Grecco’s release surprises victim

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The Niagara Falls Review

Wednesday, May 16, 2012 7:08:46 EDT PM

By Maryanne Firth, The Tribune

The Diocese of St. Catharines office in Thorold.

The Diocese of St. Catharines office in Thorold.

DUNNVILLE – Michael Blum couldn’t believe his eyes.

It was an article produced by The Tribune on Friday, April 13, that informed him his tormentor had been freed from jail.

“When I see his name in the paper, it really sticks out,” Blum said, adding it’s something he never fails to overlook.

Upon learning Donald Grecco was released from custody, Blum contacted his local probation office to find out where the convicted child molester was now living.

“They said ‘We can’t tell just anyone,’” due to privacy restrictions, Blum said.

His response was simple. He told officials: “I’m not just anyone, I’m the guy who put him in jail.”

Ultimately, Blum was provided with further information — although it’s information he has to keep to himself as it’s not public record.

He did learn, however, that Grecco has been free since Dec. 17, 2011 — only a few days past the one-year anniversary of his sentencing.

In March 2010, Grecco pleaded guilty to three counts of gross indecency after he sexually abused three teenaged altar boys in the 1970s and parts of the 1980s in Welland and Cayuga.

He was sentenced to 18 months behind bars and two years’ probation in December 2010.

Blum has an ongoing civil lawsuit in the amount of about $3 million against Grecco and the St. Catharines Diocese.

Two of Grecco’s other victims, former Welland resident James Hennessy and another person who has not been named due to a publication ban imposed by the courts, have also filed civil suits against the former priest.

Blum keeps in touch with both Hennessy and the other victim and neither were aware of his release until the story broke, Blum said.

When Blum first learned the news, he got a sick feeling in the pit of his stomach.

“I couldn’t believe it,” he said.

“We’re still in this battle and he’s out already. It’s been hell. Everything has been. It’s life-ruining,” said the Dunnville native, who previously told QMI Agency he suffers from reoccurring nightmares, has contemplated suicide and is unable to work.

Blum is calling for more accountability in child sex abuse cases.

“The Canadian justice system needs to look at predators being put away the way they are in the States,” he said.

“This ruins the lives of people. … This is absolutely life-altering and they get a slap on the wrist.”

6 Responses to Grecco’s release surprises victim

  1. Mark D'Anna says:

    This is the first I knew that Grecco was let out of jail.  I guess my statement to the police had no impact.  Stay strong Michael.  This really shakes All my beliefs, in religion, and our justice system.

    Mark

  2. Mike Blum says:

    *Hi Mark,
    I would like to talk to you if possible, I have asked Sylvia for your e mail address.

    Take care,
    Mike

  3. Mike says:

    Mike;
         Like Mark said to you, please try to stay strong. I know only too well what you are going through, but you are a better person than the scum you helped to put in jail. Please try your best to rise above the gutter that some of these “men of God” dwell in. Thinking of you always.   Mike.

  4. Mike Blum says:

    Hi Mike,

    Yes I am strong and living through things however it is the darkness but I know the light will prevail!!  Thank-you for your prayers and thoughts!!

    Mike

  5. Sylvia says:

    Yes Mike Blum, the light will prevail.  Hold on through the dark days – the light will prevail.  As Mike says, try to stay strong.

    And that goes for you too Mark.  I tried without success to send Mike Blum’s email address to you.  If you would like to talk to Mike Blum would you please contact me and let me know it is alright to give Give Blum your email address and send an email address at which you can be reached.  My email address is: cornwall@theinquiry.ca

  6. Sylvia says:

    Mark, were you sexually abused by Don Grecco as well?  Is that why you went to police?  Also, when you went to police did you go to report your abuse with the hopes that charges would laid?  if that’s the case, what happened Mark?  Why were charges not laid/ Can you tell us? or, would you contact me to tell me what happened?  You can reach me at this email address: cornwall@theinquiry.ca

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