Many victims of sexual abuse by priests say the indifference or worse of the bishops to what they experienced is more traumatizing than the original abuse. They tend to understand that the abuse may well be a person who was also abused at one time or may some kind of psychopath but they don’t understand how a bishop ordained to be Christ’s representative on earth and also an extension of the love of God the Father, can ignore their pleas for help.
The stories on the website will be those of persons who were abused by priests and turned to the Archdiocese of Detroit* for the help that it promises. Stories both good and bad will be posted. We have no means of ascertaining the veracity of the stories, but, as you will see in reading various reports, authenticity jumps off the page. Moreover, a pattern starts to emerge which in itself has verifying powers. This is not a place for people to give detailed stories of abuse, though certainly the story of the abuse will feature to some extent.
Too often, it seems the bishops make promises they do not keep. The purpose of this site is to alert the public to how faithful the AOD is in meeting its promises and to put pressure on the AOD to do a better job insofar as is efforts are inadequate.
The AOD Website
The AOD has several webpages dedicated to the sex abuse crisis. Posted there is a letter from Archbishop Vigneron wherein he states:
We offer here, on the website protect.aod.org, an accounting of what we have done and what we are doing in the Archdiocese of Detroit to confront past abuse and to eradicate these crimes from our midst. We offer these resources with the hope of healing, in response to questions from the community, and as part of our commitment to transparency.
The webpages fall far short of meeting the description given.
While the AOD lists the names of priests who have been accused under several different categories, the list is inadequate in several ways.
First, — very disturbingly — it gives absolutely no information about the nature of the abuse or the number of victims. Other dioceses, such as the Archdiocese Milwaukee provide truly extensive information about every priest who has been credibly abused, such as all his assignments, detailed, even graphic, descriptions of the nature of the abuse committee, and the documents that were in his file. The AOD gives only the priest’s name and his status re ministry. Such information or lack of information makes does not at all help those who have been abused by a priest to determine who was the priest who abused them. Reading specifics about abuse helps a victim come to terms with what happened to him/her and gives them courage to go forward. Not giving key information, in fact, amounts to a form of cover-up rather than manifesting “a commitment to transparency.”
Moreover, key names are missing: for instance, Archbishop Nienstedt, about whom complaints have been made both in accord with Church procedures and through civil law, is not listed as “under investigation.” Nienstedt was born in Detroit, went to Sacred Heart Seminary, taught moral theology part-time both at St. John Provincial Seminary and at SS. Cyril and Methodius Seminary in Orchard Lake, and was rector of Sacred Heart Major Seminary and reportedly still lives in the AOD. He served as Archbishop of the Archdiocese Minneapolis/St. Paul. He is not listed there as the object of credible abuse. Again, no transparency and thus it seems
Telling YOUR story
Those who want to tell their stories, should fill out this form. Moderators will review that statement before posting. They may request some editing of the narrative. But this is a site for victims and we do want to make your stories public.
*We are sorry that our limited resources mean that we cannot include stories from other dioceses. We hope people in other dioceses will provide victims and opportunity to tell their stories.