Woman speaks out about being sexually abused by a priest

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A woman who says she was sexually abused by a priest when she was a teenager speaks out about her experience.

Along with SNAP–Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests–she gathered with others on the sidewalk in Steubenville, demanding more transparency from the Catholic Church.

The Belmont County woman said she was 15 when she was molested by a priest.

She says she tried over and over to get someone to listen to her.

In fact, she says she tried four different times through the years.

“I tried to handle it quietly within the church,” said Amanda Dutton. “Because that’s what they tell the good little Catholic girls to do. And each time, it got worse and worse with reporting. I went to a different church to report it. I went to a higher up priest. Still you get punished for reporting it.”

She says what compelled her to keep trying was seeing other children victimized too.

“You think, when it’s just you, that you’ll keep quiet,” Dutton said. “But when you see another child going through it, something just happens, and you don’t quit.”

SNAP members stood on the street with pictures of young victims.

They had two messages, one for Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine.

“We want him to do a grand jury investigation like was done in Pennsylvania,” said Judy Jones of SNAP.

And their second message was for Bishop Jeffrey Monforton of the Diocese of Steubenville.

“He should post a list of all credibly accused clerics–priests, lay people, employees, deacons, even bishops,” Jones stated.

In fact, she walked in to hand deliver that letter to the bishop’s office.

She was told he wasn’t available.

But the diocese spokesman came out to receive the letter, and he assured her they will release a list.

“Yeah, as we mentioned to the Associated Press, we planned on doing that by the end of the month,” promised Dino Orsatti.

Jones said she hopes the list includes the names of deceased predators as well.

She mentioned one case in particular.

“He better be on that list,” she said to Orsatti, “He sexually abused my brother.”

Afterward, they gathered outside, hopeful that their voices would be heard.

The Belmont County victim said her case is still in the courts so she can’t give details now.

“But as soon as possible, I’ll give all the details– names, everything, from all these years,” vowed Dutton. “As far as on their side, it should have been done years ago.”

And SNAP’s message to other victims is strong.

“You’re not alone,” assured Steve Spaner of SNAP. “You’re not the only one. Come forward and tell your story to law enforcement. Not to the church. The church is not an investigative body.”

They say law enforcement has the experience and resources to investigate sexual abuse.

And for help from SNAP, the number to call is 1-877-SNAP.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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