Jessica Mazzola, Sex abuse victim walks through Newark to raise awareness, change laws,

It was only a walk of about three miles along Broad Street – from Lincoln Park to Washington Park, and back. But, the Thursday morning walk through Newark made a difference for victims of sex abuse, its organizers said.

Fred Marigliano, who recently completed a 270-mile walk from Cape May to Mahwah to bring awareness to childhood sexual abuse, added a city walk to his agenda.

“A number of people from Newark reached out to me, asking why I hadn’t walked through the city,” Marigliano said Thursday.

Marigliano said he was abused by a family priest at age 11. It took him about 50 years to come forward with his story, he said. Marigliano is now a board member of Road to Recovery, Inc., a nonprofit that works to support other victims and their families.

The 68-year-old said he spoke to hundreds of people along the walk, and achieved his goal of spreading awareness about the issue.

“We were here to hear, and to help victims and supporters,” he said.

Robert Hoatson, Road to Recovery president and an abuse survivor, said he and Marigliano met four or five abuse victims while walking through Newark, and gave out more than 1,000 fliers with information about recovery.

The group also advocated in favor of state laws that would abolish the statute of limitations child sex abuse victims have to prosecute their alleged attackers.

The walk, he said, “was very effective.” The two said they may be in touch with other New Jersey cities to continue the walk.

“We are going to keep fighting to convince people of the right thing to do,” Hoatson said.

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