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‘I now understand why abuse victims leave the Church’: Susanna’s story

The following is a first-person account by Susanna*, the young woman who alleges Fr Kevin McGoldrick sexually assaulted her in August of 2017. The Archdiocese of Philadelphia found her accusation credible early this year.

We received the document unsolicited, and present it to our readership without any editing on our part, save what was strictly necessary for digital impagination. For our investigative report of her case, and its aftermath, click here. What you are about to read is Susanna’s story, in her own words.

The Catholic Herald

Early dawn—the cool air of the south rose to meet my heavy lungs as I dragged my feet towards my car. My eyes watered as I looked down at my worn Chacos and the distant sound of the CSX train reached my ears. Its voice beckoned with the promise of not having to face tomorrow…but my funeral flashed before my eyes and the broken hearts of those whom I loved crushed me… so I fumble for my keys, my engine turned over, and I lived to see another day while part of me lay dead in the rectory of Father Kevin McGoldrick. Because of that night, my life will never be the same. Because of this story, I hope yours won’t either.

When I started my freshman year at Aquinas College, I thought all of my dreams had come true. I finally got to be challenged academically and embrace my faith with radical abandon. I enjoyed the close-knit community, the familial atmosphere, and the fact that I felt completely safe. At Aquinas, we had a full time chaplain—something I was absolutely thrilled about. Father Kevin was pious, intelligent, and loved by virtually everyone. During my first few years of school, I prayed at countless of his Masses, chatted casually with him during class breaks, and came to trust him as a spiritual mentor just as almost every student around me had… So when he started inviting a few of us over to his rectory for cookouts and bourbon tastings, we didn’t think anything of it.

It felt like he was kindly inviting us into one of his hobbies. “It isn’t a big deal, but don’t tell anyone about this,” he would tell us, “Sister would kill me if she knew.” Looking back, I can see that statement seething with manipulation, but at the time, I just shrugged it off. It never occurred to me to wonder if I trusted him…I just did. After all, he was my chaplain.

Read more at the Catholic Herald

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