Sex-Abuse Victim Forms Treatment, Recovery Program

By Andrew Ravens
Lowell Sun [Lowell MA]
Downloaded April 7, 2004

LOWELL Gary Bergeron was sitting in a funeral Mass for a fellow church sexual-abuse victim who had overdosed on drugs when it dawned on him that something needed to be done.

There were not enough programs, if any, established to counsel victims of sexual abuse, he thought.

With that in mind, the Lowell resident recently formed The TRUST Foundation Inc.: Treatment, Recovery & Understanding Sexual Trauma. The nonprofit organization will establish support groups for victims and their families.

"Over the last two years, hundreds upon hundreds (of victims) have come forward, but we have yet to see any new programs put in place," said Bergeron, who explained that professional counseling could curb drug use and reduce the amount of victim deaths.

He said the foundation will seek to establish weekly, biweekly and, eventually, daily support groups run by trained professionals.

The foundation, which begins holding sessions May 1, will also promote research into the area of childhood sexual abuse, particularly by priests.

Bergeron became one of the most vocal spokesmen for church sex-abuse victims two years ago, when he went public with his own abuse by the late Rev. Joseph Birmingham of St. Michael Church in Lowell.

"No one likes to talk about sexual abuse it's an ugly word, but something needs to be done," Bergeron said.

Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.


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