Monthly Archives: April 2011

Abuse and the Catholic Church – Can the bishops ever be trusted?

Just when it appeared that the fallout over the abuse scandal in the U.S. Catholic Church could not get any worse, another shoe dropped in Philadelphia.

On Feb. 10, 2011 three veteran priests of the archdiocese of Philadelphia
were charged with rape and indecent assault, accused of the abuse of minors
dating back to the 1990s. Monsignor William Lynn, who served as the
archdiocese’s point person for investigating reports of clerical sexual abuse
from 1992 to 2004, was charged with child endangerment for allegedly covering up
abuse by priests.

The archdiocese has placed another 21 priests on leave while accusations of
child abuse are investigated. The district attorney’s office in Philadelphia
says there was “a pattern of the church looking the other way when it came to
investigating these charges.”

It appears that even after years of investigation of child abuse by priests,
the cover-up of that abuse has been further institutionalized. Some of the
alleged crimes in Philadelphia transpired while the National Review Board of the
U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, on which I served, was trying to get to the
truth of the scandal. The indicted monsignor is accused of turning a blind eye
to things in his chancery office. Of course, to blame a clerical official, and
not his archbishop, of such deviousness presents a mistaken analysis of how the
church works.

The bishops say they responded to this scandal, and hold up as evidence the
Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, which they put into
motion back in 2002. I do not denigrate that historic step. It did a lot to make
children safer in our Catholic institutions. It permitted the National Review
Board the opportunity to examine the causes and effects of the scandal.

But the news that more than 24 active priests in Philadelphia face abuse
accusations, and that some were allowed to remain in active ministry after
accusations were made against them years ago, raises new fears.

For me, these are much more than institutional nightmares. This makes me
wonder what kind of people we are dealing with when we engage the bishops. How
is it that they say one thing and secretly intend something else? Are they ever
to be trusted?

I remember the sometimes vicious response some members of the church
hierarchy gave to the National Review Board when we were doing our work some
years ago. Cardinal Edward Egan, the former archbishop of New York, actually wanted to ban us from his fiefdom, as if we were coming from some rival kingdom to challenge his rule.

All the events of our investigation and audit get colored with new meaning in
light of the charges in Philadelphia. Little has changed.

Thomas Jefferson put it best: Honesty is the first chapter of the book of wisdom. I’m curious: How do the cardinals of the United States view the behavior of Cardinal Justin Rigali in Philadelphia, and the behavior of his predecessor, Cardinal Anthony
Bevilacqua?

I traveled on St. Patrick’s feast day this year to Dublin for a law conference and was refreshed by the lyrical camaraderie that is such a part of Irish life. The journey was particularly energizing and fulfilling, but there also was an element of sadness to the visit.

It was easy to spot the first morning when I made my way to daily Mass. Since
it was Lent, I expected to see an enlarged congregation. I found the opposite.

My hosts told me that the abuse scandal in the church in Ireland and the poor
response from the Vatican seemed to have sealed the fate of Catholicism in Ireland for some time to come. A government investigation into the horror of Irish clerical abuse — both sexual and physical — brought everything to the surface. All the usual elements were there, thanks to the Irish bishops — cover-up, lying, bullying, threats, the hiding of evidence, the sealing of witness testimony, and most of all the willingness to let the guilty clergy get away with the crime.

During the most abject period of Irish history, when the English prohibited
the practice of our faith, our Irish ancestors would walk for miles in the dark
and rain to find a remote field in which a brave secret priest would celebrate
Mass at the risk of his life for people desperate for the nourishment of the
sacraments. The people risked all to celebrate the Eucharist in spite of every
physical hazard imaginable.

The faithful have not been as absent from the celebration of sacraments as
they are today since the Irish religious emancipation in 1826. What has changed?
You don’t have to look far. You see it in the distressed faces of the faithful.
You hear it in the voices of the legal profession in Ireland who find what they
have learned to be heartbreaking.

What is really sad is that the Vatican’s understanding of what people really
need is so totally off the mark. Perhaps if the pope had taken himself to
O’Connell Street in Dublin or stood along the cobbles of old Dublin and wept
with those who were passing by, he might have achieved a semblance of healing.

But he issued a papal letter, which, no matter how well-intentioned, is not
the stuff that brings healing. People want their trust restored. No papal letter
will do that. Certainly not for people whose ancestors risked their lives for
the faith.

