Former Altar Boy Writes Comic Book about Clerical Sexual Misconduct

By Simon Caldwell
Catholic Online
July 25, 2006

ONDON — A former altar boy who says he was abused by a priest has written a comic book to help to educate churchgoers about clerical sexual misconduct.

The man says that as a child he suffered a series of indecent assaults at the hands of John Lloyd, a former parish priest in Treforest, who was sentenced to eight years in jail in 1998 for a series of sexual offenses.

Writing under the pseudonym Martin O'Shea, the author uses his own experiences to unveil a "perception of scenarios" likely to occur following a complaint of abuse.

In the comic book, "The Least Among Us," O'Shea and illustrator Tony Wright tell a story of how a fictional bishop tries to deal with a clerical abuse scandal.

The comic, which will be published by Ascendant Press Aug. 21, follows the classic comic strip genre. Some of the cartoons show priests breaking the news to the bishop that a priest has been accused, and others show the bishop taking hostile questions from journalists at a press conference.

Copies have been sent to Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor of Westminster, president of the Bishops' Conference of England and Wales, and Anglican Archbishop Rowan Williams of Canterbury.

O'Shea said he wrote the comic book because he feels that Catholics often are confused by allegations of clerical sexual abuse. He said he wanted to help them understand what might be happening behind the scenes.

In a mid-July statement, O'Shea said that his "dozen anonymous, silhouetted and unpaid media interviews" following Lloyd's conviction were an "essential contribution to the growth in awareness which was being experienced at the time by the church, press and public alike."

"Yet cases of clergy sex abuse still remain a mystery to churchgoers, as evinced by the bewilderment, strife and, more often than not, scorn which emanates from congregations when a beloved priest or pastor becomes accused or convicted of unimaginable offenses," he said. "The story line of 'The Least Among Us' is removed from the secrecy which would shroud the guilt or innocence of individuals involved in real life criminal cases."

O'Shea was a witness in Lloyd's December 1998 trial at Chester Crown Court in England.

Lloyd was later jailed for sexual offenses against two altar boys and a 23-year-old woman and for the rape of a 16-year-old girl. He was laicized by Pope John Paul II while in jail; Lloyd has served his sentence and is out on probation.

Archbishop John Ward of Cardiff, Wales, at one point had employed Lloyd as his press officer.

In October 2001 the archbishop stepped down following a stroke after it emerged that another pedophile priest, Joseph Jordan, also had been active in his archdiocese.

In April 2001the Catholic Church in England and Wales accepted new child protection procedures, some of the most rigorous preventive measures of any institution in Great Britain.

The fourth annual report of the Catholic Office for the Protection of Children and Vulnerable Adults said July 3 that the numbers of abuse cases involving English and Welsh clergy have dropped dramatically.


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