‘bender Boy’ Shines Light on Sexual Abuse by Renovo Priest
By Paul Garrett
March 5, 2016
With stories of hundreds of children being sexually abused by priests in the news this week, one man from our area contacted The Express to tell his story of what happened to him over 40 years ago at the hands of a Renovo priest, Fr. Joseph Bender, who was named as one of the sexual offenders in the grand jury report.
His main reason for doing so is to applaud state Attorney General Kathleen Kane's effort to change the statute of limitation law regarding sexual predators of children.
The man, now in his 50s, married and with children, would like to remain anonymous, so in keeping with his wishes, he will be referred to as John.
"It all started because we went to St. Joe's Church school in Renovo. We were all altar boys and members of a choir group called St. Joe's Little Singers. Fr. Bender was the leader of the choir," explained John.
John said Fr. Bender had a cabin up on Hyner Mountain, where he would take a select group of boys ages 7 to 13 for weekend trips in the winter and longer week-long trips in the summer.
"He had everything a kid would want back in the 60s ... snowmobiles, trampolines, quads, everything that would attract a little kid. He knew what he was doing," said John.