Abuse Victims Speak Out After Cardinal Law's Death


cardinal law abuse victims mitchell garabedian robert costello alexa mcpherson

From left: Robert Costello, Mitch Garabedian, and Alexa McPherson. (Lana Jones/WBZ NewsRadio 1030)

BOSTON (WBZ-AM) -- Cardinal Bernard Law may be gone, but the survivors of abuse at the hands of Catholic priests say the impact of his inaction goes on.

A Boston Globe Spotlight investigation uncovered evidence that Cardinal Law moved around priests who were accused of sexual abuse without notifying police or parents. 

He resigned in disgrace in 2002, and died last night in Rome at the age of 86.

At a press conference held by attorney Mitchell Garabedian, Wednesday morning, several victims of church abuse spoke out in the wake of Law’s death.

“Bernie Law was a cruel, selfish bastard because he knew what was going on, and he paid attention more to greed, personal representation of him, and what his church would appear to be like,” said abuse victim Robert Costello. “I hope Cardinal Law suffered every day knowing what he didn’t do.”

Costello was abused by John Cotter at St. Theresa’s in West Roxbury in the 1970s.

“There’s not a single day goes by that I don’t remember what happened to me, I don’t realize the effects it’s had on my life,” he said. “And I still don’t understand why the institution of the Catholic Church has done nothing whatsoever to help victims.”

He said Law’s death doesn’t bring closure to anyone--“except maybe the Church.”

It was Phil Saviano who first went to the Boston Globe with a database of priest abuse victims--a database he compiled trying to come to terms with his own abuse and the church’s failure to stop it.

“He chose to keep those child-molesting priests under his protection,” Saviano said. “And now is the judgement day.”

Saviano wondered aloud whether Cardinal Law was thinking about his actions in his final days, as so many in Boston think about the impact of the scandal on their lives and their parishes.

“The legacy of Cardinal Law will be with us for a long, long time,” he said. “Part of that history is trying to understand why he made so many horrible decisions, and put so many children, so many parishoners at risk.”

Read More: Jon Keller: Reflecting On Cardinal Bernard Law's Death

Alexa McPherson, who was abused by Peter Kanchong at the former St. Margaret’s in Dorchester, said she was angry that Law will never be held accountable.

“I was supposed to be a member of that congregation, and you just threw me down like a piece of trash, like I didn’t matter,” she said.

She said Law was more concerned with the church's image than the victims' trauma--and agreed that his passing wasn't anything close to a source of closure. 

"I feel like Cardinal Law's passing at this juncture, it does nothing to rectify anything in my life or those of many survivors that are still with us," she said. "He never fully addressed the crisis. He never reached out to us. He never inquired about our well-being, or put protective measures in place to stop this atrocious behavior."

Garabedian, a Boston-based attorney, represented many victims of Catholic church sexual abuse.

He says abuse victims are still coming forward.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030's Lana Jones reports


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