I believe that the virtue of truthfulness has been in trouble for a long time
in the Catholic Church. Who could ever see this coming? Not me. I was an
obedient Catholic schoolgirl, a true believer. It is not easy for us to unlearn
being Catholic. I, for one, don’t want to.

But I expect truthfulness at all costs from our leadership. If that cannot be
supplied then we must go back to the drawing board. Do we not have the right to
truthfulness? Perhaps a Council on Truthfulness might help to expand the
importance of this critical virtue. Perhaps it could be a meeting of bishops and
the faithful in which they share ideas and dreams for the church. Perhaps we
could let the power of the virtue of truthfulness help redefine the proportions
of holiness in the church. Liberal or conservative, truthfulness is a gift to all.

As Catholics we know that we must act with wisdom — we must forgive, but not
forget. We must exercise good judgment and courage — both gifts of the Holy
Spirit given at the time of confirmation. This means that we must be blunt with
the Holy Father and the other men who continue by either business as usual, or
misguided loyalty, to permit the unspeakable to occur.

I believe that when the truth flourishes we will see the return of those who
have walked away from the church. We will see people choose holy orders as a way
of life for the service of others. We will have no dark places to which
misguided princes can abandon reality. We will not have criminal charges brought
against those who choose the commission of a felony over the mandate of the
gospel to be people of truth. – Chicago Tribune

Anne M. Burke is a justice on the Illinois Supreme Court and former interim chairwoman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops National Review Board.


Lawsuit Charges ‘Wrongful Death’ Following Suicide of Alleged Priest Abuse Victim

The latest addition to the long list of accusations aimed at the Catholic church comes from relatives of a man who committed suicide in 2009. Daniel Neill, from Bristol Township, shot himself after the Archdiocese of Philadelphia allegedly refused to believe Daniel’s claim that a priest had molested him during the time when he was an altar boy. Neill’s family is suing the archdiocese for his wrongful death.

The lawsuit involves one of many allegations made in the Philadelphia grand jury report investigating sexual abuse among the clergy. The findings of the grand jury report point to several examples of the failure of the archdiocese to act appropriately following credible complaints of sexual abuse.

In total, the grand jury report includes four lawsuits, criminal charges against four priests, both current and past, and the suspension of more than two dozen priests owing to the re-investigation of past complaints of sexual abuse involving minors.

The priest whom Neill claimed repeatedly molested him as a child in 1980 and 1981 at St.Mark’s in Bristol is Rev. Joseph J. Gallagher. Gallagher is one of the priests who has been put on administrative leave. Neill’s family’s lawsuit alleges that Neil reported the abuse to the principal of the school at the time, but apparently the principal “called Daniel a liar and threatened Daniel that his family would be disgraced if he persisted.”

Neill reported the abuse again in 2007 to the victim-assistance program set up by the archdiocese. Another report of Gallagher’s “improper relationships” had also been filed within the year and other individuals allegedly confirmed the details of Neill’s story.

The grand jury report said that Gallagher denied the claims and became “more evasive” throughout the investigation. An independent review board eventually concluded that the complaints against Gallagher could not be substantiated. Neill was told of this decision in July 2008. He committed suicide the following June.

Neill’s mother said that Neill had been “really hurt” by the outcome of the investigation. In a statement, Neill’s family said that they filed the lawsuit hoping that church officials would “do a better job” of making sure that children are protected. The statement said, “Our family member said more than once, ‘I am not looking for anything other than for the Church to believe me.’ …We are filing this lawsuit for him.”

KD Law Blog


Heather Coffin – Classmate

PHILADELPHIA, Pennsylvania (AP) — Sixteen years after a couple awoke to find their 10-year-old daughter raped and murdered in her bed, investigators said a new DNA analysis has tied a former neighbor to the crime.

Police on Tuesday arrested Raymond Sheehan, 38, saying he stole into Heather Coffin’s bedroom while her family slept in the next room and silently strangled her. Sheehan was charged with murder.

The fifth-grader’s 1987 death vexed investigators for years and police had considered dozens of people as suspects — including neighbors, friends and Heather’s parents — before efforts to find the killer ran cold.

The break came after detectives in a special investigations unit reviewed the case and decided to take a second look at Sheehan, who Philadelphia Police Commissioner Sylvester Johnson said had been identified as a suspect early on and was never ruled out.

