Tom Shea, a columnist for The Republican, a newspaper in Springfield, Mass., relates the story of one abuse victim, a 40-year-old man, who was abused by the infamous convicted sexual molester priest, Richard Lavigne. Lavigne was convicted of child molestation and is a suspect in the murder of an altar boy.
This victim, Peter Bessone, tells his story of alcohol and drug abuse—which began when he was plied with alcohol by Lavigne. He was an 8-year-old boy who approached his priest to see about becoming an altar boy. Instead he was molested. For years, he couldn’t even stand to be in the room with any priest. Until he met Father Jim Scahill.
He met Fr. Scahill in the hospital room where his father was dying. Slowly but surely, Scahill got him to open up and trust him and eventually showed him kindnesses, great and small, the sort of kindnesses that a priest should naturally show, that are the image of Christ.
“What he did was care,” Peter says. “One priest took from me. This one was trying to give me something.”
Now Peter is dying and he met with the reporter to make sure that before he died the story of what good Fr. Scahill did for him could be told so that the story of his life wasn’t only about what evil another priest did to him.