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Since my last post, I have spoken briefly with an investigator. I am looking forward to a more in-depth interview with him. He initially offered to meet me here in Virginia until he realized that I was much further south than he expected. Contact has been made. He seems to be working a very large case load for the Diocese of Scranton, which is not surprising at all because the bishops there were protecting a number of predator priests.
I will let you know when a more detailed interview is conducted and I will pass any information that is made available to me.
If you share an experience similar to my own within the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, I urge you to contact the Attorney General’s hotline at 1-888-538-8541 .
I have a healthy skepticism when it comes to anyone actually prosecuting the institutions that have made it a business practice to support and protect pedophiles that groom, sexually abuse and rape children within that institution. There is a risk calculation, no doubt, that guides these institutions to deny claims of abuse, attempt to discredit victims and protect the predators.
In the post prior to this one, I put out information released by the Foundation to Abolish Child Sexual Abuse (FACSA). They are looking for victims of sexual abuse to dial in, regardless of how long ago the abuse took place. It is imperative that we document the files on the institutions that protected predators and turned a deaf ear on victims.
The Attorney General’s office in Harrisburg has a Sexual Abuse Hotline, 1-888-538-8541. I called the number on Monday morning. I had a recording tell me that the line was not in service. I tried later in the morning and was surprised to have a live person answer the phone and take my information. She told me the name of the investigator looking into the Diocese of Scranton and said she would pass my information along. I will wait and see if anyone contacts me. If they do I will let you know. I do not expect much, but I would like to document the file against the Diocese of Scranton.
If you were the victim of sexual abuse as a child (under the age of 18) within the state of Pennsylvania, you should call the hotline and make a report. The person answering the phone will give you the name of the investigator for the Diocese(s) that are applicable to your particular circumstances.
Within the Dioceses in Pennsylvania there have been at least 292 credibly accused priests. That, to me, seems to be a low number. In my case, the Diocese of Scranton admits to only (!) four victims of my predator. I know that number is low. Ridiculously, insultingly low. These predators were prolific.
If you have a story to tell, now is the time to do so. Please call the number, 1-888-538-8541 and be heard.
I guess we shall see where, if anywhere, this will lead.
***Disclaimer: the misspelling of “Alltona” on the map was embedded in the .gif file I pulled from the Diocese of Harrisburg’s website.
This is from an email that FACSA sent out Yesterday. It was important enough to come out of my self imposed archive.
Last April, the PA Attorney General’s Office established a toll-free phone number for survivors of child sex abuse (who were PA residents, or were abused by someone in PA) to call if they wanted to file a report of being sexually abused or molested as a child under 18 no matter how long ago the abuse happened or no matter who committed the abuse.
The AG’s office is asking victims from all the places/institutions and all the alleged criminals that have literally gotten away with soul murder. Hopefully, the AG’s office will be able to take further steps to expose the criminals and the criminal institutions that aided and abetted the perps.
While your specific abuse may have happened so long ago that there is no criminal or civil charges you can file, by your identifying perps and complicit institutions now, other victims may gain the courage to come forward once they realize they were not the only one abused by their perp. Additionally, we anticipate there are many institutions over the years that have hidden cases of child sex abuse when it happened and with the children they were supposed to be protecting. The perps and the institutions need to be held accountable for the damage that happened.
Please call this number. Leave a message. Someone will call you back.
Your story could be of help to other victims.
And then SHARE, SHARE, SHARE this email/post!
PS: If you lived in the Allentown Diocese when you were abused, please also contact Rep. Mark Rozzi.
On Facebook: Private Message Rep. Rozzi at https://www.facebook.com/VoteRozzi
Via Email: MRozzi@pahouse.net
The following is the content of an email I received yesterday from the Foundation to Abolish Child Sex Abuse (FACSA):
Over the many months of the current PA Legislature’s session our team has continued to monitor for legislative efforts that will protect children from sexual predators and provide some measure of justice for CSA victims. Most recently there were several pieces of legislation signed into law by Gov. Corbett including the following changes:
- Designated state licensing boards will now be required to provide training on child abuse recognition and reporting.
- New provisions clarify who is mandated to report child abuse and the reporting process they must follow to report suspected abuse to the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare.
- Employees will now be protected from discrimination in the workplace as a result of reporting suspected abuse.
- Penalties will increase for those required to report supposed abuse but fail to do so.
Additionally a bill providing for stable funding of Child Advocacy Centers (CACs) in PA was also signed by Gov. Corbett. CACs are multidisciplinary treatment programs for abused children, which brings together doctors, nurses, prosecutors, social workers and law enforcement. This approach gives abused children the best chance to recover and also provides the most effective way to gather evidence to bring perpetrators to justice. There are currently 21 CACs in PA.