Detectives were able to link Sheehan to the crime when biological samples found on Heather’s body were resubmitted to a lab and tested positive for his DNA, Johnson said.

The same samples had been sent to an FBI lab in 1991, but DNA technology then wasn’t as advanced, and no match was made, police said.

“The technology caught up with the job,” said Detective Chuck Boyle, one of the investigators on the case.

Heather’s body was found by her father. Police at the time said there was no sign that someone had forced their way into the home.

The girl’s parents said they were awakened briefly by something in the night, but didn’t hear a struggle and went back to sleep. Heather’s sisters, then 7 and 4, and her infant brother also slept through the attack in the small, two-story row house.

Heather’s family said Tuesday they had lived in anguish knowing the killer was free.

“I just hope he gets the death penalty, because he sure does deserve it,” said the girl’s mother, Brenda Coffin.

Heather’s sister Danielle, now an adult, sobbed as she said she wanted Sheehan “away forever.”

“Kill him, and let him know, let his family know, how it is to feel for a loved one being killed,” she said.

Authorities said they didn’t know whether Sheehan had an attorney. His home has an unlisted phone number.

Johnson refused to discuss how Sheehan knew the Coffin family, but said he had lived in the same neighborhood. He also declined to say how investigators had obtained Sheehan’s DNA to compare to the samples found at the crime scene.

Heather’s grandmother, Janet Lamelza, said the years since the killing have been hard on the family, which is now grieving again for a daughter who would have turned 27 on July 19.

The Coffins’ youngest daughter, born after Heather’s death, doesn’t like to sleep alone, Lamelza said. She said Brenda Coffin was recently diagnosed with cancer and is undergoing chemotherapy.

2003 Cable News Network LP, LLLP.
An AOL Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved.

Sins of the Father

WHILE THE FAITHFUL and holy gather in the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul, Art Baselice stands outside, bearing witness in his own way. He isn’t interested in prayers for Bishop Joseph Cistone, who is leaving Philadelphia to run a diocese in Michigan. He isn’t hoping to shake hands with the cardinal and all of the archbishops, who have come together on this summer afternoon for Cistone’s farewell benediction.

Surrounded by a handful of priest abuse victims and their advocates, he holds a sandwich-board sign bearing photos of his son, Arthur Baselice III, and two clerics, Brother Regis Howitz and Father Charles Newman. As a pair of clergymen head into the service, Baselice raises up his billboard. They look over for a moment, then move on. “See what I get?” Art says. “There’s a man of God. He turns his head.”

Back home in South Jersey, the ashes of Art Baselice’s son sit in a marble urn, surrounded by trinkets and photographs, as if part of a funeral that never ends. The man Art holds responsible is Father Charles, the former president of Archbishop Ryan, the largest Catholic high school in the city. With his wife and two children, Art would attend Saturday mass, and walk up the aisle to Father Charles, who would place the Holy Eucharist in their outstretched hands or on their tongues. Art is mostly bald now, and stocky, with the meaty hands of a prizefighter. He rarely smiles, and when he speaks, there’s an edge to his words, like he’s spitting them out — partly the South Philadelphia Italian in him, partly the ex-city cop. But his sharp cadence is mostly a reflection of what he can’t stop thinking about. “He started grooming Arthur the day he met him,” Art says of Father Charles. “Not only Arthur. He groomed us.”

That Father Charles was sent to prison in May for stealing more than $900,000 from his religious order and high school gives Art little comfort. In his mind, there are crimes for which the priest, and the Philadelphia archdiocese, haven’t been punished. His son is dead. So is his faith. As Bishop Cistone and his holy brethren worship inside the cathedral, Art tightens his grip on his sign, trying to make sense of how he — the ex-cop, the devout Catholic, the father — ended up here, and when his healing will begin.

This isn’t a story like so many that have surfaced since 2002, when the Boston Globe’s reports on Catholic clergy abuse tore apart that city’s archdiocese. Since then, tales of pedophile priests have been told by the hundreds, as other cities, including Philadelphia, began to examine the church in a way they once dared not. In 2005, a grand jury investigation launched by district attorney Lynne Abraham culminated in a 418-page report. The revelations it contained were horrifying. One priest molested a fifth-grader inside a confessional booth. Another raped an 11-year-old, then took her to a clinic for an abortion. Sixty-three priests were named in all, and the scores of children they violated would grow up battling addiction, suicidal thoughts and mental illness. But there is another group of victims and survivors — the families whose lives were ruined by depraved men cloaked in priests’ vestments.

