Robert M. Hoatson is no stranger to calling foul on alleged sexual abuse.
Months before speaking out for 11 John F. Kennedy High School alumni who claim they were sexually abused by Franciscan Brother Stephen P. Baker, Hoatson, co-founder and president of Road to Recovery, took up the cause of a man who said he was sexually assaulted by former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky.
The alleged victim in that case was about to be released from a Massachusetts state prison, where he was being housed for a "serious crime," Hoatson said in July.
Hoatson would not talk about the specifics of the man's background, his crime or his relationship with Sandusky, which occurred 25 years ago when he attended a summer sports camp at Penn State.
According to Hoatson, the young man was invited to a football camp, and like many of the other victims who have talked about their experiences with the retired coach, said he suffered abuse at Sandusky's hands.
"This was a great kid, a kid who was a superior athlete," Hoatson, of West Orange, N.J.,said.
Where to get help
Founded in 2005 in response to the emergence of the clergy abuse crisis in the Roman Catholic Church in 2002, one priest advocate and another priest survivor / advocate collaborated in the development of a "first-stage service" called Rescue & Recovery International Inc., which became Road to Recovery in 2007. It provides emotional, psychological, financial and spiritual assistance to survivors as they attempt to recover from the effects of having been sexually abused by members of the clergy. Robert M. Hoatson is its president / founder, and the Rev. Kenneth E. Lasch is an advocate for survivors of abuse. Hoatson is a survivor of sexual abuse that occurred while he was a member of the Christian Brothers and as a seminarian for the Archdiocese of Newark, N.J.
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) will begin holding its confidential group support meetings 1 to 3 p.m. Feb. 16 at the Boardman Library. Victims of sex abuse and their family members may attend. For more information, contact local representative Jerry Arnal at 330-718-6226 or Midwest associate director Judy Jones at 636-433-2511.
The alleged Sandusky victim obtained attorney Mitchell Garabedian of Boston, who also represented the 11 men from JFK in their civil claim.
Hoatson, who said he was the victim of abuse as a youngster and as a priest, said he spent a decade fighting sexual abuse by clergy and co-founded Road to Recovery.
A 2005 statement from the Archdiocese of Newark, N.J., called Hoatson a "troubled individual." Hoatson's allegations of abuse involving several bishops and an archbishop "are simply preposterous," the statement reads.
Hoatson has not downplayed his dispute with the church, noting he left in December 2012.
Road to Recovery is a nonprofit organization that provides emotional, psychological, financial and spiritual assistance to survivors recovering from sexual abuse by members of the clergy.
Locally, Hoatson is among those claiming Baker sexually abused 11 former JFK students as many as 25 times each.
All the victims are believed to have been JFK baseball players between 1986 and 1990, when Baker served as coach and trainer.
No criminal charges were filed in the JFK case.