However, although more than one dozen “child protection” laws have been enacted to date, none enable the removal of known pedophiles.
One champion for this much needed legislation is Rep. Mark Rozzi. Rep. Rozzi represents part of Berks County. He and some childhood friends were victims of CSA. Rep. Rozzi has introduced several pieces of legislation to help protect children and promote justice for victims.
- You are Invited!
Please join us in Harrisburg on Wednesday April 30th to support Rep. Mark Rozzi’s HB 2067 and after the press conference join one of our teams who will be meeting with key legislators to ask for their support of this important legislation.
PRESS CONFERENCE INFO:
Rep. Mark Rozzi Press Conference on HB 2067
WHEN: Wed. April 30, 2014 at 10:00 AM
WHERE: Capitol Media Center, Room 1 East Wing of Capitol, Harrisburg, PA
MEETING WITH LEGISLATORS:
If you are interested in joining one of our teams who will be meeting with legislators after the press conference, please contact Tammy Lerner at 610-509-9568 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org to sign on. You will need to arrive at our legislative team’s office across from the Capitol Building in Harrisburg no later than 9:00 AM to review plans for the day.
MORE INFO RE: HB 2067:
HB 2067 does several things:
- Going forward, it permanently eliminates the SOL for child sex abuse, both criminally (now to age 50) and civilly (now to age 30)
- As a compromise, it does allow for previously time-barred victims (up to age 50) to bring suit.
- If the perpetrator was employed by a public or private entity that owed a duty of care for the victim, damages against the entity may be awarded with a finding of “gross negligence”.
- Add “child sex abuse” as an exception to immunity laws thereby removing the “sovereign immunity” defense for public officials and institutions.
Why this legislation is important:
- Victims deserve their day in court.
- It takes courage (and often decades) for children to acknowledge abuse.
- Perpetrators and responsible entities have not been held accountable.
- Perpetrators are still involved with children.
- Perpetrators have been deliberately shielded from prosecution.
- The SOL laws are arbitrary and archaic.
- Only lawmakers have the power to enact laws to protect the public.
- Although more than one dozen “child protection” laws have been enacted to date, none enable the removal of known pedophiles.
- HB 2067 is sound public policy.
Below is part of an e-mail Rep. Rozzi recently sent to his colleagues to encourage them to support HB 2067:
“Once again I am appealing to the sense of civic responsibility that leads every one of us to seek public office. As legislators, we have an obligation to institute laws that safeguard our citizens… especially those who cannot protect themselves.
“We read how venerable institutions, insulated by outdated laws, have not only allowed the victimization of children….but have exposed countless others to the horrors of sexual abuse. The problem will NEVER GO AWAY as long as perpetrators are shielded. Witness Sandusky, the Boy Scouts, any religious organization, and any school system…public or private.
“We have learned that victims of child sex abuse often take decades to acknowledge their demons and that they rarely make false claims. We know that perpetrators can’t stop abusing. But if we can give survivors of child sex abuse the opportunity to expose predators through accessing records to support their claims, without the constraints of arbitrary statutes of limitations, than this will go a long way to stop the abuse of the next generation of children.
“I implore you to co-sponsor my legislation, House Bill 2067 and call upon the Chairmen of the Judiciary Committee to at least hold a meeting on the merits of the measure. On behalf of all victims of child sexual abuse, I thank you in advance for your consideration and support.”FACSA 740 Cornerstone Lane Bryn Mawr, Pa 19010
I received the invitation to my high school reunion about a week ago. I knew it was coming, I had talked to a classmate organizing it on the phone a few weeks ago. I had also had conversations with a friend who is going, I was encouraged to go along. Notre Dame High School Class of 1978 will be meeting on the occasion of the 36th anniversary of our graduation in May.
It has been about 10 years since I saw some of my classmates. During the intervening years since our 25th reunion a lot has changed. In that time span I came forward with my information on Father Gibson. I am a little apprehensive about what may await my return. Since I became a reluctant activist, mostly due to the continued lies and concealment of predators by the hierarchy of the Catholic Church, I have brought to light the dirty secrets about Father Gibson that the Diocese of Scranton has long hoped would remain undisclosed. Several of my classmates have had this man baptise children, he has officiated at some of their weddings. Their memories of the man may be significantly different from my own. Then again, there were others, perhaps in my class or the classes that came before ours at Notre Dame that share the a similar great terrible secret as my own.
I do not have many personal items that date back to my time in Northeast Pennsylvania. The 1978 yearbook is long gone, as was my high school ring, lost on one of the many Navy moves over the years. Remarkably, my diploma turned up, in pristine condition, in a box in my parent’s home in Massachusetts after three or four moves of their own. Some thirty-five years later it is finally in a frame alongside some other items from my curriculum vitae. A few photos were also in that box, including one from an 8th grade drama production that has since made an appearance on Facebook after I sent a scanned copy to a friend.
