Seven decades after a priest assaulted her, a Plainfield woman is still grappling with the trauma

Valley News

January 30, 2021

By Anna Merriman

When trauma resurfaced in Patty Rondeau’s life 50 years ago, it came in a sleek black car rolling up to her sister’s Hartford home.

The day had been beautiful; sunny and bright, just before a christening party one of her sisters was throwing. Rondeau, then in her 30s, was sitting among the lilacs and grass outside, turning the sandy dirt into small castles with her children.

The arrival of the Rev. Daniel Roberts dashed the idyllic moment.

“I lost it. I started shaking and crying,” Rondeau said. It was the first time in years that she’d seen the priest who she says sexually assaulted her as a young girl in White River Junction. “It was like it happened all over again.”

She told her older sister that she refused to go inside as long as Roberts was there. But, in the 1970s, decades before news about sexual abuse within the Catholic Church would make headlines across the country, and long before the #MeToo movement would draw attention to the prevalence and lasting trauma of sexual violence, Rondeau’s sister only sighed.

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