Guest column: Child sex abuse survivors hang hopes on Louisiana Supreme Court

NEW ORLEANS (LA) [New Orleans, LA]

January 26, 2024

By Mac McCall

I am writing this letter to address the issue in the Louisiana Supreme Court on prescription, or the statute of limitations, on child sexual abuse. As I have said before, this is not a political issue. This is a human issue.

When we allow and support abusers to get away with these heinous acts because of a loophole in the law, we support the abuse. I trust that the Louisiana Supreme Court will make the right decision in supporting the lookback window which is supported by scientific evidence. This is not about an insurance claim but a claim to change our society for the better. The children abused grow into adults with trauma and, if it is not properly addressed, they suffer until the day they die.

I dealt with my abuser and his lawyers holding the issue of prescription over my head, which retraumatized and revictimized me over and over, causing a daily struggle. Even though I chose to take the higher road and chose to forgive my abuser, he still chose to use the issue of prescription to retraumatize me.

I would like to say to the Louisiana Supreme Court that every second you take to make this decision, a survivor is being retraumatized. The survivor feels unheard and unprotected which is the same feeling experienced at the time of abuse when that survivor was just a child.

I would like to say to the Catholic Church that its hierarchy is showing its true colors by not only covering up this abuse but also by not accepting any accountability for its actions. It seems as if the church has been hijacked by the devil himself, and the people covering up and promoting this abuse are not even in control of their own actions. 

If Jesus were here, he would be knocking down tables in the temples and taking these men off the altar which they have disgraced.

I would like to thank the Catholic faithful for all the support after the four-part series with WWL-TV’s David Hammer. I would like to thank all the media and lawyers who are standing up against the abuse of children. I know the Catholics right now are extremely confused on how to operate with such a corrupt hierarchy that has become the Catholic Church. I think we need to remember the people are many, and the hierarchy are few.

If you stop donating money and demand the church take responsibility for the devilish actions, then it will have no choice. I hope this message represents that you do have a voice, and it is powerful.

I would like to share the impact statement I read in court after my abuser pled guilty. This is for all the survivors that are still struggling. The statement is a message of forgiving but never forgetting. I have dedicated my life to advocacy on the issue of child sex abuse and will stand with all of you forever.

“For 20 years of my life, I was locked in my own mental prison. I felt alone and separated from society. I tortured myself because of what was inflicted upon me and almost destroyed who I am. I lost my relationship with God because of the pain and anger. Even though I deserted myself and God, He gave me the strength and courage to face the biggest fear in my life. I bold-faced myself and was able to face the truth. Throughout the process of justice, I learned to forgive my abuser. I forgive him, but I will never forget. The Catholic Church sheltered and protected my abuser and to this day continues to shelter and protect many pedophiles. We the people need to take a stand against this demonic hierarchy and collectively take the power back. My journey symbolizes you can turn pain into power. You can overcome any trauma if you are willing to do the work. I dedicate my life to standing for all survivors of child sex abuse until the day I die. I would like to thank my family, friends, JPSO and the Jefferson Parish D.A.’s office for standing with me and giving me the opportunity to heal. I am very grateful for this journey because it has given me the strength I need to change the world. Love conquers all.”

I would like to end with a forgiveness meditation I use. It consists of four phrases said repeatedly: “I’m sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you. I love you.”

Mac McCall, a community activist and nonprofit founder of a program to strengthen mental health, was abused as a child by former Catholic Church Deacon Virgil Wheeler who pleaded guilty to the sex assault before dying in April 2023.