Snap: Abusers Usually Don't Have Just One Victim

By Andrew Perez
The Wala
May 15, 2013

[with video]

MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) - An investigation continues into allegations of sexual abuse against a local Catholic priest.

Victim advocacy groups are reaching out after the alleged victim came forward claiming she had been sexually abused by Father James Havens some 24 years ago.

Havens is a priest at St. Vincent De Paul Catholic Church.

Church officials said he was placed on paid administrative leave following the allegations and reported to the district attorney’s office.

“I've heard too many stories. I’ve heard hundreds of horrific stories. People’s lives are in turmoil because of this and it doesn't have to happen,” said Judy Jones, associate director of ‘SNAP’ or Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.

Jones said she found the story online and reached out, adding the topic hits close to home.

“My brother and several relatives were abused by our parish priest back home in Ohio. It’s very rare that a child predator sexually abuses only one. It’s very rare they only have one victim. There could be others out there,” she said.  

The organization is 10,000 strong and operates around the world.

Jones said SNAP’s mission is to educate and provide support for victims of abuse, which often goes unreported.

She said victims sometimes come forward to save other potential victims. She also said it’s not unusual for a victim of sex abuse to come forward years after the abuse.

Church officials said they are taking the investigation very seriously.

“Even receiving an accusation that is 24-years-old, it just makes us more determined to do what we can to protect children when they're involved in church ministries,” she said

The DA's office is also investigating and said that there is no statute of limitations in this case. Technically, charges could be filed.


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