Bishop Accountability

Affidavit of Thomas Patrick Doyle

Thomas Doyle's important affidavit puts the documents and events of Davenport in a national context. For ease of use, we have scanned the affidavit and linked it to the documents that Doyle discusses. The affidavit is in the following sections:

* Background

* Structure of the Church

* Diocese of Davenport

* Secrecy and Concealment (with documents)

* Catholic Abuse History

* Duress and Fear


BEFORE ME, the undersigned authority, on this date, personally appeared Father Thomas Doyle, known to me to be the person whose name is subscribed to this instrument and acknowledged to me that he executed the same for the purposes and consideration therein expressed. Upon his oath, Father Thomas Doyle states that the following is based on his personal knowledge and is true and correct.


1. I am over 18 years of age, have never been convicted of a felony or crime of moral turpitude and am fully competent to testify to the matters stated in this affidavit.

2. I have personal knowledge of the facts stated in this affidavit and all of the facts and matters set forth herein are true and correct.

3. I was ordained Catholic priest in the Dominican Order on May 16,1970. I am an adult competent to make this affidavit. The statements in this affidavit are based upon my professional training, experience and review of the materials and records and are true and correct. I have been an expert witness and/or consultant on clergy sex abuse cases for eighteen years involving over 500 separate cases in the United States, Canada, the U .K., Ireland, France, Germany, New Zealand, Australia and Israel. I have appeared before the legislatures of the State of Pennsylvania and the State of Maryland to testify relative to child protective legislation. I have also appeared before several grand juries in the United States.

4. I hold a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy from the Aquinas Institute of Philosophy in Illinois granted in 1966. I hold a Masters of Arts in Philosophy from the Aquinas Institute of Philosophy in 1968. I was granted two Masters of Arts in 1971 from the University of Wisconsin in Political Science and another in theology from Aquinas Institute of Theology. I hold a Masters of Church Administration from Catholic University of America granted in 1976. I hold a Masters of Arts in Canon Law from the University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario granted in 1977. I have a Pontifical Licentiate in Canon Law from St. Paul University in Ottawa, Canada granted in 1977. I hold a Pontifical Doctorate in Canon Law from Catholic University of America granted in 1978. The Pontifical doctorate is the highest degree available under Canon Law. I am also a fully certified addictions counselor, having trained at the Naval School of Health Sciences in San Diego and the University of Oklahoma at Norman, Oklahoma.

5. My experience has included extensive individual counseling and support for child and adult victims of Catholic clergy sexual abuse. I have also provided canon law counsel, support and advice for priest perpetrators of sexual abuse. I have worked as a pastoral minister and counselor with hundreds of families whose children have been sexually abused by Catholic clergy. I have written several articles and contributed to several books on this topic and have given lectures and seminars throughout the United States, in Europe and in Australia and New Zealand.

6. In preparation for this affidavit I have reviewed a number of documents relating to James Janssen and the Diocese of Davenport.


7. The worldwide headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church is the Vatican or "Holy See," located in Rome, Italy. The Holy See exists as a world wide sovereign State. The head of the Holy See is the Pope. The worldwide Roman Catholic Church is divided into geographic entities known as dioceses. It also includes different organizations that are separate from dioceses but can and do exist and function within the geographic divisions. One type of organization is known as "religious institutes" but more commonly known as religious "orders." Orders are groups of men (clerics and lay brothers) and women (nuns) who serve some function within the order. An order can operate worldwide within various dioceses. Most religious orders or communities were founded to serve a specific ministry such as teaching, mission work, hospital work or parish ministry. For example, the Jesuits tend to run schools and universities. I am a member of a religious order known as the Dominicans. Another of the organizations subordinate to the Holy See are dioceses. The entire world is divided into geographic areas, known as "dioceses." Some dioceses are known as archdioceses because they are the oldest or the most prominent diocese in a geographic area such as a country or State. The other dioceses are simply called dioceses. Each diocese is headed by a bishop and each archdiocese is headed by an archbishop. Bishops and archbishops answer only to the Holy See. The archbishop of the ecclesiastical province has no direct authority over the dioceses or bishops within the province. He has only moral, persuasive authority which is informal in nature. The pastor of each parish answers directly to the bishop or archbishop. Similarly the bishop or archbishop has direct authority over each assistant pastor. In fact, every priest whether he is a diocesan priest or a member of an order, who functions in any ministry in a diocese, is under the authority of the bishop or archbishop. All parishes are under the direct authority of the bishop, even those which may be entrusted to a religious order. The Diocese of Davenport is one of these dioceses. Fr. James Janssen reported directly to the bishop of the Diocese of Davenport. The bishop, as the head of the Diocese of Davenport, had direct responsibility to supervise Fr. James Janssen as long as Fr. James Janssen was a priest ordained in the Diocese of Davenport, even if Fr. Janssen was assigned outside the diocese. This occurred in the current matter in the late 1950's when Fr. Janssen was removed from service within the Diocese of Davenport and assigned to live and serve at St. Isaac Jogues rectory in Hinsdale, Illinois while attending Loyola University in Chicago, Illinois. In addition, dioceses are responsible for priests when the priest physically travels outside the diocese. As long as a priest is formally assigned to a diocese (incardinated) he is under the authority of the bishop of that diocese, no matter where he is or what he is doing. This happened many times in the current matter when Fr. Janssen took parish children on trips to Florida, Tennessee, California, Mexico and other destinations. The Diocese of Davenport was fully responsible for any acts committed by Fr. Janssen on these trips.


