Pennsylvania abuse survivor calls on Pope Francis to intervene

Jun 11, 2018

By Stephanie Kirchgaessner

Mark Rozzi can remember the feeling of the tall grass brushing against his bare legs on the day he and a close friend desperately ran out of the rectory in Hyde Park, Pennsylvania.

Rozzi, who was 13 at the time, had just been raped by his priest, the Rev Edward Graff, and remembers thinking in that moment, as he ran through a field, that he would take his terrible new secret to his grave.

When he got home and was peppered with questions by his mother – a Sicilian from Messina who sensed something was wrong – he lied and said Graff had dropped his towel in front of the boys. He did not tell her about the things he came to understand as an adult – that Graff had groomed him for months, by secretly talking to him about sex, plying him with alcohol and showing him pornography. It had all culminated in his vicious rape by Graff in a shower, where Rozzi can still recall staring at the tiles and wondering if he should stay or run.

Rozzi did not, in the end, take his secret to his grave, and nor did hundreds of other victims.

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