Accounts by Survivors
and Their Friends and Families

All the information on this Web site has ultimately become public through the courage and determination shown by the survivors of sexual abuse by priests. They have given speeches and granted interviews, as SNAP founder Barbara Blaine did in Rome during the selection of Pope Benedict XVI. They have written to bishops and spoken before the bishops' conference. And they have prepared sworn statements for use in legal proceedings.

Every instance of survivor's witness is precious. Their interviews made investigative reporting possible and their speeches caused the crisis to unfold. Their affidavits and other accounts are the most exact and touching record we have of the catastrophe.

| Shanley Affidavits | Janssen Affidavits | Note on the Texts | Dallas | Pecharich Complaints | Accounts in Depth | Speaking and Healing | Boston and Manchester | Thanks |

We offer these accounts in the hope that the voices of survivors will reach a wider audience. Many of these stories are taken from hard-to-find legal and diocesan documents, or appeared originally in small publications, or were spoken to small gatherings. Where large numbers of people met survivors and heard them speak—as in Boston—the effect has been profound. The accounts below are the smallest selection of a total narrative that would include the witness of thousands of victims. Please email us if you can supply a missing piece.

Photographs of Survivors

Photographs of survivors are important and poignant documents of the crisis. When an old family photograph shows the survivor at the time of the abuse, the violation of innocence is painfully clear. When a newspaper prints a picture of a survivor holding an old photograph dating from the time of the abuse, the survivor's long journey from victimization to independence is compressed into a single image. The photographs on this page are a small sample of the tens of thousands of such portraits that exist. Each was printed in a newspaper to illustrate an account of a survivor or family member. Please click on a photo to read the article where it first appeared.

Sworn Affidavits by Boston Victims of Paul R. Shanley

These remarkable affidavits below were included in a memorandum submitted to the court by lawyers for Gregory Ford in Ford et al. v. Law et al. They provide very direct descriptions of Shanley's abuse of boys during nearly 30 years (1961–88), often including anal rape. They also offer a group portrait of his courageous accusers, and of the evolving methods and arguments that Shanley used to entrap them when they were children.

Sworn Affidavits by the Davenport Victims of Janssen and His Circle

These affidavits were submitted to the court by Craig Levien, attorney for James Wells and John Doe III in their suits against James Janssen et al. They document the sufferings of Iowa boys molested by a ring of abusive priests including Revs. James M. Janssen, Francis E. Bass, James W. Murphy, and T. Anthony Geerts. The ring seems to have begun at Kenrick Seminary in St. Louis, from which Janssen, Bass, and Murphy graduated in 1948.

Note on the Texts: We have redacted names and personal details from court and diocesan documents in order to protect the identity of the survivors. Several organizations and individuals have made important contributions to survivor witness. SNAP and the Healing Alliance have provided the support that enabled survivors to come forward with their accounts, and SNAP has collected the writings and speeches of survivors. Some accounts from the SNAP collection are included below. Voice of the Faithful provided national and local audiences where survivors could tell their stories.

Speeches to the U.S. Bishops' Conference in Dallas on June 13, 2002

Orange Diocesan Complaint File of Rev. Michael Pecharich

The accounts found in diocesan files are often very different from the sworn affidavits presented above. In order to write, the victim or family member must overcome the deference and even awe that bishops are accorded. They must approach a mysterious bureaucracy where the victim's strongest feelings collide—an attachment shaped by upbringing and education, and an aversion to the institution where the violation occurred. The accounts in a diocesan file, even a file that has been sanitized, can also reveal what the bishop knew and when he knew it. Such is the case with the file of Rev. Michael Pecharich, one of many released in the Orange diocese thanks to the determination of survivor Joelle Casteix. [The first year is the date of the abuse. The second date shows when the diocese received the account. The accounts are listed in the order they were received by the diocese.]

Accounts in Depth

  • My Story – Testimony by Donald Bondick before the Ohio state legislature. Bondick recreates the culture of his midwest upbringing and the shock of abuse by Rev. Ted Feely, who is also the subject of a series in the Rock River Times. See our assignment record of Feely. (1969; 11/22/05)

Speaking and Healing

Boston and Manchester

This Web site is dedicated to the survivors and their families and loved ones. All the information on this site has ultimately become public through the courage and determination shown by the survivors of sexual abuse by priests. Please email us with your account, and let us know about media reports that profile survivors. We appreciate your help in building this archive.

Return to the homepage.


Any original material on these pages is copyright © 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.