Letter from Glen Meloy about
Victim of Sexually Abusive Priest
From: Glen Meloy
Sent: Wednesday, March 27, 2002 2:24 AM
Subject: Connie Chung's CNN Interview with Victim of Sexually Abusive Priest on Monday, March 25, 2002
I just couldn't let this story go unnoticed.
This is the first transcript draft of a live interview described by Connie Chung in her opening remarks as..... "Mark Serrano, who is breaking a very long and very painful silence about years of abuse by his priest. His wife and parents are joining us as well, his parents with an incredible story of confronting his son's abuser, and his wife with what I must say is a shocking revelation. It's truly unbelievable."
The way Mark describes the cover-up of his abuse by the officials of the Catholic Church rings many similar bells of the same type of cover-up going on with the leaders of the Sathya Sai Baba Organization.
I have edited out the commercial breaks and most of the other interruptions during the course of the interview.
Hopefully, this will encourage many of the sexual abuse victims of Sathya Sai Baba, particularly Indian Nationals, to now come forward and tell their story.
If any of them are prepared to do so and want to discuss it with an extremely loving and supportive former devotee, please get in touch with my good friend and trusted confidante, Mr. Lionel Fernandez firstname.lastname@example.org, he will help you...
Much Love and Light,
CNN NEWSNIGHT AARON BROWN
Interview with Victim of Sexually Abusive Priest
Aired March 25, 2002 - 22:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CONNIE CHUNG, CNN ANCHOR:
Good evening, everyone.
As for our program, we have some gripping stories for you this week. Tonight, we're taking on the issue of sexual misconduct in the Catholic Church, from the personal side, with, we hope, the fairness and compassion this story deserves.
We'll be talking with Mark Serrano, who is breaking a very long and very painful silence about years of abuse by his priest. His wife and parents are joining us as well, his parents with an incredible story of confronting his son's abuser, and his wife with what I must say is a shocking revelation. It's truly unbelievable.
And I know we in television frequently say something is shocking and it's unbelievable, but this one, honestly, really is.
So stay here for NEWSNIGHT. I think we'll all learn something by the end of this night.
As we said, we'll spend much of the program talking with a man who has had to live with a secret for more than 20 years, a secret that he wants to reveal. Now, you'd think he'd want to keep this story private. Doesn't he feel ashamed? Doesn't he feel embarrassed?
Well, we'll find out why he feels so liberated now.
The latest now on the issue of priests and sexual abuse. Safe to say that yesterday was a difficult day for Catholics. It was Palm Sunday, the beginning of the holiest week of the year in Catholicism, and at many churches across the country, the religious meaning of the day was overshadowed by scandal.
A new poll by CNN-"USA Today"-Gallup shows just how disillusioned many Catholics are. When asked if they thought the abuse of young people by priests is a widespread problem, 55 percent said yes. That's up 7 percentage points from a previous survey conducted in 1993. And when asked if the Catholic Church has done a good job in dealing with the problem, just 20 percent said yes. Seventy-two percent said the church had done a bad job.
We'll speak with a victim of sexual abuse by a priest, Mark Serrano, and his family in just a few minutes.
And coming up, molested for years and then silent for years, a victim of an abusive priest is now speaking out, Mark Serrano.
This is NEWSNIGHT for a Monday.
CHUNG: Earlier, we brought you some of the latest polls on the sex scandal involving priests in the Catholic Church. Polls can tell us part of the story, an overview of how Catholics look at the issue.
But if you really want to understand the devastation that abuse can cause, you have to get it from a victim firsthand, and the family dealing with it.
Tonight we have one such victim here, along with his parents and wife, who we'll speak with in a moment.
Mark Serrano was abused for seven years by his parish priest at the Church of St. Joseph's in Menim (ph), New Jersey. He stayed silent for years after settling with the church and signing a confidentiality agreement.
Mark has gone public to break what he calls "the cage of silence." We wanted to hear directly from the accused priest, who admitted to the abuse. We sent handwritten notes to both him and the area bishop. Neither responded.
