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#78275 - 03/05/06 01:35 PM Going Public - My Statement
DTHOMAS Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 07/19/05
Posts: 9
Loc: Illinois
It deeply saddens me to be here today addressing the issue of clergy sexual abuse of children. My name is Donald Bondick and I am a survivor of a brutal rape in 1969 at the hands of a Roman Catholic Priest, at the age of 13. I was a cradle Catholic and my family, like so many others, believed that the Catholic Church was a safe haven in our neighborhoods. Over the past decades, it has become and still is a safe haven for pedophile priests and other clergy. I am speaking out in an effort to protect all children from being subjected to the evil that others and I have endured by those we were taught we could and should trust. Wolves in sheep’s’ clothing, when they were supposed to be Shepherds of the parishes entrusted to them, protecting us and our children.

• I pray and know in my heart that by sharing my story, I can encourage other victims to come forward and obtain the counseling, support and just compensation they deserve.

• I believe other victims/survivors can help, by speaking with the press. However, given the sensitive and intense nature of the suffering they have faced, it is understandable if they choose not to do so. Everyone in their own time. Just remember – you are not alone any longer.

• Catholics should be outraged by the blatant conspiracy of the church hierarchy to cover up these criminal acts by protecting these pedophile priests from due process of law, moving them from parish to parish, and allowing them to continue to victimize innocent children and murder their souls. The hierarchy is only happy if you continue your cycle of “pray, pay and obey.” If you question them in any way, shape or form they ostracize and condemn.

• Together we can help continue to pressure the Church to initiate and sustain reforms that WILL PROTECT CHILDREN. The Church needs to abide with strict adherence to the Bishops Charter of 2002 that Bishop Thomas Doran himself was vital in drafting and authorizing.

• I encourage prosecutors and other law enforcement and state officials to vigorously pursue clerical sexual offenders, even though the crimes may have been committed many, many years ago. No one is beyond reproach of the law regardless of age, gender, political or religious affiliation. They must take a stand for the victims.

• My family and I have been on a long and emotional journey. We have struggled with our faith, our trust in the church and our relationship with God. This abuse has cost me relationships, jobs and even our home of nine years, which was our sanctuary. We strongly question the integrity of the church hierarchy to do the right thing. To date, Bishop Thomas Doran along with Monsignor Kagan and their subordinates, have criminally conspired to hide and suppress evidence of approximately 30 allegations against 24 priests in the Rockford Diocese alone, spanning over 11 counties. They still refuse to release the names of those alleged criminal priests thereby fostering the irreparable harm they did to innocent children. We need to know those names so that we can protect other children from similar fates. This is not a gray issue. It is as clear as the black and white collars which they wear. You must take a stance. Are you for protecting the pedophiles or are you in favor of protecting the children? The children have no one to protect them but us.

• The Rockford Diocese is also unique in this dark history of events. In January 2003, I witnessed a man sodomizing another man in the showers at my local health club. To my utter shock, the aggressor was no other than our Bishop Emeritus and Vicar General, the most Reverend Arthur J. O’Neill. I confronted the bishop at his home asking many questions while weeping, regarding his knowledge about my perpetrator, Father Ted Feely. Not satisfied, I contacted the Vicar General and Moderator of the Curia, the Reverend Monsignor David D. Kagan. Monsignor Kagan was also the past pastor of my parish, St. James Church in Rockford, Illinois, prior to his promotion. He is also the sexual crisis response person when you call the hotline number to make a complaint of sexual misconduct of any clergy. In May 0f 2003, Kagan finally returned my many phone calls. Kagan stated, “The three of us have discussed this and it is all resolved.” When I questioned Kagan as to who was the three he replied, “Bishop Doran, Bishop O’Neill and myself.” Unfortunately, I was deceived again and the cover-up and conspiracy continued.

• Through my years of research and advocacy for children, I discovered that because of Bishop O’Neill’s active sexual proclivities, which the diocese was aware of for numerous decades, pedophilia cases involving priests were allegedly buried and hidden and not properly handled. The diocese allegedly used this information about Bishop O’Neill against him as threat to “out him.” Although, pedophilia and homosexuality are in no way connected, the diocese allegedly used this information to coerce Bishop O’Neill if he didn’t conform and protect the church above the children, at all costs. This cover-up continues as I stand and speak here today.

• Sister Mary McGeer once said, “Molestation of children is evil and there’s no other name for it. When we cover it up, it’s evil. When people cover it up, the people that are covering it up are evil.” It was 2,000 years ago, but Jesus' words have never rung truer than they do today. As quoted in the New Testament, Matthew 18:5-6, he said that whoever harms a child should have a "heavy millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.”