8. I am familiar with the Diocese of Davenport. The Diocese of Davenport is mostly rural, serving Scott, Clinton, Cedar, Muscatine, Louisa, Henry, Des Moines, Lee, Johnson, Iowa, Washington, Keokuk, Jefferson, Van Buren, Poweshiek, Mahaska, Wapello, Davis, Monroe, Appanoose, Jasper and Marion counties. This is approximately the southeastern quadrant of the State of Iowa. There are 112,156 Catholics in 85 parishes within the Diocese of Davenport with many of the parish populations made up of devout, ethnically oriented people whose faith is quite simple. With the exception of the Catholic population of Scott County, which is influenced by the St. Ambrose University, the educational level of most Catholics is not generally college or graduate school level. This does not imply that the people are ignorant. It does imply that like the vast majority of Catholics in this country, they are susceptible to the absolute teachings of the Catholic church and would be fearful of disclosing clergy sexual abuse.

9. I believe that it is accurate to state that the victims in the Diocese of Davenport would be highly influenced by the persuasive words and threats of the alleged perpetrator and therefore would be afraid to disclose their abuse. This circumstance is present in the current matter evidenced by a letter dated February 10, 1961 where in this letter, the writer, Chancellor Maurice Dingman acknowledges that the boy who was sexually abused would probably not talk to the police because "Father Janssen has them intimidated." I believe that it is also realistic to expect that their parents would not have readily believed them and that the wider Catholic community would be prone to supporting the perpetrator and not the victims. This has been the pattern in many other similar communities. This fear is so powerful that it impacts on the will of the abuse victim and renders him incapable of publicly disclosing the abuse. I have referred to this particular type of fear as that engendered by "religious duress" which is the psychological and emotional impact of religious indoctrination on a person. Such duress in the Catholic church is the result of systematic indoctrination that is based on the church's official teaching about the role and identity of priests. Priests have significant power over people in that they are taught that the priest takes the place of Jesus Christ and as such the priest has authority and control over the spiritual welfare of the person. When a Catholic commits sin for example, and fears God's wrath, he or she is taught that confession of these sins to a priest will result in the priest giving absolution for the sin thus freeing the person from the fear of God's punishment. This extreme vulnerability can and has been exploited by the clerics in order to maintain control over lay persons. It has been my experience that nearly every victim of sexual abuse whom I have met and counseled with has stated that he or she had a great fear of priests and thought they took the place of God. This fear impeded them from either stopping sexual abuse or if they could not stop the abuse, from going public and disclosing it. This religious duress also prevented parents from believing their children's reports of abuse or, if they did perchance believe them, it often prevented the parents from going public or even from disclosing the abuse the church authorities.


10. As one who has been an expert witness and consultant in several hundred Catholic clergy sexual abuse cases in the United States and in other countries as well, I can readily attest to the fact that the common pattern and practice of the Institutional Roman Catholic Church authorities has been to handle reports of clergy sexual abuse with extreme secrecy, to avoid reporting such allegations to civil authorities, to use various tactics with victims and their families to coerce or even intimidate them from public disclosure or civil action, to fail to be proactive in providing adequate pastoral and psychological assistance and relief and to transfer alleged perpetrators from one assignment to another, often without telling the incoming assignment of the priest's background.

11. A significant factor in the coverup of sexual abuse by priests has been the power of clericalism and religious duress on individuals and on secular institutions. Victims have been emotionally unable to disclose their abuse at the hands of Clerics simply because of the church instilled fear of divine retribution against them for saying anything negative about a priest. The same fear has prevented parents from even believing the tales their children have told them or if they did believe, from going public.