But we do have a comment from the diocese, which we will have in just a few minutes.
But first, Mark Serrano's story.
Thank you for joining us.
MARK SERRANO: Thank you, Connie, for having me.
CHUNG: Tell me, what was your relationship with your parish priest, Father Hanley (ph), James Hanley, before the abuse began?
M. SERRANO: Well, the paster was, you know, the head of the church community, the moral leader of our community. And the church and the Catholic school were the center of our universe as a family.
CHUNG: Were you close to them? I mean, to him? Was your family very close to him? M. SERRANO: Very close. He was the best friend of my father. And what he did was really make himself a part of our family in a lot of ways.
CHUNG: When did the abuse begin?
M. SERRANO: He targeted me when I was 9 years old. I remember the day. I was having to be disciplined in school for something that happened, and I had a private meeting with him.
CHUNG: And what happened?
M. SERRANO: I was afraid. I thought I was going to be punished or yelled at. And he couldn't have been nicer. He just made everything all right.
CHUNG: Well, how did he gain your trust from that point on?
M. SERRANO: Well, he worked on it very, very hard over a long period of time. He built confidence and trust with me by making me feel like I was the center of attention for him when he was the center of attention for our entire community.
CHUNG: But did you know instinctively that what he was doing was wrong?
M. SERRANO: You know, there's a part of me inside as a young child trying to figure out, What is this? What's happening to me? But he really worked on stripping my instincts and stripping my defenses as a child. And he worked on bringing my family into -- with confidence and trust. He talked to me about my family constantly.
CHUNG: Did you know anything about sex at the time?
M. SERRANO: I was a young child, Connie, I knew nothing about sex, nothing about my body. And yet young boys have a lot of curiosity, and he used that curiosity to draw me in.
CHUNG: I don't understand. How did he do that?
M. SERRANO: Well, I was basically initiated into a boys' club. He would bring my friends and I out for pizza parties, and he would tell sexual jokes and show us pornography. And it was all with secrecy. Secrecy was a key to everything he did.
CHUNG: Did you know what he was doing, or did you just think it was a fun boys' club? I mean, that it was inappropriate?
M. SERRANO: Well, he was my priest. He was the moral leader of the community. And ultimately what he did was, he stood between my parents and me and my God and me with what he was doing, what he was telling me. He was bringing sexualization to normalcy. He was making it normal for me to see pornography.
CHUNG: Did this happen just once, whatever he did? M. SERRANO: Oh, no, no. Basically, over the course of years he gradually built up the molestation. He started by telling me about sexuality and telling me about the female anatomy. He taught me how to French kiss, and as a young child, I'll never forget that pungent taste from his mouth. And he was telling me the whole time that this is what you'll be doing, and let me instruct you how to do it. That's why I'm here, I'm here to help you.
And gradually over the course of time, he built up the level of molestation. But he took his time at it. He took his time. He introduced a vibrator to me and told me that, you know, this is good, this is what you use. This is what boys use. He told me about how a boy gets an erection, how it happens and why, and what happens to the female clitoris.
He told me all these things just to make it seem like this was good stuff, and this was normal.
CHUNG: You know, you are going into such detail, and I'm -- it makes me feel a little uncomfortable, and I'm sure it makes the viewers feel uncomfortable. Why are you doing this?
M. SERRANO: The details are so important. The word "fondling" is so misconstrued. People use that regularly to describe sexual abuse. But the reality is, this is sexual activity, sexual acts committed by an adult on a young, innocent child. This is what happened to me. He committed sexual acts on me.
He exposed himself to me. He exposed me to him. He used the vibrator on me to reach the point of ejaculation, and he got me to use that on him. And the reality is...
CHUNG: But why are you going into such detail?
M. SERRANO: Because we need to hear the details, because people don't seem to understand, this is what predators do to young children. It's what happened to me over the course of seven years.
