For Immediate Release
June 13, 2016
Contact: John Salveson at 215-870-0680 email@example.com
John Salvesonâ€™s Prepared Remarks for the SOL Reform/Revival Rally, Harrisburg Capitol Steps.
BRYN MAWR, PA â€“ John Salveson, President of FACSA (Foundation to Abolish Child Sex Abuse) made the following statement at the SOL Reform/Revival Rally on June 13, 2016 on the steps of the Pennsylvania State Capitol.
â€œMy name is John Salveson. I am a clergy sex abuse survivor and the President of the Foundation to Abolish Child Sex Abuse.
I am here this morning to send a very simple message. It is a message I first sent in February of 1980 in a letter to the Bishop of Rockville Centre, John McGann telling him of my abuse at the hands of a priest and alerting him to the presence of a sexual predator in his diocese. I told Bishop McGann I was contacting him for one reason â€“ to protect other children from sexual abuse. That letter began a nine year battle to have Father Robert Huneke removed from contact with children in parishes and schools.
During those nine years the bishop ignored me, scolded me, manipulated me and lied to me â€“ all while continuing to move Father Huneke from parish to parish and school to school.
Here I stand, 36 years later, among my fellow survivors and advocates.
The playbook of the Catholic Church hasnâ€™t changed much. We continue to be ignored, scolded, manipulated and lied to. And Grand Jury Reports tell us that the Catholic Church continues to protect predators and child rapists, moving them from parish to parish and school to school, where they find new children to prey upon.
We all know that the problem of child sex abuse is not entirely a problem of the Roman Catholic Church. Kids are abused mostly by family members and family friends, as well as by teachers, coaches, scout leaders and anyone else who holds a position of trust in their lives.
But the reason I am speaking about the Catholic Church, as represented by the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference and the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, is because they are the ones hell bent on killing HB 1947 and denying child sex abuse survivors a modicum of justice. They are cranking out misinformation 24/7 about constitutionality, sovereign immunity, bankruptcy, parish closings and anything else they can think of.
They have spent over $2 million on their campaign by some reports. They are shameless, cowardly, delusional people who think they can convince their parishioners that they are the true victims, that they are being unfairly singled out and that they shouldnâ€™t be held accountable for their decades of criminal, calculated, immoral behavior.
Our elected representatives in the House saw though this charade and voted overwhelmingly to approve HB 1947.
Now the fight goes to the Senate. We will soon learn if our Senate Leaders have the courage to stand up for children and the judgement to see through the insulting, misleading, manipulative campaign being under taken by those who oppose HB 1947.
We are watching them and hoping with all of our hearts that they choose victims over predators, the truth over lies and integrity over fear. We are not going away, and we will never give up until every survivor of child sex abuse has a chance for justice and healing.â€