Director of Mn SNAP Encourages Sexual Abuse Victims to Come Forward
By Brittany Larson
August 16, 2013
This past legislative session the Minnesota Child Victims Act passed 60-0 in the senate. The law allows victims of sexual abuse to sue in cases that are old. Those cases used to be barred under the statute of limitations.
Bob Schwiderski was 7 years old when he says he was sexually abused by Father William Joseph Marks at St. John's Catholic Church in Hector. Today, he's director of Minnesota SNAP Survivors Network Abused by Priests.
Bob Schwiderski says, "I personally have met over 1,000 people that were sexually abused by religious people."
Bob stopped by his hometown today in Hector, Minnesota.
Schwiderski says, "This journey is to prevent this sexual abuse of children and this is something I will continue to do until the day I die."
Schwiderski was an altar boy at St. John's in Hector when he was growing up in the late 1950's and early 1960's.
He says 27 victims have come forward who were abused by the same priest.
Schwiderski says, "This guy is the one we were told who is the connection between us and God."
MN SNAP says there is no evidence that Catholic officials warned anyone when Marks was transferred from parish to parish to parish.
In 1994 Schwiderski and three other men filed a civil lawsuit against the diocese of New Ulm.
Father Marks served at a total of nine parishes. According to Archdiocese of Milwaukee documents, victims said they were abused following mass at St. John's on several occasions.
Father Marks died in 1979 at the age of 71. Today is Holy Day of Obligation and the Archdiocese of New Ulm was closed and could not be reached for comment.