My name is Chris O'Leary and I'm a survivor of abuse by a Catholic priest.
When I was a child, I was sexually exploited, abused, and assaulted -- raped -- by a priest named Fr. LeRoy Valentine at the Church of the Immacolata in Richmond Heights, MO, a suburb of St. Louis, from 1977-1981.
Then, when I went to the Archdiocese of St. Louis for help in early March 2002, and Timothy Cardinal Dolan returned my call, that's when things got REALLY bad.
While some would have you believe the Catholic sex abuse crisis is a problem of the past, my literally up to the moment, experience says otherwise.
For updates on my story and efforts to get justice for myself and all survivors, please follow me on Twitter @IvanDOesnot
I've started this GoFundMe because I could use help...
1. Managing the Costs and Consequences of Abuse
The Archdiocese of St. Louis refuses to help me. Best case. So I have to pay for all of my counseling, medications, etc., myself. Out of pocket. And that includes managing both my original sexual abuse and 17+ years of subsequent psychological abuse as I tryied to get help.
2. Funding my efforts in investigate ArchStL and the Catholic Church
For reasons I don't completely understand, but that likely involve the fact that my story involves and implicates prominent and and powerful people like Timothy Cardinal Dolan, much of the press seems to be afraid of touching my story, so I have to serve as my own investigative reporter.
I was also fighting CANCER -- Malignant Melanoma -- at the same time I was fighting ArchStL and trying to get them to help me. My surgery went well, and the biopsies came back clean, but I have unpaid medical bills remaining from my surgery.
The total economic impact of my abuse on my family and me is roughly $2,000,000, given my level of education and income before I experienced a nervous breakdown.
However, ANYTHING people can contribute would be appreciated.
Most recently, I told my story -- and described the plight of survivors -- to a local radio show in St. Louis.
- Dave Glove Show 2019.6.19 Catholic Abuse Chris O'Leary
The gist of my story is as follows...
1. The Archdiocese of St. Louis and the Catholic Church promise treatment for survivors of abuse by priests, but what I received was only torment; psychological abuse on top of my original sexual abuse. A year ago I did receive a settlement of $9,000 (net) from the Archdiocese, but I lived off of that settlement over the past year as I fought to help the other survivors, known and unknown. But that money is now gone.
2. I was forced to settle for that small settlement, instead of going to trial, due to a the (sadly successful) efforts of the Archdiocese of St. Louis to create a problem with the Statute Of Limitations by first Gaslighting me and then giving me the Run-Around. And I'm not the only survivor the Archdiocese of St. Louis did that to.
3. I was fighting CANCER (Malignant Melanoma) at the same time (2013-2016) I was fighting the Archdiocese of St. Louis -- which they knew due to the lawsuit I filed and the discovery process -- leaving me with $6,000 of unpaid medical debt to SLU hospital and my surgeon, to go on top of all my other debt.
4. I've spent the past year -- coincidentally, EXACTLY a year -- fighting to force the Archdiocese of St. Louis to recognize the (continuing) plight of survivors like me. And to help us. Actually. First, my efforts were rewarded and my prayers were answered with the announcement that the Attorney General of Missouri is opening an investigation into the actions of the Archdiocese of St. Louis. Most recently, the pressure I've been putting on Timothy Cardinal Dolan, archbishop of New York, has forced him to open up the Archdiocese of New York to (limited) outside scrutiny.
However, while my efforts have achieved a lot, I'm broke.
When I last checked, I had $.40 to my name.
Yes, 40 cents.
Fighting the Archdiocese of St. Louis, forcing them to open their files to the Attorney General of Missouri, and financing that fight with my settlement, was worth it.
But it's left me mentally and physically exhausted.
And literally hungry.
I've been trying to tell my story for one year, and I finally got the attention of Aisha Sultan of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch in April 2018.
- Priest sex abuse survivor says trauma lingers
This week, and as a result of the explosion of discussion of the Catholic Church's
- Pope Francis' promising first step
I believe the fact that Aisha and the Post-Dispatch kept bringing up my name forced the hand of the Archdiocese of St. Louis, and I am forever in their debt.
The fact that my abuse occurred isn't in dispute. It was acknowledged in February 2018 (EMPHASIS ADDED).
February 5, 2018
I wanted to respond to you on behalf of the Archdiocese of Saint Louis. You chose to litigate your claims of sexual abuse by Rev. Leroy Valentine. YOUR CLAIMS WERE ACKNOWLEDGED by Deacon Phil Hengen, the Archdiocese of Saint Louis and the court system. This matter has been fully settled through litigation and is final. Because your claim has been fully settled and is final THE ARCHDIOCESE OF ST. LOUIS WILL NOT BE RESPONDING TO ANY FURTHER INQUIRIES regarding these claims. Please know that YOU AND ALL VICTIMS OF ABUSE are in my prayers and I do hope that you are able to find peace in the future. I wish you the best.
Archdiocese of St. Louis
However, as the letter above makes clear, the Archdiocese won't give me any more help. In fact, at least twice before when I have e-mailed them, they have called the police, alleging had made "Terroristic Threats," which of course I hadn't.
At the same time I was fighting the Archdiocese of St. Louis, I was also fighting Cancer (Malignant Melanoma) and I have the scars to prove it.
The $9,000 I received from the Archdiocese of St. Louis is nothing compared to just the bills and lost wages I racked up fighting Cancer, much less the toll that sexual abuse took on my family and me.
ANY HELP IS APPRECIATED
Treatment of mental health problems isn't cheap. My parents helped me for years, but can no longer afford to. As a result, I have started this GoFundMe campaign to try to get help to pay for...
2. Therapy to treat my Anxiety, Depression, OCD, PTSD, and Complex-PTSD.
3. The thousands of dollars I still owe as a result of my Cancer surgery.
4. I have given a number of TV interviews via Skype, but my old 2008 iMac is barely up to the job and needs to be replaced, especially if the volume of interviews I do increases
5. I have put together a short video that illustrates what it was like on...
- That Day
...and I am considering expanding that into a series or a single, longer video or even movie to help make people aware of the plight of survivors.
Please feel free to make a donation in the name of someone and I will memorialize you or them.
If you don't know the names of any survivors, M died as a result of his abuse and R is struggling.
St. Louis, MO