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A Sex-Abuse Story Catholics Need to Hear

I met my beloved husband, Walter, in 1966 at the University of Missouri, where he was studying to be a chemical engineer and I was enrolled in the School of Journalism, hoping to earn a living as a magazine writer. Almost from the moment we met, Walter and I were fast friends.

After our marriage, he left engineering to become a struggling novelist, and we both freelanced from home, working, playing and raising our children side by side.

Yet for all our intimacy, Walter contained within his heart a dark secret he didn’t share even with me. As a little boy growing up on a farm in Missouri, he’d been sexually abused by his sadistic older brother Bob, who frequently threatened to kill him. Only after we converted to Catholicism did this unspeakable secret from his tortured past at last come to light.

Walter first began to reveal the truth about his childhood horrors one Monday morning after Mass. It was about three years after we became Catholics. Approaching our pastor, Father Bruce, Walter said, “There’s something I’ve never told you.”

Seeing Walter’s sober face, Father Bruce took him immediately into the rectory. I stood alone in the church parking lot and waited, as Walter revealed secrets to Father Bruce that even I had never heard.

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