What Father Bradel Did to Me
By Patricia McCormick
New York Times
August 18, 2018
When I saw the name of the priest who molested me listed in the Pennsylvania grand juryís report, I thought: Iím gonna be in big trouble. The abuse started when I was about 12 years old, so itís not a surprise that the language that came to mind was straight out of that period of my life.
I scanned through the nearly 900 pages of the report that was released by the attorney general last week. It detailed abuse in six dioceses over 70 years, listing more than 300 abusive priests. The accounts were horrifying ó young victims were given gold cross necklaces to signal to other predators that they were Ďoptimal targetsí ó and the documentation of what happened is surely a good thing.
But what stunned me was my second reaction: a perplexing disappointment that I still donít know whether I was his only victim. Of course, I didn't want others to have experienced what I did. But I did want some confirmation that his behavior was part of a pattern.
In the 1960s, Catholic priests were a special class of bachelors, fed pot roast dinners by a bucket brigade of parish women, so when Father Bradel came to our house in central Pennsylvania for the first of many regular visits, my mother got out the good china.