Broken Trust

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Collecting the personal accounts of both survivors and abusers, this document serves to create—for the very first time—an open dialogue about the clerical abuse scandals that have rocked the Catholic Church in the United States. Presenting profound psychological insight, a panel of therapists and experts give a powerful voice to the long-silent survivors, revealing the pain, trauma, shame, and devastation experienced at the hands of those most trusted. Additionally, five convicted priests account for their personal betrayal, oftentimes told in voices mixed with anger, repentance, and even self-delusion, as they explain the dark forces that led them to abuse, and share their own road to recovery. Providing a transparent glimpse into the horror of abuse, Catholics, counselors, and therapists alike will find the insights offered in these first-hand accounts to be a powerful tool for learning from the past, and preventing such atrocities from happening again.


Patrick Fleming is a psychotherapist in private practice with a focus on healing adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse. Sue Lauber-Fleming is a psychotherapist in private practice. Mark T. Matousek is a chemical-dependancy counselor at Recon, Inc. who advises the Catholic Church regarding sexual abuse. They all live in St. Louis, Missouri.


“Within the area of sexual abuse, this might be the most helpful single book you can read. I have not found anything that is as systematic, as sympathetic, as fair, and as insightful on this question. It lays out the anatomy of the disease, the devastation it does to its victims, and the complex array of factors that help trigger sexual abuse – all from the inside, with fairness and sympathy. Everyone should read Broken Trust!”  —Rev. Ronald Rolheiser, author, The Shattered Lantern

“These experienced authors have put a compassionate face on the abusers who have been mostly victims of sexual abuse themselves. They have described the depth and dynamics of therapeutic healing instead of a punitive approach. As restorative justice practitioners, we are concerned with the healing and accountability for the victim, offender, and the community. Hopefully, Broken Trust will create a greater understanding with the public of this complicated problem”  —Linda Harvey, Founder, Restorative Justice Council on Sexual Misconduct in Faith Communities

“This masterful look at woundedness, healing, and hope, is a tour de force: a wonderful and searching study with far-reaching implications for so many. It’s odd to call such a book a 'page turner,' but it is. No one reading these case histories can fail to learn or be changed.” Paula D’Arcy, author, Gift of the Red Bird

Broken Trust, reintroduces the theme of forgiveness and reconciliation as a way forward for the Church in responding to the sexual abuse crisis. The stories stir in us the ancient memories of the Church about redemption, not only for individuals, but for the Church as a community of faith. By tapping into these deep sources of our tradition, we find the possibility of a hope which is totally undeserved because it is total grace.”  —Most Rev. Blase J. Cupich

“The truth that sets us free is not just theoretical and philosophical, but often feels much more like simple honesty. We must speak with honesty without seeking vengeance or creating more victims. Here is a book of such healing honesty.”  —Richard Rohr, author, The Naked Now

“A must read for those struggling to understand why priests abuse, why victims suffer, and why all sides are in need of healing.”  —Susan Archibald, president, The Healing Alliance