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Commends victim for coming forward

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Posted: Tuesday, May 9, 2006 10:00 pm

I would like to respond to the letter on Thursday 4/27, "Father Fahy was a great man."

The writer is probably voicing the very reaction many people have in regards to child sexual abuse and their perpetrators. The victims may fear the disbelief and rejection that is spoken in this letter. This mentality is the very thing that keeps victims from reporting this crime. The common misconception is that people we love and trust are not capable of this evil act. Sexual predators are really good at gaining confidence and trust. This is why the abuser is usually a person with authority (relative, clergy, teacher, coach or friend.) They are also good at placing themselves where they have access to children. Just because someone wasn't abused by Fahy themselves or that children adored him, doesn't mean he didn't abuse other children. We may think we know someone, but sometimes we really don't.

I believe that this was the Stockton Diocese, and the bishop himself that released these allegations against Fahy, not the victim. This makes me think that there must be some truth to the allegation for the diocese to have announced this to the church, the school and the press. I don't believe this is about "jumping on the catholic-bashing bandwagon." Sexual abuse crosses all boundaries. As far as the statement that the victim waited until Fahy was dead to come forward is ridiculous. He died five years ago! From what I know, most victims suppress this for decades. It takes a lot of courage to come forward.

I think we need to applaud this victim for having the courage to come forward at what seems to be a young age. What about the other possible victims who may be contemplating coming forward? Regarding the comment, "motivated by the almighty dollar," I haven't heard about a lawsuit filed by the victim or any monetary rewards. Is it possible the victim only wants healing and to reach out to other potential victims? I wonder, if this was your child coming forth with this allegation, if your opinion would change. Certainly everyone's awareness of the subject of child sexual abuse can benefit all children. Ignorance and secrecy only adds to the persistence of this problem.

Penny Meyers


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