January 12, 2006

Esther’s Lost Innocence

Random Lengths News

By Slobodan Dimitrov

Editors note: Over 560 claims of sexual abuse by over 245 clergy members are now pending against the Los Angeles Archdiocese alone, with over 1000 cases statewide. Last year, the Diocese of Orange settled 90 cases for $100 million. Estimates for the Los Angeles Archdiocese range up to $1 billion. These thousand cases—plus many more still unreported—are numerically overwhelming. The human cost is best understood by considering the tale of one woman, whose abuser lived right here amongst us in San Pedro, seemingly no different than any other man of God.

On a balmy Sunday during a morning service at Mary Star of the Sea, in San Pedro, a group from SNAP (Survivors’ Network of those Abused by Priests) began to gather on the corner of 8th and Walker streets.
According to their website, SNAP is a volunteer self-help organization for survivors of clergy sexual abuse and their supporters. SNAP is member-run, stressing healing for both the victim and the institution of the Church.
Esther Miller, a 47 year-old wife and mother of two daughters, stood facing the image of Mary, high up on the front of Mary Star of the Sea. Tears were streaming down her face, and her breathing was labored. Her fellow survivors rushed to her aid. Later, Esther said she was overwhelmed by memories of Deacon Michael Nocita––memories of sexual abuse that flooded back from when she was a teenager. This was her first time back to the church grounds in 29 years.

Posted by kshaw at January 12, 2006 07:44 AM