Posters to Fight Abuse; Available around Diocese

Chatham Daily News
November 17, 2007

CANADA -- Three new posters aimed at eliminating sexual abuse will soon be made available throughout the Diocese of London.

The posters are part of a new sexual abuse policy being developed by a From Isolation to Action (FITA) committee established in the diocese.

Chatham-Kent Crown Attorney Paul Bailey and other committee members unveiled the posters Friday in Chatham.

The colourful stained glass background for one of the posters is a window at St. Ursula's Church in Chatham. The message is: "Our first duty is to protect the children."

Another shows a young boy with his head bowed down and the message: "Be a light in a child's life - all suspicions of child abuse must be reported."

The posters ask the public to call the Children's Aid Society if they suspect any form of abuse.

The FITA committee includes women who were indecently assaulted by the late Father Charles Sylvestre.

Bishop Ronald Fabbro and Vicar General Father John Sharp are among the committee members.

Sylvestre pleaded guilty in October 2006 to indecently assaulting 47 young girls over more than a 30-year period beginning in the mid-1950s, while serving at parishes in Chatham, Pain Court, Sarnia and London.

The 84-year-old retired priest received a three-year prison sentence, but died in January.

FITA committee member Sister Eleanor Gleeson said a third poster, featuring a stained glass dove in a glass circle, was created by one of Sylvestre's victims.

The wording on the poster reads "it takes a community to protect our children - report abuse to the CAS."

Bailey said the first step it to have 500 copies of each poster printed. Posters will be distributed locally as well as across the country.

Gleeson said the committee is working on a manual that explains sexual abuse pitfalls to be avoided by the public.

"We are also planning a workshop for families of the Sylvestre victims," she said. "It is tentatively scheduled to take place in February or March."


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