This week a Pennsylvania grand jury released a report that said more than 300 predator priests had been abusing over 1000 victims over a period of more than 50 years.
This comes 3 years after the release of the Oscar-winning movie Spotlight, which focused on similar allegations against a priest in the Boston area in 2001. The current report is stunning in both the breadth of the victims and the length of time this was allowed to go on unfettered.
Growing up in Northeastern Pennsylvania, many of my friends were practicing Catholics. They went to church regularly and were fairly immersed in their religion. Now I wonder how many of those people were abused and molested by the religious leaders that should have been there to protect them? How many of them have spent their lives harboring a secret that they knew would only be ignored if they told the truth about their assailants?
Many victims are coming forward to say bringing this out in the open is part of the healing process. I hope each person and family affected can heal as best possible from this trauma. I also hope religious institutions will take the steps necessary to confront this behavior as soon as it occurs, rather than sweeping it under the rug.
The #MeToo movement is helping victims of sexual harassment and assault confront and remove their assailants. It’s up to us to continue to shine a spotlight on these types of crimes. The uglier they are, the more important that they are exposed to bright light.
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