Read the rest of the story here… http://www.phillymag.com/articles/sins_of_the_father/

Story printed in Philadelphia Magazine, Writer – Richard Rys, 10/28/09


List of Emotions

Nightmares. Flashbacks. Distrust. Sexual hang-ups. Physical ailments. Depression. Guilt. Anger. Confusion. Relationship difficulties. Self-doubt. Suicidal thoughts. Addictions. Powerlessness. Helplessness.

Resentment. Judgmental. Critical. Emotionless. Hatred. Adversity. Despair. Ungodly. Sidetracked. Wicked. Endless thought. Self-neglect. Emptiness. Uncivil. Secluded. Desperate. Drowning. Blackness. Loneliness. Isolation. Degradation. Remorse. Pleading. Hurting. Rage. Remembering.

I’ve dealt with all of the above terms at one point or another in my life. The endless fleeting of emotional despair, guilt, anger, confusion, resentment, and desperation have more than likely been the major afflictions in my life. To truly understand and appreciate any of these terms, I believe, you must actually have felt and lived each one of them. Mere definitions aren’t enough for the most educated intellect.

I don’t know what the hell I want. I’ve thought of, “Do I want an apology?” I don’t know. For me, an apology just isn’t good enough, because it just should never have happened in the first place. It’s just incomprehensible for me to believe an apology would be enough for all these years I’ve had to deal with the events of being abused as a child. I didn’t come forward to follow a lawsuit. I actually thought some people would go to jail because of what happened to me, but I had no idea there was a Statute of Limitations on child abuse and I was one-year passed its course when I came forward legally. Filing a civil suit is the only way some State’s laws give victims a chance at justice, even if it’s only from a monetary standard. Confrontation with my abuser is out of the question, since he’s been deceased for nearly a decade. So why am I doing this? That’s the million-dollar question! I can’t answer it exactly, but I can elaborate on how I feel and what may have led me to this point today.

I knew I wasn’t the only one. During the scandal that has broken in the last 10 years, it was hard to avoid the news coverage and magazine articles and newspaper columns, but I tried my hardest anyway. It was difficult to face so many others who were living silent no more, while I was still maintaining secrecy and discretion, and praying that one of my abuser’s other victims had not come forward, knew about me if he already had come forward, or mentioned my name at all. I knew I wasn’t the only victim of my abuser, even though I never saw firsthand anyone else being abused, it was just some things my abuser mentioned to seal that assumption as fact. I remember my mother, a devout Irish Catholic and the niece of New York’s Cardinal John J. O’Connor, sitting with her and watching the nightly news, and her claiming, “This is all about money. These people who are accusing these good priests of these awful things are just scamming the church for money.

It was at that exact moment that I had a flashback of my own abuse, and a moment of personal happiness that I had never shared one ounce of my experiences with her. My father wasn’t much of a bargain either. For the only times I saw him during my childhood years, was passed-out on the couch from an overnight slumber party with John Jameson and several dozen members of the Busch Family.

I guess I’m doing all of this because I want some measure of justice, and if I don’t stand up and be counted, how can I ever be sure this same abuse isn’t happening to another child? I think it’s my duty and responsibility to talk about what happened to me and to do something to ensure that the same events do not repeat itself. I’m doing this to protect kids!

Peace out!

Rich


That's Life. What Can I Tell You?!

I have just two motives with this website; to provide support to victims of clergy sexual abuse and to protect kids. As I posted in my “Mission Statement,” I am not interested in getting my name and face out in the media. I think some are very egotistical and empowered by being in the public spotlight, which is certainly not a bad thing, and I applaud anyone who can do whatever to support victims and protect kids, but when you do it so much that you actually forget what you’re fighting for, or in other words, “everything outside of the camera,” then you’re not on the same mission as I am.