CHUNG: How would you leave? Did he dismiss you after each incident?
M. SERRANO: I couldn't get away fast enough. And I'll never forget as long as I live, that sensation of lifting my pants up and feeling wetness in my pants. I hated that sensation. And I couldn't get out of there fast enough.
CHUNG: Now, how -- did you get on your bike and...
M. SERRANO: I'd get on my bike and peddle as fast as I could, running away from the horrible experience I just had. When it would occur, when he would use the vibrator on me, like he did probably dozens and hundreds of times over the course of several years, I remember the feeling, my legs locking, and the pain I was in, because I was trapped in silence.
He methodically conditioned me and almost reprogrammed my mind so that I couldn't tell a soul.
CHUNG: But why did you continue to go back to him?
M. SERRANO: That's what's amazing. He was such a master of manipulation that he had me coming back to him, because he was the leader of the community. He was showing me attention and showering me with gifts. And it was this horrible dichotomy I was trapped in, because I couldn't tell anyone about it. He was exposing me to things that I never knew anything about. I was traumatized every time it would happen, I'd be screaming in my mind about what was happening, because I didn't understand it.
And yet I couldn't tell a soul, and yet he had me coming back to him, just like he did numerous other boys.
CHUNG: How do you know that?
M. SERRANO: Because he would tell me about acts of sex he would have with them. He would tell me about boys masturbating with him. He would tell me -- there was one incident where a 12-year-old -- and I was 12 year old -- 12 years old at the time -- lie down naked with him, naked in bed. He was a man my age today at that time.
CHUNG: Well, didn't the two of you question what was going on, the two young boys?
M. SERRANO: He was our priest. There was no questioning. He was the ultimate authority in my life. As much as my parents may have been an authority, he stepped in between us.
CHUNG: Did he ask you to keep this secret?
M. SERRANO: Methodically, every single time, he told me about how special this was for us, and how important it was to keep it a secret. He told me about how my parents wouldn't feel -- really fully understand. He told me about how he wished I was his child. And it was all just to continue to draw my confidence and to maintain my silence as a young child.
And I had no defenses, Connie. I was stripped of my defenses. That's why children can't tell.
CHUNG: Finally, when you got to college, you went to Notre Dame, you decided it was time to psychologically deal with this. So you went home to your home parish. You did not go to your parents. You talked to an associate pastor, is that correct?
M. SERRANO: Yes, that's right.
CHUNG: And then you went to the bishop.
M. SERRANO: Right.
CHUNG: Bishop Frank Verdimer (ph).
M. SERRANO: Correct. CHUNG: You told him what happened.
M. SERRANO: Yes.
CHUNG: And then what did he tell you? He met with Father Hanley, right?
M. SERRANO: He did. He recounted that he had met with Father Hanley. Father Hanley admitted his sexual abuse of me.
CHUNG: He admitted it.
M. SERRANO: He admitted it to the bishop, and told the bishop it was because of his alcoholism. The bishop told me, "Well, you know, Mark, he's -- that's being treated. Father Hanley has apologized, he said he'll never do it again." And I said, "Bishop, what are you going to do about this man?" And the Bishop said to me, "Mark, he's apologized. I have to take his word for it that he's not going to do it again. I have to accept his apology."
CHUNG: Did you quietly go away, then?
M. SERRANO: I don't know if I was ever quiet, because that was unacceptable to me. My mission was to take this man out of the path of young children. That was my entire mission, and it is still today.
CHUNG: Yes, but why did you think he was abusing other children?
M. SERRANO: Well, because I learned about pedophiles and perpetrators, and I learned that this is not something that can be cured. And he was likely to feel -- still be doing it, and he was also in a church position at a parish where he was still likely doing it.
CHUNG: And did you have any evidence that he was actually abusing other children?
M. SERRANO: No, I had no specific evidence that he was actually doing it.
CHUNG: But didn't you see -- you saw a picture of him, was it, in a -- some kind of publication?
