Nov. 24, 2019
In the past year, some dioceses and religious orders have for the first time listed their accused clergy. At others, the decades of silence continues.
When she was 7, Patty Gallagher was chosen to bring the priest who served her parish and school in Monona, Wisconsin, his daily milk. The Rev. Lawrence Trainor was practically a member of the family. He came over for dinner and visited the family cottage. Gallagher’s father and Trainor played cards and drank together. Trainor, a priest at Immaculate Heart of Mary Church, ingratiated himself with her parents.
And then, Gallagher said, he “raped me in every way possible.”
“I had to make my first confession with this man and say the words, ‘Bless me, Father, for I have sinned,’ to the man who raped me in the most horrific ways,” said Gallagher, of Milwaukee, whose last name is now Gallagher Marchant. “There are no words to describe that.”
Gallagher Marchant, a psychotherapist, said she repressed these traumatic memories for decades. She was aware that she had been hurt, but she could not remember by whom. When Gallagher Marchant was 35 and her daughter turned 7 — the same age she was in 1965 at the time of her own abuse — the memories came flooding back. She knew she had to tell someone, so she reached out to the Catholic Diocese of Madison. The year was 1991.
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