Letter printed in the Knoxville News Sentinel on May 4, 2010
Clergy sexual abuse is a crisis that hurts everyone. The betrayal and pain it causes is immeasurable and far-reaching.
There are "Warren Tuckers" out there still, wanting us to know that they suffered at the hands of other clergy. Prior bishops of East Tennessee have kept the names of the clergy largely from public view, leaving victims to bear the blame and shame alone. Leaving families to wonder why.
Bishop Richard Stika and Deacon Sean Smith moved quickly to follow policies pertaining to sexual abuse. The alleged abusive priest has been removed and will no longer function as a priest.
We are thankful and grateful because children are safer and other victims are hopeful. They see that total accounting of any abusive priest who has been assigned in East Tennessee is on the horizon. They believe this bishop who wants to break the mold of his predecessors and give the faithful and the public the truth.
Thank you, Stika and Smith, for your gracious charity and swift action that have brought the beginning of healing to Tucker. Let other priest abuse victims know that it is a new day! If you have been abused by any priest and not received this kind of loving action, please let Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests know.
We will walk with you publicly or in total privacy to make known your abuser to the bishop. He and Smith will carefully guard you, as you wish, while speaking the truth about the abuser.
I need at least one victim of each abusive priest of Tennessee to start this process with me. If you are that person, please contact me at Rememberthesurvivors.com.