Victim of Priest Sexual Abuse Speaks out

Associated Press, carried by the News [Tuscaloosa AL]
April 18, 2003

Brian Pierre claims he was sexually abused by a Roman Catholic priest in Mobile 28 years ago, when he was a troubled 15-year-old student at McGill-Toolen Catholic High School.

Pierre told WKRG-TV in Mobile that he was abusing drugs and alcohol when he met the Rev. Alexander Sherlock, who resigned from the priesthood Feb. 28 after being confronted by Archbishop Oscar Lipscomb about the sexual misconduct allegations.

Lipscomb has not named anyone making sexual abuse complaints. But Pierre, in the TV interview, identified himself this week for the first time as the person whose allegations triggered Sherlock's removal.

Now married with children and living in North Carolina, Pierre said he's not ashamed about what happened. "I'll show my face to anybody ... I didn't do anything wrong," he said.

No criminal charges have been filed, but the Mobile County prosecutor is probing allegations against Sherlock, who resigned Feb. 28. He reportedly has traveled to Italy and could not be reached Friday.

The legal deadline to bring criminal charges in Pierre's case has passed.

Pierre said as a teen he was alone with Sherlock on the third floor of the bishop's house on Government Street. The meetings, according to Pierre, included: "alcohol, drugs, sex and a lot of conversation. He was a brilliant man."

Pierre said he didn't know how to stop the abuse. He later was kicked out of school and went into drug and alcohol rehab.

Pierre said that in early 1997, Sherlock was scheduled to speak at his daughter's Catholic school. It was then that Pierre said he decided to report the abuse, saying: "I saw his name in a bulletin that (he) was still in a parish in Mobile and I couldn't justify being quiet any more."

Sherlock was given counseling and moved by Lipscomb to a church in Montgomery.

"I didn't necessarily want him out of the priesthood," said Pierre. "That wasn't my goal. It was to get him away from the kids."

Pierre told WKRG that in 1997 and again this year, the church offered free Catholic school tuition for his children in exchange for his silence about Sherlock. Lipscomb said he never offered anything to silence a victim of sexual abuse, but encouraged victims to come forward.

The Sherlock probe also led to another priest's removal. Lipscomb removed the Rev. Arthur Schrenger of Mobile from the priesthood April 1 after Schrenger confirmed two instances of misconduct with minors before 1985.


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