Last week, Bishop John LeVoir and the Diocese of New Ulm, Minnesota released an online video discussing, and apologizing to Survivors for, the terrible harm caused by clergy sexual abuse. LeVoir said in the video that he has learned from listening to Survivors that sexual abuse by clergy results in a “hurt so great that it never goes away.” Unfortunately, LeVoir follows up what appears to be a sincere, heartfelt apology to Survivors with an invitation to them to return to the church. Bishop LeVoir says that returning to the church is in fact the only way for Survivors to heal.
In thirty years of representing Survivors of clergy sexual abuse I have learned that the Catholic Church knew it had a problem with sexual abuse long before anyone in the unsuspecting public did. Bishops like John LeVoir have encountered Survivors of sexual abuse for decades and presumably learned of its terrible effects and the severity of the harm it causes.