Priest Abuse Victim Pleads for Full Disclosure
Lysander Man Pleads for Bishop to Reveal All 49 Priests Who Are Accused
By Jennifer Jacobs
Post-Standard (Syracuse, NY)
January 17, 2004
Trembling and uncertain, Charles Bailey forced himself to step into a Roman Catholic church Friday for the first time in years to plead that the bishop reveal the names of 49 priests in the Syracuse diocese accused of sexual abuse in the last 50 years.
"How do you trust any priest until you know who the bad guys are?" said Bailey, of Lysander, who says he was raped more than 100 times by an Onondaga Hill priest in the 1960s. "There were five priests on the altar tonight. How do we know they aren't five of the 49?"
In the jaws of a brutal cold snap, about 22 people joined Bishop James Moynihan for his second solemn prayer service, "A Time of Healing," at Holy Family Church in Fairmount. A similar service was Oct. 30 at St. Mary Church in Oswego, and two more are planned in Oneida and Broome counties.
Bailey sat in the front row. His wife Susan wrapped an arm around his shoulders. He wept.
Bailey said that in 1961, when he was 10 years old, Rev. Thomas Neary promised him that sex would make him more holy. When he cried in pain, Baily said the priest told him to be quiet because his suffering was nothing compared to the pain of Jesus' crucifixion. Neary died on Sept. 17, 2001.
Bailey, now 52, reported the abuse to the Syracuse diocese in March. Diocesan officials have refused to discuss allegations against Neary; they offered counseling to Bailey.
During Friday's service, Moynihan fell to his knees and remained there for several minutes. "Each day I cannot help but remember that my brothers and sisters have something against me," he said, his voice gravelly but strong. "I'm here to say I repent of all the sins that have been committed. There's no doubt in my mind about the great harm that's been done."
Moynihan continued, his eyes downcast, "I also know I can hardly begin to make things right. For the victims, some things will never be right."
After the prayer service, Moynihan sat next to Bailey, who asked him to identify the 49 priests referred to in a letter the diocese distributed at Masses this month.
Moynihan shook his head. Since his first public comments about the scandal in February 2002, he has refused, saying church policy protects the accused as well as the victims.
Wendy Christopher, who said she belongs to a Catholic church in Warners, confronted Moynihan, saying it was a mistake to have covered up abuse.
Any original material on these pages is copyright © BishopAccountability.org 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.