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Victims to share stories of impacts of childhood sex abuse

“Enlighten & Empower: An Evening with Survivors” will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday in the parish center of St. Mary's Roman Catholic Church, 6919 Transit Road, Swormville.

Survivors of childhood sexual abuse will discuss how the abuse has affected them over their lifetimes.

The event is being organized by the Buffalo Survivors Group, formed by five men who said they were sexually abused as minors by priests in the Buffalo Diocese. Among the founders are Michael Whalen, whose public accusation in 2018 against the Rev. Norbert F. Orsolits helped prompt dozens of people to report that they had been abused by a priest, and Christopher Szuflita, who first went public with his claim of abuse against the Rev. Joseph Friel with a lawsuit in 1994. Kevin Koscielniak, Gary Astridge and Angelo Ervolina are the other founders of the group.

“We want to educate and inform the community about the psychological, emotional and physical harm sexual abuse causes, as well as provide support and help with resources that are available to survivors and the community,” the group said in a statement.

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