I have taken opportunities to protest at churches, schools, in front of City’s Halls, at legal hearings, and press conferences. I have held signs that read “I was abused by a Catholic priest.” For the majority of the time, I keep my mouth shut and I stand there in protest with fire in my belly, but even through antagonizing, I continue to stay silent. That is until, of course, a priest tells me to “shut up,” and comes down off the steps of a church onto city property and bumps me and threatens me, then my reaction is usually loud and obnoxious. So was the case when Fr. Pat ######## at Saint Timothy’s Parish in Philadelphia a month ago came out of church after his 12pm Sunday Mass and asked, “What are you doing in front of my church?” I said, “Fr. Thomas Rooney was removed from this parish for abusing kids. We’re here to alert the community and parishioners. We’re here to protect kids.” Then, Father Pat ######### pointed his finger in my direction and said, “Why don’t you just shut up?!” Well folks, for me that was like telling me to go fuck myself. Did he bait me into an argument? Yes, I bit. The bait was tempting, and as the only hungry fish in the sea that day, I went right after it. But if anyone thinks for one minute I’m going to keep my mouth shut in such complete adversity, you don’t know me very well.

In the passed year, while doing protests and some leafleting in front of parishes and schools and Archdiocese Headquarters, I’ve been called a liar. I’ve been told to get a life. People have walked by and whispered or yelled from their moving vehicles at me to go fuck myself. Parishioners exiting Mass have called me scum, told me to go away, and even one woman threw coins at myself and other protestors. All this from obedient Catholic parishioners. Where’s the Absolute Love I was taught as a child in parochial school? Where is the community outrage for children being abused, especially by the most trusting members of society? Most people are usually disgusted by the idea of an adult raping a child, but when it’s their parish priest it’s different? Someone needs to explain the concept of that one to me, because I just don’t get it.

I will not be taking part in SNAP’s big media event this weekend, because I just don’t agree that media is the outlet for raising awareness. Die-hard Catholics simply change the channel when a story is presented about clergy abuse, or they point fingers at the victims and claim we’re the ones to blame, or we’re just looking for money. Well the Statute of Limitations has run out for 99% of victims who come forward to report being abused as a child, and suing the Church is the only justice we can get until the SOL is abolished, or a two-year window is opened for victims of abuse to come forward and charge their abusers civilly. The Statutes usually run out on civil cases as well, unless a two year window is opened. I never wanted any money. I just want the people who knew about my abuser and transferred him from one school to another, throughout a few states over a period of 30 years, where allegations of abuse were always brought against him within a short time at his new location, I just want them to feel what my life has been like. I want church officials responsible for putting my abuser on the track that he would cross paths with me 25 years after allegations of sexual abuse were made against the man to admit their complicity and instead of preaching to society about what they are doing for victims, instead ask me, “What can we do for you?” I want church officials to feel just 10% of the hell I’ve gone through in my life. If they can feel just that small percentage, I will consider that somewhat justice. Unfortunately, the only pain Church officials understand is through their pockets and bank accounts. So… I want every penny the Catholic Church has! Lastly, I want the church to keep their goddamn fucking word!

I do support people protesting in the streets against parishes and schools that have systematically abused children for hundreds of years, and concealed it. This isn’t a game and it’s not a very funny joke. These are lives we’re talking about! The world doesn’t need more of me. The world doesn’t need more people suffering, milling around, unproductive members of society, and sometimes with a feeling of not even being apart of society. I’ve lived two very different lives, and I still do. I have this one side of me that wants to be king and ruler of my own destiny. Then I have this other side that lives under a rock, hoping and wishing and wanting nobody to know what happened to me when I was a kid. I don’t want them to know why I’m depressed, or why I have cruel and almost daily nightmares, and relentless panic attacks. But since I came public, I feel like I have to be out on those streets with a sign in my hand, because I feel like it’s my responsibility to make sure nobody goes through the hell I’ve gone through. Just like being gay, you hope you can do something positive and make an impact on the world and society’s views just so you can make it easier for the next generation of GLBT people. Exactly like burning fossil fuels and polluting the environment, do we not want to leave this world in better shape for our kids and grandkids? But I don’t know if we can ever learn from our mistakes. If we choose the Catholic Church as a model for change and righteousness, I think we’re leaving this world much worse and I think I will have some regrets on my deathbed.

Since I’ve been taking part in these protests, and even giving a few interviews to local reporters in Philadelphia, along with some national and international newspaper reporters, I’ve been contacted by 4 men on Facebook, who saw me on the news and want to talk about their own abuse. Two of the 4 have come forward about the abuse because they both said, “They saw the emotions when I gave one of the interviews.” The truth is, I don’t like being in front of the camera, and I don’t think it likes me much either, not to mention I think it adds another 20-pounds to my already 50 extra pounds. But I am pleased that more victims could come forward because they saw me speak from the heart or hold a sign in my hand. So maybe that’s the only part of being on TV that I feel is worth my emotional outbursts. A friend recently told me, “You’re a good tool for any nut.“ Still, I’d rather be the guy away from the camera and talking to passers-by and hoping they will support myself, my fellow survivors, and our overwhelming cries to protect kids.

