No one from church visited to ask how our son was doing, say father of boy sexually abused by priest

Aug 23, 2017, 15:09 IST | Gaurav Sarkar

In 21 months since teen was sexually abused by a priest, the Archdiocese of Bombay has not offered any help, says boy's father who takes the stand in court

Representation pic
Representation pic

Nearly two years after a 13-year-old boy was allegedly molested by a priest in Govandi, his father will take the stand on Wednesday to answer the defence's questions in court. But the boy's parents have a question of their own for the Church - why has no one come forward to help them in all this time?

On November 27, 2015, the boy was allegedly sexually assaulted by Father Lawrence Johnson at Christ the King Church. Recently, the boy's parents were dismayed to learn that a week later, on December 6, 2015, the Archdiocese of Bombay had issued a press note, stating: "All assistance is currently being rendered to the victim's family."

'No support at all'
The mother said, "All of this is a lie. In two years, the Cardinal has not come to see us once."

"We used to live in Shivaji Nagar, but moved out because all the boys used to bully my son," said the boy's father, adding, "No father or brother from the church bothered to ask us how we are coping, and they have not even given us a copy of the statements we gave to them.

The other side
Father Nigel Barrett, spokesperson for the Archdiocese of Bombay, said, "They were offered traumatic counselling, but they said they would deal with the situation themselves. After that, there was an attempt to keep in touch with the family, but we understand that they want to keep their distance."

The survivor's mother rubbished this, stating, "They did not say a single word about help or traumatic counselling."

"What steps has Cardinal Oswald taken, considering the Archdiocese claims that it has zero tolerance towards sex crimes against children?" said Advocate Joseph Sodder, founder, Association of Concerned Catholics (AOCC), which first noticed the press note issued by the Archdiocese in 2015.

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