Church Abuse Case Gave Other Victims Courage

By James Zambroski
WAVE 3 [Louisville KY]
November 13, 2004

(LOUISVILLE, November 12th, 2004, 12:05 p.m.) -- The sex abuse scandal cost the Archdiocese of Louisville $25 million, but that appears to be paying off in other ways. WAVE 3 Investigator James Zambroski explains.

It's a story of new courage taking away old pain. "Last week, I had a woman stop me while I was at work and thank me for coming forward," said Dr. Boswell Tabler. "She's a victim of abuse as well and it gave her the opportunity to face it."

Tabler kept his sexual abuse a secret for almost 40 years, but when he and other victims who had been molested by priests finally came forward, police say child sex abuse victims across Louisville took courage from their actions.

There have been almost 800 complaints so far this year.

"Probably the biggest reason we've seen an increase is because of the Catholic Church abuse investigations," said Sgt. Kevin Greenwood.

Ann Haynie, an expert in child sex abuse prosecution, said victims were reassured when those in the Archdiocese case went public. "These victims in the Archdiocesan child sexual abuse cases, they came forward and they weren't ostracized by their community, they weren't ostracized by their family, and you know, they're pretty neat people."

It's called delayed disclosure. The hurdles, Haynie says, who was elected Jefferson District Court Judge last week, are fearsome. "They haven't told their spouses, or their children, or their siblings or any parents who might still be around. And it's that constant fear that 'it's my fault.'"

Vickie Pusateri, a counselor who specializes in treating sex abuse victims, agreed that the public nature of the Archdiocese cases helped break down barriers. "When the doors open and people are able to start talking about it and get heard, get validation, get some closure, they start coming out of the woodwork."

For Tabler, who was victimized by the Rev. Louis Miller, some heart-to-heart advice for anyone keeping a horrible secret. "I would tell them, don't be afraid that the people are going to think poorly of you. Just the opposite -- they're going to admire you for your courage."

Police say that many suspects don't deny accusations when confronted by detectives, thinking that too much time has passed for prosecution. But Kentucky has no Statute of Limitations on felony crimes.


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