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Victims Speak Out About Priest Abuse

Apr 26, 2002 | WLWT ChannelCincinnati.com The recent attention given to sexual abuse within the Catholic Church has brought back traumatic memories for victims of sexual abuse.

Guy Guckenberger Jr. was 10 years old when he was sexually abused for former Catholic priest George Cooley.

Guckenberger told WLWT Eyewitness News 5's John London that he's been riding a rollercoaster of emotions this week.

"What they're talking about doing now is the policy that we currently have," Guckenberger said. "The only way that they're going to remove a priest now is if he's notorious or if he's serial. In my case that's pretty much what happened with Father Cooley."

Brothers steve and Bill Dasenbrock were students at Guardian Angels when Cooley tried to coerce them into have sex, London reported.

They suspect that the church hierarchy is more concerned with protecting the church's image than protecting morality.

"Until the bishops and the cardinals are held accountable for their actions also, there won't be any change," Steve Dasenbrock said.

"How many times does it have to happen to make it wrong?" Bill Dasenbrock said.

Cincinnati Archdiocese spokesman Dan Andriacco said a zero-tolerance policy is the first step toward making major changes.

"Even in the case of somebody who is not a known serial abuser, somebody who perhaps has offended against a child only once, if the bishop is convinced is a danger to children, it should also be easy to remove that person," Andriacco said.

Guckenberger (pictured, left) believes there should be no gray area where the church's policy is concerned.

"No. 1, they should report every allegation of sexual abuse by a priest to the civil authorities. No. 2, when that priest is found to be guilty, he should be defrocked immediately. Period. End of story," Guckenberger said.

In June, Cincinnati Archbishop Daniel Pilarczyk and the rest of the U.S. Conference of Archbishops will decide what national standards to recommend to the Vatican.

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