Helping Victims of Clergy Sexual Abuse
As Fr.McGeever walked me across the sidewalk path that led from the Cathedral to the basement of the rectory, it was a slow, familiar walk filled with fear as I knew what was about to happen to me. I had already been manipulated into silence and conditioned to believe that if word ever got out about what he was doing, I would be responsible for bringing shame to my family and be nothing but a disappointment to them and to God, so I didn’t say a word. I felt like I was trapped with no way to get help. On one occasion though, as we were about to walk down the stairs to the basement where I knew that torture awaited me, I locked eyes with a nun. I felt a brief sense of hope that she would see the fear in my eyes and think to herself “something’s not right here” and that she would confront Fr.McGeever and I would be spared the pain…..She didn’t say a word.
As the large wooden door to the basement slammed shut, I still held out hope that she would come down the stairs and knock on the door and that’s what would save me…..There was no knock.
As I was about to receive my “punishment” from Fr.McGeever, I still held on to a small bit of hope that the nun, who knew I was down there alone with him, would open the basement door and catch him in the act and that’s what would save me….
The door never opened.
I was victimized in ways that are too graphic to describe here. The pain was horrific and often caused me to bleed. I was only 10 years old and for two years I endured the abuse and betrayal of a priest who I was supposed to be able to trust as a man of God.
The sexual abuse I suffered at the hands of Fr.McGeever has caused me permanent physical damage that to this day, serves as a painful daily reminder of what happened to me. Unfortunately, the physical pain I deal with on a daily basis does not stop there. I also deal with systemic chronic pain with excruciating muscle spasms that are a direct result of my body trying to cope with the ramifications of PTSD. The exhausting emotional battles I fight on a daily basis, along with the physical pain I deal with on a daily basis sometimes lead me to a sense of hopelessness and a belief that there is no way to find peace on this earth. That can be a deadly thought process and tragically, for some victims, they have lost that battle as the PTSD led them to take their own life. I’ve been in that mindset numerous times and it’s a dark and hopeless feeling. It’s solely by the grace of God (and my wife returning home earlier than expected from a meeting and calling 911) that I have survived and am here to start the From Darkness Into Light Foundation.
In 2003 I had hit one of the lowest points in my life. The emotional and physical pain were extreme which led to an inability to work and to provide financially for my family. The darkness in my life, the physical pain, the emotional exhaustion, the financial struggles and the hopelessness I was feeling completely drowned out the blessings in my life.
To provide financial and emotional assistance, as well as spiritual guidance to survivors of clergy sexual abuse. To help them with the healing process and instill a sense of hope for a future in which they can thrive and achieve the great things that God has planned for them.
Your gift will help me start the From Darkness Into Light Foundation. This Foundation will provide emergency financial and emotional resources, as well as provide spiritual guidance for survivors of clergy sexual abuse. I know there are many people around the country who want to help those who are suffering as a result of being abused by clergy. One way that you can make an immediate positive impact in the life of a survivor is with your gift today which will help start the From Darkness Into Light Foundation. Pulling all the resources together that are needed to holistically help a survivor of clergy sexual abuse is an enormous undertaking. With your help, we can make it a reality! Please join me in helping all survivors see that there is a way out of the darkness they’re experiencing, into a world filled with light and hope for a better future.
I know first hand the devastating impact that betrayal by someone who we saw as a man of God can have in the life of a survivor. The damage is widespread.
While sexual abuse cuts across every denomination and beyond, I find myself compelled to address the difficult position that Catholic parishioners currently find themselves in.
From Darkness Into Light was born on December 9th, 2001 not as a foundation, but as a poem. Three months prior, on September 11, 2001, tragedy struck my family
I hope you’ll take a few minutes to watch this video. The song “Survivor”, which is sung by Zach Williams who is an award winning Christian music artist, is the perfect anthem for us as survivors. I hope you find it inspirational.