Advocate for Clergy Sex Abuse Victims Takes His Own Life
By Liam Migdail-Smith
July 6, 2016
The bond between state Rep. Mark Rozzi of Berks County and Brian Gergely of Cambria County was quick and ironclad, the kind soldiers describe experiencing in combat.
But their bond did not come from the horrors of war. It was forged because both were victims of sexual abuse by priests when they were youths.
Rozzi was stunned to learn that Gergely, 46, committed suicide Friday, hanging himself in his Ebensburg home, Rozzi said.
"I can remember, not shaking Brian's hand, but gripping hands and pulling each other in and just knowing that we had gone through the same thing and that we were suffering," Rozzi said. "We didn't have to talk about the pain. We just understood it with our eyes."
Rozzi, a Muhlenberg Township Democrat, interviewed Gergely after the Altoona-Johnstown Diocese sexual abuse scandal broke last year, asking about Gergely's abuse at the hands of Monsignor Francis McCaa, the pastor at Gergely's local church.