Group calls on ROC for apology

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - An agency which supports people sexually abused by priests is calling on the Richmond Outreach Center and Geronimo Aguilar to apologize to alleged child sex abuse victims.

SNAP, or the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, met at Richmond Police Headquarters because it says authorities, not the church, are the proper ones to deal with situations like what's going on with "Pastor G," right now.

Becky Ianni says as a child, she was sexually abused by her priest in Northern Virginia. Now she's the Virginia Director of SNAP.

"When I came forward with my abuse I was very afraid because many people supported my perpetrator," Ianni explained. "They thought he was the greatest man ever and I was afraid to come forward because what if I wasn't believed."

The recent criminal charges against ROC Pastor Geronimo Angular caught the group's attention.  On Friday, Pastor G was extradited to Texas, where he's charged with seven felonies in two child sex abuse cases.

Tuesday, Ianni called for the church board to apologize after publicly supporting its leader. Board members say they believe the accusations "to be completely untrue and unfounded."

"It says if you come forward, you're not going to be believed," Ianni maintained. "If you come forward, you're not going to be supported. That's the opposite message we want to send to victims."

Like the alleged victims in the Texas case, Ianni didn't come forward with the claims until she was an adult. She explains if she was faced with the kind of backlash the two women, now in their 20s but underage at the time of the alleged incidents have encountered, things might have been different.

"I would've remained silent," she added.  "I would've felt it was still my fault. We feel that it's our fault. We feel we did something to get this."

Once he was extradited to Texas, bail for Pastor G was set at $200,000. Aguilar's attorney said several times, his client is innocent.

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