In March an allegation was brought forth against a diocese priest of sexual abuse 38 years ago. Another allegation in a different local also came to light. So there are two different investigations in two different jurisdictions. Because the first allegation was 38 years ago I have had at least one person say to me that they do not believe the allegation. Of course everyone is innocent until proven guilty. That said I told her that it was 22 years before I came forward. I did not tell her that circumstances forced me to come forward before I was ready and it was another five years before I was ready to deal with it in therapy.
I really don’t know this priest and I really don’t know how he was as a priest/pastor to congregants or as a boss. That said, 38 years is really not that long when you factor in the shame and stigma of being abused. (I wonder if he was waiting for his parents to die), I have worked with older women who first had abortions in 1973 when it became legal. They bought into the lie that it was easy and the right thing to do. They kept their shame secret since then.
As someone who has suffered clerical sexual abuse when I was informed by the diocese of this case, all priests were e-mailed, the first thought I had was, this will never end…then I felt sad for the alleged victim, the priest and for me. I try very hard not to get into the, ‘poor me’, mindset and when I realize that I have indeed gone there I try mightily to get out of it. (Even after all this time I get sucked into that destructive mindset.) That is just one of the things that makes sexual abuse, in fact all abuse, so insidious. The effects of the abuse are never really gone.
Some of the people that are in the parish of the accused priest are unhappy with the bishop. They see his actions as throwing this priest under the bus. What was he supposed to do? He has his own skeletons in the closet, one of them became a Netflix miniseries, not doing anything would be imprudent on his part…just another skeleton to deal with.
And so it goes…another priest accused, if abuse took place, another person scared, another skeleton exposed and more agita for those of us who have struggled with the effects of our own abuse. Around and around and around it goes…