Survivor faces abuse to reclaim his life

Boston Globe

By Kevin Cullen
| Globe Columnist
January 17, 2012

Joe Crowley didn’t know how he’d feel when everybody started talking about anniversaries and commemorations and retrospectives.

It’s been 10 years since the story of the international cover-up of sexual abuse by priests exploded here in Boston. For most people, it’s just that: a story.

But for Joe Crowley, a survivor, it’s his story, the only one he can tell. He was a 15-year-old student at Boston College High School, on a college path, when a predator wearing a Roman collar named Paul Shanley changed all that. Shanley abused Crowley, then sent him to other men.

Crowley’s life changed. College was pushed aside. Ambition was pushed aside. But he couldn’t push aside his shame, a gnawing sense that he, a 15-year-old boy, had somehow been responsible for a 40-year-old man’s depravity. “I was angry,’’ he said. “At my perpetrator. At the church, which I knew was aware of Shanley’s crimes and protected him. At myself, for allowing myself to be vulnerable.’’

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