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By Shane Schaetzel, Blogger
The following is a checklist for victims of clerical sex abuse. If you, or anyone you know, has become a victim of clerical sex abuse, either as a minor or adult, you need to do the following as quickly as possible…
CALL THE POLICE! Seriously, this should always be the FIRST thing you do without exception. Even if you’re not sure if an actual crime has been committed. Chances are, you’re probably not a lawyer or cop. So call the police and let them figure out if any laws have been broken. That’s their job! Let them do it. Just file the police report, and get it on record ASAP.
CONTACT THE PRESS, and by that I mean a specific media outlet called Church Militant. They’ve started a new service, specifically for the survivors of sexual abuse, and anyone who might have information about corruption (of any kind) among clergy in the Catholic Church. It’s called the Church Militant Action Arm (click here). They hire private detectives, at their expense, to investigate your tips, and then hand the information over to law enforcement. Your anonymity is guaranteed.
CONTACT YOUR BISHOP’S CHANCERY OFFICE. This should be the LAST thing you do, AFTER contacting the police and press first. Why? Because there’s only a 50% chance your bishop will do anything. It really depends on the bishop and the diocese. The bishops’ track record has been horrendous on this. The bishop should be notified, so he can do something if he’s willing, but if you don’t feel comfortable doing it, don’t worry. If you’ve contacted the police first, as you should have, they can handle this step for you.
Remember the order: (1) POLICE, (2) press and then (3) bishop. It must always be in that order. The sole reason why this kind of corruption has gone on in the Church for so long is because victims have reported things in the wrong order. They went to the bishop first, who did nothing. Then years later, after it was too late to do anything, they finally went to the police. Only after they learned that nothing would be done, because the statute of limitations had expired, they went to the press. By going in the wrong order, they were victimized twice. Don’t let that happen to you or your loved ones. If you want the abuse to STOP, then notify the right people in the right order: (1) POLICE, (2) press and then (3) bishop.