FINALLY, THEY LISTENED (Atlanta school heeds warning of abuse victim)

John Salveson received and e-mail from a friend he hadn't heard from in 20 years last summer.  He recalled The message was something like, 'I remember what happened to you in Oyster Bay and thought you'd want to know this.'  Included in the e-mail was a link to the Marist School in Atlanta, where Salveson soon discovered Robert Huneke was working as a guidance counselor with high school students.  Salveson, who is now 46, wrote a letter to the Marist School saying that Huneke, a former priest who worked on Long Island, had sexually abused him for seven years, starting when he was 13.  The letter was just one more step in an ongoing mission he's been on since 1980.  he has been writing letters for two decades.  Marist quickly sent out a letter to parents advising them of their concern, even though Huneke had been only a temporary one-year hire and was already gone.  They made counseling available and fired the head of guidance, Huneke's wife, Regina, a former nun who served on Long Island.  And when they heard Huneke was about to be hired elsewhere, they alerted the employer.  


How John Salveson raised his abuse allegations

Feb. 13, 1980: John Salveson writes to Bishop John McGann, saying, when he was in high school, Robert Huneke sexually abused him.

May 19: Salveson writes to McGann again after getting no response.

June 25: McGann agrees to meet with Salveson.  In the meeting, Salveson describes his ordeal and raises concern about the possibility of Huneke abusing others.

July 7: McGann sends Huneke letter requesting a meeting.

Aug. 1: In letter to Salveson, McGann describes the meeting he had with Huneke.

Sept. 2: Salveson writes back, requesting proof Huneke has been treated.  He wants to know whether McGann has related his concerns to the Florida diocese that oversees the parish Huneke is assigned to.

Jan. 12, 1981: Salveson writes McGann again after getting no response to his previous letter.

Feb. 2: McGann responds, saying there is no proof Huneke abused other victims.  He encloses a copy of a letter in which Huneke apologizes to McGann.  In that letter, Huneke states, without specifically mentioning the nature of the incidents, I am writing to thank you for your openness and understanding in regard to the past incidents we discussed.  I deeply regret the incidents and am truly sorry for any harm caused.

Feb. 23: Salveson writes McGann again asking for proof that Huneke has been treated.

April 15: McGann responds he's spoken with Huneke's counselor, stating, I feel that Father has overcome the situation which you had brought to my attention.  He says he will not contact the Florida diocese.

June 8: Salveson writes back, I am, to say the least, disappointed and disillusioned.  He states he'll contact the Florida diocese himself.

Aug. 7: Salveson writes the diocese's bishop, W. Thomas Larkin, to inform him of the situation.

Summer, 2001: After receiving a tip from a friend that Huneke was working as a high school guidance counselor in Atlanta, Salveson writes to the school, presenting his concerns.  The school sends letters warning parents and fires Huneke's wife, Regina, a former nun, who was the school's head of guidance.