|My Journey Towards Life, Faith and
Love for Myself
In this shocking true story, a childhood victim of sexual abuse from a Catholic priest struggles to recover from his
past and becomes an advocate for other victims.
In a matter of seconds, author Charles L. Bailey, Jr.’s childhood innocence was destroyed. At the tender age of ten,
Bailey became a victim of continuous sexual abuse by his family’s Roman Catholic priest.
In the Shadow of the Cross: The True Account of My Childhood Sexual and Ritual Abuse at the Hands of a Roman Catholic Priest
details Bailey’s personal journey of recovery. With candid and shocking details, Bailey reveals how his ill-treatment
forever destroyed his innocence and robbed him of identity and faith. Bailey also explains how family and friends were
impacted by the tragedy, how his development from child to adult was full of pitfalls, and how he struggled with issues
But there is also hope in Bailey’s story. Through his work with support groups, such as SNAP,
(Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests), individual counseling, and his renewed faith in God, Bailey has confronted
his past and has become an advocate for those impacted by clergy sexual abuse. In the Shadow of the Cross shares his
compelling true story and serves as a stark reminder of the haunting legacy of abuse in the church.
Charles L. Bailey, Jr. is a husband, father of four, and grandfather of eight. He resides in
Upstate New York. He is a SNAP leader, and a guest speaker for several organizations, including Voice of the
Faithful, Call to Action, and Coalition of Concerned Catholics.
Award Winning Author - Honorable Mention London and Los Angeles Book Festival
Foreword: "Reading this book will give you the password into his world."
Charles Bailey speaks from the depths of his soul about the vile assaults inflicted on him by an evil man,
cloaked in a disguise of goodness. He discovers, forty years later, that what he thought was his singular
hell was incurred by of thousands of others at the hands of thousands of similarly evil men. The ultimate
in evil is the assault on a child's innocence and twisting their young minds with apparent authority
derived from God that made vile/evil violations into sanctimonious acts of religious sacrifice. These
heinous deeds robbed them of their innocence and safety, made them to feel dirty, unworthy of God's love,
(or anyone else's). They were then discarded like used up vessels of their perpetrator's pleasure, who
would slither on to their next innocent. Bailey's courage in publicly proclaiming his experience has
unmasked an equally and perhaps even greater evil; the conspiracy perpetrated by the Catholic Church to
protect these evil-doers. The church rescues them from one location and transplants them to another,
where they set forth preying on new prospective victims. Just as the evil priests manipulate their
victims' minds, the church carries this exploitation to the level of organizational deception; by
maintaining the anonymity of the predators; and by "paying off" some victims of their assaults in
return for their secrecy and for not prosecuting the evil-doers. The church continues to endorse them
as upstanding, blessed men to be trusted by the congregations to which they are subsequently assigned,
and then they repeat their terrible crimes again and again. Bailey implicitly raises the question
whether the Catholic church as an organization is corrupt or whether the thousands of abusive priests
are exceptions. This concern is observed in his interactions with the local bishop who appears to be
genuinely compassionate with Bailey's experience while simultaneously trying to protect his church
from expanded scandal by keeping secret the names of his priests who have identified with errant behavior.
The cover-up versus the purgative approach to this moral cancer is troubling and Bailey's account describes
his discouragement with such overwhelming odds. He attempts to persevere with trying to help one person
at a time. He has become the "go to guy" in his community as a person who survived the "victim hood" of
these crimes. He represents the hope that people can recover and go on to lead healthy lives with family,
friends, and most importantly, with themselves.
Bailey describes the "collateral damage" that ensues, including the disruption of relationship with some members of
family whom he thought would be his allies; struggling with the loss of religious faith and trust of clergy
representatives; trying to understand why this wickedness happened to him. Is he that despicable in God's eyes,
he wonders; does God not care; is He just not available; or maybe He just does not exist? People who read this book,
who have suffered sexual abuse, will see themselves in Charles Bailey's accounting of his perilous and ultimately,
triumphant journey. It is gut wrenching to read the horrors that one human can impose on another. It is made all the
more vicious by an adult corrupting the body, mind and soul of a child while masquerading in a uniform that is
associated with God, goodness, and moral leadership. His ultimate confrontation with secrets that he was commanded to
keep and his feelings of shame, misguided though they were, are bound to inspire all who have been in that dark,
lonely, painful place. Bailey is evidence that good can overcome evil; that one can return from the depths of a personal
hell to rise again and live a good and productive life. He demonstrates in his daily life that the human spirit is
ultimately resilient and can transform adversity into beneficial outcomes. It is a privilege to come to know and work
with him. My life, perspectives, and understanding have been opened and expanded by his. It reminds us that life's
painful experiences soften us and, in so doing, we become strengthened. Perhaps it is not the answers that we attain
about life but rather the questions that we dare to ask, ponder, and live with that help us to become ultimately human.
Stephen Driscoll, Ph.D.