April 22, 2005

A Sexual Abuse Survivor, Priest now Helps Others

Greenwich Citizen

By Christopher Falvo HYPERLINK mailto:cfalvo@bcnnew.com cfalvo@bcnnew.com

It has been three years since the scandal broke in Boston, exposing the Roman Catholic Church and its decades of sexual abuse. The media scrutiny focused mainly on the acts of priests abusing children and the bishops who knowingly harbored sexual predators. What was not discussed was the ever-growing culture of sexual abuse within the ranks of the clergy and Catholic orders such as the Irish Christian Brothers.

"I am a survivor of sexual abuse and cultural abuse and so are you. We are all victims," said the Rev. Robert M. Hoatson, a victim of sexual abuse as a member of the Irish Christian Brothers, an educational vocation. "Unless we acknowledge, comprehend and do something about the abuse sexual and otherwise that is rooted in the culture of our church, nothing substantial will change." Hoatson, the chaplin of Catholic Charities for the Archdiocese of Newark, N.J., spoke of his experiences with sexual abuse at the monthly Voice of the Faithful (VOTF) meeting, held at Christ Church Tuesday night.

VOTF, a worldwide organization with more than 30,000 members, was formed in response to the sexual abuse scandal. Tom Malarkey formed the Greenwich affiliate, which has a floating membership of about 50, in October 2002. Hoatson, 53, joined the Irish Christian Brothers after high school in September 1970. Trying his best to follow the teachings of his superior, Hoatson was told throughout his first year of studying that he was "too cold and needed warming up."

Posted by kshaw at April 22, 2005 06:48 PM