Innocence Lost

After decades of repression, a local man speaks out about the priest he says molested him. His actions may force the Archdiocese of Philadelphia to do right by its many alleged victims.

By Mike Newall
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 0 | Posted Jul. 14, 2004

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"This is a special, special day," says Jimmy while putting some more chicken on the grill.

Tables and chairs have been set up in Jimmy's sprawling backyard in anticipation of the guests.

Jimmy has been looking forward to this day for weeks. All the old guys will be coming.

It will be great for Brian, he says, knowing that all these people are here to support him.

Before Jimmy walked into that hospital in February, he hadn't seen Brian in more than 40 years. "He was as fragile as a 2-year-old," he recalls.

Since then the two have become best of friends again. Jimmy's joking presence seems to have a calming effect on Brian.

"He's an exceptional human being," says Jimmy. "He's so innocent."

"There has been such progress," he continues. "But he needs more things like this. He needs to have his sense of humor brought out again. He can't do that in that hospital."

Jimmy and John have looked into an assisted living home up near Jimmy's place for Brian to move to as soon as he's well enough to leave the hospital. Jimmy has even floated the idea of letting Brian come to live with him.

Brian is one of the first guests to arrive. It's been a whirlwind week for him. His son Brian is visiting with his wife and young son.

Brian, 25, is in the Army, stationed at Fort Stewart, Ga. He'll return to Iraq in December. He changed his plans so he could make the barbecue. The visit's clearly lifted his father's spirits.

The younger Brian is the image of the father he never got to know. He grew up with his mother in Virginia. His father left when he was 2. The son remembers his father sitting him on his knee and telling him he'd have to go away. But he doesn't remember him saying why.

The two would occasionally speak over the phone but fell out of touch six years ago when young Brian entered the Army and his father's mental health deteriorated.

He never knew the details of his father's childhood until last night when he stayed up till 2 in the morning talking with Uncle John.

He could hardly sleep last night, and has been full of tears and anger all morning.

"I lost a father," says the son. "I never got to know him."

The day before, Brian took his father out to lunch. Jimmy McGlone and Alex came along as well. Over sandwiches, Brian listened as his father spoke of his concern about coming forward with his story.

"Dad," he said, putting his hand on his father's. "What you're doing is courageous."

Afterward, during the ride through the old neighborhood, past the old apartment, the school and even St. Gregory's, Brian seemed relaxed. He was even smiling.

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