M. SERRANO: It was a full 10 months after I first notified the bishop in the diocese of Father Hanley's sexual abuse of me. And after 10 months, they ran a story called "Children's Mass" in their own weekly newspaper. And it had a photo of Father Hanley saying mass to a group of young children, waist-high, little boys, all gathered around the altar.
CHUNG: And this was after the diocese knew that Father Hanley had admitted to molesting you?
M. SERRANO: Yes, 10 months after.
CHUNG: So what did you do? M. SERRANO: Well, my parents received that in the mail, and they were outraged. And they demanded a meeting with the bishop.
CHUNG: So you -- actually, you and your parents confronted Father Hanley at one point, didn't you?
M. SERRANO: Well, so -- yes.
CHUNG: You did. We will get to that in just a moment.
M. SERRANO: Yes.
CHUNG: All right? We're going to bring your parents on, because it was later that year, you told your parents what happened, and then later on you and your father and mother confronted father Hanley.
We'll talk to Mark's parents right ahead.
M. SERRANO: And the bishop said to me, "Mark, he's apologized. I have to take his word for it that he's not going to do it again. I have to accept his apology."
CHUNG: Did you quietly go away then?
M. SERRANO: I don't know if I was every quiet, because that was unacceptable to me. My mission was to take this man out of the path of young children. That was my entire mission and it is still today.
CHUNG: Yes, but why did you think he was abusing other children?
M. SERRANO: Well, because I learned about pedophiles and perpetrators, and I learned that this is not something that can be cured, and he's likely to still be doing it, and he was also in a church position, at a parish where he was still likely doing it.
CHUNG: And did you have any evidence that he was actually abusing other children?
M. SERRANO: No. I had no specific evidence that he was actually doing it.
CHUNG: But didn't you see - you saw a picture of him, was it in some kind of publication?
M. SERRANO: It was a full ten months after I first notified the bishop and the diocese of Father Hanley's sexual abuse of me, and after ten months, they ran a story called "Children's Mass" in their own weekly newspaper, and it had a photo of Father Hanley, saying mass to a group of young children, waist high little boys, all gathered around the altar.
CHUNG: And this was after the diocese knew that Father Hanley had admitted to molesting you?
M. SERRANO: Yes, ten months after.
CHUNG: So what did you do?
M. SERRANO: Well my parents received that in the mail and they were outraged and they demanded a meeting with the bishop.
CHUNG: So you, actually you and your parents confronted Father Hanley at one point, didn't you?
M. SERRANO: Well, yes.
CHUNG: You did? We will get to that in just a moment.
M. SERRANO: Yes.
CHUNG: All right? We're going to bring your parents on, because it was later that year you told your parents what happened and then later on, you and your father and mother confronted Father Hanley. We'll talk to Mark's parents right ahead.
CHUNG: We are back now with Mark Serrano who was abused by his parish priest for seven years, and his parents, Louis Serrano and Patricia Serrano. Thank you so much for being with us.
Before I get to you, I wanted to ask you, Mark, when you reported to Bishop Redymer (ph) that this was happening to you, that this happened to you years ago, what did he tell you? Did he tell you to go to the police, to tell your parents as well?
M. SERRANO: No, not at all. There was never any mention of local authorities or police activity whatsoever. As a matter of fact in my mind, I was going to the highest authority that I knew of.
CHUNG: What about telling your parents?
M. SERRANO: I was actually counseled not to tell my parents, because it would be too devastating for them. It would be too upsetting. It would crush them because of their close relationship with Father Hanley.
CHUNG: But indeed you did tell your father first. Mr. Serrano, it was Thanksgiving Break. Your son was in school at Notre Dame and he came home and told you. What were your initial emotions?
LOUIS SERRANO: Well, my initial emotions were shock, then anger, and it's been a heavy burden of guilt because it happened on my watch.
CHUNG: And this man was a close friend of yours?
