Voiceless Victim

A survivor of clergy child sexual abuse speaks out for those who can't speak for themselves

Letter from a child sexual abuse victim to the paedophile protecting Pope

I have been a victim of the Catholic child sexual abuse cover-up since the tender age of twelve. The cover-up is at least as damaging as the abuse itself. When coupled with six long years of repeated child sexual abuse, six terrifying years of  psychological torture, and a lifetime of intimidation, it ensured I had no hope whatsoever of recovery.

Until I realised how much my silence was helping my abuser and all his enablers and protectors to get away with their crimes.

I wrote a letter to the Pope last month.

I am not naive enough to think a tragic story of abuse will in any way move this heartless old megalomaniac with a penchant for gaudy dresses and an out of control God complex.

I just don’t want the Paedophile-in-Chief to have any excuse to pretend he is unaware of the circumstances of my case, the universal issues it illustrates, or the possible solutions he should be considering right now.

The clock is on, Ratzo.

I know you’ve arrogantly ignored all appeals, letters or communications from victims in the past. But are you willing to do it now with the eyes of the world media fixed firmly on your response to this issue?

Are you prepared to publicly reveal the true extent of your callous disregard for our suffering?

Go on. Ignore me. I dare you.

Here’s what I wrote.

Thursday 29 April, 2010

His Holiness Benedict XVI
Apostolic Palace
00120 Vatican City State, EUROPE

I was repeatedly sexually abused by a Passionist Brother for six years from the age of twelve.
I was not his only victim. He ran the youth groups at his parish and had unrestricted access to children, including evening functions and weekend retreats, often without parental supervision.

For more than a decade the Catholic Church in Australia has been aware of my abuser, and, I believe, aware that I was one of his victims. If they were not aware that I specifically had been abused, the information was easily available if they had been the slightest bit interested in helping victims. They most definitely were not.

I was too devastated by the abuse, by my abusers’ efforts to terrorise me, by my parents’ enabling my abuse, and by the neglect of my safety by the entire Catholic Community of which I was part, to speak up about my abuse, even when I knew my abuser’s crimes against other victims were being publicly admitted.

Unlike the criminal who attacked dozens of young girls, some as young as six years old, who was protected by the Catholic Church in general and the Passionist order in particular, I had no-one to help me.

The criminal offender was given every possible form of professional support, had an entire community of brother religious to sympathise with the challenges he was facing, and was treated as a victim, his every need looked after.

I had no counselling, no kind words, no supportive family, not even anyone to listen to my story and believe me. I had never known an adult I could trust, and was unable to trust anyone, unable to ask for the help I so desperately needed, unable to reveal my pain. No wonder I didn’t, couldn’t, face my unbearable childhood memories at that time, but continued with my painful, traumatised silence on the subject.

I had already suffered many years of extremely damaging denial of my experience from everyone I knew. I had been selected by this cunning predator precisely because my parents’ emotional abuse from birth had left me unable to stand up for myself. These cowards primarily prey upon the vulnerable and the easily intimidated. If a child is able to tell an abuser to “get your hands off me, you creep”, they are unlikely to be abused more than once.

It was only when you visited Sydney for World Youth Day 2008 that I found the strength to finally accept what had happened to me, and experience the pain I had buried all those years, along with the unbearable memories I tried to suppress.

Your apology, which excluded most victims, tried to convince the world media that you felt sympathy for our suffering. But it also had a clear unspoken meaning for victims: that these empty words were all we could ever expect from you.

The inadequacy of your response made it clear that you, like every other Catholic I had ever known, viewed me as a threat to your organisation that needed to be dealt with ruthlessly, not a defenceless and damaged human being deserving of consideration and support. I realised you would like nothing better than for me and all the other victims to continue to suffer in silence, never heal, never find our strength or our voice, and die off as quickly as possible.

I thank you profoundly for your cynical PR exercise parading as an apology. It gave me the clarity to see that I was helping my abusers to re-victimise me, and I found the strength to finally, for the first time in my life, stand up for myself.

Since then there has been much pain, and many tears. Almost constant tears. But it’s so much better than being afraid of every human being, and being intimidated into terrified silence.

I did not approach the Catholic Church about my abuse. Only one option is offered to victims in Sydney and most of Australia – Towards Healing.

