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Stephanie’s Letter

This is the first time that I’m sharing the background of my “burn this place down” remark, which was made public during 60 Minutes Overtime last October. How vividly do I recall the moment when Bill Whitaker startled me by reading that line and asking for my comment on it! As the blood rushed to my cheeks, I thought of Stephanie and the intense anger I had felt upon reading her letter. Reviewing this email thread a year later, I winced at the burning and skinning I wrote about a year ago. Those lines make me sound angry and violent. And yet that is how I felt after I read Stephanie’s letter: enraged and wanting to somehow release that rage, which affected me so powerfully. I fear fire and can hardly skin grapes, so I’m no threat as an arsonist or otherwise. But how I burned with anger after reading what had happened to this innocent young girl! Her entire life was traumatically and permanently impacted by a priest’s repeated abuse in every imaginable category: sexual, physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual.

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