Barbara B. (excerpts)
BARBARA ~ In Delaware, the Governor signed a bill last month creating a ‘window' in Delaware. It's got to be done in each State, cause it's State law. There are some creative indirect routes that can be done, but the right way to do it is through each State. The biggest opposition is the Catholic Church. The Church should be standing up, supporting the rights of kids and trying to protect kids. And instead, they're fighting for the rights of child molesters, and worrying about the rights about child molesters, instead of the rights of the kids. The Church fights us on these bills. They have fought us really hard and strong in a couple states, specifically, Ohio and Colorado. If you're going to talk to Montel, we'd like to work that window.
The common experience I know of is where someone in the position of authority learns that someone, such as Father so-&-so, is abusing kids. What happens, is that the superior, whether it's the Bishop, or a Provincial, or a Victor, or whatever ...the superior basically fails to report it to police. And, then they insist that the predator get some treatment, but not always ...then, transfers the predator to another place without warning anyone about the perpetrator, where the perpetrator can abuse again.
[AA] Sometimes people trivialize molestation as ‘touching', but what I've learned in many cases is it can be very violent, and brutal. Have you run across situations that were violent and brutal?
[B] Yes. For example, there's a victim in Illinois ...who the priest for a 3-year period, when the boy was pre-teen and becoming a teenager, the priest would have the boy live through the Passion ... and do the scourging at the pillar, and had concocted some kind of a crown of thorns for the boy to wear, had the boy naked, and had the boy carry a cross around, a huge crucifix, as big as the boy. The same priest did it to more than one boy.
... the murder trial of Father Jerry Robinson. He was the priest who was convicted of murdering a nun. Some of the information came out in that trial ...like, ritualistic abuse ... the priest actually murdered the nun in a ritualistic manner. He was a priest who was also molesting kids. The reason it came out, was because even though the murder had been unsolved and was a cold case from 1980, he was using ritual in molesting kids, as well. A girl, who was being abused in 1980 came forward in 2003 and reported ritual behavior by Father Robinson. What happened, is when a detective saw the description he was amazed, because the victim, who was describing her sexual abuse, actually described the ritual police found at the murder scene. That's what led them to open up the whole murder investigation. A book just came out about this, the author's name is David Yonkee. He's author of the book, he's the religion writer for the Toledo Blade. And he covered the trial last year.
Yes, some of it is not just Catholic ritual abuse, it is cult ritual abuse. For example, where this nun was murdered ...it happened in the Sacristy in the front of the Blessed Sacrament. They had turned her feet facing the Blessed Sacrament, and she was stabbed in the form of an upside-down cross on her chest.
[AA] A lot of times, some Catholic friends I have, they tend to, if they're not in denial, their next place they go after denial is say predator priests are a homosexual problem. To me, it's more of a pathological and sadistic issue ...to me, it's not particularly a homosexual problem.
[B] I concur with that, obviously ...I'm a female, and had a male predator, the priest who abused me was a man and I was a girl. So, it's not all homosexual. In fact, there's an argument to be made that we don't know, that if, in fact, there were more boys abused than girls ... we'd argue that conclusion could be due to the fact priests had more access to boys, than to girls.
The Conference of Bishops issued figures they came up with. But, we believe these figures are very suspect. They call it, a ‘study' ... we call it, a ‘self-survey' ...because there was nothing objective about how the information was obtained. It's easy to find, it's published. It was done by the John Jay college, and is published on the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops website.
Have you ever learned of sexual abuse of children by nuns?
[B] It's far more common than anyone can imagine. We have a whole section of survivors that are a part of Snap, who were abused by nuns. Both boys and girls are sexually victimized by nuns. Unfortunately, by-in-large, the response the victims receive from the religious congregations of women is not any better that what we're receiving from the Bishops and the religious congregations of men.
[AA] But do you have any evidence that sexual abuse by priests and/or by nuns is currently going on?
[B] Yes. I know of a handful of recent molestations. For example, a priest named Donald McGuire, was accused of abusing a kid in 1969. The victim reported it to the Jesuits and the Archdiocese of Chicago in 1969. In 1999, a 13-year-old boy moved into the Jesuit residence with Father McGuire, and lived with him until 2003.
