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LETTERS TO THE TIMES

Ex-Priest's Brother Should Accept the Truth

June 08, 2003

Re "Accounts in Ex-Priest's Death Differ," May 28:

I realize we live in a world where a large percentage of people shun responsibility for their actions and do whatever possible to avoid accountability. However, the comments from John Widera, brother of pedophile priest Siegfried Widera, are appalling.

Rather than accept the accuracy of allegations against his brother -- who has not one but many credible claims of child sexual abuse against him, from victims in two states -- he chooses to blame the situation his brother created for himself on a "manipulated public." He has turned on Kathy Freberg, the attorney for several Widera victims and inexplicably placed the blame for his brother's death on her shoulders. Widera goes on to accuse Freberg of making "too big a case of it," speaking of the very serious allegations against his brother. How does one make too big a case of the sexual abuse of children?

There is nothing wrong with supporting a family member in a difficult situation, but to categorically ignore the validity of numerous credible claims of heinous crimes against children is simply inexcusable. John Widera claims to want peace and forgiveness. Instead he is looking for a scapegoat for his brother's demise.

Lee C. Bashforth

Lake Forest

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