DETROIT - A local woman is speaking out after she said a priest accused of sexual abuse is trying to silence her.
That priest was removed from public ministry as investigators look into allegations of sexual abuse involving a minor. A young Metro Detroit woman, Rose Maher, said she was abused by the priest, not sexually.
"Abuse can be emotional, verbal, it can be physical or sexual. I experienced physical abuse by being served alcohol," Maher said.
She said the alcohol came while she was altar server at Assumption of the Blessed Mary Parish on Gratiot Avenue near 7 Mile Road. It's the same church from which the Archdiocese of Detroit removed the Rev. Eduard Perrone this summer. He was accused of sexually abusing an underage boy.
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"I had this experience with Father Perrone where I drank underage in the rectory. It started at 12 and went past 18. At the time I didn't know it was wrong. I thought it was a privilege," Maher said.
As an adult, she recently started speaking publicly on podcasts and online about the abuse she said she endured along with male altar servers.
"For me, this is all about exposing the truth," Maher said.
Perrone filed a nine-page lawsuit against her that claims "defamation and invasion of privacy - false light." It goes on to say her "public tweets and posts were false" and that she was "not abused by Fr. Perrone."
Despite Perrone being under investigation by the attorney general's office, the lawsuit claims that in the current climate, all allegations are considered credible, and accuses Maher of trying to jump on an erroneous bandwagon.
"I'm not afraid to stand and be an example to victims of clergy abuse. We are not going to be bullied and silenced about our abuse, whether people think it's true or not," Maher said.
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