In 2003, what happened, is two of the boys that were abused in the late 1960s and early 1970s came forward and filed a lawsuit. When they did so, they made public they'd reported McGuire back in 1969. What happened, was that boy in 2003 when the allegations were made public, the boy moved back to live with his mother ...but, at that point in time, the boy didn't tell anyone. And, by then, he was 16 years old. Today, that boy is 21 years old, and he filed a lawsuit against the Jesuits just last week. My understanding is that he had reported that to the police, and there's an ongoing investigation. The Jesuits were notified of the accusations in January of 2007 ... but they didn't report that to the police. McGuire had been found guilty of abusing the two boys in the 1970s. It's kind of complicated ...but, if you google -- Donald McGuire Chicago sexual abuse -- you'll find the articles from last week. But, the thing is, is that the prosecutor's office is claiming no one informed them about allegations against McGuire till last week -- the Jesuits are claiming, ‘We told the prosecutors office in Chicago back in January or February' ...but, they admit, they didn't bother to inform the authorities in Wisconsin, even though he's on probation in Wisconsin, pending his appeal. He was accused most recently, last week. When he did the molestation, was 2003. Also, you can goggle -- Daniel McCormick -- he was arrested in 2006 and was abusing boys until he was arrested in 2006, until he was arrested in Chicago. Now, what's come out since then, is that other victims have been reporting him when some allegations came, as early as 2000.
First of all, in the State of California, that's where the ‘Window' was first passed, in 2000. It became effective Jan. 1, 2003. It's taken this long to weave it's way through the courts, but that's why there was a large settlement in Los Angeles last month, of 650 million dollars, agreed to be paid to about 500 victims.
On top of that, documents will be exposed.
What is a ‘window'?
A window, is a period of time wherein the State will set aside the Statue of Limitations, and allow victims who couldn't come forward sooner, to have their chance to have their day in court.
The reason that we're asking this, is because victims can't report when they're kids, it takes us well into adulthood before we can report. So, regarding the Statue of Limitations, people like me, I couldn't file back then, and I couldn't file within the time of my Statute, but I can file today. So what we're asking, is that the courthouse doors be opened for the victims who can file and want to file and want a forum to expose their perpetrator. We believe, for example, it's sad I didn't get my day in court, and my perpetrator gets away with it. But, what's devastating, is he's still out there ... and can be abusing more children. In my particular case, and I think my case is so common in this way ... is that others were abused after I had reported him ... and that I'd reported him was never made public, because the court doors were closed to me.
So, the ‘Window' will allow others to come forward, and report their abuse.
In California, the window was for one year. In Delaware, the Governor just signed a bill last month (July 10, 2007), they created a 2-year window in Delaware. So, in Delaware now, all the victims have two years to come forward. What this is doing, is just acknowledging what the mental health professionals have made clear to us ... ‘we didn't know then, what we know now' ...and, the laws that apply to us, are the laws that were in place at the time of our abuse. So, what we're asking for, and what the window creates, is an opportunity to come forward, even though we otherwise would have been prohibited from doing so.
In California, the window allows for the filing of civil suits, not criminal suits. The reason it was so successful in California, is because what it did, was expose predators who were still in positions in power, and no one knew who they were. In the whole State of California, over 300 predators were identified for the first time. Now, what happens is that employers and neighbors are put on notice that they have a sex offender working there, or living nearby.
We've got generations of kids, who are now adults, in their 30's, 40's and 50's, and even 60's and 70's, who are capable of exposing their perpetrators ... and we want the chance to.
We're not asking to lighten the burden of proof.
We're not asking to set aside any rules of evidence.
We understand the burden is completely on us.
But, we believe that we'd like the chance. All we're asking for, is more time, and to have the courts, and our civil laws, to recognize that the psychological damage done to children prohibits us from being able to come forward until we're well into adulthood. So, we've got generations of kids who are now adults, like me ...who are capable, and ready, and want to expose our predators, and want our day in court ... and all we're asking for, is that opportunity.
In Delaware, where the Bill did pass, what happened is one family made this happen. A victim that'd been abused told his mom and dad, his parents agreed to help him, they went to a lawmaker ... and [Editor's note: note following sentence] I could put you in touch with this family if you wanted to talk to them ...they talked to lawmakers, they found someone to sponsor their Bill. The support is bi-partisan, both Democrats and Republicans ...everybody wants to protect kids.