My involvement with clergy abuse began at a young age. Between the ages of 10 and 18, my father Joe Maher, encouraged me to build a relationship and eventually begin drinking with a close family priest friend, Father Eduard Perrone, Pastor of Assumption Grotto Parish in Detroit, Michigan. During these visits to the rectory, I believed it to be a great privilege to listen to music and spend "special" time with Father Perrone. After I escaped an unhealthy situation, I quickly realized I also witnessed underage altar boys participate in drinking with Father Perrone.
My suspicions were validated when, on July 6th 2019, Fr. Eduard Perrone was removed from his parish as a result of multiple credible accusations of sexual abuse against minors for 40 years. In addition to this disturbing relationship with an accused pedophile, Joe Maher frequently required me to build relationships directly with other priests guilty of pedophilia and sex offenses. He never warned or cared to protect and tell me of these priests' accusations and crimes. He explained to me they were falsely accused priests in need of help. I never realized my father, Joe Maher, was using me as entertainment for pedophiles. There are two disturbing people my father pressured me to build a relationship with: Fr. Felicien Houndjame and Fr. Jason Sigler. Fr. Felicien was accused of sexual assault on a female choir member from my church; and Fr. Sigler was convicted of pedophilia. In fact, after Father Felicien Houndjame was arrested and released on bond, my father, Joe Maher, had him come stay with us for over a week before police told them he could not stay with a minor. Joe Maher was using me to be entertainment and companionship in order to pleasure these deeply disturbed clergy who already have predilections towards rape and pedophilia.
My close relationship with disturbed clergy began when I was 10 years old. My father started Opus Bono Sacerdotii a Michigan based 501(c)3 that helped to protect and move Catholic priests accused of pedophilia, child porn, sex abuse, embezzlement, alcohol, and drug abuse. In Spring of 2017, I notified Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette that Opus Bono Sacerdotii was in strict violation of their 501(c)3 designation because my father, Joe Maher, and his partner, Peter Ferrara, were paying themselves more than 2.5x their decided salary. Over the next year, I spoke with Assistant Michigan Attorney General, Will Bloomfield, to help hold my Father accountable for his fraudulent charity practices and defense of pedophiles. In July 2018, Opus Bono Sacerdotii was served a cease and desist ordering them to stop their unauthorized and excessive compensation; diversion of Opus Bono assets; breach of fiduciary duties; and deceptive solicitations. A settlement was reached between Opus Bono Sacerdotii and the Michigan Attorney General in December of 2018, two weeks before Bill Schuette and Will Bloomfield left office.
I was shocked to find that within the settlement from Bill Schuette: Joe Maher and Opus Bono Sacerdotii were allowed to continue fundraising together (through March 31st, 2019) and to continue helping priests accused of sexually abusing minors, and embezzling more than $5 million from their parish. Even after collecting all of this damning and pertinent information during the course of a 500 day investigation, I was troubled to find that the Michigan Attorney General's priorities were not in protecting children, the Faithful, or even honest, dedicated donors. This left me with a bad feeling: Why was Michigan's top law enforcement officer not taking the financial and credible abuse claims against my Father's charity, Opus Bono Sacerdotii, serious?
It was not until the AP investigation was finished that we discovered why the Bill Schuette and Will Bloomfield settlement with Opus Bono was inferior. Will Bloomfield, the Deputy AG assigned to the Opus Bono case and person I spoke with directly about the investigation, had a conflict of interest with co-founder of Opus Bono, Fr. Eduard Perrone, from the beginning of the investigation. Bloomfield's parents were close with Fr. Perrone and Bloomfield attended mass at Assumption Grotto, his mother served on the boards of multiple nonprofits with Fr. Perrone, Bloomfield's own imprint sold books in Assumption Grotto gift shop, and as recently as four years ago he attended a service chanted by Perrone and the Assumption Grotto choir that moved him "to a deep and joyful praise of God." All of the conflicts and Bloomfield did not recuse himself nor mention it to me or anyone else. Then after leaving the office of the Attorney General he immediately became the General Counsel at the Archdiocese of Lansing.
Nevertheless, I was unsatisfied, and decided to continue my mission by informing the public to the sins of my Father and his partners. I spent a number of months appearing on Internet radio shows, and publishing blogs describing my experience working at Opus Bono Sacerdotii with its founders Joe Maher, Peter Ferrara and Fr. Eduard Perrone.
After I posted my story of Father Perrone's abuse, my father's delinquent charity, and the endangerment of underage boys they employed around abusers and pedophiles, I was contacted by the Associated Press to comment on their investigation into clergy sex abuse. The comment quickly turned into a five-month investigation of Opus Bono Sacerdotii, Fr. Eduard Perrone and Joe Maher. During the investigation, it was discovered that Fr. Eduard Perrone, the co-founder and Chaplin of Opus Bono Sacerdotii an organization to help priests accused of abuse was, in fact, a serial abuser of altar boys at his parishes beginning in the 1980's. The revelations that were discovered during the investigation were deeper and more disturbing than I had ever been aware.
During the investigation, in April 2019, I discovered that my father, Joe Maher, had left Opus Bono Sacerdotii at the direction of the settlement with the Attorney General of Michigan, and started another identical charity in the State of Indiana called 'Men of Melchizedek'.
Because of my story and the fellow Survivors I have met, we decided to start St. Mary's Haven: a Michigan Catholic non-profit, to partner and support Survivors of clergy abuse during their recovery. There are too few organizations and people who support Survivors of clergy abuse. St. Mary's Haven is a Safe-Space for Survivors to share their story, find help and healing, discover representation, and to know they are never alone in this journey.
Today, along with building a network for Survivors with St. Mary's Haven, I speak publicly about necessary changes the Catholic Church needs to make in order to keep The Faithful and our children safe.