A Time to Heal: Abuse Victims Attend Special Service

By Alex Shabad
November 19, 2007

Update: A healing service Sunday for the alleged victims of a Jasper, Indiana priest.

Monsignor Othmar Schroeder allegedly abused boys during his 28 years at Holy Family Church church.

Officials say this abuse has really damaged their reputation partly because it was a secret for so long, that's why they are more than ready to begin healing.

It's a time for healing at Saint Joseph's Church service for those who were abused and betrayed by one of their own.

Bernard Fallon, who attended the service, says, "It was kind of overwhelming I think a sense of denial in the community for nearly 30 years"

Bishop Gerald Gettelfinger says, "Anytime you have a priest betrayed doctor betray cannot help but damage"

Even after the first allegations arose in 1996 it took another ten years and several more victims before this secret was revealed.

Bishop Gettelfinger says, "When others came forward later it made it possible to protect that anyonymity as well as the anyonymity of the new ones thats why the delay"

The victims weren't the only one's who came to the service Sunday to be healed.

Othmar Schreoder's brother Norbert Schreoder carries the pain with him everyday, "I will forgive I have to live with it the rest of my life"

Church officials say so far at least ten victims have come forward. But they expect that number to rise.

Previously: A large turnout of abuse victims at a special service in Jasper Sunday.

The Evansville Catholic Diocese held the ceremony in response to allegations of sexual abuse by Monsignor Othmar Schroeder.

The service Sunday came more then 10 years after the first allegations. Many people who weren't even victims showed up just to give their support.

Schroeder allegedly abused boys during his 28 years at the Holy Family Church.

The church found out about these allegations in 1996 but hadn't disclosed them to protect the privacy of the victims.

Church officials say so far at least 10 victims have come forward.

Bishop Gerald Gettelfinger says he hopes the abuse victims can continue to be faithful, "Anytime a priest betrays trust or a doctor betrays trust or parents betray trust, the pain is so deep it cannot help but damage. But that's beside the point, the goal of the church is to move Jesus' message. We can't get stuck in head ringing. We must continue to move forward."

Monsignor Othmar Schroeder died in 1988.


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