November 18, 2005

Reluctant victim sees priest get 20 years


By Robert Patrick

The man never wanted to be first to come forward about his sexual abuse at the hands of a Catholic priest decades ago.

"All along I said I didn't want to be the first person," the 43-year-old emphasized Thursday, the day the Rev. Thomas Graham was sentenced to 20 years in prison. Cowed by pain, shame and fear, he said, he had waited for others to step forward - and was ready to support them.

But during a search for his biological father's grave, he happened upon the church where Graham was then serving and saw him surrounded by adults and children. That prompted the man to report his abuse to the St. Louis Archdiocese in 1994. The church said later it could not substantiate the claim.

In 2002, after the priest sex abuse scandal broke in Boston and St. Louis Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce asked victims to come forward, the man stepped up.

Posted by kshaw at November 18, 2005 08:34 AM