Diocesan files and court cases are precious sources of survivors' witness. Legal affidavits are the the most detailed and personal accounts we have of sexual abuse by priests, and the nearly 200 bishops' archives contain thousands of survivors' accounts. These letters and memos of conversations convey the evasions and secrecy of the bishops, and the frustration and intimidation regularly experienced and overcome by victims of abuse.
Coughlin in Boston and California
This 1992 account of alleged abuse by Rev. Richard Coughlin describes a survivor's journey through crisis and confrontation with the archdiocese and Coughlin to a realization that disclosure was the only recourse. As a result of this 1992 fax, future bishop John B. McCormack confirmed a long-forgotten 1985 meeting with the author of this account. Other survivors came forward in California, where Coughlin had been transferred, and the priest was removed from ministry.