Phoenix Diocese still trying to right the wrongs of decades of coverup


Apr 15, 2019

By Nicole Crites

With the #MeToo movement sparking a social awakening, empowering more victims to seek help and justice the Phoenix Catholic Diocese is still trying to right the wrongs of decades of secrecy and cover-up as they investigate new allegations.

Mary O’Day sent a letter to the Pope in October 2017 detailing claims of being sexually abused in her parish as a child, saying nuns were involved.

“My memories are very clear,” O’Day said.

She implored the pontiff to read what happened to her as a tangible act to help with her healing.

Less than a month later, St. Mary’s Basilica in Phoenix sent her a response, saying her story was a “crime of terrible proportions,” they hope it was “reported to law enforcement,” offering “sorrow and support” and prayers.

Anne Vargas-Leveriza, also read O’Day’s letter.

She runs the Office of Child and Youth Protection at the Phoenix Diocese and met with O’Day in November 2017 as well.

“I’ve been in counseling for more than 10 years and they picked up paying for it after my discussion with them,” O’Day said.

So, what happens next with these types of claims, when an adult says they were sexually abused as a child and comes forward decades later asking for help?

“If an allegation comes forward, we address it right away. It doesn’t matter if the statute of limitations has expired,” Vargas-Leveriza explained in an earlier interview.

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