January 12, 2006

Silence shattered on sex abuse

The Columbus Dispatch

Thursday, January 12, 2006
Jim Siegel and Dennis M . Mahoney

Detroit Auxiliary Bishop Thomas J. Gumbleton yesterday broke 60 years of silence about the sexual abuse he says he suffered at the hands of a priest, hoping to convince Ohio lawmakers that other victims deserve their day in court.

Gumbleton surprised Roman Catholic Church leaders in Ohio when he showed up in Columbus to publicly support a bill allowing sex-abuse victims to sue for crimes that occurred up to 35 years ago. Ohio bishops have spent months lobbying to defeat the provision.

"Its the only way that priests or bishops in the church who either were perpetrators or covered up the perpetrators will be truly held accountable," Gumbleton told a room filled with reporters and cameras. "It seems that on our own, were not willing within the church to hold ourselves accountable to the victims for what has happened."

Gumbleton also criticized a pro- posal by the Catholic Conference of Ohio to create a registry of church sex abusers instead of giving victims one year to sue for past sex crimes.

"It would not meet the needs of the victims," he said. "We need to be interested in whatever is going to make every victim as healed as possible."

Posted by kshaw at January 12, 2006 07:08 AM