|Victims of Alleged Clergy Sexual Abuse Speak out to Promote Awareness
By Johnny Archer
April 21, 2011
Two men who say they were sexually abused by their priest in Louisville say they're coming forward in hopes that their story will help put a stop to sexual abuse in the Catholic Church.
The abuse allegedly came from someone who two young boys thought they could trust – the priest at their church. But instead, they say that trust was violated and have come forward more than 50 years later to tell about what they called a traumatic experience.
“Well, you figure 12-years-old, he [the priest] is a man of God,” said John Scott, who says he was sexually abused by a clergyman. “And what he was doing wasn’t wrong.”
That's what Scott thought nearly 60 years ago when he says he was sexually abused by Reverend Edwin Sherzer at St. Edward’s Parish in Jeffersontown. Scott remembers the details vividly.
“He said take off your clothes. So, we [his bothers] looked at one another and we took off our clothes,” said Scott. “And then all of a sudden he took of his clothes.”
In the 1960's Reverend Sherzer also allegedly sexually abused Tom Weiter. He was a 10-year-old altar boy at St. Therese in Louisville. There, Weiter says the Reverend used to touch him and other altar boys inappropriately.
“It’s very difficult to face up to this, that your church that you loved all your life has something so vile and evil to children,” said Weiter.
In 2005, Reverend Sherzer pleaded guilty to immoral practices with a child under 15 and agreed to spend 5 years under house arrest.
In a letter sent to WHAS11, the Archdiocese of Louisville states:
“Any report or suspicion of child abuse is reported immediately to civil authorities, and the archdiocese cooperates fully with any criminal investigation. A priest or employee with a substantiated accusation of child abuse is removed permanently from ministry."
But Weiter believes the church needs to be more proactive in making guilty clergy members of sexual abuse more accountable for their actions. And for now, he no longer participates in the church because of that.
“My relationship with God is totally different than what the Catholic Church teaches that I learned in my catechism,” said Weiter.
Thursday, a support group for victims held a meeting releasing many court documents pertaining priests who were involved in sexual abuses cases. And also, a long list of clergy members involved in some type of sexual misconduct from around the country.
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