Cardinal Pell is very proud of his Towards Healing process. And rightly so. Few other cardinals preside so successfully over a system designed to minimise cost, avoid legal liability and squash criticism of the Church, while pretending that it is promoting justice and helping victims.

Of course it does nothing of the sort. It re-abuses victims, dismisses our suffering for the smallest cost possible, lies to us, makes arbitrary judgements on its own guilt, strips us of our legal rights, and demands we participate in the cover-up that is so immensely damaging to us.

Rather than submit willingly to that system, or even worse, to being treated as a money hungry troublemaker by a pompous paedophile enabling Church official, I was finally able, with the help of friends, to report my abuser to the police.

The police had never heard of him. The Catholic Church had made an admission of his guilt more than a decade ago, but they had not forwarded details about these crimes to the police. I’m sure there are many, many more abusers in Cardinal Pell’s secret files, securely protected from facing legal responsibility.

Unfortunately this cover up was not, and still is not, technically a crime, however morally wrong it may be. We have mandatory reporting laws in Australia relating to child sexual abuse, but Cardinal Pell and his predecessors are very adept at manipulating their influence over Catholic politicians to obtain exceptions from laws that apply to everybody else. That mandatory reporting does not apply to religious organisations in NSW is one of many issues requiring law reform.

The Catholic Church’s response to the police investigation was disgraceful, but not surprising. Least of all to the NSW Police, who witness this same response to every one of the many child sexual abuse crimes involving the Catholic Church they investigate.

Church officials refused to co-operate with police. The very first thing they did was call in the high priced attack dog lawyers. They only produced any documents at all when forced to do so by a search warrant. Other documents were found hidden in the Church roof during a police search of the premises.

The Church had moved the criminal interstate and changed his name. They did not warn his new community that he is a danger to children. It was only by chance that he was even found. As a result of this convenient move, he needed to be extradited back to NSW, where the offences occurred.

The Church refused to co-operate with the extradition. It was only when informed that the criminal would be arrested the next day and flown to Sydney in handcuffs, accompanied by a media scrum, that the Church organised for him to be flown to Sydney privately and present himself “voluntarily” at the police station for his arrest.

A key witness, a Church official, was sent overseas to ensure he was always unavailable to answer police questions. At every turn police and prosecutors were enthusiastically obstructed, delayed or prevented from doing their job.

The Church had good reason to do so. There was very strong evidence against my abuser. He was arrogant enough, and evil enough, to commit his crimes against me in front of witnesses. This increased both my suffering and his enjoyment of seeing me suffer. And finally, it seemed, was going to lead to him facing responsibility for his many crimes.

The Church’s lawyers applied to have their criminal predator client declared not fit to stand trial. After a delay of many months, he was finally independently assessed. He was confirmed to be mentally unfit.

As a result, the charges against my abuser were dropped just last week. And because of the particular way in which his Church instructed lawyers chose to take advantage of that technicality, none of his many other victims will be able to obtain a conviction against him. In fact, if he continues to abuse for the rest of his life, no matter what the evidence, he will never be held responsible.

So the Catholic Church’s claim to ensure criminals face responsibility for their actions is looking more than a little dubious in light of this deliberate and successful attempt to hand a “get out of jail free” card to a serial child sexual abuser for all his past and any future crimes.

It is not your fault that Australian law protects paedophiles at the expense of victims.

Just like you do.

But it is the Catholic Church’s fault for exploiting this loophole in this particular way.

If the Church’s application had been filed after committal, at the very least this criminal would undergo psychiatric testing, supervision and treatment to try to reduce the high likelihood he will re-offend. But the particular timing of the Church’s application ensured that the crown prosecutors, under severe budget pressure, dropped the charges rather than proceed to committal with a case they knew would definitely be dismissed because he is unfit.

The direct result of this action is that not only is he not required to be treated, supervised, or committed, he also avoids having his name on any offender register or prohibited employment register. So this dangerous serial child sexual abuser walks scot free with an unblemished reputation, with no way for parents to know he is a danger to their children, and legally able to be employed in positions with access to children. Plus certain knowledge he can commit as many crimes as he likes with no possibility of conviction.