L. SERRANO: Very close. In fact, I helped him with his alcoholism. I brought it to the attention of the proper authorities, the diocese, and they got help for him, because I'd be on the altar with him as a lector and I'd know when he was drinking and he needed that help desperately. And all that time, he was sodomizing and raping my son.
CHUNG: Mrs. Serrano, your husband told you, because your son apparently couldn't bring himself to tell you.
P. SERRANO: That's true.
CHUNG: And you, what was your reaction?
PATRICIA SERRANO: Connie, I was shocked, devastated, upset that he hadn't told me. But I immediately realized he couldn't tell me. What happened right after that was, the helplessness and despair that I felt that I couldn't help him. I couldn't have helped my children at all when they were going through something like that. It was devastating to me.
In fact, this week, all these thoughts have come back again and I have to fight that down all the time because I know with my adult mind I couldn't have done anything, and yet it still bothers me. It still haunts me.
CHUNG: You have seven children. Mark was your fifth, right?
P. SERRANO: Exactly. Connie, I always felt I had seven only children. I treated them as individuals. I always knew where they were. I thought I did. When he was at the rectory that was all right. That was a good place to be. I didn't realize -
CHUNG: The rectory.
P. SERRANO: I didn't realize that the devil was there.
CHUNG: Now, there was a moment in which both of you and Mark confronted Father Hanley. That was in 1994, is that correct?
L. SERRANO: Yes, it was.
CHUNG: Tell me about it. Did you - you surprised him at his apartment?
M. SERRANO: Yes. Well, I'd hired a private investigator to identify where he was living, because in my mind the diocese had not done the right thing. They had not protected children properly. And so, we knocked on his door late one night, asked if we could enter. We actually put a microphone cassette on my father, so he could record it and we entered the home.
CHUNG: You bugged your own father? M. SERRANO: Yes, and we entered his home.
L. SERRANO: (UNINTELLIGIBLE).
M. SERRANO: The first thing that I observed in his home was a recliner just like the one that I was abused in, and a vibrator on the floor, just like the one that he used on me, and that was a clue to me that he was still molesting children. And I told him, you stole my innocence and you stole my childhood, but I'm strong despite what you did to me.
CHUNG: What did he say to you?
M. SERRANO: And I wanted to know if he was molesting other children, and I wanted to know the names, and he looked up to me and said, "Mark, you were the only one."
CHUNG: Did you believe him?
M. SERRANO: Well, he told me about the abuse that he had inflicted on other children, and I was with one when he did it.
CHUNG: Mr. Serrano, I can't imagine your confronting Father Hanley with this.
L. SERRANO: Well, I used to chase him from parish to parish.
CHUNG: What do you mean?
L. SERRANO: When the diocese used to move him to a parish, I'd find out about it and I'd go there.
CHUNG: You'd knock on the door?
L. SERRANO: And I'd face him. Yes, easier to do at a parish than a rectory. I went as far as Phillipsburg, New Jersey, a parish there.
CHUNG: And what would you say to him each time you confronted him?
L. SERRANO: Well, the last time I saw him was about a year and a half ago, and he was at a retirement home that the diocese had set up or owns. I knocked on the door and I said to him - and he opened the door and let me come in, and I said "Jim, you sodomized and raped and murdered the childhood of my son Mark. I will know where you're at and I will come and see you and remind you of that," turn around and walk away. That's what I would do.
CHUNG: Did he -
L. SERRANO: What else could I do? He's never been prosecuted. The statute of limitations ran out.
CHUNG: Why didn't any of you go to the police?
M. SERRANO: I went to the highest authority I knew. I was raised as a child the bishop was someone that I had never even met before, but he was the highest authority I knew of.
CHUNG: But here you are, Mr. Serrano, you were a police officer. You were a mounted police officer.
L. SERRANO: That's correct in New York City, and the statute of limitations had run out.
CHUNG: Why didn't you go before?
L. SERRANO: A few years before that.
CHUNG: Why didn't any of you go to the police before?
