Clergy abuse victim keeps her faith, finds healing in the Church

Catholic Spirit, Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis

January 21, 2020

By Dave Hrbacek

Gina Barthel went to a priest while in New York to find healing from childhood sexual abuse. She got the opposite.

In 2004 at age 28, a priest from a religious order listened to her stories about being sexually abused from age 4 to 9, then took her down the same path.

As the abuse took place, she moved back to the Twin Cities. Thanks to another priest, who serves in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, she not only got out of the abusive relationship, but reported it and played a role in the abusive priest being removed from ministry.

Even so, her struggles continued, and she felt unable to continue practicing her Catholic faith. Finally, six years after reporting the abuse, she found a path to healing with the help of Auxiliary Bishop Andrew Cozzens, who started meeting with her regularly in January 2014 and still does.

Barthel will share her story at an upcoming conference on restorative justice and reconciliation Jan. 23 at Holiday Inn & Suites in Lake Elmo. It will feature Archbishop Bernard Hebda and Ramsey County Attorney John Choi, who will talk about the settlement of civil charges against the archdiocese in 2015 and how the archdiocese has made changes to improve the handling of clergy sexual abuse.

Note: This is an Abuse Tracker excerpt. Click the title to view the full text of the original article. If the original article is no longer available, see our News Archive.