NewsPhoenix Metro NewsCentral Phoenix News


Former Valley priest brought back to US to face sex abuse charges

Posted at 7:17 PM, Jul 02, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-02 22:57:28-04

PHOENIX — For almost two decades, a man we will call John Doe has waited for this: the news that the priest who allegedly abused him in the late 1970s and early 80s is finally behind bars.

According to a report released last week by the Diocese of Phoenix, Father Joseph John Henn served as a pastor at St. Mark's Catholic School in central Phoenix.

"it was between 6th, 7th and a little into 8th grade," says John Doe, relating details of the years he was allegedly abused by Father Henn at the school, which has since closed.

"He was in charge of the boys and a female teacher was in charge of the girls," he adds, as he describes that back then, Father Henn was the one responsible to teach about sex education. Instead of educating and enhancing his life, John says Father Henn took advantage of his vulnerable age, undergoing puberty and groomed him by becoming close friends with this family.

"He would go on skiing trips with my family," he says.

Today he's a grown man, ready to take the stand in the next few weeks as Father Henn was recently extradited from Rome after remaining on the run, and according to Doe's attorney, Henn was caught on May 31st by Interpol, the international law enforcement agency.

"He's living in a hell of his own, he's trapped," Doe said as he remembered the day he had the courage to come forward with what had transpired and reported the abuse to the church, his family and even to Henn himself in a one-on-one conversation.

"I asked him, 'Was I the only one?' and I knew there was another victim and he said, 'Yes' and then the therapist said 'Father Henn's not far along in his therapy,'" Doe recalled.

He says he was never interviewed by the church about what happened.

"The church has a group within it that is evil and they help each other out and the bishop at the time, O'Brien, he was one of them," Doe said.

Henn is facing multiple child sexual abuse charges. His next court date is scheduled for July 26th.

Doe says there are more victims out there, and his hope is that they too have the courage to come forward and report abuse.

"It's given me a stronger faith, not in man but in life. Having lived through this, it's trauma, it's unthinkable...I still cannot walk into a Catholic church," he adds.