Clergy sex abuse victim hopes to see change after pope's resignation

9:28 PM, Feb 11, 2013   |    comments
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ST. PAUL, Minn. - Pope Benedict's reign started at the height of sex scandals in the Catholic church. Eight years later, as he steps down, the issue still plagues him as much as it does the victims.

"He didn't finish his job," Bob Schwiderski said Monday after he learned about the resignation.

Schwiderski was an altar boy for St. John's Catholic Church in Hector more than five decades ago. It was there he said he was sexually abused repeatedly by a priest.

"I was 7-years-old the first time," he said.

The abuse continued until he was 11. He didn't tell anyone until he was in his 30s and only after he found out others suffered the same way he did too. Over the years, he listened to the Pope apologize and set new reporting rules, but he said that was never enough.

"Do whatever I can to save the church, but forget about the scarred souls. That's how I look at it," he said referring to the Pope's apologies.

Attorney Jeff Anderson helped Schwiderski and three other men sue St. John's Church and the Archdiocese of New Ulm in 1992. They settled for an undisclosed amount, according to Schwiderski. Anderson has helped thousands of other victims take the Catholic Church to court for sex abuse cover up. Anderson believes the Pope isn't just resigning because of his health.

"The weight of that exposure is so great on him as a man and in that office. That resignation is his fall from grace," Anderson said.

Schwiderski said his voice may not have been heard with this Pope, but he hopes the next one will listen.

"What he has to do is tell every top official, bishop, archbishop, cardinal to stand at the pulpit and reach out to those that have been harmed," he said.

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