Procession Survivors: Where Are They Now?

Director Robert Greene’s latest venture, ‘Procession,’ on Netflix is a powerful documentary about healing. It features six survivors who say they were sexually abused as children at the hands of priests re-live their past trauma. Using a drama therapist, they narrate and re-enact their abuse experiences, leading to harrowing but moving results. As the documentary progresses, we join the six men on their journey of working through their trauma. So, if you’re curious about where they might be today, here’s what we know!

Where is Michael Sandridge Now?

In June 2011, Michael Sandridge filed a lawsuit that alleged sexual abuse by priest Michael Tierney. Michael was about 13-years-old in the early 1970s. At the time, he claimed that Tierney started showing him special attention. A shy boy when he was young, Michael was a member of the St Elizabeth Catholic Church in Kansas City, Missouri. According to Michael, Tierney invited him to go swimming at the local YMCA. The locker room was empty there, and after Tierney unrobed, he took off Michael’s trunks, and they swam together naked.

Michael remembered crying all the way back home. He also claimed that the Diocese of Kansas City-St Joseph knew about Tierney’s behavior but helped cover it up. In 2018, regarding how it affected him, Michael said, “I’d be driving in the car, and think, ‘If — if I hit the bridge and I get killed that way, then I don’t have to think about anything.” Michael added that Tierney would urge him to stop crying, claiming that was how special friends behaved with each other.

Michael settled the lawsuit with the church in 2014. Today, he still lives in Kansas City, Missouri, and works as an interior designer. Regarding going through with the documentary, Michael said, “Well, I was always weird. And now maybe people understand why I was so weird. So it’s a healing process for me if people understand that one thing can change your whole life. You hear that you see it, but you really don’t get it. But it’s true for some people. And it helped me get over that one thing.”

Where is Joe Eldred Now?

In November 2011, Joe Eldred claimed that he was abused between the ages of nine and twelve when he was in Independence, Missouri. Joe named three priests — Father Mark Honhart, Father Thomas Reardon, and Monsignor Thomas O’Brien. He said, “I had repressed memories, and they didn’t really surface until earlier this year.” Joe stated that he was abused during the early 1980s, alleging the abuse took place at the parish and at a lake house where he was given drugs and alcohol before it happened.

The whole experience affected Joe deeply. Talking of his lowest point, he said, “It looked like a rope around my neck and me sitting on the windowsill, ready to jump.” The Diocese had received multiple warnings regarding O’Brien’s behavior in the past. Like Michael, Joe also settled his lawsuit in 2014. Joe lives with his wife, Sherri, in Kansas City and works at a Christian home for youth. In the documentary, Joe visited the lake house where some of the abuse occurred, which helped because his recurring nightmares stopped.

Where is Tom Viviano Now?

It took Tom Viviano a suicide attempt to finally make sense of what happened to him in the past. In June 2016, Tom came forward as a survivor of sexual abuse at the hands of a priest. He alleged that Rev Charles DeGuire forced him to perform oral sex at the church and on a boat he used. The abuse went on for three years, starting in 1967, and Tom was only 10-years-old when it began. He added that a different priest knew about it, and another priest participated in it as well.

Regarding why Tom came forward, he said, “I want to do this for children and anyone who has dealt with this so that they know someone is in their corner.” Tom’s alleged abuser died in 1982. Tom couldn’t share his story in the documentary because his case was still in court, but he said that he was privileged to help others in the group heal by acting out their stories. Tom seems to be doing much better now. He works for the City of Kansas City and lives there with his wife, Tina.

Where is Mike Foreman Now?

Mike Foreman had accused Finnian Meiss of abusing him. At the time, many others alleged abuse at his hands. He was only 11-years-old when it happened, and Mike said that he dealt with years of self-hatred and anger before things made sense to him. According to Mike, it happened the first time at Finnian’s house, and after he told his mother, she was blind to it. He stated that she baked a cake for Finnian and dropped him back at the priest’s house.

He also remembered what happened after the attack, “Finnian Miess laid on the floor in a fetal position and had me beat him with this pillow. Well, I found out later that several of his victims reported the same thing.” In December 2013, he received a letter from Archbishop Joseph Naumann that questioned his credibility. This remained a source of anger for Mike.

In the documentary, he let his rage out by recreating when the independent review board shut his case down. This time around, in a cathartic moment, he let out how he really felt. Mike mentioned in the film that he has lived alone and stains decks. He also has a website that goes into his tragic story in detail.

Where is Dan Laurine Now?

In the documentary, Dan Laurine talked about being abused when he was in fifth grade at a lake house, much like Joe. His brother, Tim, went through a similarly harrowing experience as well. Later on, when they were both adults, they met with the Diocese’s independent review board, a meeting set up by their mother. He said, “It was a whole table of people wanting us to tell these stories that we hadn’t told each other. We hadn’t told anybody. And we’re both turning back into little boys — scared and trying to explain what happened to us.”

Daniel, who works as a location manager for films and other productions, said that his initial involvement was only to help the team scout for shooting locations, but he eventually decided to participate. After learning the kind of effect the documentary had, he said, “All of our anxieties, hopes, and desires, now are being turned into this idea that we could actually facilitate change and help people? That is something great to wake up to.” Today, Dan lives in Lees Summit, Missouri, with his partner, Dana.

Where is Ed Gavagan Now?

Through ‘Procession,’ Ed Gavagan revealed for the first time that he is an alleged abuse survivor. He grew up in Cheyenne, Wyoming, and claimed that he was abused by Bishop Joseph Hart. In the film, he recreates an incident of abuse that he said took place in the bedroom of a rectory. When Ed talked of the abuse in 2002, the authorities closed the case claiming lack of evidence. In July 2018, the case was reopened when another man came forward accusing Hart. There were many others after that. However, the investigation ended without any charges being brought forward. Earlier this year, Hart was exonerated by the Vatican.

Over time, Ed talked of coming to terms with what happened, adding, “For the first time, I’m able to think it wasn’t my fault. I was a victim. And I had no responsibility for what happened to me. The shame belongs on the shoulders of the bishop and the people who protected him.” Ed lives in New York City, New York, with his wife and daughter. In the past, he also suffered a brutal attack that was part of a gang initiation. Ed owns a successful design and building firm in New York City and had previously talked of the gang attack at various shows.

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