Reviews from Readers
Hope and courage for clergy abuse survivors, May 22, 2007
I am a trauma therapist who works with clergy abuse survivors and a survivor myself.
This book is a powerful testament to resilience, and a courageous account of betrayal and the
demonic sickness of sexual and spiritual abuse. I especially recommend this for clinicians and
for clergy who have the courage to face the pain that their church has inflicted on survivors.
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An expose of human and spiritual resiliency, May 30, 2007
Let me begin by saying that I too am a survivor of clergy sexual abuse and rating a book like this is
quite crass. It isn't the words you will read that earn one or ten stars. It is in the human experience
of hope and despair, of prayer and need, of holding the pain of millions of paper cuts and never letting
on that pain even exists until the resiliency of humanity breaks through and truth must be shouted out
in tremors and tears and nightmares and finally in the least efficacious means...with words, that you
will have the privilege of sharing in another's personal Auschwitz. This book isn't to be read like any other.
It is something to be experienced like sitting on the floor after dropping one's most prized object and
feeling the reality that it is shattered and gone forever. How does one put "stars" to that. So give your
seat belt another extra tug and sink into the human emotion of every word, for they each say more than
you could possibly take in!
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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.
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A Must Read, May 24th 2007
This is a small book, it can be read in a few hours, but it is an important book, hard to read, because of its brutal honesty.
It is the story of a ten-year-old boy, whose childhood was forever shattered because of a parent's obsession and a child's
innocence in trusting someone that their parent was willingly giving access to them.
This book should be a "must read" for all parents in order to make them more aware of the dangers that surround their children.
Much more than just clergy, predators stalk our children be they teachers, scout leaders, coaches, or relatives who become
too "friendly" with a child. Parents who are obsessed with making their child into something they want leave them open to
It also is a "must read" for victims of such abuse. Many have suffered for years and years, thinking that they were alone,
or worse, that they were somehow at fault for what happened to them. It will be a healing process for them that another,
who shares their pain, has had the courage to share his story with the world.
You will cry from the horror this child went through, but wonder at how he managed to overcome this experience and become
an exemplary member of society, not only a good and stable husband and father and grandfather, but an advocate for saving
children everywhere from such abuse.
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Randy Engel - Author and Investigative Journalist, June 16, 2007
The first in-depth book I ever read on sexual abuse of young boys by Catholic clergy and religious was
Unholy Orders - Tragedy at Mount Cashel by Michael Harris, an account of institutionalized
pederasty by Christian Brothers at the Mount Cashel Orphanage in Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, published in 1990.
I still recall the moment I began to convulse with uncontrollable tears at reading a description of one
orphan's abuse by a priest that involved the Blessed Sacrament. To this day that page remains stained with
tears - a reminder to me of the horrific implications of clerical sexual abuse. All these feelings of
emotional pain came flooding back to me when I recently read and reread In The Shadow Of The Cross.
I have never met the Charles "Charley" Bailey, author of In the Shadow of the Cross, but over
the last two decades, I have interviewed many Charles Baileys, victim/survivors of clerical sexual abuse in
connection with my own book The Rite of Sodomy - Homosexuality and the Roman Catholic Church. I think
every adult Catholic, lay person and clergy, needs to read at least one personal account of clerical sexual
abuse as seen through the eyes of the victim/survivor, in order to begin to understand the implications of criminal
pedophilia and pederasty by priests and religious. In The Shadow Of The Cross is a good place to start.
Charles Bailey was ten years old when he was sodomized, anally and orally, by Father Thomas Neary, a Catholic priest
of the Diocese of Syracuse, New York, in his own bedroom while his mother and his siblings were downstairs -
just a scream away if he could only manage one scream - but he could not. With the 175 pound plus weight pressing
down on his back it was all he could do to breathe. And so Charley screamed silently, inwardly.
These criminal acts by Neary, more than 100 incidents in all, went on until Charley was twelve and entering
puberty at which time Neary told him that he was not pleasing to God, and his "counseling" sessions to assess
Charley's vocation to the priesthood were terminated.
In a sense, Charley's life was put on hold the day he met Father Neary. Charley kept Father's "dirty little secret"
and Father's "dirty little secret" kept him in a state of emotional, mental, spiritual turmoil for more than
forty years. The dam finally burst on the fateful Memorial Day of 2002 when Charles finally revealed to his wife
Sue the story of his sexual abuse by Father Neary.
According to Charles, Sue was in the kitchen preparing dinner, and the TV was on in the background. The Boston
Archdiocese was once again in the spotlight and there was another reported case of clergy sexual abuse of a
child on TV. Sue said, "I can't believe yet another boy has come forward. What is wrong with the Church?"
When her husband turned his head away, Sue interpreted this gesture as sympathy for the offender priests.
"What's the matter with you? Are you feeling sorry for the priests? It's not like you were abused or anything."
