MARY G. ~ But, in 1989, my perpetrator admitted while being tape recorded by the police, as I was confronting him on the phone. He described some of the molestations and rape he did to me. They did a brief investigation, couldn't find any other victims. They couldn't file criminal charges because the criminal statute of limitations had run out ... even though, the Bishops admitted ...while the crimes were going on, that I was being abused, they didn't report him to the police. And ...they never did. So, I filed a lawsuit in 1990 against the Orange Diocese. It was one of the first to come forward in the country. I didn't know about Snap. I didn't even know other victims existed, because the Orange Diocese told me, ‘You're the only one who was abused'. Not only by my perpetrator, John Monahan ...but that I was the only person abused in the Orange Diocese.
It wasn't until some of us survivors started to find each other, and hear the same stories, that we began to understand ...we'd had no idea of how big the criminality really was. When we heard how the Church was hiding this ...I listened to ten people tell the same stories, that I had ... I learned the church used the same tactics on them as they had on me.
So, anyway, long story short, in 2001 the Los Angeles Times ... after years of me speaking out publicly and leafleting parishes, warning the parents in the parishes ...the Church never removed him from ministry ...instead, they promoted him.
After he was exposed publicly to the largest parish in Orange County, then they sent him to most affluent parish in Vena Point. And, in 2001, a Los Angeles Times columnist, Steve Lopez, wrote three columns, and got John Monahan, the priest that abused me, to agree to a interview under the guise of using the name, ‘Father X' ... to protect his identity. Monahan admitted to abusing others. This was before hundreds of survivors came forward in California under the new law. And, it was obvious who the priest was. So, right after that, the Bishop, and now Bishop Pat Brown, was forced to remove him. And the whole gist of it, even by the columnist who wrote the third column after Monahan was removed from ministry there, was that the message to the perpetrator, to the Church, and to me, was, ‘We don't care if Priests sexually abuse children ...just don't talk about it. Make sure you don't get caught'. Because, that man has been an admitted child molester, publicly, since 1991. Yet, parishioners, and even city officials in Orange County, gave deference to him, and paid homage to him, and came to his aid.
It wasn't until after those three columns, that he was removed. And, another girl was triggered by the articles, and finally came forward, who he had raped and impregnated at the age of 16 years old, and paid for her abortion.
She had contacted me in the early 1990s ...but, at that time, there were no laws to get her into court, or to even expose the abuse, or even get any prosecution.
California had passed a new criminal law ...so, when she came forward, they arrested him a year after her report. The U.S. Supreme Court overturned the new statute of limitations law, which had briefly allowed prosecutors to go back and arrest anybody who had sexually abused a child ... meaning that, if the term law is a 7 year statute of limitations for prosecution, then that would be the amount of time the prosecutors could go back and the perpetrators couldn't hide behind the fact they were able to cover-up the crimes and silence their victims. The Supreme Court struck that new law down, saying it was ‘unconstitutional' ...that you could not go back and arrest a child molester if he had escaped and not been prosecuted, after the original statute of limitations elapses.
Another women who was raped and impregnated, and the perpetrator paid for her abortion, was the same perpetrator Priest that raped me. He raped her, after me, and impregnated her. Because she was able to come forward when the new law passed, he was arrested ...but then, he was released along with almost 800 child molesters statewide, who had been charged, prosecuted, and sentenced under that law that had been struck down ...so, he's now walking free.
In Arizona, a priest named John Fite-(sp?) is a prime suspect in the rape and murder of a women in the 1960s. At that time, priests weren't being prosecuted. He was indicted for sexually assaulting one woman, and he was convicted or pled ‘no contest' to assault. Three weeks after he committed that sexual assault on that woman ...he allegedly assaulted another woman three weeks later and raped her, and killed her, and threw her body in the river. That's been an ongoing issue.
So, we went there, because we found out where he was living, found out he was attending a Catholic parish, he was counseling vulnerable people at the Church, including handicapped people, and people with other types of disabilities ...and, he's helping to run the St. Vincent de Paul Society in Arizona. So, we went to his neighbors, we handed out leaflets warning them that they had a predator here, who was also a suspect in another rape and murder ...we went to the Church, we notified the parishioners there. What we do, is call the media, because that's the only way we can get the word out to the larger population ...because, Church officials will not disclose it, won't post new information and make it public, or, warn parishioners. We end up basically doing what the Church hierarchy should be doing. The sad thing is, the public, the people in the neighborhood, the people at public schools, are so grateful for the information. But, when you go to the Church, and you try to outline in a leaflet what's going on, they turn deaf ears.
There's a term, called ‘vicarious trauma'. We had a workshop on that, to help our Snap leaders, so that we would not fall apart ...because, it's hard to listen to survivor's stories.
