March 26, 2005

Church puts image before children, alleged victims say

HAYWARD (CA)
The Argus

By Michelle Meyers, STAFF WRITER

HAYWARD Debbie Lukas' pain stems from more than the sexual abuse she and a group of Oakland families say they suffered at the hands of her childhood priest.

She's also saddened and outraged by the way the church, as she puts it, continues to shirk its responsibility to protect children by "covering-up" the alleged crimes.

Lukas' frustration spurred her to organize a rally of a couple dozen abuse survivors at lunchtime Friday in front of the Hayward Hall of Justice, where a related trial gets under way next week.

In a push for more "transparency" about clergy abuse, the activists wielded signs that read "No excuse for coverup" and "Pedophiles don't quit Is your child next?" They targeted mothers going to and from the courthouse.

Oakland mother Lawana Stuckey, who was at the Hall of Justice on court business, said while she trusts those educating her four children in Catholic schools, she was happy to get a list of alleged abusers in the San Francisco, Oakland and San Jose dioceses.

Posted by kshaw at March 26, 2005 07:32 AM