Local Survivor Of Catholic Priest Sex Abuse Is Headed To The Vatican

'I’m looking for real change. For not the church, but for the survivors'

Marty Griffin and Wendy Bell
February 12, 2019 - 9:29 pm
Hands of catholic priest reading a bible

ID 93409797 © Kamila Kozioł | Dreamstime.com


PITTSBURGH (Newsradio 1020 KDKA) - “I was a sophomore in high school when I met David Pullson at Bradford Central Christian in the little town of Bradford and he was my English teacher.” Jim VanSickle told KDKA Radio’s Marty Griffin and Wendy Bell on Tuesday afternoon.

“He had just come out of seminary that same year. I had just some things happen in my family that had me wondering aimlessly.”  

“I was a perfect target.”

Related: Erie Priest Who Pleaded Guilty To Sexual Abuse Get 2 And A Half To 14 Years

VanSickle is just one of countless survivors of Catholic priest sex abuse that has come forward to tell their stories in hopes to heal, inspire others, and to get the Catholic Church to stop trying to protect itself, and start healing the survivors of these atrocious crimes.

It is in this pursuit for vindication that has fueled VanSickle to travel to the Vatican, where he has meetings set up to speak with people in high-powered positions. He hopes that his meetings will get his messages heard, and, hopefully, be taken to the top of Catholic leadership: the Pope himself.

 “I’ve lived a life of turmoil. I didn’t ask for this fight. It was thrust upon me as a child. Coming forward for the first time last year…I’ve been empowered by all of this…I want to go there with the purpose of asking the right question. Being able to get the message out that there’s a problem, and it’s bigger than everyone thinks, even now with all the publicity.”

VanSickle says that all the survivors need the Catholic Church to be transparent with what has been allowed to happen, and to take responsibility and accountability for their rule in the church abuse.  

And what would he say if his trip ended with a face-to-face meeting with Pope Francis himself?

“What the church is doing is a travesty. There are broken, young people out there who are still children in their hearts and they were abused by Catholic priests. This transparency and these words everyone is throwing around aren’t doing us any good whatsoever," said VanSickle. "You’re trying to protect yourself. You’re trying to protect your assets. I’m looking for real change. For not the church but for the survivors. They need to be vindicated. They need to have their voices heard. They need to be able to come out of the closest now. Out of the wood work. Out of the dark places they are sitting in and feel safe again.”

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