Runaway Priests [See a list of articles
in the series.]
The story starts late one night in December 1984, he says, when the Rev. Yusaf Dominic abused him. He was 9 years old and had a part in the Nativity play at his family's London church. His parents had asked the visiting Pakistani cleric to spend the night.
Twelve years later, in 1996, the traumatized child had become a college kid who could contain the memory no longer – especially when he found out that Father Dominic had returned from Pakistan to work in another parish in the Westminster Archdiocese.
He went there and told his story to the head priest, who said, "These things happen," the young man recalls.
"He offered to arrange a meeting" at which Father Dominic would apologize "and we could all have a cup of tea together."
Father Dominic – who has since denied wrongdoing – stayed on duty. The young man and his family appealed to a bishop, who suggested that the priest might merely have been engaged in "horseplay," or that a counselor might have implanted a false memory.
"But I hadn't been to a counselor," the man says.
The bishop also dispensed some advice: "You don't want to go to the police."
He ignored that advice and found someone who took him seriously.
"All the church personnel I spoke to minimized what happened," the young man says. "It's the secondary victimization that hurts people most."
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