RICHMOND, Va. -- A coordinator for the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) in Richmond said the latest allegations of child sex abuse by a retired Richmond priest “brings up to the forefront what is happening in the Catholic church to this day.”
“There are a lot of good, good people in the Catholic Church, they do the right thing,” Dottie Klamer, a coordinator with SNAP said. “Unfortunately, there are rotten apples and they need to get rid of.”
Richmond Catholic Diocese officials said Friday that a representative of a deceased victim shared allegations of child sexual abuse by Rev. Msgr. Raymond Barton.
The report alleges the abuse happened in the early 1970s when the victim was a minor.
SNAP advocates for victims of sexual abuse by priests in the Catholic church.
"eople do not realize what sexual abuse does, especially to a child... Your soul is fractured,” Klamer explained. “You’re talking about the highest authority; priests are considered next to God.”
Church officials said Barton has been a pastor at six catholic churches across Central Virginia and Hampton Roads since 1966:
- Cathedral of the Sacred Heart in Richmond: associate pastor
- St. John Vianney Seminary in Goochland: faculty member
- Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Norfolk: pastor
- Saint Nicholas Catholic Church in Virginia Beach: pastor
- Holy Comforter Catholic Church in Charlottesville: pastor
- Church of the Holy Apostles in Virginia Beach: co-pastor
Barton retired in 2011.
Klamer believes there are many more cases of abuse that have gone unreported.
“They have a closed system in the Catholic Church,” she said. “They decide who is credible and whose story is substantiated.”
"Bishop Knestout remains committed to transparency and accountability when allegations of child sexual abuse are reported," Catholic Diocese of Richmond officials said in a news release Friday. "He encourages anyone who knows of any misconduct or abuse on the part of a cleric or representative of the diocese to report it."
However, Klamer believes the church can do more.
“They need to be open to the legal system,” she said. “They need to be given to the attorney general.”
Officials said the allegations have been turned over to police, and Barton will not be allowed to serve in ministry until the investigation is complete,.
Church officials said anyone sexually abused by a priest, deacon, religious, lay employee or volunteer of the diocese should report abuse directly to law enforcement, including Child Protective Services (CPS) at 1-800-552-7096, and by calling the Attorney General’s Clergy Abuse Hotline at 1-833-454-9064.
Individuals can also contact the 24-hour confidential Victim’s Assistance Reporting number at 1-877-887-9603