L. SERRANO: Because our lawyers advised us to go the route we went. We had two lawyers.
M. SERRANO: I had confidence, Connie that the church was going to handle this the appropriate way. I was a Catholic too, and I wanted them to take my word for it. I wanted them to trust the word of someone who had been victimized, so that they would do the right thing and protect other children that he would prey upon.
It's a natural expectation that you would think an institution like the church would do that, would make sure that other children were not being victimized by this man, when they had the evidence from me.
CHUNG: All right. We are going to bring your wife in, in just a moment, Stacy Serrano, and talk to her because she has a revelation that I think will shock our viewers. We'll be right back.
CHUNG: As we said, we tried to contact the priest accused of abusing Mark Serrano and got no response. The diocese did comment and here's part of what the spokeswoman said.
MARIANNA THOMPSON, DIRECTOR OF COMMUNICATIONS, DIOCESE OF PATTERSON, NEW JERSEY: I don't want to rebut anything that the gentleman has said. Everything that he has said comes from his pain and his grief, which began many years ago. He came forward as an adult, which makes his circumstance different. Reportage wasn't in the same legislative mode as it is today.
CHUNG: All right. Now we're joined by Mark's wife, Stacy. Stacy, before I get to you, I want Mark to sort of bring us up to date. Eventually, you did settle with the diocese, and the payment was something like a quarter of a million dollars. You used your attorney's fees for that, and you had to sign a confidentiality agreement.
M. SERRANO: I did, and that really locked me into a case of silence, as I call it, because one needs to break the silence in order to heal. And, you know, I agreed to that after I fought very hard to change the diocese approach, to get them to take responsibility for this man and change their approach to whistleblower victims like myself. I'm saddened to hear the way that they sort of respond with political posturing. When we're talking about, then they had a moral obligation. This is not about the law. It's not about splitting hairs.
CHUNG: To this day, is there any word from Father Hanley, any word from the bishop acknowledging what happened?
M. SERRANO: This is a man who for years has lived a quiet life in the community, and church leaders have chosen to release these men into the community where there's no monitoring, no supervision, and they've had a moral obligation from the first day they heard from me to take action and for 18 years now, they have not.
CHUNG: All right. Stacy, how did you find out that your husband had been molested?
S. Serrano: It was November of 1994. We met over the phone. We both were -
CHUNG: Why - did he call you out of the blue?
STACY SERRANO: Out of the blue. We had a common friend.
CHUNG: Oh you had, OK.
S. SERRANO: And she introduced us and we had common backgrounds.
CHUNG: Why did she introduce you?
S. SERRANO: She was hoping to get Mark help. She had known that I also suffered molestation.
CHUNG: Not by a priest?
S. SERRANO: Not by a priest. I had three perpetrators, family members.
CHUNG: That's unbelievable.
S. SERRANO: And when we met, it just kind of put us on the path that we are today.
CHUNG: Well, did she introduce Mark to you for the very purpose of the fact that you shared this in common? I mean, it is a peculiar sort of meeting point, is it not?
S. SERRANO: Yes, it is. I think she was just wanting to get Mark help, and she knew that I had been abused and she felt like I had gone on with my life, and I was in control and in charge.
CHUNG: Were you in control and in charge? S. SERRANO: I thought I was. That's the sad thing about this abuse is that you don't - your recollections are individual depending on you.
CHUNG: Tell me, do you think that abuse by a priest is different from the type of abuse that you experienced, based on seeing how Mark is living today?
S. SERRANO: I do. I think that when it happens by family member, you deal with it very differently than if it happens by a priest, because the priest is in a position of the parent and the child and God, and that strips, there's a spiritual side, yes that's left empty. I, on the other hand, had that, that I relied on as a little girl that I think helped me get through it.
CHUNG: So, Mark, you actually lost God in this process, is that correct? I mean, are you still a Catholic?
M. SERRANO: The good news is, he never lost me and my spirit is strong today thanks to Stacy and our relationship.
CHUNG: Do you practice Catholicism though?
