the deeply wounded Catholic Church.

Many people, if not most, may have written it off, but Francis notes that “all throughout the church, and the church’s history, you can see times where there were people who were really living testaments to their faith” at the same time that some church leaders took advantage of the power that they had.

Indeed, a leading example of this faithful witness was also named Francis: the poor friar of Assisi, admired worldwide for his radical love of God and neighbor. And as Dorothy Day, herself under official consideration for sainthood, put it to a fellow Catholic peace activist: “I never expected much of bishops … It is the saints that keep appearing all through history who keep things going.”

Julie Leininger Pycior
Hastings-on-Hudson, N.Y.
The writer, professor emerita of history at Manhattan College, is the author of the forthcoming “Dorothy Day, Thomas Merton and the Greatest Commandment: Radical Love in Times of Crisis.”

To the Editor:

This article shows the insidious way predatory priests weaseled their way into families at a time in history when sexual violation was not on the radar. The psychological abuse is so creepy and deep. The isolation and secrecy are deadly.

I was sexually abused by a charismatic Catholic priest who befriended my dad, drank with him and groomed my family before going on to rape me at 7 and countless other children.

Capturing the raw pain is hard, but the systemic piece is huge: one targeted family, feeling unique yet creeped out, surrounded by Catholics who are wowed by the hierarchy. The family and the victim then have to sort and sift alone. But when support and courage emerge as well as public support and courage, victims speak out.

Multiply this story by thousands, and the truth is revealed once again.

Patricia Gallagher Marchant
Franklin, Wis.

New Orleans priest continued serving 13 years after abuse claim landed him in treatment

NEW ORLEANS — Sixteen years ago, Ricky Monsour spoke up for the first time about how he was groomed and molested in his boyhood by a priest the Catholic Church eventually acknowledged was almost certainly a child predator. But it was only recently that he decided to speak out about the details of the $106,000 payment that the church later gave him to quietly settle his claims of abuse at the hands of Carl Davidson.

Man sues Allentown diocese, Northampton church and school, claiming priest molested him when he was 11

A 57-year-old Pennsylvania man who claims that he was molested by a Catholic priest from a Northampton church starting when he was 11 years old, has filed a lawsuit, one of numerous claims recently made under a potential loophole in the statute of limitations for civil cases involving sexual abuse.

St. Joseph High School sued by Somerset man claiming sexual abuse by priest

METUCHEN – A former St. Joseph High School student is suing the Diocese of Metuchen claiming he was sexually abused and "groomed" for 16 years by a Catholic priest while enrolled at the private school.

Survivor Speaks About Syracuse Catholic Diocese Filing for Bankruptcy

Amy, a sexual abuse survivor, was 11 years old when she was touched inappropriately by a male figure in her church.

“Somebody had brought this up to his wife who was the other person running the meetings and she kind of blew it off like she didn’t want to know," said Amy. "Several times I was told ... no one would believe [my story] anyway,” said Amy.

Diocese of Scranton seeks stay of sex abuse cases

The Diocese of Scranton wants the state Supreme Court to stay all activity in lawsuits filed by five men who allege they were molested by a priest until the court rules on a critical legal issue that could nix the cases.

Their new schools knew nothing about allegations against these Bay Area teachers. Should they have?

Kathryn Leehane wasn’t surprised to discover that former Presentation High teachers, named last week in a bombshell report that exposed years of sexual misconduct and coverups at the San Jose Catholic girls school, were still teaching in the Bay Area.

Vatican Tells Bishops to Report Sex Abuse to Police (but Doesn’t Require It)

ROME — The Vatican has told bishops around the world to report cases of clerical sex abuse to civil authorities even where local laws don’t require it — a step that abuse victims and their advocates have demanded over the decades in which the scandal has roiled the Roman Catholic Church.

A Megachurch Reels After Learning Pastor Let His Professed Pedophile Son Work With Kids

The leaders of a California evangelical megachurch are under fire for bungling the church’s response to a youth ministry volunteer’s confession that he was attracted to minors.

Teachers Named In South Bay Sex Probe Continued Working: Report

SAN JOSE, CA — Several teachers named in a sexual abuse report at an elite South Bay Catholic high school have continued to work as educators in the Bay Area, The San Jose Mercury News reports.

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