And then it happened. Charles was swept away by an emotional tsunami, the tears began to flow, and in that instant,
Sue knew the truth. "She turned off the stove, stopped making dinner and came to me, arms around me, saying over
and over," Oh Charley, oh Charley."
On that day, 40 years after the fact, Charley got his life back - and much more.
Bailey's assessment of the "collateral damage" he suffered for more than four decades as a result of his sexual
abuse at the hands of an audacious and ruthless serial rapist and felon, Father Thomas Neary, and Bailey's advice
to victims of sexual abuse on seeking competent psychological and legal assistance is the book's strong suit.
Whatever the book's shortcoming in other areas, such as the area of confronting officials of the Diocese of Syracuse -
a sorry lot if there ever was one, Charles tells his story well.
Victim/survivors of clerical sexual abuse will never be the same after their assault. They will be forever different
from what they might have been had not the abuse occurred. This does not mean, however, that they cannot recover
and become whole again. Charles Bailey was lucky to find excellent psychological counseling and a deep and abiding
friendship with New York psychologist, Dr. Stephen Driscoll, and sound legal counsel from Albany Attorney John Aretakis.
In The Shadow Of The Cross goes a long way in explaining the often asked question - "What do victims of clerical sexual abuse want?"
The answer is Justice with a capital J - pure and simple - from the Church and from the State.
First and foremost, they have every right to expect justice from the Church, as well as compensation from the
Church for the "collateral damage" the victim/survivor has suffered as a result of the abuse. They also have
a right to justice from the State especially when the Church reneges on its responsibilities and duties to a
member of its flock, especially young victims like Charley Bailey.
As a rule, criminal clerics have been the recipient of much solicitude and favor by their bishop, Chancery
officials, and fellow religious. Such sympathy is, in my opinion, highly misplaced. It is the victim/survivor
and his or her welfare and family that should be the primary focus of the Church's concern. Chances are that
diocesan officials were long aware of the perverted proclivities of these wayward priests before the priests
were publicly accused of sexual abuse. They had their chance…many chances, if the full truth be known.
"Victims and their families first! Not last!" should be the Church's motto.
Recently, I received a letter from a priest in Canada who objected to what he termed my criticism and exposure
of the "sins" of certain American prelates in The Rite of Sodomy. He also stated that I was short on
"repentance" and long on jail terms for these moral miscreants. He simply does not get it, and I think there
are a lot of other Catholic priests and laypeople who, also, simply do not get it.
Clerics who sexually molest minors of either sex are guilty of felonious crimes. On a spiritual level they are
slayers of souls, and destroyers of lives, a crime of an ever greater magnitude. If found guilty by the courts,
they deserve to be incarcerated both as a punishment for their crime as well as a lesson to every citizen that
such crimes will not be tolerated in a civilized community. If church officials have evidence collaborating the
assault record of the priest, these records should be turned over as state's evidence against the priest. This
holds true for young adults including seminarians and priests who have been sexually assaulted by their religious
superiors, seminary professors or diocesan officials including bishops. Sexual assault is a crime - whenever and
wherever it occurs. Yes, both the priest and his accuser deserve their day in court. The Church should then have
that day and put an end to cover-ups, secret settlements and under-the-table payouts by diocesan and Vatican officials.
As for the matter of true "repentance," the total narcissistic, self-absorption of the sociopath sexual predator
mitigates against true repentance. He regrets getting caught, but he does not truly 'repent" of his crime. This
truism is perhaps one of the most singular character traits of pederasts in general and clerical predators in particular,
including Father Neary. Neary's criminal career spanned more than four decades. Days spent in jail? Zero. His youngest
victim was only six years old. There is no evidence that the now deceased Neary ever publicly "repented" of his crime.
There is one aspect of Charles Bailey story's that makes it somewhat different from typical sexual abuse cases involving
Catholic priests and religious.
Clinically speaking, Father Neary would be classified as a homosexual pedophile. Most priest predators are pederasts,
that is they are attracted to young boys just entering puberty and older. In other words, most clerical pederasts begin
their grooming and assault of young boys, where the homosexual pedophile leaves off.
Charley was ten when the sexual assault began. At the time, he was too young to know what "sex" was all about. In retrospect,
he did not have to deal immediately with issues of "sexual identity" and homosexuality that older boys face when they are
sexually assaulted by an older male or peer. Luckily, Charley developed normal sexual instincts toward the opposite sex -
a small but significant plus in an otherwise horrific childhood that contributed to his becoming the wonderful husband,
father, and grandfather he is today.
In The Shadow Of The Cross - get it. Read it. And if you are tempted to be hyper-critical of some
of the wrong choices that Charles Bailey may have made along the way, ask yourself - What if Father Neary had molested ME -
or MY son or grandson or nephew or someone else I really love? That question will sober you up real fast.
Randy Engel, Author and Investigative Journalist
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