Sheri Biasin Lost Files
It began on the afternoon of her first Communion, the day Sheri A. Biasin, a reedy child of 7 or 8, dressed in the shiny white dress her grandmother made.That was the day one of the most trusted people in Biasin’s life, the family’s priest, the Rev. Daniel L. Gill, followed her into a bathroom at her house in West Stockbridge, declared she was “the chosen one,” and put his tongue in her mouth.
Over the next four years, until she was able, at age 12, to fend him off, Biasin says, Gill groped and fondled her sexually at family picnics, sleepovers and beach outings in Pittsfield, West Stockbridge, Sandisfield and in the Franklin County town of Ashfield. Biasin says she grew up feeling different, alone, unlovable, dirty. She cried into her pillow and worried about the next weekend outing with the handsy priest so adored by her parents.
There are moments, now, when Biasin will say, in her rushed and husky voice, that years of Gill’s abuse were not the hardest part.
The worst, maybe, came well after she found the courage at age 42, with three children, two failed marriages and disabling jaw pain, to call a Springfield Diocese hotline and tell her story of clergy abuse, just as a volcano of such accounts erupted across Massachusetts, the country and the world.
“Father Dan” was dead — and Biasin had long since lost her trust in organized religion. By going to the diocese, she hoped to put down a marker in her life, a before-and-after moment, that might clip the long tail of abuse. The church logged April 29, 2002, as Biasin’s date of intake.
Two days later, a staffer at the Springfield headquarters noted “many” instances of sexual assault.