Vermont Conversation: A widow’s quest for truth

VTDigger [Montpelier VT]

July 28, 2021

By David Goodman

[Includes link to one-hour podcast interview]

hen 32-year-old Peter Fatovich died by suicide in 1994, he left behind his adoring wife, four children under 5 years of age, and a million questions.

Fatovich’s widow, Jenny Grosvenor, pushed the questions aside — until now. Grosvenor, who lives in Stowe, has spent the past few years pursuing the truth behind what tormented her young husband to take his own life by jumping into Huntington Gorge in Richmond, Vt. She finally discovered his dark secret: In the late 1970s, Fatovich was the victim of sexual abuse by the Rev. Donald T. Malone, a priest at Archbishop Stepinac High School in White Plains, New York, a Catholic high school.

Fatovich is far from alone. According to, a nonprofit that tracks clergy abuse allegations, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has reported that over 7,000 clergy were credibly accused of child sexual abuse between 1950 and 2018. The conference reports that there have been over 20,000 victims. The Catholic Church has paid out over $4 billion to settle clergy abuse cases.

Last week, Jenny Grosvenor published a searing article in The Daily Beast, “A Widow’s Hunt for the Priest Who Preyed on Her Husband.” It told the story of her yearslong pursuit of the truth.

The response has been overwhelming. One email that she received said: “My Dad read your article and finally remembered that Malone had molested him in the early 60s. … Luckily now I think he will get the help that he needs. And as a survivor of priest abuse myself, I can finally understand the turmoil he’s been going through.”

Jenny Grosvenor is a senior lecturer in the Department of English at the University of Vermont. She has worked at Life Magazine and Sports Illustrated. She is writing a memoir about suicide, priest sexual abuse, and survival.

Grosvenor writes, “I find some consolation in knowing that sharing my story could save other victims of this horrific abuse.”