Accountability: Basics 101
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What you don’t know can hurt you

It is now proven that many victims experience severe depression, difficulties with relationships, eating disorders, substance abuse, or suicidal feelings. Please believe that these tragedies can be caused by events that took place 10, 20, or even 30 years ago. It is extremely important for you and your loved ones to understand that “yes” these things can and do happen to adults who, as children, were sexually abused by the clergy.

It is different when it’s the clergy

Understand that some children, with their parents’ blessing, think of the clergy as direct messengers from God, trust them completely, and often elevate them above their parents. If this is the case and they are molested, that trust is shattered. They feel guilty and betrayed by their parents, the clergy and sometimes even by God. Unaffected “experts” may think these consequences seem disturbing and sad, but not life threatening. To victims, however, this sense of betrayal can be deadly.

Silence is golden.. (For the church)

Victims keeping this a secret over the years can have devastating effects in all areas of their life. Another source of anguish for a child is to be required, as part of their faith, to confess “their sins” to their abuser. Experiencing emotional and/or physical problems as adults, victims often cannot understand or identify the underlying cause as it is often misdiagnosed. By not comprehending this, the final tragedy can be what some feel is their last hope for peace – suicide.

You are not alone

Do not feel ashamed or isolated, as there are many of us affected. Silence only confirms that this hideous behavior was acceptable in the past and is acceptable to continue.

Victims are made to feel guilty

Religions as such, and especially you, are not to blame. It is those few predators (especially pedophiles) within the church who are the culprits. They prey on innocent children, some of whom may have had no parents or guardian to protect them. Worse, are those in authority who generally say they had no knowledge of this being a problem when in reality they often do. How do they justify this to their “maker”?

Wolves in sheep’s clothing?

Unfortunately you cannot always depend on the church to help you. In thousands of instances throughout the country church officials are often only interested in secrecy, touting “forgiveness” while protecting their own and their wallets. You know them not by their words, dress or position but by their unwillingness to seek justice for the victims.

The last should be first

Those who use intimidation to protect them-selves or who tell you this information is not true or that it is for the “best interest of the church” not to speak up, have absolutely no interest or consideration for you, as a victim, or your family. Ask them who was protecting and “speaking up” for the victims and their families when these crimes (yes, clergy or not, these are crimes) were being committed. Victims seem to be the last ones considered. Think about it ---they should be the first.

“Could this happen in my church?”

Yes, it can…time and time again parishioners are in disbelief after a local clergy member is accused, and often convicted, of sexual abuse.

“The church would surely let us know if our pastor had “sex abuse” problems before placing him in our community.”

Think again… church officials have often been found guilty of covering up sexual abuse by their “own” and moving them from place to place to avoid detection, litigation and/or a drop in contributions.

Who is really in “denial”?

Is it the victims who were molested by the clergy when they were young or instead, is it the people who do not believe them? To those “non-believing experts” we ask you this. Would you let a pedophile have his way with your young child or relative? Of course you wouldn’t. You would not want to observe first hand, as some of us have, the devastating effects this can cause. Out of the hundreds of clergy that have been accused and often convicted of sexual abuse, most are pedophiles that target boys about 12 years old.

How widespread is this?

Currently 50 cities have active cases (that the public is aware of) involving priests accused of child sexual abuse. Many more are “hushed” up and settled out of court. Thousands of children and adolescents have been sexually abused over the years. It is also reported that a vast number of pedophiles are still in the “system” and, as surprising as it may seem, some are in parishes with schools.

What does the Conference of Catholic Bishops say about child sexual abuse?

In their “Walk in the Light” pastoral response regarding child sexual abuse they point out that most cases involve young girls about 12 years old who are abused by a family member.

Left out was the information that this referred to the general public at large. Within the church, most cases involve molestation of boys by priests. They discuss the terrible consequences this causes children later in life, that abusers should be held accountable and how the church should respond. No mention of notifying civil authorities.

Their “spokeswoman” (yes, no women clergy, but a woman to speak about sexual abuse for the church) says the biggest problem is “sexually abused people not coming forward.” This is their standard line; however, they never try to seek victims out to help them unless they are forced to.

The problem for the church is “known” pedophiles in the church. Victims and families that do come forward, regarding this, often become totally disillusioned due to systematic cover-ups with no abuser or church accountability.


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