Watch CBS News

Survivor "aggravated" pope skipped clergy sex abuse meeting: "He delegated"

Clergy sex abuse summit: What survivors want
Survivors of alleged clergy sex abuse demand no tolerance at Vatican summit 02:38

Shaun Dougherty never imagined his very personal crusade against Catholic clergy sexual abuse would lead him to the Vatican. He traveled about 4,000 miles from Pennsylvania for an unprecedented meeting Wednesday between bishops and survivors of alleged clergy sexual abuse. 

CBS News' Nikki Battiste spoke to Dougherty as he walked out of the meeting where he and 11 other survivors urged the Catholic Church to have a zero-tolerance policy for abuse. Dougherty had said he'd been waiting years for this moment and hoped the pope himself would be in attendance. He wasn't. 

"I'm not surprised, I'm aggravated. This is the CEO of the Roman Catholic Church," Dougherty said. "We came to his house to meet with him about his abusive priests ... and he wasn't there. He delegated."

Dougherty is willing to give the Catholic Church one last chance but looking up at St. Peter's Basilica, he said "that's just a dome to me."

"I never even wanted to go inside the wall of the Vatican," he said. "I was abused at 10 years old. I never had the opportunity to fully believe in God." 

He's there for only one reason: to get the abuse of children to stop.
Since Battiste first met Dougherty last August, he's fought for statute of limitations reform across Pennsylvania and confronted the former priest he says molested him. Wednesday's meeting is the pinnacle in his fight for justice.

Asked if he feels like he's carrying the weight of thousands of survivors, he said "I know I am."

"They're carrying me … so many people did so much more than me … I'm thrilled to be a part of this now," Dougherty said.

Survivor Peter Isely – who alleges he was sexually abused by a priest in Wisconsin at age 13 – said their group's message to Pope Francis is clear.
"It's really simple. Zero, zero, zero," he said.

If the summit ends and the pope doesn't implement a zero-tolerance policy, Isely said everything will "accelerate."

"Investigations by justice departments … and law enforcement around the world," he said.

Shaun Dougherty told us he wants a wholehearted apology from the bishops, acknowledgment that they hear the victims and a plan to fix this problem.

The Vatican's sexual abuse summit officially starts Thursday.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.