Abuse survivor describes horror of being predator priest's victim, Latest World News - The New Paper

Abuse survivor describes horror of being predator priest's victim

This article is more than 12 months old

She is part of group getting victims together in Rome

PARIS: Ms Denise Buchanan was 17 when she was raped by a seminarian who kept abusing her when he became a priest in her native Jamaica.

Now 57, she is a leading member of a new organisation, Ending Clerical Abuse (ECA), which is bringing together victims in Rome this week to pressure Pope Francis to take a tougher line on child abuse by clerics.

After calling on Ms Buchanan's family several times, a member of the Congregation of the Passion of Jesus Christ, then Brother Paul, raped her after making her drink some wine.

"I felt something died inside me that day," she whispered.

She discovered she was pregnant, and Brother Paul organised an illegal abortion. After he became a priest, he still met her for sex at least once a week.

"I obeyed like a robot. I didn't care much about anything at this point," she said.

At 21, she had another backroom abortion. Ms Buchanan is now unable to have children.

She moved to Canada at 25 and now teaches at a university in Los Angeles and works as a psychiatric neurologist.

She wrote a book about her abuse in 2013 and sent it to the Pope "every month for a year and a half". In 2016, she got a letter saying the Pope would pray for her. But to see the priest defrocked she had to "gather proof".

"I was furious as it seemed all I was being offered from the Pope were prayers with no help to resolve the issue," she said.

In 2017, Ms Buchanan went with a lawyer to Jamaica for a meeting with Father Paul.

"The priest confessed to having sex with me (not rape). He confessed he got me pregnant but he did not admit to arranging the abortion," she said.

The priest then went missing.

"I work at ECA so what happened to me does not happen to any other child," she said. - AFP