Alleged Victim in Priest Scandal Speaks

By Jamie Edmonds
August 31, 2010

Gregory Guggemos said the past few years have been unbearable.

"When I saw his picture, I threw all the papers up in the air and started crying uncontrollably," Guggemos said. "When I saw Slowey's picture, i immediately had a flashback to him, the orphanage and being sexually abused by him."

He said memories of his sexual abuse at the hands of Father John Slowey, while he stayed at the St. Vincent home for Children back in the 50s, have come back to him as an adult like a flood. It started with a tour of the home back in 2008.

"As my memory of these ceramic tiles was triggered, I viewed them in my mind's eye as if I was five years old," Guggemos said.

Guggemos and the Catholic Diocese of Lansing settled for $225,000 at the beginning of this month. A diocese spokesman has said they could not confirm Guggemos' story, but wanted to help in his healing.

Guggemos said his reason for going public now is two-fold. One, he hopes if there are other victims, they will have the courage to come forward. Secondly, he hopes Michigan Law will change and the statute of limitations will increase so other victims will have their day in court.

Current law states sexual abuse victims, who were minors at the time, have a very short period after they become adults to file suit.

Guggemos is now in his fifties.

"If we were able to hold the diocese accountable against a jury of its peers, that $225,000 would pale in comparison to what Greg has suffered," Guggemos' attorney David Mittleman said.

Guggemos said the settlement is little consolation for the grief and depression he's now experiencing, but coming forward to tell his story has helped.

There is a bill pending in the state house that would extend the the civil statute of limitations, giving victim's of sexual abuse more time to come forward.

Lawmakers are still discussing how much time is acceptable -- and if the bill should be applied retroactively.

The Michigan Catholic Conference released a statement Tuesday in support of the bill, but said changing the law retroactively undercuts sound judicial practices.


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