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Mike Bryant
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Asking the Right Questions in Clergy Sexual Abuse Cases

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Clergy sexual abuse cases get responded to in so many different ways. There is much emotion on both sides and often the ordinary person doesn’t really know how to sort it out. I find these confirmations interesting because they often are based on some very strongly held belief one way or the other about what the truth is. Unfortunately, those in power seem to do little to really follow the zero tolerance rule that they give lip service to.

Recently the Abby of St Johns made a public statement that :

Sexual abuse and sexual exploitation are morally reprehensible. Saint John’s Abbey works honestly and openly with victims of sexual abuse and their attorneys to do all we can to correct the grievous wrongs that have been committed in the past by some members of our community.

They go on to talk about how sorry they are and how they are doing all that they can to make things right. This statement probably gave a bunch of their shaky supporters a great sense of relief.

Here’s where the right questions need to be asked as Jeff Anderson did in response:

- That the statement was really being made because of a lawsuit his firm had filed.

- Pointing out that a lawsuit was commenced because they hadn’t responded at all to a letter they had received over six months before about the conduct.

- That there had been others who had been abused and some of them had also complained about it.

- Finally, that if there was no lawsuit would there have ever been this open showing of a real search for the truth?

It is important that the message keep getting out and that those who give voice to disclosure continue to be supported and representatives of the Church follow a real policy of no tolerance. Secrecy and nondisclosure is what this festering scab does not need.

Abuse of children and the continued silence by the offenders needs to be prevented. If you suffered, saw, or suspected such events, it is important to know that there is help out there.