Victim's Family Goes Public

By Beth Ford
August 26, 2009 52f94d9b-80ce-0971-018a-4e86f0764971

COLUMBIA - A mid-Missouri family goes public on their son's abuse after two-and-a-half decades of silence.

The parents of a man molested by a priest two decades ago broke their silence.

"I cannot help but hold the Catholic Church responsible for a great deal of this," said Steven McAllister.

The McAllisters, accompanied by victim's advocacy groups, addressed the crowd about their son Mark's ordeal.

The public appearance comes after three Catholic institutions awarded Mark McAllister a $600,000 settlement earlier in August.

According to the Jefferson City Diocese, the diocese relocated Father Gerald Howard to Saints Peter and Paul Catholic Church in Boonville in 1982.

The move came after Howard pleaded guilty to sexual conduct with a minor in Newark, New Jersey.

McAllister's parents say McAllister endured the abuse beginning in 1983 or 1984, and continuing through his high school years.

"I think it's time for the Catholic Church to take a page out of its own playbook and go to confession itself. These things need to be confessed, they need to be made public," said Steven McAllister.

McAllister didn't tell his parents about the abuse until he was 37 years old.

Steven McAllister, and the executive director of SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests), urged other molestation victims to come forward.

"It is so touching and it is so gratifying to see parents do so much for a child who has suffered and is suffering so deeply," said David Clohessy, SNAP Executive Director.


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