Victims' Advocates Speak Out Following Abuse Allegations Involvi - Erie News Now | WICU & WSEE in Erie, PA

Victims' Advocates Speak Out Following Abuse Allegations Involving Two Local Priests

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This Lenten season begins, as leaders of the local Catholic Diocese are dealing with some difficult news.

As we've been reporting, two diocese priests have been accused of inappropriate contact with minors.

And victims' advocates say more needs to be done to stop this kind of abuse from happening, and it's up to adults and large organizations, to be more aware.

Father David Poulson had served as Pastor of St. Anthony's Parish in Cambridge Springs, he's accused of sexual abuse of a minor, at the church.

Father Sean Kerins was chaplain at Kennedy Catholic High School in Hermitage, the diocese says he had inappropriate texting communications with a minor.

Both are prohibited from any public ministry, as well as having any contact with minors.

Erie News Now sat down with Paul Lukach, Executive Director of the Crime Victim Center of Erie County.

He says unfortunately, when children are abused, often times their abusers are people they know, or people of power like a priest or coach. Abusers are often individuals in trusted positions, who take advantage of that trust and influence, "These monsters, theses predators they don't look like monsters do they? They are getting to know our children, our families, they are gaining trust, they are using all kinds of grooming techniques to get to their prey. And it's disgusting and sad, and if we as institutions, and as the community and large groups don't recognize that and learn how to be aware of those trademark grooming techniques, this problem is not going to go away," said Lukach.

Lukach says, we as adults need to do more to prevent possible abuse, "Obviously we're not doing enough to stop this, organizations like the diocese of Erie and other big institutions are not doing enough to stop this... We should not be putting it on the children to keep themselves safe, it's the responsibility of the adults, all the adults in the community to make sure all of our children in every setting are safe."

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