The courage of Richard Geary is self-evident. In his recent column in the Missoulian, Richard speaks out about priest abuse he endured as a naive country boy, its effects on his life, his journey through the Helena Bankruptcy case, and his empathy for survivors still living in silence and shame, “The ones I pity are those who still can’t admit to anyone what happened to them. God help them in their silence and undeserved shame.”
Richard’s case was about more than the limited resources the Helena Diocese had to pay claims. It was about breaking the silence and speaking out for justice, reform and protection of children. Because of Richard and hundreds of other survivors like him, the Diocese has acknowledged its wrongful conduct, the legitimacy of survivor claims, and has instituted policies and procedures for the protection of children in the future. As one client told me, “If my coming forward and bringing this case with you saves one child from the harm I went through, it will have all been worth it.” To Richard and all our Helena clients: you have and will save children from harm; you have and will alter the bad behavior of an institution; you have exposed the truth and changed the course of Montana history.