April 11, 2005

Sex abuse survivor tells story

The Daily Collegian

By Nina Lowy

April 11, 2005

Last week on April 5, Phil Saviano, a survivor of clergy sexual abuse, spoke at the University of Massachusetts. Saviano's story is an unprecedented one being the first Massachusetts victim who was able to settle a clergy-abuse lawsuit without signing a confidentiality agreement.

Saviano recalls most of the abuse occurred when he was twelve years old, and living in a small town outside of Worcester. He described the abuse as a "grooming process."

In the beginning, Saviano and his friend, who was also molested by Father David Holley, were asked to do simple chores around the church, such as moving boxes, in exchange for 50 cents for an ice cream. This eventually turned into the priest showing the young boys sexually explicit playing cards with pictures of men and women on them, and discussion about sex. The abuse began when the priest repeatedly asked for oral sex from Saviano in the basement of the church. Saviano remembers the priest's grip around his wrist when he tried to pry it off.

"It was a huge conflict for me. I wanted the groundskeeper to look in and see [through the window], and I didn't want him to see," Saviano said.

Posted by kshaw at April 11, 2005 01:35 AM