On The View today I saw clips of this new documentary called Deliver Us From Evil, which opened today in New York City.
Directed by Amy Berg, the Lionsgate's documentary Deliver Us From Evil follows Oliver O'Grady, formerly Father O'Grady, a California priest who sexually abused dozens of children during the 1970s up until his arrest in 1993.
After serving only seven years of a 14-year sentence, "Father Ollie" now lives as a free man in Ireland. What is most striking about O'Grady is his sickeningly honest admission of being excited by young people, whom O'Grady is creepily nearby a lot in parks and such as Berg extracts his honest confessions.
What is most heartbreaking are the accounts from the former young people he abused, now adults who weep in Deliver Us From Evil. One woman said that her last memory of O'Grady was intense pain before blacking out.
What is most infuriating is that O'Grady was repeatedly protected and shifted around by the diocese hierarchy, and the documentary accuses the current pope and others as being involved in the cover up.
Cardinal Roger Mahoney, a Catholic hierarchy head, protected O'Grady before Mahoney rose to the seat archbishop of Los Angeles. Though no one from the diocese would agree to be interviewed by Berg, videotaped testimonies from recent civil suits display plenty of question dodging and lawyer interjections of refusal to answer certain queries.
Watch a sneak preview of Deliver Us From Evil
Amy Berg's gripping documentary shows the horrible truth that many church officials were more concerned with protecting their own image than the children being raped.
One scene depicts Ann Jyono and Nancy Sloan, another victim of O’Grady, being summarily dismissed by Vatican guards as they try to deliver a letter to Pope Benedict XVI -- the same former Joseph Ratzinger that, prior to becoming pope, oversaw a special committee investigating allegations against priests, but dismissed all charges.
Both times I've seen previews of Deliver Us From Evil it has made me cry, thinking of the children that could have been saved from O'Grady, an admitted and known pedophile who said himself that he shouldn't be around children. There was reportedly one baby harmed as young as 9 months old.
Most touching was a scene with Bob and Maria Jyono. Their daughter, Ann, was raped by Mr. O’Grady when she was only 5. Mr. Jyono, a Japanese-American Buddhist, converted to Catholicism when he married his wife.
After being abused by O'Grady, little Ann realized that her father would kill O'Grady, so she kept her secret to herself for many years to protect her own dad from going to jail. When she finally told her father what happened, he said his world collapsed.
The saddest part for me is that one-time believers have equated these destructive failures of men with God, as if He were the instrument driving the abuse. To them, Church equals fraud equals throw-the-baby-out-with-the-bathwater, they reason, and in doing so give up on Jesus altogether.
"There is no God," mourns abuse victim Ann Jyono's father, once a devout Catholic. "All these rules are made by man."
Tragic. My heart goes out to these people who have suffered an evil the depths of which many of us will never know. May they truly, finally, liberatingly some day be delivered from it. And I pray that this film takes all involved one step closer to God's grace, not away from it.
Watch the sad preview here and read reviews...
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