By now everyone has heard about the UN report taking the Vatican to task for its handling of the sexual abuse crisis, but this recent story is one person talking about being raped by a priest, how she handled it and her role now helping others who have suffered the same horror.
This is a must read as a personal example of what the UN Report claimed is an institutional failure.
The first time I spoke publicly about being repeatedly raped by a priest when I was between the ages of 14 and 15 was when we announced the settlement of my case—one week before I went to join advocates filing a complaint against the pope with the International Criminal Court at The Hague. I was 21 and had barely left my small town in Minnesota, let alone the country. If you watch footage from the press conference, I disappear for a while; that was when I stepped out to throw up.
People were whispering about Fr. Joseph Jeyapaul’s inappropriate contact with youths within a month or so after his arrival from India at our church, but no one did anything about it. At the time, I was shy and got teased a lot, and I felt like an outsider. He offered to lend me a book, and I was flattered by the attention. When I went to pick it up, was the first time he raped me. Sometimes he was violent, and sometimes he told me this was the teaching of God; this was how I was getting closer to Him.
I would take the church bulletin every Sunday and look at the telephone number for the diocese victim advocate printed at the bottom. When I finally worked up the courage to make the call and tell someone what was happening, the woman on the other end told me not to make prank calls and hung up on me. Truly. It took another year for me to tell anyone, and that person was a high school counselor who was mandated to report it to the authorities. Jeyapaul had returned to India by then.
The Church had moved him back to oversee dozens of schools in the diocese of Ootacamund (Tamil Nadu), endangering countless other children. He was arrested in India after Interpol issued an alert in March 2012, and prosecutors here are now seeking to have him extradited to face criminal charges. As far as I know, he is still detained in New Delhi fighting extradition, with his bail denied because he is considered a flight risk. It’s hard to get accurate information, though: At another point we heard he’d been defrocked, but that turned out to be false. At another point we heard the extradition was imminent, but then nothing happened and I haven’t heard anything since.
Meanwhile, I went to Europe in September 2011 with people from SNAP (the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests) and the Center for Constitutional Rights, which was filing the case with the International Criminal Court on our behalf. We charged then-Pope Benedict and other high-level Vatican officials with crimes against humanity for their roles, both supervisory and direct, in covering up and enabling widespread and systematic rape and other sexual assault in the Church. We asked the ICC to open an investigation. Among other evidence of wrong-doing by the church, we showed that it regularly moved priests known to be predators to new locations in order to avoid scandal—putting more children at risk, just as they did with my perpetrator.
Retrieved February 22, 2014 from http://msmagazine.com/blog/2014/02/21/i-wish-the-pope-would-step-up/