Sex abuse victims in Boston learn that what their lawyers told them isn’t true. Money doesn’t make them feel better, their lawsuits didn’t settle anything, and in some cases they feel worse. Yesterday, the 541 participants in the $85 million settlement learned from the abitrators how much they will get on Monday.
“This money means nothing to me. In a way I wish I didn’t have it,” said a tearful Alexa MacPherson, who says she was sexually molested by a Dorchester priest for years and is getting less than $250,000. “This is a road I wish I wasn’t even on.”
“I thought I’d feel light-hearted,” she said. “Instead I feel weighed down. … I feel like a price has been put on my head. That’s not what I wanted.”
William Oberle, a tradesman who said his settlement equals about a year’s pay, said plaintiffs feel almost like “prostitutes” now that they’ve been compensated financially for having been sexually violated.
I hope the lawyers are happy now (with their big multimillion dollar cuts of the settlement). Contrary to what they would have you believe, not all justice is found in a courtroom, not all healing comes from a verdict or admission of guilt. I daresay that the only healing and justice the victims will find will be found in Jesus Christ.
Oberle, his anger undiminished over the past year, said yesterday that priests who molested children deserve the harshest punishment the church can hand out. “They need to be not just defrocked, they need to be excommunicated,” he said. “They need to be damned to hell … damned to the same place they sent us.”
I understand his anger even if I don’t agree with what he says. For one thing, the Church does not damn anyone. Our judgment comes from God. And thank God that His mercy equals His justice or we would all be sharing time in hell for our sins. “For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” (Rom 3:23) I hope that at some point the angriest of victims will have their hearts opened to receiving the Holy Spirit into their hearts and the healing and peace that comes from it.