Survivor Reacts To New Church Sex Abuse Scandal

By Tracy Lehr
March 6, 2016

[with video]

FILLMORE, Calif. -

Spotlight won two Oscars and the publicity has been followed by more cases of abuse.

One day after the Academy Awards Ceremony officers arrested Vidal Morales, 55 of Ventura.  The longtime youth coordinator at St. Francis of Assisi Church in Fillmore is accused of committing lewd acts with a girl. The Ventura County Sheriff's Department said Morales posted bail early Saturday. They also said other alleged victims have been identified.

Manny Vega is not surprised.  "With this prestigious recognition of Spotlight, more folks understand what took place and the incredible power the church has.  It is disheartening to hear of another case of childhood sexual abuse by a church member in our community. The absolute betrayal and abuse of power again proved to be an ongoing systemic problem within the Catholic Church. My hopes are that the church will fully cooperate with law enforcement and be as transparent as they say they are. However my experience and fear are more child victims and deception and delays by the church," said Vega via text message.

Vega described it as a David and Goliath struggle that survivors have been engaged in with the church.

The former Oxnard Police Officer and Marine has been one of the most outspoken victims of the Catholic church priest abuse case that led to a multi-million dollar settlement.

Many victims chose not to come forward until it was too late to join the lawsuit.

Last Monday, Vega was interviewed by the website Buzzfeed, where he explained, in the most graphic detail to date, what happened to him.

He recalled the day a nun took him out of class to be painted by Father Fidencio Silva.  "He tells me he is drawing a picture of a rising Christ for Easter and he asked me if I want to model for him an at that point he says well  you have to take off all your clothes so he makes me take off my underwear and he has me lay down on the ground and he starts putting me in poses your a crucified Jesus he start to manipulate my legs my arms my torso.," said Vega.

The video that can be found at, has gone viral.

In 2003, KEYT-TV cameras followed Vega to Los Angeles where he spent his Easter vacation fasting in front of the Cathedral. He was denied a private meeting with Father Roger Mahoney to talk about what happened.

Cardinal Roger Mahoney offered him rosary beads but refused to meet with Vega privately.

More than two dozen alter boys accused Father Silva of child molestation. It is widely believed he avoided prosecution by being transferred to another religious order in Mexico.

Since the film Spotlight came reporters in Boston and elsewhere have said their phones have been ringing with calls from people who have stayed quite about church sexual abuse until now.



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