The perpetrator who abused me, John Monahan, after he raped me for a number of years, he raped another girl ... our abuse overlapped. That was Lorry, he raped her, impregnated her, and paid for her abortion. That's similar to Joelle's experience, she was raped, impregnated by this teacher, and had an abortion. Lorry and I were abused and raped by the same priest, Joelle by a choir teacher.
I got a call two days ago, from a friend of a victim who was raped when she 14. She had a baby. The criminal statue of limitations had expired. We're trying to get her help in that 'civil window'.
Years ago, I got a call a man who said he was calling for his friend, who I never met, which was a girl who claimed to also have been raped by the priest that abused me, John Monahan. The reason I say this, is because, what she told me, was that she was so terrified to come forward because not only did John Monahan molest her, three-to-four other priests did as well, they kept going in and out ... she was only 8-to-10 years old at the time of the abuse. These, of course, are allegations ...but, I believe her. I'm convinced that this poor kid has been suffering, and has been threatened, and she hasn't been able to come forward.
She'd tried to come forward, but apparently, Church officials started attacking her, threatening to sue her if she spoke about it ...but, I guess word got through in the parishes, that she'd begun to talk. This is hearsay ...but, it fits the pattern. So, I wouldn't be surprised, at all, and I believe it's likely to be true.
Knowing what I know about Monahan, and when you have or four priests going in and out, there's not doubt in my mind with these other three-to-four priests, that it was rape. But, it has to be called, alleged ... until it's proven in a court.
I was on Montel's program, I think in 1992.
Just as hard as it is for you to listen to the stories, it's hard to talk about them, too. So, I'm just identifying. I'm sure that all of us at Snap know and can answer, ‘How has this impacted this life?' You'll hear different experiences about what's so horrific about it, too. The core is pretty much the same, I think ...the terror ... but it's manifested in various ways. For some, it's a survivor that just totally represses it and has no memory of the abuse ...so they don't feel any of the terror, it doesn't come up for them, they numb out, until well into the adult years when it starts to surface. Or, the feelings are affecting their present life, but they haven't made the connection that those feelings are about being sexual abused as a child, and it doesn't have anything necessarily to do with what's happening right now ... it's unresolved trauma.
So, some people may say, like myself ...in some ways, I didn't feel anything ...I checked out ...I repressed all the memories of the abuse until I was in my 20s. Then others, they'll remember the abuse, but they will not connect the feelings till they're older. You'll probably hear many different experiences. But, once it starts coming up as an adult ...not that the trauma and terror wasn't always there, it just ... God, when it comes up as an adult, it's amazing how it affects every area of your life.
You've got survivors, and they're running for years, you don't even know from what ...for years, and they don't know, why? All kinds of other stuff, the coping mechanisms are incredible so that the child doesn't have to feel, or they can't function if they felt the terror ... if they're going from being sexually abused to trying to go do their normal activities. Especially when we were, so many of believed, or were told that we would be in trouble if we ever accused a priest ...so there's that added fear of authority, and fear of reporting, because the very people who we should be reporting to, the police, were used as a tool to keep us silent, as well.
As kids, we didn't understand that what we were being told, was a lie. We didn't understand what was happening to us was a crime. The priest didn't say, ‘Well, I'm going to commit a crime against you right now'. So, they defined what the experience was in each child's mind.
The priest that abused me, he'd tell me, "This is something God wants to have happen." When I objected, he would use his authority to overrule me. Then, when he thought I would tell, he literally ...I'll never forget, he told me a couple of things while he was raping me ...was No. 1, "You'll never remember this" ...and another thing he told me was, as he started laughing, he said, "If you tell anybody about this, no one will believe you. And, you will be incarcerated in a mental institution because no one will believe that a priest did this. So, the obvious conclusion will be, ‘something is wrong with you', and you will be imprisoned.
And, as a kid, I believed it.
That prevented me, too, from reaching out for therapy ...because it was a horrible secret. And, I kept feeling like I was going to get into trouble. I still feel it, today. It still takes a lot of courage, for the many years since I've spoken out, each time I go out there, it's like those old threats are still there. And, I have to keep facing them ...and that's how it's partly affected me ... I feel like I'm never going to get over that. I tell myself, even though I'm scared, I'll just go do it.
It just goes on and on, and you don't know why. That's why some survivors have 20-to-50 jobs over a lifetime ...can't keep a relationship ...are incredibly mobile, constantly moving from one place to the next ...and driven by the affects of the abuse. It seems that survivors have been so overwhelmed with dealing with the affects of the abuse, trying to manage that, that they can never get to what caused it, in order to resolve the affects ... because the affects are so bad, some people are like they're in prison.
For example, the L.A. Times in 2004 printed a database of 146 priests in local dioceses that had been accused, an addendum was released that edited out some graphic details.