Norwich Diocese Names Coordinator for Abuse Reports

By Claire Cantu
Norwich Bulletin [Norwich CT]
November 7, 2003

NORWICH -- When someone is abused by a member of the clergy, "there's a lot of pain with that and anger," said Jacqueline Keller, communications director at the Diocese of Norwich.

"You really need someone who is trained to help. The purpose is to help people, not to hurt them anymore," Keller said.

Victims of sexual abuse by clergy have a new source of experienced help at the in Norwich.

Sherry Antoch has been named new interim assistance coordinator by Bishop Michael R. Cote. This position is in accordance with the "Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People" adopted in June 2002 by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Antoch will provide information about counseling services, spiritual assistance, support groups, and social service agencies to people who claim to have been sexually abused by clergy or other church staff.

While some survivors may have been going to counseling for years, they may "need to talk to somebody in the church because of how they're feeling about the church," said Keller.

Antoch's qualifications for the post include a master's degree in counseling psychology and a certificate of advanced graduate study in counselor education from Rhode Island College. She also has a certificate of pastoral care from Pastoral Care Ministry School in Wheaton, Ill.

She serves part-time as the diocesan prison ministry director. Antoch worked previously as facilitator for the court-mandated batterer's intervention group at the MultiCultural Center in Providence.

When people pick up the phone, they may be calling about abuse that happened years ago, Keller said. She is hoping that will change.

"We're hoping now that people won't wait 30 years," to report abusive experiences, Keller said. She urges people to call Antoch immediately if they know of any instances of abuse.

Antoch may be contacted through the diocesan Office of Internal Affairs at 889-4455 or 1-800-624-7407.


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