Victim-survivors share impact of clergy sexual abuse at restorative justice conference

Catholic Spirit – Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis

January 25, 2020

By Joe Ruff

For Frank Meuers, a victim-survivor of clergy sexual abuse, the impact is far-reaching and never-ending.

“It’s like a stone in a pond,” he said, “the hole disappears, but the ripple effects go on and on.”

A member of St. Joseph Parish in New Hope and director of the southwest Minnesota chapter of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, Meuers described the anger he lived with for years – and the help he received through therapy. He shared that and more as part of a five-person panel of victim-survivors at a Jan. 23 conference organized by the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.

More than 60 people listened – most of them also victim-survivors on a day especially set aside for them. They nodded in recognition or teared up in empathy and understanding as Meuers and others on the panel discussed broken but healing families, difficulties forging lasting relationships and struggles with their faith.

The conference was remarkable for many reasons. It brought together victim-survivors, Church officials and Ramsey County law enforcement, including Archbishop Bernard Hebda, County Attorney John Choi and Tim O’Malley, archdiocesan director of Ministerial Standards and Safe Environment. It was one of several final steps this month toward the archdiocese satisfying terms of its settlement agreement over civil charges that the county filed in 2015 alleging the archdiocese was negligent in the case of an abusive priest.

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