Confronting abusers

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I met Ken and Diane Plocher in line for a burrito at the food court during a the national convention of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) earlier this month. I was really just looking for someone to have lunch with and they were friendly Midwesterners. But when I met their son, Shawn, and heard his story, I could hardly finish my food.

This family has suffered so much as a result of their now-adult son's victimization by a priest. Shawn was brave enough to share his story with NCR for the record, and I included it in my coverage of the convention here.

I wasn't surprised to see my story reprinted on the Great Plains chapter of SNAP's website, but I was surprised at the accompanying video.

In it, Ken, Diane, Shawn's aunt and two friends leaflet the Minneapolis neighborhood where Father Joseph Wajda now lives, warning the neighbors that a priest on administrative leave since 2002 for allegations of sexually abusing children lives there.

When the narrator knocks on the door, Wajda answers and actually stands there and answers questions for more than five minutes. He defends himself, saying the accusations--made by multiple victims--are false, and arguing that being falsely accused is also "life damaging," just like being a victim of sexual abuse.

Seems the lawyers or the archdiocese should counsel these guys not to talk to people armed with video cameras. He doesn't come off as a monster, but certainly seems confused by the allegations. There was some disagreement at the SNAP convention about the wisdom or effectiveness of "confronting your accuser." I'm not sure what this confrontation accomplishes, but it's interesting--and sad.

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