Advocate for Those Sexually Abused by Priests to Speak Friday

By Tyler K. Cleveland
The Ranger
September 24, 2009

Barbara Garcia Boehland, director of the San Antonio chapter of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, known as SNAP, will give a presentation at 11 a.m. Friday in Room 120 of the visual arts center.

The presentation, planned as part of Hispanic Heritage Month, will address the difficulties faced by the sexually abused through the Catholic Church in Hispanic communities — the assaults, struggling families and suicides — and how to receive help and help others “knowing that this type of thing happens, in order to change it,” Boehland said.

Boehland’s 20-year-old son, Eduardo Ramon III, committed suicide in 1997 while enrolled at this college, after being molested by a priest while at St. Anthony’s High School Seminary four years earlier. Father Carlos Lozano, a dean at St. Anthony's, pleaded guilty in 1995 to charges he molested four teenage boys at the seminary.

“Nobody wanted to talk about it,” Boehland said regarding her family. “Everyone just shut down.”

Since the age of 3, Boehland had been sexually assaulted seven times, once as an adult by a Hispanic priest, she said.

“There wasn’t any help in San Antonio … nobody to talk to,” she said.

Yet Boehland wants to make her voice heard.

In 2002, Boehland established a San Antonio chapter of SNAP, to give others what she never had growing up.

“Talking with someone who understands what that person is going through,” Boehland said, will help those abused to begin trusting people again and learn about ways to cope with the experience.

“There is always hope” to change and come out of it stronger, she said.

“Barbara is a person with sheer courage,” said English Professor Janice Clayton, who arranged for Boehland to give a presentation. “She is a voice for victims.”

SNAP, a volunteer organization, meets every second Saturday of the month from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. at the San Antonio Mennonite Church, 1443 S. St. Mary’s St.

For more information and assistance, call Boehland at 725-8329.


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