Austin Man Stands by Catholic Faith after Surviving Priest's Alleged Abuse
By Melanie Barden
January 30, 2019
Austin resident Allen Hebert says he's a survivor of a priest's abuse and he's glad the Catholic church is making an effort to be transparent. (CBS Austin)
Thursday, Catholic leaders across Texas will release the names of clergy who have been credibly accused of sexually assaulting children. The list could have names dating back to the 1950's, according to the Austin Diocese.
Austin resident Allen Hebert says he's a survivor of a priest's abuse and he's glad the Catholic church is making an effort to be transparent.
"The list will help some people realize 'wow the guy was caught,'" says Hebert.
Hebert says Father Andrew Willemsen, a former priest in the Diocese of Austin, befriended his family and sexually abused him from age 12 to 14. "He just gradually convinced me that doing these things was normal, 'don't tell your parents because they don't understand in fact the church doesn't understand, but I do,'" says Hebert.
Years later, Hebert reported Father Willemsen to a bishop who knew him. The bishop said Father Willemsen was sent out of the country years earlier after other victims came forward. Willemsen has since passed away.
"It's been 21 years of healing," says Hebert.
Hebert tells CBS Austin part of his healing will come from seeing Father Willemsen's name on the Austin Diocese list.