Phil Saviano, key clergy sex abuse whistleblower, dies at 69 – The Denver Post – Denver, Colorado

Denver, Colorado 2021-11-29 00:21:18 –

Boston — Philsaviano, a survivor of priestly sexual abuse and a whistleblower who played a central role in exposing decades of predatory attacks by American Roman Catholic priests. Died. He was 69 years old.

The story of Saviano was highlighted in the 2015 Oscar-winning movie “Spotlight” about the Boston Globe’s research. The investigation revealed that dozens of priests molested their children and fled because they were obscured by church leaders. He died on Sunday after the fight against gallbladder cancer, said his brother and caregiver Jim Saviano.

In late October, Phil Saviano announced on his Facebook page that he started hospice care at his brother’s house in Douglas, Massachusetts. There he died.

“Things have been at stake in the last few weeks,” he wrote. “I heard Judy Collins singing’Bird On A Wire’and think about me,” he asked his followers.

Saviano played a central role in uncovering the scandal, which led to the resignation of Cardinal Bernard in Boston and the reconciliation of the church with hundreds of victims. Globe’s 2002 series won the Pulitzer Prize for Public Services in 2003, and “Spotlight” won the Academy Award for Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay. Actor Neil Huff played Saviano in the movie.

“My gift to the world wasn’t afraid to speak up,” Saviano said in a short telephone interview with the Associated Press in mid-November.

Born June 23, 1952, Saviano remembered confessing as a boy in the small St. Dennis Church in East Douglas, Massachusetts, and whispering sin to Rev. David Holly through a screen in the 1960s. He said the priest violated his sacred trust and forced an 11-year-old child to have sexual intercourse. Holly died in a prison in New Mexico in 2008 while serving a 275-year sentence for molesting eight boys.

“When we were kids, the priests never did bad things. Like the police, you didn’t ask them,” Brother Jim Saviano told AP. “There were many barriers that intentionally or otherwise interfered with him, depending on the institution and the thinking of the generation. It didn’t stop him. It’s a kind of unique courage.”

The self-proclaimed “Recovery Catholic” Saviano is an organization working to reveal specific allegations of sexual abuse of clerics, a network of survivors of people abused by priests, or SNAP’s New England. Established a branch.

His belief in the church was shattered, and Saviano instead turned to politicians and prosecutors to bring the criminals to justice.

“We rely on legislators and prosecutors to solve this problem,” he told reporters in 2002.

“Phil is an essential source of information for the spotlight team’s report on the concealment of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church, with other important sources, research material, and the names of several accused priests. We provided it, “said Mike Resendez, a member of the Globe team. It brought to light the scandal and brought the current AP investigative journalists.

“He also shared the story of his own tragic abuse and infused us with the iron determination needed to break this horrifying story,” Resendez said. “During our report, and for the past 20 years, I have become familiar with Phil and have never met a brave, compassionate, knowledgeable person.”

Saviano earned zoological and communication degrees from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and Boston University and began engaging in hospital public relations. He then moved on to the entertainment industry’s publicity and concert promotion, working closely with his lifelong friends and best friends Collins, Ella Fitzgerald, Mel Torme and other artists.

In 1991 he became seriously ill with AIDS, became public in childhood abuse the following year, and became one of the first survivors to appear before.

“Father Holly forced me and my two friends to repeat sexual contact with him,” Saviano said in an interview with Globe. The hugeness of the scandal has been revealed.

By the early 2000s, Saviano was spending 10 hours a day on the phone with victims and journalists. He frankly criticized the Vatican for hesitating to deal with fallout from the scandal. In 2008, when Pope Benedict XVI hinted to U.S. bishops during his visit that he mishandled the Church’s response, Saviano questioned the Department of Divinities’ decision to follow his remarks with Mass in New York and Washington. Did.

“If he takes this issue seriously, the mass will not be held in New York. It will be held here in Boston,” he said.

In 2009, suffering from renal failure and unable to find a match among family and friends, SNAP spread the word to 8,000 priestly sexually abused survivors in emails nationwide. Later, he found a donor.

The abuse revealed as a result of Saviano’s work urged him to resign from Boston’s highest-ranking Church member, Cardinal Law. Globe reports that the law knew of priesthood child molesters, but couldn’t cover up their crimes and stop them, and instead kidnap them from the parish without warning their parents or police. Moved to the parish.

When the Archbishop died in Rome in 2017, Saviano asked frankly. “How is he going to explain this when he meets his maker?”

In the Vatican for the Anti-Abuse Summit convened by Pope Francis in 2019, Saviano said he had told the organizers of the summit to publish the names of abusive priests around the world along with their case files. ..

“Do it to start a new era of transparency. Do it to break the code of silence. Do it with respect for these male victims, and these horrors make children no more Do it to help prevent abuse, “he said.

Although much of his life had a tough edge, Saviano enjoyed traveling extensively and developed soft spots for indigenous art. In 1999, he launched the e-commerce website Viva Oaxaca Folk Art, where he introduced handmade ornaments that he bought on a trip to southern Mexico and resold to collectors across the United States.

He is survived by three brothers, Jim Saviano of Douglas. John Saviano of Douglas; Victor Saviano of Boston. Two nieces; and two nephews. The funeral mass was scheduled for Friday at the Church of St. Dennis in East Douglas.

Phil Saviano, key clergy sex abuse whistleblower, dies at 69 – The Denver Post Source link Phil Saviano, key clergy sex abuse whistleblower, dies at 69 – The Denver Post

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