Black and White Ribbons for Victims of Clergy Abuse

NBC 15 [Navarre FL]
January 22, 2004

There are ribbons for breast cancer, AIDS, and teen suicide; now there is one for clergy sex abuse.

Brian Pierre is a clergy sex abuse victim, "It's something you never forget especially where it is someone that has that much power and priests have that much power." he said from his home in Navarre, Florida.

As a student at Mobile's Mcgill-Toolen in the mid 70's, he says he was sexually abused by Father Alexander Sherlock.

"I think it's more painful now than it was ever before because of the way I've been treated by the church, especially the archbishop." Pierre added.

To aid his healing, Brian recently set up an on-line non profit organization called MASK. It stand for Making All Secrets Known. This week the organization started a ribbon wearing campaign.

Brian's wife Marianna is the organization's Vice-President. She said, "I wanted for people to just say i have compassion for you and that's why we call it the compassion ribbon."

The compassion ribbon is black and white. Brian said it represents the collar that these men wore."

Brian and Marianna have received emails of encouragement. One supporter wrote, "A wonderful idea that i will wear with great sadness and yet great pride."

Ribbon requests from Rhode Island to California even orders from overseas. Marianna clapping her hands said, "All the way to the UK The United Kingdom. When I got that one I was cheering we're international."

The MASK Foundation would like people to wear the ribbons all the time, but specifically during Lent.

"It's a good time for the church to repent for the crimes against children and adults." Pierre said. Adding, "Easter being the culmination of that event, we'd love to see every person in every Catholic church in the world have one of these ribbons on."

Ironically, above Brian's home computer is a picture of him as an alter boy in Mobile. Now, decades later, he has just one request for his hometown. "I'd like to see Mobile take a lead in this."

The ribbons are not just for victims, but for supporters of victims. You can order a ribbon on the Mask Foundation web site

The ribbons cost $5. That covers materials, shipping and handling.