Yet Another Clergy Abuse Lawsuit in Boston, SNAP Stands in Support of the Victim
For immediate release: March 3, 2022
A new lawsuit alleging clergy abuse and cover-up in the Archdiocese of Boston during the 1980s has been filed in Massachusetts. We applaud this brave victim for coming forward and hope that his example will spur others who may have been hurt to come forward and start on their own healing journey.
According to the complaint, Gerry Nee was abused over the course of six years while he was a student at St. Joseph School in Holbrook. He was harmed at the hands of two different men, Rev. Robert Fichtner and Rev. Anthony Rebeiro. As with so many other stories of abuse within the Catholic Church, many of the assaults took place in confessionals and rectories, places where victims are easily isolated by the perpetrator. Our hearts break for the trauma that Gerry had to go through, but we hope that this new lawsuit will not only help him heal but will also bring other still-wounded victims forward.
According to BishopAccountability, there are at least 300 abusers in the Archdiocese of Boston. This is an extraordinary number and, sadly, one that we expect will continue to grow. Survivors of sexual abuse often go through a long lag time before reporting, a trend that is known academically as “delayed disclosure.” The fact is, in the United States the average at which a victim of abuse comes forward is 52, which means that we should expect to hear more stories like Gerry’s as time presses on.
Catholic officials should pound the pavement, using websites, parish bulletins, and the pulpit, to ensure that parents and parishioners at each and every location where Fr. Fichtner and Fr. Rebeiro worked are informed of this new lawsuit. Church leaders should implore still-silent victims to come forward to local law enforcement, trusted therapists, family, or friends. This is the bare minimum that we expect from Catholic officials when new cases of abuse are discovered, and Church leaders in Boston should by now understand the importance of public transparency.
We once again applaud Gerry Nee and his example. Our movement is pushed forward by the strength of victims going public and we are grateful to Gerry for his courageous example.
CONTACT: Michael McDonnell, SNAP Communications Manager ([email protected], 267-261-0578 ), Melanie Sakoda, SNAP Survivor Support Coordinator ([email protected], 925-708-6175), Zach Hiner, SNAP Executive Director ([email protected], 517-974-9009)
(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for more than 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)