The Courage To Help Protect Others and Hold the Church Accountable

The courage of survivors such as David Pususta always inspires and amazes us. David came forward today to not only reveal publicly for the first time that he is a child sexual abuse survivor, but he also discussed his abuse and identified his abuser, who was never publicly named previously. David also filed court documents in Ramsey County District Court seeking to force the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis to unseal and make public its secret list of 33 Archdiocesan priests credibly accused of child sex abuse.

David’s act of courage today is monumental.  It will help hold the Catholic Church and the Archdiocese accountable. More importantly, it will help protect children from predator priests.

While a minor, David was sexually abused by Father John Brown, a priest of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.  David is fearful for the safety of other children and wants to ensure that no other harm is inflicted on children as it was on him. He believes releasing this list of known priest offenders will help keep children safe.  David was made aware of the Archdiocese’s secret list of offender priests by virtue of new lawsuits filed under the recently enacted Child Victims Act.

Only approximately 30 U.S. dioceses have released lists of credibly accused priests in their diocese. That is a sad and disturbingly low number. The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis’ choice to keep its list secret is a choice to protect the Archdiocese and the credibly accused priests, instead of children. David didn’t have to come forward today – he chose to. His courageous act will help force the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, and all other dioceses, to do the morally right thing.

Jeff Anderson is an attorney and advocate working with survivors of clergy sexual abuse at Jeff Anderson & Associates.