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Unforgivable Abuse

October 19, 2009 permalink

The harm from child abuse is so deep that even decades later it is impossible for victims to forgive their tormentors. Two examples are in an Ottawa Citizen article and a letter to the editor in reply from former crown ward Gary Curtis. After reading them, consider two questions: Which causes more harm, fondling an altar boy, or years of separation from mom and dad? Which gets monetary compensation?



Monsignor regrets lack of 'reconciliation'

Vicar general said it was 'sad' sex-abuse victim refused to shake hands

By Gary Dimmock, The Ottawa Citizen October 12, 2009

Msgr. Kevin Beach, vicar general of the Archdiocese of Ottawa, which last week gave refuge to a disgraced former bishop facing child pornography charges, issued a press release on Thanksgiving weekend declaring that it was "sad" that an altar boy who was sexually abused at age 14 refused to shake his hand at a mediation session.

The altar boy, whose name is protected by law, is now 40 and recently settled a lawsuit against the archdiocese for an undisclosed amount of money.

Beach issued the press release in response to a Citizen story on Saturday, which revealed that Alex, the victim, had settled out of court for the abuse he suffered at the hands of Rev. Dale Crampton dating back to 1982, when the priest presided over St. Maurice Church on Percy Street. Crampton was convicted four years later for sexually abusing seven altar boys. The judge sentenced the priest to eight months in jail.

The vicar general issued the rare news release to respond to the victim, who denounced the church's apology as "feeble."

The apology was part of the settlement.

The vicar general wanted the public to know that the archdiocese has long favoured a mediated process to its sexual abuse claims rather than litigation.

"Unfortunately, this (Citizen) story confirms that litigation is rarely a satisfactory approach when dealing with the anger and pain of abuse victims. It is why our diocese has had a protocol in place for many years favouring a mediated process which, in addition to independent legal counsel for the victim, provides an opportunity for victims to express their anger, pain and desire for healing. Once the litigation process is launched, we are obliged to follow the court process," Beach said in a statement to the Citizen.

The Roman Catholic Church said on the weekend the settlement with Alex was settled "mutually on a very quick basis, in the hope that the healing of Alex would commence more quickly."

But the victim does not view the situation the same way.

The case drew a lot of attention this past summer when Beach suggested that Alex only launched the lawsuit at his lawyer's instigation.

"I would think that it was at his lawyer's urging that this gentleman decided to launch a lawsuit, rather than communicate with us directly," Beach said at the time.

The accusation still rattles Alex. He recalled a mediation session at which Beach was present:

"I walked into this meeting and this same man was standing there offering to shake hands like he's my friend."

In a rare public reply, Beach counters:

"On a personal note, I find it sad that Alex was not able to accept my handshake, not one of friendship, but as a gesture of reconciliation -- a gesture which has been accepted in other cases. I hope and pray that he and his family find the peace and healing they deserve."

On Friday afternoon, the archdiocese issued a brief statement from Archbishop Terrence Prendergast apologizing for the sexual abuse Alex endured from Crampton.

"I am grateful that we have come to an early and mediated settlement of the claim for, sexual abuse, of A.V.B. (Alex) against Dale Crampton and the Archdiocese," Prendergast says in the statement. "This occasion gives me the opportunity to apologize to A.V.B. and to the other victims of Dale Crampton.

"Even though this particular incident dates from the early 1980s, we have all been made aware of the pain that these cases, involving sexual abuse and abuse of trust, have caused to the victims and to their families throughout the years. I state again the commitment of our diocese, and my personal commitment, to create a safe environment in the church for young people and for other vulnerable persons."

[ paragraphs relating to Raymond Lahey omitted. ]

Source: Ottawa Citizen

The Ottawa Citizen October 19, 2009

Re: Monsignor regrets lack of 'reconciliation,' Oct. 12.

Why is Msgr. Kevin Beach, vicar general of the Archdiocese of Ottawa, so shocked that this man, who was sexually abused at age 14 as an altar boy, was not willing to shake his hand at a meeting of "reconciliation?" The answer is: Why should he? For years and years, many priests and nuns abused the children who were entrusted into their care and many of those children have grown up to have very unstable lives.

Msgr. Beach also mentioned that the Catholic Church prefers a mediated process to these sexual abuse claims. Of course they do. That way, if there is a settlement reached out of court, then everything is hushed up, With a court case, then it becomes public knowledge.

For too long the church has ignored these abuses, just like the Children's Aid Society has tried to ignore the abuses that were committed against us former Crown wards.

Gary Curtis,

Source: Ottawa Citizen