Victim of Abuse Cries on Standat Ex-Priest's Trial

Associated Press, carried in The Desert Sun
January 27, 2006

LOS ANGELES - A sexual abuse victim wept in court Thursday as he told of his love for Michael Wempe, the priest he said betrayed him, and his belief that he failed to protect his younger brothers from similar abuse.

"I can accept that I was abused but I can't accept the fact that I was the gatekeeper, that I let it happen to my brothers," said the man identified as Mark B.

"Every day I look at my brothers and realize it was my responsibility," he said. "I could have called the police. I just didn't have the courage to say anything."

The 42-year-old man, who now lives in Norway, came to the witness stand as a prosecutor prepared to call to the stand his youngest brother, Jayson, the sole victim who claims he was abused during a period for which Wempe can be charged criminally.

The former priest has admitted he molested 13 boys in the 1970s and '80s but has not been tried in those cases because of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling barring retroactive extension of the statute of limitations on old cases.


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