Statement from Barry Covert - Attorney, Senior Partner at Lipsitz, Green, Scime Cambria, LLC representing Stephanie McIntyre. Advocate for victims of clergy abuse.

I have had the great honor of representing courageous victims of sexual abuse from Catholic clergy, most of whom were minors at the time that they were abused. It is still difficult for me to mentally process that sentence, as well as the sick and evil culture that has permitted these many, many atrocities upon the church's innocent children.  

Equally shocking has been the revelation, time and again, that the Catholic Church's hierarchy, throughout the nation and, indeed the world, South Carolina included, has systematically facilitated this culture of evil by taking affirmative actions that have been designed to prevent the laity and law enforcement from protecting these young, innocent victims. The Catholic church has repeatedly and purposely failed to investigate claims of sexual abuse, failed to report abusers to law enforcement, and transferred known abusers to unsuspecting parishes.

Most disturbing is the victim shaming that inevitably has taken place by priests like Fr. Jay Scott Newman when these courageous victims of unspeakable sexual abuse come forward to tell their stories. Stories regarding how they were robbed of their childhood and innocence. Stories explaining why these victims have trust issues, depression, substance abuse issues.

Rather than listening to the victims, the has traditionally tried to shame them into silence. Telling these victims that they should remain silent. Accusing the victims of seeking attention or coming forward for financial gain.

This culture of victim shaming must end. The Catholic church must strive for transparency and the truth.

I want to thank all of the victims that have come forward. They are the heroes and their voices must be heard.