Catholic Official to Apologize Publicly to Woman Sexually Abused As Child by Reedsport Priest
By Bryan Denson
August 18, 2012
A high-ranking official with the Archdiocese of Portland will formally apologize to an Oregon woman later this month for the sexual abuse she endured as a child in the 1980s at the hands of a Roman Catholic priest.
Monsignor Dennis O'Donovan, the vicar general of the archdiocese, will apologize from the pulpit of St. John the Apostle Parish in Reedsport on Aug. 26, according to Portland lawyer Gilion C. Dumas, who represented the victim in a lawsuit against the diocese and the Rev. Edward Alstock.
The public apology, which O'Donovan will make on behalf of Archbishop John Vlazny, is a rarity, Dumas said.
"As far as we know," she said, "this is the first time that they are going to make a public apology in the parish where the abuse occurred."
Alstock was the pastor at St. John's when he showered Carolee Horning with affection, then sexually abused her, Dumas said. Horning was in her mid-teens at the time.
Dumas pointed out that her client wanted her name included in court records -- not abbreviated with initials or listed as Jane Doe -- because she wanted to show she wasn't ashamed.
The apology was a condition of a settlement reached last May by Horning and the archdiocese.
"The apology to Carolee and to the congregation was a central part of the settlement from her perspective, since it represents an acknowledgement by the Archdiocese that none of this should ever have happened to her," Dumas said in a news release.