Groups Meet to Help Each Other Deal with Priest Abuse

By Julie O'Neill
WCPO 9 [Cincinnati OH]
April 3, 2003

The push by some every day Catholics to stop priest sex abuse in Cincinnati's Archdiocese gained some momentum Thursday.

A group acting as sort of a watchdog of the clergy held its first conference on the subject.

"I know I'm a lot better emotionally than I was years ago but literally not a day goes by that I don't think about what happened to me as a child. Not a day goes by that I don't cry," said David Clohessy, victim of priest abuse.

The pain Clohessy still feels is at the heart of his visit to Dayton, Ohio. He heads the national group Survivors of Those Abused by Priests.

Each person at the meeting has been touched in some way by the abuse.

On anonymous cards one person writes as a reason for attending, "sex abuse of myself at age six and my daughter at thirteen by an assistant pastor."

Another person writes simply "I would like to help heal the church and support the victims."

"I've been made aware of some situations where the abuse has occurred and it's been recent and I've seen the horrific effects and people have to stand up and make their voice heard," said Mike Knellinger, Dayton Voice of the Faithful.

Mike Knellinger helped organize this meeting of the Dayton "Voice of the Faithful" to gain momentum for the campaign to protect the kids he once coached.

The group's national leader, a self-described ordinary Catholic, helped remove Boston's Cardinal Bernard Law.

"We have to make a difference and in a sense if we don't do it now, who will do it?" said Jim Post, VOTF director.

The fact all these Catholics came out on a Thursday night to listen,after gathering at the University of Dayton Chapel to pray, it's at the very least bringing some comfort.

As horrific as this scandal is there really are signs of hope everywhere

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