Sex Abuse Ribbons

WALA [Alabama]
January 21, 2004

Brian and Marianna Pierre have designed and copyrighted a simple black and white ribbon as a way to reach out to everyone, and send a message to every sex abuse victim.

"You matter to me. That I took the time to put this on to remember what happened to you that should never happen to anyone ever again," Pierre said.

Pierre says he kept the details of his own sexual abuse as a teen secret from everyone, including his wife. But, he says something happened in 1997 that made him realize the couldn't keep the secret any longer.

"I had no idea where [Reverend Alexander]Sherlock was, but I was sitting in church one day, and picked up a bulletin and saw he was coming to St. Ignatius to speak to the kids, and I couldn't live with that," he said.

He's talking about Father Alex Sherlock who was the priest Pierre says molested him. Sherlock was removed from the ministry in February, 2003, but he's never been charged with a crime. The statute of limitations ran out on Pierre's allegations which date back to the mid 1970s.

The Pierre's are offering the ribbons on their MASK Foundation website. MASK stands for Making All Secrets Known. The Pierre's are hoping folks will order and wear the ribbons during the 40 days of Lent, and Easter Sunday.

The Pierre's say someone will be monitoring the MASK Foundation website 24 hours a day. It's run from a small office in their home, but they're hoping to do big things will it comes to providing help and support to victims and advocacy groups.

The couple wants to provide something they were unable to find. Marianna Pierre said, "What hurt the most was the silence that came from everywhere. No one came forward to say 'I'm sorry that this happened to you'".

The Pierre's say the MASK ribbons will let other supporters of sex abuse victims speak loudly without ever saying a word.