Esme Murphy, Clergy Abuse Victims Call For Others To Come Forward, CBS

Three victims of clergy abuse have made a video appeal for other victims to come forward.

An attorney for victims is asking a judge to order the video be played in all 216 Minnesota parishes on Sunday, July 12. Victims have only until August 3 to file a claim.

The original deadline was May of 2016. That was part of the law passed by the Minnesota legislature that temporarily waived the civil statute of limitations in child sex abuse cases. But because the archdiocese filed for bankruptcy, the deadline had to be rolled back to August 3.

The seven minute YouTube video features an appeal by three abuse victims who have filed claims against the archdiocese.

“I used to be a victim but now I am a survivor you can be one too,” Marie Mielke said in the video. “I know it’s scary, but you are not alone.”

Mielke took part in the video because she wants other victims to know how much speaking out can help them heal.

“Coming forward has made me so much stronger,” she said. “I absolutely believe that it should be played in every single parish.”

It was in 2005 that Mielke first told church officials that Father Michael Keating had abused her in her family’s home starting when she was 12, though Keating has denied the abuse. She later filed a lawsuit against Keating, then Vicar General Kevin McDonough and the archdiocese.

To meet the August 3 deadline, victims do not have to file a lawsuit. They only have to fill out a 10-page form — which is available on the archdiocese’s website — and mail it to the bankruptcy court. Since that bankruptcy filing earlier this year, 103 new victims have come forward.

“There are some whose claims are as recent as a few years ago, and there are many whose claims are decades ago,” Mielke said

On Saturday, the archdiocese said it is currently discussing the request to show the video with individual parishes, and that it would be premature to comment further. The request is also in front of the of the bankruptcy judge, and there will be a hearing on this request in bankruptcy court on July 9.

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