I’m an angry man, yes. I’m also a guy with an ideology and a set of standards and principals that I won’t compromise for anyone, nor at anytime. I have my eyes focused on some different techniques with how I can help protect kids and support those who have already been abused. I’m usually an open book for any survivor who has questions or is looking for advice. I’m no therapist and I am untrained in the field of psychology, but after everything I’ve gone through in my life, I think I’m an expert on childhood sexual abuse. That’s my life. What can I tell you?!

Peace out!

Rich


That’s Life. What Can I Tell You?!

I have just two motives with this website; to provide support to victims of clergy sexual abuse and to protect kids. As I posted in my “Mission Statement,” I am not interested in getting my name and face out in the media. I think some are very egotistical and empowered by being in the public spotlight, which is certainly not a bad thing, and I applaud anyone who can do whatever to support victims and protect kids, but when you do it so much that you actually forget what you’re fighting for, or in other words, “everything outside of the camera,” then you’re not on the same mission as I am.

I have taken opportunities to protest at churches, schools, in front of City’s Halls, at legal hearings, and press conferences. I have held signs that read “I was abused by a Catholic priest.” For the majority of the time, I keep my mouth shut and I stand there in protest with fire in my belly, but even through antagonizing, I continue to stay silent. That is until, of course, a priest tells me to “shut up,” and comes down off the steps of a church onto city property and bumps me and threatens me, then my reaction is usually loud and obnoxious. So was the case when Fr. Pat ######## at Saint Timothy’s Parish in Philadelphia a month ago came out of church after his 12pm Sunday Mass and asked, “What are you doing in front of my church?” I said, “Fr. Thomas Rooney was removed from this parish for abusing kids. We’re here to alert the community and parishioners. We’re here to protect kids.” Then, Father Pat ######### pointed his finger in my direction and said, “Why don’t you just shut up?!” Well folks, for me that was like telling me to go fuck myself. Did he bait me into an argument? Yes, I bit. The bait was tempting, and as the only hungry fish in the sea that day, I went right after it. But if anyone thinks for one minute I’m going to keep my mouth shut in such complete adversity, you don’t know me very well.

In the passed year, while doing protests and some leafleting in front of parishes and schools and Archdiocese Headquarters, I’ve been called a liar. I’ve been told to get a life. People have walked by and whispered or yelled from their moving vehicles at me to go fuck myself. Parishioners exiting Mass have called me scum, told me to go away, and even one woman threw coins at myself and other protestors. All this from obedient Catholic parishioners. Where’s the Absolute Love I was taught as a child in parochial school? Where is the community outrage for children being abused, especially by the most trusting members of society? Most people are usually disgusted by the idea of an adult raping a child, but when it’s their parish priest it’s different? Someone needs to explain the concept of that one to me, because I just don’t get it.

I will not be taking part in SNAP’s big media event this weekend, because I just don’t agree that media is the outlet for raising awareness. Die-hard Catholics simply change the channel when a story is presented about clergy abuse, or they point fingers at the victims and claim we’re the ones to blame, or we’re just looking for money. Well the Statute of Limitations has run out for 99% of victims who come forward to report being abused as a child, and suing the Church is the only justice we can get until the SOL is abolished, or a two-year window is opened for victims of abuse to come forward and charge their abusers civilly. The Statutes usually run out on civil cases as well, unless a two year window is opened. I never wanted any money. I just want the people who knew about my abuser and transferred him from one school to another, throughout a few states over a period of 30 years, where allegations of abuse were always brought against him within a short time at his new location, I just want them to feel what my life has been like. I want church officials responsible for putting my abuser on the track that he would cross paths with me 25 years after allegations of sexual abuse were made against the man to admit their complicity and instead of preaching to society about what they are doing for victims, instead ask me, “What can we do for you?” I want church officials to feel just 10% of the hell I’ve gone through in my life. If they can feel just that small percentage, I will consider that somewhat justice. Unfortunately, the only pain Church officials understand is through their pockets and bank accounts. So… I want every penny the Catholic Church has! Lastly, I want the church to keep their goddamn fucking word!

