Reported victim and former priest speak out after list of accused priests is made public


December 3, 2018

By Seema Iyer

When the Steubenville Diocese released its list of priests accused of sex abuse it left many people having to relive what they would rather forget.

Beth Rocker was between 10 and 12 years old when she says former priest Gary Zalenski – whose name was on that list – began molesting her. Rocker says it started in the early 1990’s after she and her brother brother became altar servers at their church, Saint Peter and Paul in Lore City, Ohio.

“He would come up behind me and squeeze my chest or from the front squeeze my chest, I’d feel his penis be hard pushing up against me,” Rocker said.

Zalenski disputes the claim, saying there weren’t any female altar servers during the five years he was there and he provided five letters that essentially say as much.

Rocker said another incident with Zalenski happened on a day she thought she’d spending time hanging with a big group of friends from church, but ended up on Zalenski’s boat with just him and her younger brother.

She says Zalenski told her to get on his lap to drive the boat and then “he opened his legs and I sat down in between his legs and then his penis got hard and then my backside got wet and then I got up and we jumped off the boat.”

Rocker says she and her brother both jumped off the boat into the lake because she was scared and was trying to think of a way to get out of the situation.

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