12. In the current case, there is significant evidence that reports of sexual abuse by Fr. Janssen were concealed and veiled in secrecy. It should be noted that despite numerous complaints to the Diocese of Davenport relating to sexual misconduct of Fr. Janssen, he received only minimal counseling while he was pursuing a masters degree at Loyola University in Chicago, Illinois. At no other time did Fr. Janssen receive treatment for his sexual misconduct. Even when Fr. Janssen did undergo an evaluation, the evaluator recommended that Fr. Janssen be closely supervised by a mature understanding spiritual director who would have regular and frequent contact with Fr. Janssen. This is a clear example of the misguided approach of the church authorities. When dealing with a serious psychological condition they preferred to respond with a treatment modality, spiritual direction, that had absolutely nothing to do with the real issue but did serve as a distraction from taking the competent course of action that the church authorities knew was the proper way to handle the case. However it appears that even the recommended spiritual direction was never done. Instead, Fr. Janssen was almost always assigned to a parish as the only priest and normally in an isolated setting. Moreover, according to Fr. Janssen, the Diocese of Davenport never sent a supervisor or representative to check on his activities. The following documents describe the fact that and the manner in which the Diocese of Davenport concealed, and kept secret, complaints of sexual misconduct by Fr. Janssen by suppressing information from others and by moving Fr. Janssen to new parishes when it appeared that the church would be subject to scandal:


Letter to Bishop Hayes from Father Dingman. Report of Father Corcoran from Burlington notifying Bishop that Chief of Police in Burlington had received a letter from the police in Newton and that Clinton police had also been contacted. Inquiry was about Father Janssen. Father Dingman believed the complaint had to do with a "morals charge." Father Corcoran felt there was an urgency to the matter. He thought something should be done before the blow up comes and the church suffer. He mentioned that maybe Father Walsh at Grinnell could look into the matter. Father Corcoran said he heard inklings of this a year ago, but dismissed it as having no foundation.



Letter to Bishop Hayes from Father McCann of Newton replying to Bishop's letter of October 18, 1955. "There have been some rumors, but owing to the fact that he has been here with me for some time, would prefer it, if it suits your Excellency; to have you send an investigator of your own choosing and get the report directly from him".



Letter "To Whom It May Concern" from George Alward, Secretary, Newton YMCA Board. "Several years ago, our general secretary reported to the Board of Directors that he had found Father Janssen in a hand ball court with two boys in a very improper activity ... the Board instructed the secretary to prohibit Father Janssen from the YMCA. It was felt that this represented a very serious community problem."


Letter from Harley Holliday, General Secretary, YMCA, Newton, Iowa, to Father T.J. McCann. "The General Secretary of the YMCA of Clinton, Iowa, approached me and asked if the Catholic priest, Father Janssen, was still actively engaged in parish work in Newton. He informed me that Father Janssen had been serving the Catholic Church in Clinton and had been moved out as a result of homosexual tendencies on the part of Father Janssen. This substantiates the action by the Board of Directors of the Newton YMCA in placing the YMCA out of bounds for Rev. Janssen as a result of homosexual activities involving the same Father Janssen in the YMCA building."



Letter believed to be in Bishop Hayes' handwriting referring to "arrest in Des Moines with boys who were shoplifting, midnight shows, guard at the pool, YM serious charges, why forbidden to go to Y … A = Never to take off collar. B = Never to enter any Y. C =To leave Newton immediately."



* Janssen placed on leave of absence effective Tuesday, November 13, 1956.



Letter from Bishop Hayes to Dr. Stewart discussing Janssen's assignment to St. Michael's Parish Holbrook as the only priest. "I've given him a temporary assignment due to the absence of a pastor … I haven't assigned any particular priest as his spiritual director."


