Rockford Priest Accused of Child Abuse
By Amanda DeVoe
September 8, 2015
Forty years later, a Maryland man comes forward with new allegations, claiming he was sexually abused by a priest while growing up in Rockford.
"From and early age, the thought of death has been my only comfort to unending pain," said John Doe in a statement.
Protesters of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, also known as SNAP, are in support of John Doe, who claims priest John Holdren of the Catholic Diocese of Rockford, molested him as a child back in the early 1970s. Today Doe has filed a lawsuit against him.
"Basically, this priest got close to him. Took advantage of his closeness of a priest, and ultimately performed unwanted sexual acts on him. Running the gamut of everything from from fondling to a sodomy," said Doe's lawyer Tim Freiberg.
Barbara Blaine of SNAP says Holdren is a pedophile, who needs to be exposed.
"We're concerned and we want parents and neighbors to be on the ready. Be alerted that this person poses a risk to children," said Blaine.
The Catholic Diocese of Rockford says Holdren who now lives in Aurora, hasn't been active with the Diocese since the 90s. In a statement, they also say they haven't been notified or been given any communication of a lawsuit naming Holdren or the Diocese of Rockford.
"As far as we know, Father Holdren has never been exposed before. But we believe there are other victims, and we want them to know that it's safe to come forward," said Blaine.
Doe, who is 49 and now lives in Maryland, says he's still looking for closure.
"Speaking for John Doe, he's gone through a lot in his life. For him to finally step forward and and seek redress on this issue. It takes a lot of courage, and we just hope other victims do the same thing," said Freiberg.
"I pray my childhood innocence be reclaimed. I pray my childhood joy be restored," Doe said in a statement.
Doe's lawyer expects this case to drag out for years and says his client is seeking damages of at least 50 thousand dollars. He also says certain aspects of the statute of limitations makes this lawsuit relevant.