Chip Minemyer | Just Imagine ...

By Chip Minemyer
Tribune Democrat
September 2, 2018

Just imagine how it would feel ...

Imagine being a freshman basketball player who goes to your school’s athletic trainer because you have a sprained ankle, only to have that man take you behind a curtain and instruct you to take off your shorts and underwear so he can check your groin “for swelling.”

Imagine learning years later that the same man was accused of inappropriate touching involving many children and teens at your school and other schools in other towns and other states.

Imagine you’re a 12-year-old child who has been taken to a pediatrician for a checkup, only to have that doctor place you on his lap and grab your crotch during the examination.

Imagine you’re an altar boy who is abused by a priest, and whose family takes the matter to the bishop, and who then learns years later that the abusive priest was sent to counseling briefly then reassigned to another parish to continue his ministry.

Imagine you’re a member of a grand jury, who hears testimony from priests that 40 years earlier they knew one of their brothers was a “bad dude” who was molesting children – yet none of them acted to stop him.

Imagine traveling to a college bowl game with a famous ex-coach who stands with you on the sidelines at his former team’s practices then violates you sexually later in your hotel room.

Imagine you’re a teenager whose parents urge you to attend counseling and even stay overnight with your local priest, thinking the experience will be “good for you” – maybe even inspire you to pursue the priesthood yourself – except you soon find out the priest has more than faith counseling in mind.

Imagine taking your young child to a trusted doctor, only to find out years later that the doctor had been accused of inappropriate touching of children – and wondering if your child was a victim, too.

Imagine you’re sleeping at a church-run orphanage when suddenly a man crawls into your bed and, as he begins to fondle your genitals, you realize that the man is a parish priest.

Imagine telling another priest what happened, only to hear him say that you should pray “and not think of it again.”

Imagine you are a troubled youth whose home life is a mess, and who goes to live with a famous coach who offers hope and sanctuary, but who instead rapes you in his basement.

Imagine you’re an 8th-grader and an altar boy who stays after school to count the church offering, only to have a priest approach from behind, unzip your pants and touch your genitals, while whispering: “Don’t cry. That’s OK. What a sweet child you are.”

Imagine you’re a child living in an orphanage in an impoverished country, when a priest comes to town bringing candy and other gifts – only to have that priest molest you.

Imagine being a child abused by a priest who tells his parents, who don’t believe the touching was sexual. Imagine hearing your own mother say the priest “was just being friendly.”

Imagine you’re a 13-year-old girl who visits your pediatrician for a possible ear infection, but the doctor unclasps your bra and removes your pants and then proceeds to give you a breast and vaginal exam – without ever checking your ears.

Imagine you’re a 9-year-old boy who has a priest pull down your pants and insert a finger into your anus while asking, “What do you think God would say?”

Imagine then hearing the priest answer his own question: “God approved.”

Imagine you’re the parent of five daughters and learning all five had been sexually assaulted by the same priest.

Imagine sitting on the witness stand in your local courtroom, forced to recount how you were abused in a famous coach’s basement and testifying that you screamed loud enough for people in the house to hear, but that nobody came to your rescue.

Imagine you are a loving young parent who learns that your own child was violated by an adult you had trusted, and further imagine the emotional struggle you face as you decide whether to tell the police.

Imagine you are the boy who is forced to perform oral sex on a priest, then told to gargle with holy water and who then must proceed directly to confession – with the same priest.

Now pause and think about the many who don’t have to imagine these horrors – because they have lived them.

And understand why it is so important that we eliminate the statute of limitations on criminal and civil child sexual abuse cases in Pennsylvania.








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