Worcester Voice Report Site Gets 400 Hits
By Kathleen A. Shaw
Telegram & Gazette [Leominster MA]
Downloaded July 26, 2003
LEOMINSTER- Mary T. Jean knew she had done something right when she went grocery shopping yesterday.
A woman walked up to her in the store, gave her a hug and congratulated Mrs. Jean on her report about clergy sexual abuse in the Worcester Catholic diocese.
Mrs. Jean, a Catholic mother of two sons and the leader of Worcester Voice, said her Web site at www.worcestervoice.com has received 400 hits since July 18, when her report was posted.
"I usually get about 25 a day," she said.
Worcester Voice, which was founded about a year ago by Mrs. Jean, has no connection to Voice of the Faithful, another group concerned with the church's sexual abuse scandal.
She said she got several dozen e-mail messages, including four from people who told her they had been abused by priests.
"One of these victims was a nun. That really broke my heart because I have such love and respect for nuns," Mrs. Jean said.
One person who allegedly was sexually abused by a priest in Shirley, in the Boston archdiocese, was referred to SurvivorsFirst, a victim advocacy group in the Boston area.
Called "Clergy Abuse Report, Worcester Diocese," Mrs. Jean named 56 separate accusations that have been made against priests of the Worcester diocese in the last 20 years. These included public accusations, criminal charges and civil suits. She said her research shows a clear record of cover-ups by the diocese, which generally has failed to respond adequately to allegations against priests.
Mrs. Jean's report was presented about the same time Attorney General Thomas F. Reilly made public his official report on the extent of clergy sexual abuse in the Boston archdiocese. Mr. Reilly's report said the archdiocese for decades had covered up child sexual abuse and willingly transferred abusive priests from parish to parish. He found, in diocesan records, nearly 800 allegations of sexual abuse since 1940 involving 250 priests.
Where the attorney general, top law enforcement officer for the state, had a staff of investigators, Mrs. Jean said she put her report together by herself with some help from victims and other supporters.
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