M. SERRANO: We've attended church but I can't be a member of the parish because I have my own children and I just, with the corruption that exists with church leaders protecting these pedophiles, I can't trust my children being in the organization until there is effective change that's got to come from regular folks in the Catholic Church.
CHUNG: Now what about people out there who are saying you are giving the Catholic Church a bad name? They aren't all pedophiles, you know that.
M. SERRANO: No. There are good people in the clergy and there are good Catholics everywhere who just need to know the truth, because I'm not out to get the Catholic Church. I'm a Catholic too, but what we need to see is, for silence to be broken and for the truth to be told and full disclosure be made from church leaders, and that would be the best thing for the Catholic Church long term.
CHUNG: How do you relate to your children? You must be so protective of them?
S. SERRANO: Yes.
M. SERRANO: Very.
S. SERRANO: Very protective.
M. SERRANO: Very protective.
CHUNG: Oh, really.
S. SERRANO: I can, yes.
M. SERRANO: Yes, absolutely because we know things that other parents don't know, and so we work very hard to protect them. We inform them and we help them to be able to and empower them to protect themselves as well.
CHUNG: What do they know? You have one that's 10 years old, right?
S. SERRANO: Yes.
CHUNG: You have two little ones, and you have one on the way?
S. SERRANO: Yes. My daughter being the oldest and being my daughter, she knows a lot more than our boys do. They know a lot about their bodies. They know that their bodies are very special and nobody is to ever touch them.
CHUNG: Do they know what happened to you and to your husband?
S. SERRANO: Yes. They don't know a lot of details, but they do know. They do know who did it. They do know that there are monsters in the world.
CHUNG: Do you think you'll return to the Catholic Church at any time?
M. SERRANO: You know, Connie, with what's happening today with the church, if regular Catholic folks knock on the door of their bishop and pastor and ask for full disclosure of what's happened in their parish or diocese, I think there is great potential for change in the Catholic Church. I think this is a terrific opportunity, but there are pedophiles in the church today molesting children today. It's not just about past cases of abuse.
CHUNG: How do you know that? You don't know that.
M. SERRANO: Because the pedophiles have been allowed in the church and there is secrecy. Secrecy is the way that they are able to perpetrate against children. Secrecy is what keeps them moved from parish to parish. I do know that. There are pedophiles in the church today. What's happening is just scratching the surface with the church.
CHUNG: Finally, I have to ask you this, Mark Serrano. When you talk to me about all of this that has happened to you, I have to tell you, you have a little smile on your face and it - I think it might make people uncomfortable. Why is that?
M. SERRANO: Because I've been waiting for 15 years to tell my story, and I have an opportunity that countless survivors around the country, like my friend David Clausey (ph) with Survivor's Network of those abused by priests, countless people who have been warriors to try to break the silence to get the word out.
I've had a beautiful blessed opportunity to tell my story and it is healing me at this very moment because I can tell the truth and I can speak out on behalf of others to say, they must tell the truth. They must speak out and we must have a higher accountability for what's happened.
CHUNG: Do you fear any retribution from the diocese because you've broken the settlement agreement?
M. SERRANO: Connie, I've broken the settlement agreement because they didn't do what's right. They didn't protect children, and protecting children is what this should be all about. I'm looking for the moral indignation on the part of members of the clergy and church leadership about the tragedy that has occurred without glossing it over in political terms. There is real trauma that children have experienced and adults still experience.
CHUNG: Now, Stacy, just to wrap up, you know that it is perceived by people to be embarrassing, shameful, and yet the two are sitting here on live television telling us about these horrible moments in your life. You obviously aren't embarrassed.
S. SERRANO: No, actually it's so encouraging to tell other victims and other survivors that if they can just talk about it and find a network of people that will support them, there's so much peace and joy that will come to their lives.
CHUNG: All right. Thank you so much for being with us.
S. SERRANO: Thank you.
M. SERRANO: Thank you, Connie.
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with Victim of Sexually Abusive Priest