In AA's 12 Steps, Step 9 states: "Made direct amends to such people [after making a list of those people] except when to do so would injure them or others."
One of the reasons I have departed AA is that AA is made up of laypeople who are not experts at recovery managing the recovery of confused persons who are incredibly emotionally vulnerable. See this story on the CNN website. What part of "except when to do so would injure them or others" did this guy's sponsor not get? How can going to prison help the victim in this case? By her own admission, no apology could ever have amended the horror of the crime that was perpetrated against her. Who does this poor sap leave behind? Children? Spouse? Family? It is unconscionably stupid.
First, the victim states that old wounds were opened by this guy coming forward. This injured her.
Second, the anonymity of the 12-stepper was completely blown! This was alcoholics anonymous--not the catholic church!
Third, it has a negative effect on those who still suffer. Who in their right minds are going to join AA if it means they might have to eventually go to prison?
For all you 12 steppers out there: do not make an amend that injures the person you are making amends to--or others. Others includes YOU. Going to prison for two years is an injury.
Rigorous honesty is a fundamental principle of the program, BUT it only matters between people. The "system" has no soul. If making an amend puts you into conflict with the system, or exposes you to its soulless predation--you must keep your trap shut! If you must, send an anonymous letter. You can make the amend by donating to battered women's shelters, rape counseling lines, marching in take back the night. But you don't expose yourself to criminal charges for Christ's sake.
This guy's sponsor should be sued for malpractice.