Attorney who has represented clergy abuse victims says it can take decades to come forward

WMUR-TV, ABC-9 [Manchester NH]

July 22, 2021

By Jessica Moran


Mitchell Garabedian says culture of abuse must be stopped

A Boston attorney who has represented clergy sex abuse victims for decades said Thursday the culture of sexual abuse in the clergy has to be stopped.

Attorney Mitchell Garabedian’s comments came after Bishop Peter Anthony Libasci, the head of the Roman Catholic Church in New Hampshire, was accused of assaulting a boy in the 1980s. Garabedian is not representing that alleged victim.

Garabedian has represented thousands of sexual abuse victims. He said he’s not surprised by the allegations and is commending anyone who comes forward, regardless of how long ago the alleged abuse took place.

He said it takes a lot of courage for victims to come forward, and they’re to be admired because they’re not only helping themselves, but also helping others.

While the allegations in this case stem from the 1980s, Garabedian said it’s not uncommon for it to take decades for sexual abuse survivors to come forward.

“Victims of clergy sexual abuse usually don’t come out until their mid-40s or even later, so it’s just the nature of the beast,” Garabedian said. “The coping mechanisms prevent victims from coming forward until they’re older in life.”

Garabedian said he’s in favor of a full investigation by law enforcement and not an investigation done by a church board. Libasci is not facing any criminal charges.