Support Groups Hold Good Friday Vigil for Victims of Priest Sex Abuse - NBC4 Washington

Support Groups Hold Good Friday Vigil for Victims of Priest Sex Abuse

Victims still struggling years after abuse



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    Becky Ianni was abused by a Catholic priest more than 40 years ago.

    She says today the emotional weight is as heavy as it was when she was a child. "I was abused by someone I loved," she said, holding a picture of herself as an eight-year-old in her Catholic school uniform.

    Ianni is now director of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, or SNAP. She says after the abuse, she was further victimized by the response from her church. "When I went to the church to tell them how I was afraid to go to a priest because I was afraid I would go to hell, I didnt get any reassurances," she said.

    SNAP and another group called Voices of the Faithful were among the organizers of a vigil outside the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle in Northwest on Good Friday. They recited a version of the Stations of the Cross -- theirs was tailored to adress the issue of priest sex abuse.

    Good Friday Vigil for Clergy Abuse Victims

    [DC] Good Friday Vigil for Clergy Abuse Victims
    Victims of clergy abuse and their supporters hold a vigil outside a NW Washington church.
    (Published Friday, April 2, 2010)

    "The survivors are often the ones who are shoved to the side, who are not attended to," said Bill Casey of Voices of the Faithful. He said while the church and the local Archdiocese have taken steps to adress the issue, more needs to be done. "What's left undone is the accountability for those that were in leadership positions and allowed pedophile priests to be reassigned, keeping it secret," Casey said.

    Archbishop of Washington Donald Wuerl joined in prayer with those at the vigil. "One of the things that we've tried to do, going all the way back to when we first became aware of it, was to support victims," he said. Weurl added that they've also worked to see that priests who committed abuse were not returned to the ministry.

    Archdiocese spokeswoman Susan Gibbs says that since 2003, they've been conducting background checks on priests, and offering counseling and guidance to young people in the church as well.

    Meanwhile, Becky Ianni continues her post-victim journey. "I'm having a hard time with my faith right now and having a hard time with God," she said.