The last time I was in East Stroudsburg was in 2008 to speak to the District Attorney for Monroe County. My name and statement was added to an existing file of complaints that were outside of the statutes of limitation. I spent one night in town and left as soon as the interview was concluded. I had no illusions that anyone would have recognized me. My family had left the area by the early 1980’s. I had cut ties with just about everyone I had known in the area and decided to leave Pennsylvania, forego entering law school, and make a clean and permanent break. During that 2008 visit I did drive around to look at once familiar places, noting the changes that 30 years had brought. With the exception of driving around the towns of Stroudsburg and East Stroudsburg, including going up the hill on Highland Road, I really have not spent any significant time in the area. Funny, the school’s address is on Spangenburg Avenue but I don’t think I ever used that road even once in the 5 years I was a student at NDHS.
I have had contact with some members of my high school graduating class or the classes with which my siblings attended NDHS in the past few years. A few emails and phone calls came in the wake of the discovery of my blog or finding the article that appeared in the Scranton Times in 2008. Most of the contacts have been positive, a few have been a little more confrontational. I am curious, perhaps a little apprehensive, about what, if any, reaction will await me at the reunion.
FACSA – Foundation to Abolish Child Sex Abuse
Contact Your PA House Rep ASAP
Please contact your local PA House legislator and ask him/her to support Rep. Mark Rozzi’s proposed amendments to Senate Bill 681 which the full PA House will be voting on very soon possibly in the next day or so.
A. How to find your legislator: http://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/legis/home/findyourlegislator/
B. Bullet points we suggest you use in your communication with him/her:
- Please support SB 681
- Additionally, please support the all the Rozzi amendments that will help give justice to victims of child sex abuse which increase the statute of limitations from 12 years to 32 years for civil actions arising from the sexual abuse of a minor and create a two year “window” to allow past child sexual abuse victims the opportunity to seek civil recourse from their perpetrators.
- Include a short sentence or two of why you support this legislation.
- Thank them for their consideration of this matter.
- Include your name and address.
FYI: Letter we sent to all legislators today. It has a bit more detail about the proposed legislation.
December 9, 2013
The House will soon consider SB 681 which would allow victims of sex crimes to protect themselves from predators. While we support this legislation, we ask that you also support the Rozzi amendments to give victims access to justice. Currently, Pennsylvania’s archaic statute of limitations laws mean that thousands of victims cannot have access to the courts for civil proceedings – just because their legal “clock” has expired.
The first Rozzi amendment would remove the statute of limitations for civil actions arising from the sexual abuse of a minor and provide a “window” up until age 50 for abuse victims to file civil action if the statute of limitations has expired. It would also remove “sovereign immunity” defenses for public officials who commit sexual abuse.
Other amendments would increase the statute of limitations from 12 years to 32 years for civil actions arising from the sexual abuse of a minor and create a two year “window” to allow past child sexual abuse victims the opportunity to seek civil recourse from their perpetrators.
We are bombarded by horrendous stories of child abuse and the legal maneuvering that ensues.
For those of you who want real justice for the Sandusky victims or the victims of the Philadelphia Catholic diocese scandals, it is time to amend our outdated statutes of limitations.
It is time to stand up for the victims; not the predators.
Below and attached please find over 30 organizations who strongly support statute of limitations reform:
Catholic Whistleblowers, Child Protection Project, Coached Into Silence, Crime Victims Center, Culture of Silence Film, Horace Mann Action Coalition, Jewish Board of Advocates for Children, Justice4PAKids, Justtell.org, Let Go Let Peace Come In Foundation, MaleSurvivor, Ms. Foundation, National Association of Adult Survivors of Child Abuse, National Child Protection Training Center, National Crime Victim Bar Association, National District Attorneys Association, OAASIS: Oregon Abuse Advocates and Survivors in Service, Parents for Megan’s Law, PA Gestalt Center, Patches Kids, PCADV: PA Coalition Against Domestic Violence, PCAR: PA Coalition Against Rape, Protect the Hershey’s Children, Inc., S.E.S.A.M.E., Inc.: Stop Educator Sexual Abuse, Misconduct and Exploitation, Safe4Athletes, SFJ: Survivors for Justice, SNAP: Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, SOL-Reform.com, Stop the Silence, The Awareness Center, The National Center for Victims of Crime, Turning Point, Vertigo, LLC/Pursuit of Truth Film, Voice of the Faithful
On behalf of all of them, and on behalf of victims everywhere, please vote for the Rozzi amendments to SB 681.
This year has been full of trials, disappointments and setbacks. It also has been full of discovery, new friends, old friends and the promise of new adventures. 2013 has been a hard year and I don’t mind saying I am glad to see it go.