I do support people protesting in the streets against parishes and schools that have systematically abused children for hundreds of years, and concealed it. This isn’t a game and it’s not a very funny joke. These are lives we’re talking about! The world doesn’t need more of me. The world doesn’t need more people suffering, milling around, unproductive members of society, and sometimes with a feeling of not even being apart of society. I’ve lived two very different lives, and I still do. I have this one side of me that wants to be king and ruler of my own destiny. Then I have this other side that lives under a rock, hoping and wishing and wanting nobody to know what happened to me when I was a kid. I don’t want them to know why I’m depressed, or why I have cruel and almost daily nightmares, and relentless panic attacks. But since I came public, I feel like I have to be out on those streets with a sign in my hand, because I feel like it’s my responsibility to make sure nobody goes through the hell I’ve gone through. Just like being gay, you hope you can do something positive and make an impact on the world and society’s views just so you can make it easier for the next generation of GLBT people. Exactly like burning fossil fuels and polluting the environment, do we not want to leave this world in better shape for our kids and grandkids? But I don’t know if we can ever learn from our mistakes. If we choose the Catholic Church as a model for change and righteousness, I think we’re leaving this world much worse and I think I will have some regrets on my deathbed.

Since I’ve been taking part in these protests, and even giving a few interviews to local reporters in Philadelphia, along with some national and international newspaper reporters, I’ve been contacted by 4 men on Facebook, who saw me on the news and want to talk about their own abuse. Two of the 4 have come forward about the abuse because they both said, “They saw the emotions when I gave one of the interviews.” The truth is, I don’t like being in front of the camera, and I don’t think it likes me much either, not to mention I think it adds another 20-pounds to my already 50 extra pounds. But I am pleased that more victims could come forward because they saw me speak from the heart or hold a sign in my hand. So maybe that’s the only part of being on TV that I feel is worth my emotional outbursts. A friend recently told me, “You’re a good tool for any nut.“ Still, I’d rather be the guy away from the camera and talking to passers-by and hoping they will support myself, my fellow survivors, and our overwhelming cries to protect kids.

I’m an angry man, yes. I’m also a guy with an ideology and a set of standards and principals that I won’t compromise for anyone, nor at anytime. I have my eyes focused on some different techniques with how I can help protect kids and support those who have already been abused. I’m usually an open book for any survivor who has questions or is looking for advice. I’m no therapist and I am untrained in the field of psychology, but after everything I’ve gone through in my life, I think I’m an expert on childhood sexual abuse. That’s my life. What can I tell you?!

Peace out!

Rich


Sad Quotes, But True!

“The U.S. Cardinals said they are going to develop a code of ethics to help them deal with the sexual scandal. Wait a minute, I thought their already was a code of ethics, it’s called the Bible.” —Jay Leno

“I read this in the paper this morning: New York City has a priest shortage. So you see, there is some good news in the world. … To give you an idea how bad it is, earlier today in Brooklyn an alter boy had to grope himself.” —David Letterman

“As you’ve probably heard, the Pope has asked all the Cardinals to return to Rome. You know how they got them all to come back? They told them that there was going to be a performance by the Vienna Boys Choir.” —Jay Leno

“They say (the Pledge of Allegiance) violates the separation of church and state. How about the separation of church and altar boy? That’s what I’m worried about.” —Jay Leno

“Cardinal Law had difficulty with his memory under oath today. He could only remember three commandments. Under oath, Cardinal Law said ‘I do not recall’ 43 times. I’m telling you, this guy is presidential material.” —David Letterman

“The House Transportation Committee is now considering a bill that would allow pilots to carry guns for protection. I’ve got a better idea, why not give guns to altar boys, give them a fighting chance.” —Jay Leno

“The Church reaffirming celibacy — it’s kind of like Clinton reaffirming monogamy.” —Jay Leno

“The big Vatican summit wrapped up, closing ceremonies were Harry Connick Jr. The Vatican is taking a tough stand now, three strikes and you’re transferred.” —David Letterman

“After all these scandals in the church, many Roman Catholics are calling for an end to celibacy. And end to celibacy, how about starting celibacy? Let’s at least try it to see if it works.” —Jay Leno

“Today the Catholic Church unveiled its new policy. Don’t ask, don’t confess.” —Jay Leno

“Kids, if you see an ad that says Cardinals looking for a bat boy, watch out, that has nothing to do with the baseball team.” —Jay Leno