07/08/2014 01:21 pm ET Updated Jul 08, 2014

Sex Abuse Victim Speaks Out On 'Life-Changing' Private Meeting With Pope Francis


ROME - From the age of 8 until he was 13, Peter Saunders was sexually abused by a member of his family, a lay teacher, and two priests of the Catholic school he attended. Growing up in a devout Catholic home, it was especially difficult for Saunders to cope with the shame, which may be part of the reason it took him 24 years to acknowledge what had happened.

Today, the 57-year-old Saunders heads a London-based group called the National Association for People Abused in Childhood (NAPAC), which for the last 19 years has been helping other victims overcome their suffering by providing a support system.

“I created NAPAC because when I was finally ready to talk about what had been done to me, I realized there was no one who could understand,” Saunders said.

Saunders was one of six abuse victims who met Pope Francis on Monday, describing the encounter afterwards as a “life-changing experience.”

Read more on The Boston Globe