Priest sex abuse survivor dedicated to changing Ohio laws

Priest sex abuse survivor dedicated to changing Ohio laws


Chris Graham, 39, meets with Ohio Sen. Stephanie Kunze, a Hilliard Republican, and members of her staff to discuss priest abuse. Graham was raped by a priest in Columbus when he was 14 years old. He has suffered from PTSD since the attack, which was repressed until last year when memories started coming out through therapy.

When Chris Graham slides his tablet across the table to show lawmakers the police report detailing his rape, he sees their faces change.

That’s because in the report, there’s the account of someone who remembers seeing the perpetrator, a Catholic priest, chasing after a 14-year-old Graham and then grabbing him and trying to get him to go back into a private room at St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church in Powell.

It’s a powerful corroboration of his abuse in 1997 by the late Rev. Raymond Lavelle, Graham has found — as is the fact that the Delaware County Sheriff’s Office and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Columbus both declared the allegation credible. 

Now, he’s using it to raise awareness about clergy sexual abuse of minors and the Ohio laws that keep people like him from seeking justice.

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