May, 2002

Behind the story of priests who molest children, there are larger scandals, and greater tragedies, which have thus far not become part of the public discourse. This information is vital to the decisions now being made and the actions being considered by the Church, by the judicial system, and by the victims and their advocates. It concerns:

Rather than write about these issues, 3 documents are enclosed, with trust that those who are interested will read on.

What Can Happen to Abused Children When They Grow Up - If No One Notices, Listens or Helps? Some Statistics from the Research. This document highlights examples of what is known about the true extent of the damage done by child abuse, and where these children, without understanding and help, may end up as adolescents and adults.

Scars That Won't Heal: The Neurobiology of Child Abuse. This article describes the way childhood trauma permanently changes and "wires" a child's brain to cope with a malevolent world. This has implications regarding the seriousness of the crime of child sexual assault, the intergenerational impacts of such abuse, and the necessity of its prevention for society.

On Being Invisible In the Mental Health System. This article gives one of thousands of examples of what far too frequently happens to adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse when they end up in our mental health systems.

The Church and its leaders must be held and must hold themselves accountable for their role in continuing to put children at risk, and for the severe and often irreversible damage done to these children who were entrusted to their care.

As a way of making amends, the Church might consider using its considerable influence and resources toward educating the public, preventing the growing epidemic of child sexual abuse in the U.S. (presently estimated as high as 20% of male and 30% of female children) and providing through its many Universities, education that would prepare professionals to offer the victims of such abuse the help they need.

Many knowledgeable and dedicated individuals stand ready to assist in such an endeavor.

Gary Wheeler , President
The Anna Foundation