I have not written much on this blog this year. Fits and starts mostly. I watch the news and I watch the continuing saga of people in positions of authority abusing children or vulnerable adults. I read what is put out there by groups trying to reform the church and I see the Pope is even offering to reach out to survivors. I still see that the institutions that these predators work within still look at the sexual crimes and damage to actual human beings as part of a risk management calculation. I still see legislation withering while politicians genuflect to special interests to keep justice from those that deserve it.
Last week I threw a few lines out there and the first response was allegedly from a predator wanting to taunt me and others. The email (email@example.com) was familiar, a pseudonym based on an Italian saint. Oddly, Gabriel Possenti is the patron saint of “handgunners”. A veiled threat, perhaps. It would have been more of a threat if the author had spelled the saint’s name correctly. I guess being “Mr. Oregon” in his youth (not that there is any record of that honor) did not require the ability to spell the name used for “extracurricular” online activities. Activities that led to his pleading guilty of charges related to child pornography. Yeah, I know you are still out there. I know you are doing your taunting from your schismatic church.
How do I start doing this again. I just listen to the taunting of those who think that they will get away with the crimes they have committed. I just start looking at the new, credible allegations that keep coming. I look at the Pennsylvania State Assembly Judiciary Committee Chairman, Ron Marsico who is actively quashing statute of limitations reform. That obstruction allows a credibly accused Catholic Priest by the name of Guy Marsico to be beyond the reach of his victims. I think I need to research this potential conflict of interest. Is “Marsico” that common a name in Central PA?
There is still much to be done. I guess I need to keep writing until I have more answers.
I am providing this link to John Salveson’s article in Notre Dame Magazine. As President of Foundation to Abolish Child Sexual Abuse (FACSA), Mr. Salveson is leading the charge to change laws to protect children and vulnerable adults from sexual predators and the institutions that have protected those predators. His frustrations are very similar to frustrations that I and other survivors have experienced.
FACSA is an organization that is doing a lot of good, tangible work supporting survivors of child sexual abuse. They are doing so without a lot of fanfare and self promotion.
I encourage you to read Mr Salveson’s article and then go to the FACSA website to support their efforts to protect children.
I want to thank everyone who sent this article to me, especially my Dad.
I am working on posting articles on this blog more regularly. With furloughs ongoing at work, I am going to have more time to spend here.
Passed along from a friend in PA:
Justice4pakids-5k Run/Walk & 1 Mile Kid Run
On May 4th, 2013 8am come out and run or walk the beautiful Chester Valley Trail located near Exton, PA. Punch into your GPS 140 Church Farm Lane Exton, PA as this is our starting point! There is plenty of parking, public restrooms and a playground!
Register today at:
The race is being managed by the Chester County Running Company .
The cause is for Justice4pakids, a non-profit working for better laws in our state for sexually abused victims. We want to raise money to do more child safety awareness seminars that are free and open to the public. 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys are sexually abused before age 18 and we want those numbers to change!
We have lots of great items for every child who participates such as free bowling passes, free cones from Dairy Queen, coupons for Rita’s Water Ice, free passes for Bounce U and each child gets a medal! The prize wheel will raffle off a Wegman’s gift card, 6 passes for QVC Studio behind the scenes tour, one free day of doggie care at Wagsworth Manor and much more. People are sending in prizes every day!
Every runner gets a T-shirt. The race is a timed event and winners in age categories will be presented with a medal!
Free pizza and refreshments from Seasons Pizza for all!
Please sign up online or email firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions!
There is a fight going on in the State Assembly in Harrisburg. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Ron Marsico is opposed to Window Legislation that would allow a window to open for civil cases to be brought against pedophiles and other sexual predators who have committed crimes against children and vulnerable adults. Marsico is a Catholic, so it is logical that he would like to protect his church. Well, not really logical, perhaps it is understandable that he would bow to pressure from his church.
But I am thinking that there may be a more personal reason here. A priest by the name of Guy Marsico was credibly accused of abusing a child and removed from ministry in the Harrisburg area. Is it possible that Representative Ron Marsico is protecting a family member who would stand to face civil action if a window was opened? This may not be political. It could be very personal, family business. I wonder what, if any, the familial relationship is between the House Judiciary Chairman in Harrisburg and the former priest assigned to St. Leo the Great Catholic Church in Rohrerstown?
That would be a fairly huge conflict of interest and a slap at survivor’s of sexual abuse as children if it turns out that the peoples’ representative is putting the interests of a predator family member ahead of the protection of children and justice for victims of prior abuse. I would love to know the answer!
House Bill 342 needs to get an up or down vote on the floor of the Pennsylvania State Assembly.