HERNDON, Va. -- On the first day of the Advent season, whichCatholic Diocese of Wilmington Bishop Michael A. Saltarelli hasdedicated to victims of clergy sexual abuse, the allegations againstone former Delaware priest came as hard news to his neighbors innorthern Virginia. See more coverage Monday in The News Journal and at www.delawareonline.com. Contact Beth Miller at 324-2784 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
A small group of abuse survivors and layCatholics spent 90 minutes today going door-to-door in GlenbrookeWoods, a community of $600,000 homes where the Rev. Edward Dudzinskilives. When Saltarelli last month released the names of 20 priests withsubstantiated allegations of sexual abuse against them, Dudzinski’sname was on it.
Jim Money of Herndon, Paul Steidler of Reston,Va., and Mark Serrano of Loudoun County, Va., wanted the neighbors toknow. All are members of the Survivors Network of those Abused byPriests.
Serrano wears a photograph of himself as a boy, aboutthe age when he was first abused by the same New Jersey priest whoabused Steidler.
“We are empowering families with theinformation that my parents didn’t get -- and would have wanted tohave,” Serrano said. “This is the public safety crisis that theCatholic church created with the cover-up.”
Clergy sexual abuseemerged as a national scandal in 2002, when a pattern of transferringaccused priests from parish to parish was revealed first by the BostonGlobe and then in dioceses -- including Wilmington’s -- around thenation.
The Diocese of Wilmington has addressed the problem inseveral ways -- removing priests from ministry, offering assistance toabuse victims, adopting new regulations for appropriate behavior withchildren, and requiring criminal background checks for anyone who workswith children.
Dudzinski, 56, does not show up on any criminalregistries, though. The statute of limitations has expired for thecrimes he is accused of committing during his ministry.
Dudzinskiserved at St. Mary Magdalen in Brandywine Hundred and at St. Francis deSales Church in Salisbury, Md., in the early 1980s. Church officialsremoved him from public ministry in 1985 after investigatingallegations of sexual abuse against him.
He was later sued byBarry Lamb of Delaware, for abuse Lamb said occurred during trips toVirginia in 1984 and 1985. Court records show Dudzinski invoked hisFifth Amendment rights during a deposition when asked about sleepingarrangements and whether he had sexual activity with the boy.
Thatkind of information was included in a packet volunteers distributed inhis neighborhood Sunday. They also included Virginia documents thatchronicle complaints against Dudzinski when he worked as a counselorfor at-risk youth in the 1990s. He later surrendered his counselinglicense to Virginia authorities after being accused of sleeping in thesame bed with minors on at least 10 occasions.
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