9/29/58 Letter believed to be from Pastor at St. Isaac Jogues rectory in Hinsdale, Illinois, to Bishop Hayes stating "it is with deep regret and after much meditation, prayer and consultation with other priests that I am sending to your Excellency this letter and its contents. Item No. 1 is a letter addressed to Father James Janssen, now at Holbrook, Iowa and type written by a 14 year old boy of this parish, Item No. 2 is addressed to ______ and written by Father Janssen. Mrs. _______ the heartbroken mother, intercepted the letters and presented them to me. After much pondering over the principals of fraternal correction, scandalum inductio, etc., I have decided this is a matter that should be presented to your attention. Mr. ______ a convert and the child's father, after questioning his son, is convinced that this horrible thing has not spread to other boys in the parish -- Thank God! According to ___ -- this relationship between Father Janssen and himself began last Christmas. Father Janssen, as your Excellency knows, was with us at ____ -- (reference improperly deleted) for almost a year and did excellent work, I thought among the Boy Scouts and teenagers of the parish. The other priests and the parishioners are of the same opinion, If your Excellency desires, I will go to Davenport offer more details about this sordid mess. With this letter, however, Your Excellency possesses the essential facts. Sincerely yours in Christ, Pastor"

"Scandalum inductio" is Latin for "Leading into Scandal." Although the classical moral definition of scandal means leading another into sin by one's own sinful acts, its use within the context of clergy sexual abuse consistently has another meaning. It refers not to scandal in the classical sense but to negative publicity and a poor image. Clergymen have consistently expressed grave concern over the negative impact on the church's image and on the image of the priesthood that would result from any degree of public knowledge of cases of clergy ex abuse.


Attestation signed by Chancellor Maurice Dingman and Bishop Ralph L. Hayes. "I, Maurice Dingman, ChanceIlor of the Diocese of Davenport, having before me the Holy Bible which I touch with my hand, having witnessed by my signature the document of suspension, ex informata conscientia issued by the Most Reverend Ralph L. Hayes, Bishop of Davenport, against Reverend James Janssen, priest of said Diocese of Davenport, do hereby swear that I will maintain secrecy regarding all facts of the case."


2/10/61 Letter from Father Dingman to Bishop Hayes. Father Hopkins became worried that a Mrs. ___ might go to the police and have action taken against Father Janssen Mrs ____'s son got in trouble and this brought the problem to a head again... Mrs. ___ talked to Father Hopkins this morning. Not knowing which way to turn, Father Hopkins promised that he would report the matter to the Chancery office. Father Hopkins got the impression that she might very well take action civilly. If she does, the matter could break in the newspaper and become nationally known. Father Hopkins wants to avoid any scandal There is no evidence to prove anything specific. Even Mrs. ___ admits her boy hasn't talked... Father Hopkins thinks the police would find it difficult to make the boys talk. Father Janssen has them intimidated. Father Hopkins himself has no proof of wrongdoing. Circumstantial evidence is available-St. Mary's gets a bill now and then from the Black Hawk Hotel for a room. Father Janssen says it was for a friend of his who was passing through. Four boys in particular are with him constantly. There are the trips to the Optimist cabin. But it doesn't add up to anything definite. Father Hopkins was hoping he could wait until ordinations to see your Excellency, but he is not sure now that he can "hold the lid on" that long.


13. I am also aware from various credible sources that there have been a number of Catholic clergy sexual abusers from the Diocese of Davenport. I am aware that past settlements between victims of clergy sexual abuse and the Diocese of Davenport have been required to remain secret or confidential.

14. It has only been in the past few years with the widespread media exposure and multiple civil law suits that Catholic church authorities have begun to take minimal appropriate action towards perpetrators by sending them for assessment and treatment. In spite of some small steps taken in the direction of healing for victims, the church generally treats the victims as if they were an enemy force. To my knowledge this has been the practice of most dioceses in the U.S., including Davenport.

15. Catholic bishops have been aware of the seriousness of this problem for decades but especially from 1984-85 when the widespread publicity of the Louisiana case put the entire U.S. hierarchy on notice. A comprehensive and detailed report [ note: See Mouton, Doyle, and Peterson, The Problem of Sexual Molestation by Roman Catholic Clergy {1}{2}{3}{4}] was compiled by Dr. Michael Peterson, a psychiatrist, Mr. F. Ray Mouton, an attorney, and myself in 1985 and presented to the U.S. bishops for their study and possible action. A copy of this document was sent to every diocesan bishop on December 8, 1985.

16. In 1962 the Vatican issued a secret document outlining procedures to be followed in the canonical processing of cases of accusations of solicitation for sex by priests in the confessional. This constitutes an especially heinous crime by a clergyman. Because of its particularly vile nature, special procedural rules for prosecuting such a crime were enacted. Although the document is aimed at the crime of solicitation for the most part, title 5 specifically includes certain other clergy sex crimes such as sex with minors and bestiality under its over-all rubric. What is noteworthy about this document is that it included regulations that placed everyone dealing with a case falling under its norms under the Secret of the Holy Office which was the highest degree of Vatican secrecy. Violation of the oath to keep knowledge of such a case secret resulted in an automatic ex-communication the absolution of which was reserved to the Pope. This document remained in force until 2001 and although it did not "invent" the extreme secrecy with which the Catholic church has covered clergy sex cases, it is a clear indicator of the secrecy surrounding Catholic clergy sex abuse cases and the attitude behind this secrecy.

