SNAP commends a brave survivor who shared his personal journey in a very public way.
Ryan Barry, a husband, and father living now in Pennsylvania, made the details of the abuse he suffered very public in an interview with Staten Island Live news outlet. Ryan accuses Fr. James Garisto of abuse that began when Ryan was a teenager in the 1990s. The clergyman was at the time a pastor, teacher, and school official at St. Joseph by-the-Sea High School.
We know that the effects of sexual abuse suffered by a child last a lifetime and can manifest themselves in many ways. Ryan is an example of what can happen when the pain and suffering become too much for a victim. Many survivors often find anesthetic relief in the form of drugs and alcohol. Ryan, who found his drug of choice at an early age, said that he was given money by Fr. Garisto that helped to fund this addiction. This too is a common tactic of abusers.
The Child Victims Act in New York gave Ryan the power to hold Fr. Garisto and the institution that employed the priest accountable. This is direct proof that the law passed in New York is unearthing dark secrets many victims have held onto for most of their life.
We believe there may be other survivors of Fr. Garisto. Those who abuse children seldom have just one victim. This case also illustrates that despite what Catholic officials often claim, abuse continued to occur into the 1990s and beyond.
Fr. Garisto was in the public eye in 2015 when he was abruptly removed as pastor of St. Adalbert – St. Roch parish in North Shore Staten Island. The Archdiocese of New York should disclose to the community the reasons why Fr. Garisto abruptly left his position and where he is now. Catholic officials frequently assert that they have concern for victims and yet refuse to release information that would help survivors heal and inform the public about dangerous men.
Recovery clearly has given Ryan new life, the freedom to own his story and seek justice. We admire his bravery tremendously. We hope that other victims find the same strength and courage as Ryan. We encourage others who knew of abuse by clergy, nuns, laity or religious orders to come forward to law enforcement with their information.
CONTACT: Mike McDonnell, SNAP Communications Manager (267-261-0578, [email protected]), Brian Toale, SNAP New York (646-549-0372, [email protected]), Zach Hiner, SNAP Executive Director (517-974-9009, [email protected])