March 20, 2006

Quest to Heal Leads Abuse Victim to Face Old Demons

Washington Post

By Caryle Murphy
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, March 20, 2006; Page B01

On a balmy, hint-of-spring day last week, Michael Donovan drove his rented car slowly past Holy Name School in Northeast Washington, where a billboard read, "He who angers you, controls you."

The 63-year-old Vietnam veteran and retired businessman from California was on a mission into his past, a mission to banish his own anger and regain control. A mission of healing.

Almost 50 years ago, during Donovan's eighth-grade spring break, he was sexually abused at Holy Name by Thomas S. Schaefer, then a 30-year-old, newly minted Roman Catholic priest.

Schaefer went on to molest at least 20 more boys in the Washington Archdiocese, according to church officials, before pleading guilty in 1995 in five of those cases. Only one other priest in the archdiocese, Robert J. Petrella, had more known victims, officials said. About 25 people have reported being molested by Petrella. The two priests were responsible for more than a third of the 123 reports of sexual abuse by clergy in the archdiocese's 59-year history.

Posted by kshaw at March 20, 2006 07:30 AM