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  Priest Accused in New Book
Lysander Man: Clergy Member Raped Me As Boy

By Mike McAndrew
Post-Standard (Syracuse, New York)
June 26, 2007

"Dear God, are you there? This is Charles Bailey. I am ten years old...A man in priestly robes has just raped me."

"Is he one of yours?...How could you let this happen?"

That's how Bailey, 56, a burly Lysander grandfather and retired Niagara Mohawk worker, begins "In the Shadow of the Cross," a new book believed to be the first written by a local clergy abuse victim.

In his book, Bailey recounts in painful detail how the Rev. Thomas Neary, a Catholic priest in the Syracuse Diocese, raped him dozens of times from 1961 to 1963 when he was 10 to 12 years old.

He describes how the abuse affected his entire life, how he kept the secret for 40 years before telling his wife, and how he still struggles to make peace with God.

Neary - who served at diocesan churches in Onondaga Hill, Hannibal, Jordan, Skaneateles, New Hartford, Durhamville and Norwich - died Sept. 17, 2001, at the age of 83. That was eight months before Bailey disclosed his secret to his wife, Sue.

Since he publicly testified in 2003 before a state Senate panel, more than 30 other men have told him they were Neary victims, too. Some have contacted him anonymously. But 17 of them gave Bailey their names.

Bailey will hold his first local book signing Saturday at Creekside Books & Coffee in Skaneateles.

"In the Shadow of the Cross" was published a few months ago by iUniverse Inc., a print-on-demand publishing firm. The book is not stocked in bookstores but can be ordered at Barnes & Noble's Web site, bn.com , at Amazon.com or at Bailey's Web site, www.intheshadowofthecross.net . The paperback costs $17.95.

Bailey said he spent about $7,000 to get the 186-page book edited and published, and to buy 300 copies to resell.

He had an inscribed copy delivered Thursday morning to Bishop James Moynihan at the Syracuse Diocese offices.

Diocese spokeswoman Danielle Cummings said she and Moynihan had not read Bailey's book and would not comment on it or on Bailey's allegations.

In April 2003, Moynihan sent Bailey a letter offering "my profound apologies to you for any hurt you have suffered as a result of the despicable activities of one of our priests a number of years ago."

For several years, the diocese has been paying for Bailey's weekly therapy sessions, confirmed Dr. Stephen Driscoll, his Syracuse psychologist.

In his book, Bailey expressed mixed sentiments about the bishop's response to allegations that diocesan priests molested children. Bailey says Moynihan appeared visibly shaken when he told him about Neary's conduct, provided him with his private cell phone number, and told him where Neary was buried and urged him to yell at Neary's grave.

But he said the bishop has erred in refusing to publicly identify about two dozen priests against whom the diocese found credible allegations of sexual abuse had been lodged since 2002.

By withholding the names, Moynihan is protecting the accused priests but not protecting children from them, Bailey said.

The diocese has filed requests with the Vatican, seeking the removal of 22 priests from the priesthood, Cummings said. She said she had no information about the Vatican's decisions.

Bailey said he started writing about his abuse four years ago at the suggestion of Driscoll, his psychologist.

He wrote his first words - the book's powerful "Dear God" opening chapter - in about 20 minutes in the spring of 2002 while sitting on a deck outside his family's summer camp at Brennan Beach on Lake Ontario.

"I became that 10-year-old boy again," Bailey said. "It just flowed out of me. When I read what I had written, I wept for quite awhile."

His book details how he told his wife about the abuse for the first time as the priest abuse scandal began to unfold in Boston in 2002. Later that day, he told his mother, who in 1961 arranged for Neary to give Bailey counseling at their home because she wanted her son to become a priest.

He finished "In the Shadow of the Cross" four years later, late last fall.

Bailey said he sent his manuscript to more than 60 publishing houses but could not persuade any of them to publish it. So he decided to pay to get it published.

"I think it's quite a book," said Driscoll, who has read it. "It's a profound statement of a survivor's resilience."

Bailey said that without the support of his wife and their four children, he could have never become a survivor. Together, the Baileys confronted Neary's brother at his home, talked to other Neary victims, spoke to gatherings of priests about the effects of the abuse and offered support to other abuse victims.

But Charles Bailey said he remains troubled by the fact that he never told anyone what Neary was doing.

"When I talk to victims younger than me, I think if I only had the guts to tell someone instead of just fantasizing about killing Neary, then he would not have raped any other boys," Bailey said. "I carry that around with me."

 
 

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