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“I can remember it like it happened yesterday. The smell. What the priest was drinking.”

Those who gathered in Harrisburg preferred to be called survivors. Not victims. Some had been abused by priests. Others, like Cindy Leech, center, had lost sons who’d been abused and had sought peace in drugs that eventually killed them. She was greeted on the steps of the State Capitol by Judy Deaven. Ms. Leech’s son Corey died of an overdose in May 2017; Ms. Deaven’s son Joey Behe died of an overdose in 2015. (Steve Mellon/Post-Gazette)

“As a parent … the guilt is overwhelming … It’s just heart wrenching.”Cindy Leech, whose son Corey was abused by a priest. Corey died of a drug overdose in 2017.

After gathering at a parking lot, those who’d been affected by clerical sex abuse marched to the State Capitol to voice support for legislation that would change the statute of limitations for child sex crimes. Among the marchers were Chrissie Kelly and husband Brent. (Steve Mellon/Post-Gazette)
Survivor John Nettle (center) is from Philadelphia. (Steve Mellon/Post-Gazette)
Jim Money joined the marchers. (Steve Mellon/Post-Gazette)

“I can remember it like it happened yesterday. The smell. What the priest was drinking. The clothes he had on.”Jim Money, abused by a priest in 1964.


Judy Deaven was greeted by a friend on the Capitol steps. (Steve Mellon/Post-Gazette)

“He died on Good Friday and I found him on Easter Sunday in his apartment. It’s been difficult for me, going through the shock of finding him.”Judy Deaven, talking about son Joey Behe’s death in 2015.


Once at the Capitol, the group heard from their political leaders. From left are Cindy’s husband Bernie Leech, Juliann Bortz, Ms. Leech, Patty Fortney-Julius and Edward Fortney. Ms. Bortz and Ms. Fortney-Julius were both abused. Mr. Fortney is Ms. Fortney-Julius’ father. (Steve Mellon/Post-Gazette)
Carolyn Fortney (center) hugged son Elias, 11, during a State Capitol press conference. Carolyn is one of five sisters in the Fortney family to suffer from abuse by a priest. Others in the photograph are Judy Deaven, left; Carolyn’s sister Patty Fortney-Julius, in stripped shirt; the sisters’ father, Edward Fortney, right. (Steve Mellon/Post-Gazette)

“People are believing it. People aren’t just thinking, ‘Oh, it’s just a family here or a person there.’ They’re seeing this is huge.” — Patty Fortney-Julius.



On Monday evening, after the Pennsylvania House of Representatives advanced a measure that would allow more victims of child sex abuse to sue their attackers decades after being assaulted, Gov. Tom Wolf applauded survivors of clerical sex abuse and their families. (Steve Mellon/Post-Gazette)

“Physically, I get sick when I think about it.”Larry Ford, abused by a priest in the mid 1970s.



Daniel Dye, senior prosecutor for state Attorney General Josh Shapiro, acknowledged applause for his role in producing the Attorney General’s report on clerical sex abuse. (Steve Mellon/Post-Gazette)
Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro greeted survivors after the Monday evening rally. (Steve Mellon/Post-Gazette)