• I want to thank all of you for your prayers and thoughts today especially Barbara Blaine, David Clohessy, survivors across the world, my family, friends and supporters, Jeff Anderson, Marc Pearlman, Dr. Phil Welches, Survivors’ Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) and the Voice of the Faithful (VOTF). You have all been my beacon, my guiding light through the darkness into the light of truth and justice. I can never repay you enough. Thank you and peace be with you always.


Donald Bondick
Rockford, Illinois

_________________________
"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter."
Martin Luther King, Jr.

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#78276 - 03/05/06 04:14 PM Re: Going Public - My Statement
FLRich Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 06/21/04
Posts: 1404
Donald,

You are one brave man! Thank God we have men like you that will not allow the Church to cover up these abuses against boys.

I don't know you, but I deeply admire you.


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#78277 - 03/06/06 06:57 PM Re: Going Public - My Statement
scooter Offline
Member

Registered: 05/23/05
Posts: 76
I have a hard time with the whole sex abuse scandel in the Catholic Church. I'm infuriated that the church would cover up and not make accountable the priests who abused children.

But I am saddened at a different level. I've seen a wonderful community that is being torn apart for something that happens across all areas of society. Also my diocese is really working hard to protect children and implementing complete transparency and accountability.

I'm am saddened by the whole thing because the Catholic Church, and the faith I've developed within the community, is the only thing that kept me alive after my dad's stepfather abused me. That abuse was kept secretive as well. That is the nature of abuse.

But I am also thankful because I think if the Church (and that is every Catholic) accepts responsibility and takes appropriate action we can be change for the world and so the abuse that is kept hidden in the rest of society, as it was in the Church, can be brought to light.


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#78278 - 03/06/06 11:39 PM Re: Going Public - My Statement
roadrunner Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/02/05
Posts: 22045
Loc: Carlisle, PA
Donald,

I am so sad to hear your story, which of course reiterates the sort of thing we have seen repeatedly over the years. I wish you all the best in your efforts to seek justice, and I hope other guys here who suffered in the same way will see your post and respond to you. It's an important issue, and you are showing a lot of courage.

I hope I do not offend you if I also look at the other side of the coin. I am a university professor and a few years ago I was visiting a colleague at the Catholic University of America. I asked him why I so seldom see him in his priestly attire, and his answer was this: "I don't want people to think I'm a pedophile". That is also so sad.

Much love,
Larry

_________________________
Nobody living can ever stop me
As I go walking my freedom highway.
Nobody living can make me turn back:
This land was made for you and me.
(Woody Guthrie)

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#78279 - 03/25/06 12:07 AM Re: Going Public - My Statement
BFREE Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 03/22/06
Posts: 15
Loc: CA
Hey Brother,
Your an advocate for our children and that makes you blessed. Keeping up the good fight no matter what. If we all do our part someday future generations can go to church, camp, little league, etc. in safety. No matter who tells you you're wrong, you are doing the right thing. The one thing the church, school districts, government and so on cannot silence is the cry of the victims.


God Bless,

Brad


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#78280 - 03/25/06 12:41 AM Re: Going Public - My Statement
roadrunner Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/02/05
Posts: 22045
Loc: Carlisle, PA
Brad,

Quote:
The one thing the church, school districts, government and so on cannot silence is the cry of the victims.
I know what you mean and I see this as an ideal to be aimed for. But the victims need so much support and so many of them are silenced, or at least for a long time.

I look at so many of the court cases and it is so frustrating to see that even judges don't appreciate the incredible damage done by abuse and don't listen to the victims who do cry out.

I wonder what it will take to redress this terrible wrong, but it isn't the first time that gross injustice had to be fought over a long period.

Your post puts so starkly what is at stake: the right of our children to go to church, camp, school, or even play and sleep at home, without fear of vioence or sexual abuse.

Much love,
Larry

_________________________
Nobody living can ever stop me
As I go walking my freedom highway.
Nobody living can make me turn back:
This land was made for you and me.
(Woody Guthrie)

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#78282 - 04/03/06 07:06 PM Re: Going Public - My Statement
DTHOMAS Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 07/19/05
Posts: 9
Loc: Illinois
I'd like to thank all of you for the kind words and expressions of support. If I can be of assistance to any of you, please contact me at Rockford SNAP, 815-978-8082 or email me at snapreachout@yahoo.com.

Peace Always,

Donald Bondick
SNAP Coordinator of Rockford, IL
survivor since 1969

_________________________
"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter."
Martin Luther King, Jr.

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