Guest column by man abused by Allentown priest: ‘Silence and cover-up only allow abusers to continue their evil acts’

The Morning Call

August 31, 2018

By David Cerulli

In the wake of the recent release of the Pennsylvania grand jury report on clergy sex abuse, it has become increasingly clear that victim-survivors must be given the opportunity to speak about their experiences if we as a society will have any chance of preventing this horror from happening over and over.

Abuse thrives in secrecy. It is time to end the secrecy and stop the abuse of children and the vulnerable.

To be sure, it is extremely difficult for survivors of sexual violence to overcome the shame and self-blame to speak about their abuse. It almost always takes years, and frequently decades, for victims of such violence to find their voices.

We as a society must not put unfair and unnecessary barriers in their way. To that end, we need to eliminate confidentiality agreements (also known as nondisclosure agreements) and eliminate the statute of limitations for crimes of sexual abuse.

My personal experience in the area of clergy sex abuse has come to the fore once again with the release of the grand jury report.

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