Convictions in Philadelphia, by Kristine Ward

Published January 31, 2013

The jury in Philadelphia convicted Rev. Charles Engelhardt and former teacher Bernard Shero on Wednesday.

Here is the link to the Associated Press story via ABC News: http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/priest-teacher-convicted-pa-church-abuse-case-18357946

There will be news stories, columns, and other editorials about these convictions but it is our desire that these words spoken by Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams capture and hold center ground today.

“The victim in this case has shown exceptional courage,” said District Attorney Seth Williams. “Not only did he have the strength to report his abuse, he had the tenacity to look his abusers in the eye and testify in front of complete strangers about the horrific details of his attacks. I hope this verdict will help him to continue with the long journey of healing that comes after such trauma.”

Indeed, without the courage of victims, truth is strangled.

Society is deeply indebted to them for tearing away the masks, the veils, the abusers’ sought after opaque personas.

The Church for its own sake should cherish and honor the victims.

The Alice in Wonderland world of continuing to honor those who hide, deflect, dodge and open doors and roads to safety for abusers while debasing and shunning victims must end.

The victims are the lamplights of justice.

— Kristine Ward, Chair, National Survivor Advocates Coalition (NSAC), Kristineward@hotmail.com

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