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Parents of priest abuse victim hopes others come forward

Posted: 11:39 PM, Jan 31, 2019
Updated: 2019-02-01 00:51:10-05

A Tynan family of a victim of sex abuse by a Catholic priest isn’t sure what purpose the release of the names of credibly accused priests really serves.  They only hope others who have been victimized will come forward and begin their own healing.

Jimmy and Sheryl Hunt say they’ve been fighting for justice for years for their daughter.  Their daughter was raped by a priest in their home seven years ago They got it last February when a Bee County jury found Father Stephen Dougherty guilty of sexual assault.

Father Stephen Dougherty’s name is on the list released by the Diocese of Corpus Christi today.  He is serving a 60-year prison sentence for sexual assault.

Sheryl Hunt is sharing her daughter’s story to help other people who may have been abused and never said anything.  She says her child said nothing for years, and then troubling signs started to show when she was around 12 years old.  Finally, in 2015, the girl revealed that Dougherty had raped her three years earlier.

“Never give up, never give up on your child. If your child even hints something, you as a parent have the responsibility to believe them.  And keep on until you get the truth,” said Sheryl Hunt, mother of the sex abuse victim.

The Hunts say they’re now estranged from their daughter, but they say she’s coping the best she can following the abuse.  Their daughter is now 20 years old with a three-year-old son and is back in school and focusing on being the best mom she can be.