Nov. 1, 2019
By Meagan Harkins
Father Joe Tonos has personal insight into the trauma of those abused by priests, considering he was mistreated himself.
When Tonos was 18, he said a priest came on to him while they were discussing the vocation of priesthood. Tonos said the priest made sexually suggestive comments and offered to purchase him alcohol. Although he was not physically touched, he described the encounter as one that made him angry, but it didn’t turn him away from the church.
Tonos has been an ordained Catholic priest for 25 years and is serving his 15th year at St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church in Oxford.
His story is not an isolated one. The Google search term “priest abuse” has stirred traffic since 2004, as far back as Trends data goes. Interest spiked in August 2018 when Pennsylvania released a list of more than 300 Roman Catholic priests accused of sex abuse. Following the Pennsylvania incident, a similar list was released for Mississippi.
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