In the Vineyard :: September 12, 2014 :: Volume 14, Issue 17

Survivor Resource: Road to Recovery, Inc.

Several groups offer support for those who suffer from the results of clergy sex abuse. Bob Hoatson helped found one such group and writes about it here.
By Robert M. Hoatson

In 2002, two of my students from the 1980s at a boys’ Catholic high school in Boston went public with reports of their sexual abuse by the school’s former chaplain, a priest of the Archdiocese of Boston. It struck a chord with me. Twenty years prior, as a member of the Irish Christian Brothers, I had complained to the headmaster of the school about the inappropriate behavior of the former priest chaplain, especially around members of the football team, and asked the headmaster to do something about the priest. The headmaster did nothing.

After reading about my two former students from the high school in Boston, I became involved with their recoveries beginning in 2002. By that time, after 23 years as a Christian Brother, I was a priest myself, ordained for the Archdiocese of Newark NJ in 1997, and I became concerned that victim/survivors were not being given the services and assistance they needed, particularly from the Catholic Church. I developed the idea of creating a non-profit organization that would assist victim/survivors of sexual abuse, many by clergy and religious.

I presented this idea to Fr. Ken Lasch, a priest of the Diocese of Paterson NJ and an advocate for dozens of clergy abuse victims in his parish. Together, in 2003, we founded Road to Recovery, Inc., in response to the devastating consequences of clergy sexual abuse. Road to Recovery (fully incorporated in 2005) has served thousands of sexual abuse victims for the past 13 years.

Road to Recovery helps by providing direct assistance of many kinds to sexual abuse victims. For example, we provide financial assistance for rent payments and for purchases of clothing, food, and medicine. We pay for counseling sessions, psychotherapy, and regular doctor appointments. We also cover educational costs, workshop attendance, and retreat expenses.
In addition, Road to Recovery provides public and private advocacy assistance to victim/survivors and helps them traverse the criminal and civil justice systems.

Road to Recovery has had a number of success stories since its founding. A criminal court in Georgia released a clergy abuse survivor to the custody of Road to Recovery after we convinced the district attorney and judge that he needed rehabilitation, not incarceration, to recover from the sexual abuse he endured. Road to Recovery brought the victim/survivor back to his native New Jersey and advocated for him to obtain extensive services through a host of organizations and programs.

In New England, a criminal court judge allowed Road to Recovery to testify about the injuries incurred by a clergy abuse victim and offer the opinion that the young man would most likely not have been involved with the criminal justice system had it not been for the Catholic priest who sexually abused him and his brother as children. The judge has since expressed a willingness to allow the young man to serve a sentence in a secure rehabilitation facility if we can find such a facility. Road to Recovery is looking for a suitable location presently and is trying to raise enough money to establish this type of facility.

Clients of Road to Recovery have written and produced plays about their sexual abuse, started businesses, advocated for change in legislation relative to sexual abuse, appeared in movies, and reunited with their families. We continue to visit prisons, hospitals, and many other venues to reach out to sexual abuse victim/survivors and to offer whatever assistance is available.

The three trustees of Road to Recovery, Inc. are Rev. Patrick W. Collins, Ph.D., a retired priest of the Peoria IL diocese who lives in Michigan; Rev. Kenneth E. Lasch, J.C.D., a retired priest of the Paterson NJ diocese who lives in Morristown, NJ and is a Voice of the Faithful “Priest of Integrity”; and Robert M. Hoatson, Ph.D., a former member of the Irish Christian Brothers and voluntarily laicized priest of the Archdiocese of Newark, NJ.

All three of us also are members of a newly organized advocacy group called “Catholic Whistle Blowers.” Our organization grew out of a suggestion by Anne Barrett Doyle and Terry McKiernan of that “whistleblowers” get together for support. Suzy Nauman, also from, compiled a list of clergymen, religious sisters, and lay persons who had blown the whistle on sexual abuse of children, teenagers, and vulnerable adults. A movie about Catholic Whistle Blowers, produced and directed by Boston College professors John and Susan Michalczyk, will premiere Saturday, October 4, 2014, at 2:00 PM at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts.

Fr. Ken Lasch and I continue to speak about our work at Road to Recovery and seek support for victims/survivors. We receive calls and appeals from one to three victims/survivors each week, and support from Voice of the Faithful members is appreciated. I serve as the victim/survivor representative to the coordinating committee of the VOTF New Jersey affiliate, which has been most supportive of Road to Recovery and victim/survivors.

You may schedule a presentation by Road to Recovery, Inc., by calling Dr. Hoatson at 862-368-2800. Road to Recovery website is


Page One


Shop at Amazon, Support VOTF

VOTF relies solely on the contributions of people like you to support its work.





© Voice of the Faithful 2014. All Rights Reserved