ChrisOLeary.com > Sacrificed > SPOTLIGHT & Me & Since
Mass of Reparation


January 6, 2022

In addition today being the FIRST anniversary of the sacking of the capital by a mob of Trump loyalists, it's also the TWENTIETH anniversary of SPOTLIGHT; of the release of the first article of two that exposed the Catholic sex abuse crisis in the Archdiocese of Boston.

Spotlight at 20

Today is a momentus day for me because I'm a SURVIVOR of the Catholic sex abuse crisis, and the developments of 20 years ago kicked off a series of events that were to change my life.

In sum, the release of the articles in the Boston Globe led the New York Times to start doing their own research and, for whatever reason, they ended up in my own back yard.

My name is Chris O'Leary and I'm a survivor of the Catholic sex abuse crisis. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, at the Church of the Immacolata in St. Louis, I was sexually exploited, abused, and assaulted — raped — by a priest named Fr. LeRoy Valentine.

Abuse that was witnessed, at least in part, by a man who, at the time, was one of the other priests at Immacolata. And who is now one of the most powerful men in the Catholic Church and thus the world.

A potential future Pope.

My Friend the Cardinal, and not the baseball kind.

Abuse that continued at my Jesuit high school, St. Louis University High (SLUH).

And then things got REALLY bad.

In March 2002, my own personal SPOTLIGHT — the release of an article in the New York Times that named my favorite priest, and one of my favorite PEOPLE, from my childhood — prompted me to make the biggest mistake of my life.

I went to the Catholic Church for help.

And, for laypeople — children, women, and men — things have gotten minimally better, since.

Yes, laypeople are being educated and screened.

But very little has changed INSIDE the church.

In the hierarchy.

As proof of that, I give you the only article that I could find that commemorated that hugely significant day of twenty years ago. An article in America Magazine entitled, "20 years after Spotlight..."

What's the big deal?

The sub-head.

Which reads, "Kathleen McChesney, who founded the @USCCB's Office on Child Protection, reflects on CHILD SAFETY in the church today."

As is my all too common refrain, "What about survivors?"

And women?

And men?

Both laypeople and seminarians.

The fact is, the Catholic sex abuse crisis was, and is, about so much more than JUST children.

For one thing, it's about those children who, like me, are now adults.

Survivors.

The ones who didn't kill themselves, at least.

And then there are the women and men who WERE abused and who REMAIN vulnerable.

Today.

Still.

Actually.

Which includes seminarians.

Who CONTINUE to be harrassed and abused, and in some cases RAPED, by their fellow seminarians.

Abusers who are then ordained.

And it MUST be asked about those abuser seminarians, given that they have no problem abusing their fellow seminarians, WHO are they going to abuse when they are ordained and alone, in their own parishes?

The worst part, what's so particularly scary about the Catholic Church on this day, 20 years after SPOTLIGHT, is the ENABLING.

The efforts by people inside the church, and also by laypeople and the press, to make sure people believe the sex abuse crisis is OVER.

Regardless of the facts.

Combined with the willingness of lay Catholics and others to just keep their mouths shut.

Just like the adults, who could have protected us, chose to keep their mouths shut in the depths of the sex abuse crisis.

And that enabling is belied by the fact that an earlier draft of the America Magazine piece, which prompted me to release a tweet, in response...

...referred to a, "promise to remove abusers after a SINGLE allegation."

Which was a lie.

Belied by the case of The Seminarian in Knoxville.

However, America Magazine, loyal enablers that they are, simply REMOVED that line.

I can only assume, in part, because abusers are removed after a SINGLE allegation ONLY if the bishop agrees to do so.

Which Bishop Rick Stika of Knoxville, Tennessee, at least, has refused to do, in the case of The Seminarian.

Which is a story I tell in...

And Bishop Stika is being aided in his efforts to hide and protect The Seminarian by his friends in the Archdiocese of St. Louis, who are harboring The Seminarian until things blow over and the heat is off.

And The Seminarian, a multi-accused RAPIST, can get back on the path to ordination.

As for the fact that, "reported incidents of abuse of minors by Catholic clergy have gone down substantially since 2002." As we know, it can take survivors 20 or 30 years to understand that what they endured was abuse, so let's wait and see who comes forward in 20 or 30 years.

Then there's VOS ESTIS LUX MUNDI, the Pope's bill of rights for survivors.

Which is a sham.

A fraud.

A false hope.

A cruel taunt, directed at survivors.

As I know, given that I've sent letter after letter to the Vatican and the Pope, including one hand-delivered by Cardinal Sean O'Malley, the Archbishop of Boston, and videos sent via Fr. Hans Zollner, both who are heads of the Vatican's child protection efforts, none of which were EVER replied to.

Despite VOS ESTIS.

And, in fact, Cardinal O'Malley and Fr. Zollner have stopped replying to my letters.

Despite VOS ESTIS.

Just following orders, I can only assume.

The reality of the Catholic Church, 20 years after SPOTLIGHT, and in the era of VOS ESTIS, is the precious LITTLE has changed.

Which means Catholics MUST start doing their part; protecting both their kids and the kids of others. And looking out for their fellow Catholics. Women and men. Who are vulnerable to predation by known abusers who are being ordained by the Catholic Church.

Still.

20 years after SPOTLIGHT.

This IS a test.

And, if Jesus Christ can do what He did, entering Jerusalem on Palm Sunday to a certain and KNOWN fate, then you and I and we can do this.

Spotlight & Me & Since

What happened next?

After SPOTLIGHT.

I tell my story, of what happened to me in the weeks after the release of the original SPOTLIGHT articles, and my own personal SPOTLIGHT, at length, in...

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