The Niagara Falls Review
Wednesday, May 16, 2012 7:08:46 EDT PM
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.”