17. The Code of Canon Law is the body of law under which the entire Roman Catholic Church is organized. Canon Law is the same as the bylaws and internal policies of any corporation which direct the operations of the corporation. A portion of Canon Law outlines the personnel policies of the Church.

18. Other portions of Canon Law outline how a diocese must maintain certain documentation. Specifically, Canon Law states that every diocese must maintain an archive in which are kept the instruments and writings which pertain to the spiritual and temporal affairs the diocese. (cc. 486-488). Furthermore there is to be a secret archive in every diocese where more sensitive materials are kept (cc. 489-490). These archives and secret archives have been used to hide sensitive information regarding sexual misconduct of clergy within the diocese that could subject the Church to scandal. Documents held within the secret archives are available only to the bishop and the chancellor are not to be revealed to anyone who does not require the information. In addition, those who have access to this secret information regarding sexual misconduct of priests, are sworn to secrecy regarding this information. An example of this secrecy is the 10/3/58 Attestation signed by Chancellor Maurice Dingman and Bishop Ralph L. Hayes where he states "I, Maurice Dingman, Chancellor of the Diocese of Davenport, having before me the Holy Bible which I touch with my hand, having witnessed by my signature the document of suspension, ex informata conscientia issued by the Most Reverend Ralph L. Hayes, Bishop of Davenport, against Reverend James Janssen, priest of said Diocese of Davenport, do hereby swear that I will maintain secrecy regarding all facts of the case."

19. Normally, each diocese keeps records relating to reports of sexual abuse and misconduct in these archives. Much of the information documenting Fr. Janssen's abuse was kept in a locked secret archive which was located in the basement of the chancery office. Only the bishop holds the combination to the safe that holds these secret archives.

20. The canons do not give specific examples of documents that are to be kept in the ordinary archives. Also, there is no specific mention in the canons of personnel files, although it is commonly known that every diocese keeps a personnel file on all clerics who are either incardinated in the diocese or on loan to the diocese. Often these files contain a wide variety of information: biographical and academic information, records of assignments, letters sent about clerics (with both good and bad information), medical and psychiatric records.

21. Matters involving certain penal procedures are to be kept in the secret archive. When an allegation of an offense is made known to an ordinary, he is obliged by the law to conduct a preliminary investigation either personally or through another (cc. 1717). Canon 1719 refers to the acts of the investigation which are to be kept in the secret archives. This canon presumes that a written record of the investigation is made and retained.

22. All documents in the archives are to be retained and not destroyed with specified exceptions to this rule. Certain documents from the secret archives are to be destroyed, however. These are the documents relating to criminal cases, that is, cases involving the allegation of the commission of a canonical crime. The documents that are to be destroyed are those which pertain to a person accused of a crime who has died or documents pertaining to a criminal case, ten years after the case has been closed. Even when the documentation is destroyed, a summary of the cases is to be retained along with the sentence of the tribunal if the case was subjected to a complete canonical trial. (canon 489).


23. Clergy sexual abuse is not a new phenomenon in the Catholic church. The church canon law records, dating back to the 4th century, reveal a consistent pattern of attempts by Church leadership, usually bishops individually or gathered in councils, to effectively deal with clergy sexual abuse. In the era when regional meetings of bishops were the common way to enact legislation we find regular mention of laws and canons enacted to punish clerics who offended by sexually abusing youths. In certain post-medieval periods, generally between the 15th to 17th centuries, it was common for the church courts to try an offender, defrock him and then turn him over to the civil authorities for additional prosecution and punishment. At times the punishment inflicted by the secular arm was death. There is also clear evidence that in monasteries in the medieval period, monks and clerics who sexually abused boys or girls were inflicted with very severe physical punishments which usually amounted to imprisonment and life-long restriction and monitoring after a sentence of strict confinement had been served. In some cases the sentence was close restriction alone.

