Archbishop Greets Victims of Priest Abuse
By Steve Leblanc
Associated Press, carried in Sun
September 14, 2003
BOSTON - Archbishop Sean P. O'Malley, wading into a small knot of protesters after Mass on Sunday, said more needs to be done to heal the wounds of the church's priest sexual abuse scandal.
O'Malley talked with victims and advocates in the impromptu sidewalk meeting after one of the protesters approached the archbishop as he shook the hands of parishioners as they left the Cathedral of the Holy Cross.
"We want to make sure that all of the survivors get all the help they need," O'Malley said. "The church has taken action. We need to take more."
O'Malley made the comments five days after the announcement that the archdiocese had reached a settlement of $85 million with 552 alleged clergy sex abuse victims.
He said an audit to be made public before year's end will outline steps the archdiocese has taken, but acknowledged that the process of responding to the concerns of victims will be long.
The impromptu meeting pleased Maryetta Dussord, 59, of Boston, one of about two dozen protesters.
"He has to come out and feel the wounds, feel the pain, listen to the anger, feel the anger. I think it was a wonderful step," said Dussord, who said three of her children were abused by former priest John Geoghan. Geoghan, who was convicted of groping a 10-year-old boy, was killed in his cell last month, allegedly by another prisoner.
Other victims said they are waiting to see if O'Malley's words turn into actions.
"I stuck out my hand and I held onto his because I wanted him to listen," said Dale Walsh, 55, of Cambridge, who said she was abused as a teenager by the Rev. Paul Shanley. "I hope he listened."
O'Malley was installed in July as head of the Boston Archdiocese. He replaced Cardinal Bernard Law, who was forced to step down as archbishop last December after months of mounting pressure over criticism that the church attempted to cover up allegations of sex abuse.
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