24. In some historical periods the church leadership was more forthright in its acknowledgment of the problem of clergy sex abuse. One example is the 11th century book entitled the Book of Gomorrah, written by Cardinal, later St. Peter Damian, and devoted entirely to exposing and providing suggested remedies for clergy sexual abuse. There are other examples of the official church's legislative and disciplinary attempts to curb the problem of clergy sexual abuse of young people. These included specific canons or laws, enacted at synods or gatherings of bishops, held on a regular basis. It also included Papal acknowledgment of the problem through public pronouncements such as the papal edict "Horrendum est" (August, 1568), which was published five years after the Council of Trent and which declared that priests who sexually abused were to be deprived of all sources of income, degraded or evicted from the clerical state, and turned over to the secular authorities for additional punishment (see Gasparri, editor, Iuris Canonici Fontes vol. 1, n. 128). The act of sexually abusing a minor under the age of sixteen was included as a specific canonical crime in the first codification of church law (1917) and repeated in the present, revised edition of the Code of Canon Law in canon 1395. The church's own legislative tradition proves that Church officials from the papacy down to the local diocesan levels, including the diocese of Davenport, were aware in detail of the fact that Catholic clergy, including deacons, priests and bishops, regularly sexually abused children, young adolescents and adults.

25. In the present era clergy sexual abuse had been buried in secrecy until 1984 when a notorious case in Louisiana received widespread media attention. In our era (mid 20th century to 1984) there had been many cases of clergy sexual abuse prior to the notorious Lafayette, Louisiana case. Nearly all of these escaped media attention or public judicial action. Since that time thousands of cases of Catholic clergy sexual abuse have been exposed. Victims and their families have approached the secular courts for relief because their many attempts to obtain such relief from the Catholic church authorities have met with failure on the part of these authorities to take any appropriate action. In my extensive experience victims and their families have wanted two things: assurance that the offending priest would obtain help and assurance that the offending priest would never again be near children and thus prevented from abusing others. In practice the church has routinely transferred offending priests from one parish to another or one diocese to another. Only in recent years, when forced, has medical or psychiatric evaluation and treatment of the perpetrating priest been the norm. Even with medical intervention there are still regular instances wherein proven sexual offenders are not restricted from ministry but sent to other parishes or pastoral assignment. This has been the pattern and practice of the dioceses in the United States and in other countries for decades. It has changed only because victims have resorted to civil law intervention. This civil law intervention has been a major factor in forcing the institutional Catholic church through its dioceses and bishops, to acknowledge the problem of sexual abuse by dysfunctional clergy and to take minimal responsible action. The civil law intervention has helped to break the heavy pall of silence and secrecy that has enshrouded these cases for decades. This secrecy has been aided and enabled by the Church's claims to be exempt from any accountability to the civil law because of the doctrine of separation of church and State.

26. It is clear by the cursory review described above that the modern Church's claims that a priest's sexual abuse of a child was not foreseeable are specious and disingenuous. The modern Church has known about the risks of priest sexual abuse of children for over 1,500 years. This problem has just been an incredibly well-guarded secret of the Roman Catholic church for that long.


26. [sic] The concept of religious duress, already mentioned in this document, is a force that is clearly active and highly influential in Catholic clergy sex abuse cases. It severely impacts the victims, their family members, especially parents and the Catholic community in general. Catholic victims often are petrified with fear which is a result of their indoctrination as well as the words and actions of their perpetrators. They fear severe spiritual or even physical consequences for disclosing a clergy abuser. Catholics have been taught that priests take the place of Jesus Christ. Because of this deeply ingrained belief, erroneous though it may be, youthful victims and their parents have regularly been paralyzed by fear and have remained silent about clergy sex abuse. The recent publicity given to clergy sex abuse has been instrumental in freeing some victims from the clenches of this intense fear and has allowed them to come forward even though their disclosures may come many years after the actual abuse. The victims' family members are influenced because they often have either refused to believe the victims or have refused to disclose the abuse for fear of divine retribution. The community at large has been influenced because at times victims and their families have been ostracized for speaking out against priest abusers. At other times and more often, significant numbers of the Catholic laity have provided support to accused priests and refused to believe accusations of abuse.

27. In my experience with victims lasting 18 years, I have met thousands of victims who have voiced their conviction that priests took the place of Jesus Christ and therefore they would be condemned to hell if they exposed a priest. My experience has also revealed that many victims failed to come forward for many years because of their intense fear, yet the severe traumatic pain of their abuse not only remained but intensified. The oldest victim I have worked with is today 92. She only revealed the abuse, which happened when she was 12, at the age of 91, and admitted bitterly that she has suffered the consequences for all the intervening years. Please see my article, "Roman Catholic Clericalism, Religious Duress and Clergy Sexual Abuse." Pastoral Psychology 51 (2003) for detailed information on the legal and theological foundations for religious duress.




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