And all we have to rely on for the safety of our children is the Catholic Church’s assurances they can be trusted to look after children. The very same assurances they gave while I was being abused, and while they were conspiring to cover-up my abuse.

Why do I write to you about this matter? Because as the head of the Catholic Church you have both a moral and a legal responsibility for the actions of those beneath you.

And because as you deliberate on your response to this issue, you need to consider the victims, something that has been sorely lacking in the Church’s response to date.

You need to consider the views of victims other than the tiny minority hand picked to meet you in secret. I am certain that only victims still brainwashed to put the Church’s interests above their own, pathetically grateful to be in the presence of such a “holy” man, and unlikely to complain of their own and others’ mistreatment by the Church were allowed anywhere near you by the local officials organising these meetings.

Most victims do not think meeting the head of the Catholic Church makes it all better. Personally, I would probably succumb to nausea if you or Cardinal Pell or any other senior Church figure were to come too close.

This is how I believe the Church should respond to my abuse:

I want an admission from my abuser about the crimes he committed against me.

I want a public admission from the Catholic Church that the crimes occurred and were covered up.

I want the criminal to receive proper psychiatric treatment.

I want him never to be anywhere, and I mean anywhere, near children for the rest of his life.

I want him to be publicly acknowledged as a child sexual abuser on an internet site parents of young children can check if they are concerned.

I want my counselling costs covered.

I want a fund set up to offer free counselling to his other victims, where they do not have to deal with anyone from the Catholic Church, and are treated with respect and understanding.

I want financial reparation in the form of funding for a charity to assist victims of child sexual abuse, and to lobby for law reform.

Surely after what we have suffered at the hands of these monsters you protect, and at the hands of the Church itself, every victim deserves that their voice be heard and real action be taken.

Not just empty promises of action. Not just more of the same, dressed up to look like something has changed. And not the sort of Church action that takes two or three centuries before any change is discernable.

If you want to speak on this subject and be believed, do it through action.

Don’t allow the pampered functionaries of the Vatican to throw this letter away or lose it in a pile of officialdom. Or ignore it as so many other appeals from victims have been ignored.

Because today the eyes of the world media are on how you deal with this issue. Not because of a conspiracy by athiests, or Jews, or the devil. But because the media are victims’ only hope for justice from the abusive Catholic Church.

Advertisements

8 responses to “Letter from a child sexual abuse victim to the paedophile protecting Pope

  1. Files Protectors May 17, 2010 at 6:38 am

    Unfortunately for the victims, much abuse starts long before that time. Files Protectors

  2. fma7 May 18, 2010 at 10:53 pm

    Horrific, I am sorry for what has been done to you by the Catholic Church and I hope you are not a practising Catholic any longer. I also hope that you can find some peace.
    Regards
    frank

    • voicelessvictim May 19, 2010 at 2:18 am

      Thank you for your concern. No, I am not a practicing Catholic. It would be very hard after what I have seen of the Catholic Church to believe they are anything other than a vicious, hypocritical, self serving abusive organisation only interested in control, power and obscene wealth.

      I don’t believe any of these abusive priests and Church officials even believe in God themselves. If they did, they would surely act very differently in this matter.

      Peace will be a lot harder to find knowing my abuser has entirely escaped justice, is free to abuse again without consequences, families will not be informed he is a danger to children, and I have been denied my day in court.

      Instead I intend to expose the Church’s crimes to put pressure on them to change, help other victims and lobby for law reform.

  3. Virtuagirl March 28, 2011 at 7:02 pm

    Really Gr8 ! Thanks For sharing..

  4. DurbReidebeme April 5, 2011 at 2:01 pm

    I just couldn’t resist and want to thank you for this magnificent post. I even wrote a blog post about it here http://awesomemovies.org/drama/let-the-right-one-in-2008/

    • voicelessvictim April 6, 2011 at 2:21 pm

      Thanks. I’ll be doing a follow up soon on the response by His Greediness.

      If you are into movies, as would seem to be the case based on your website, have a look at this short. It is based on my story. Though the abuser name has been changed to protect the guilty. And because the Catholic Church will sue me for telling the truth, but help child rapists to continue raping.

      Happy Anniversary – short film

  5. drapes curtains April 28, 2011 at 4:28 am

    Hi this subject is really interesting. Keep it going friend !

  6. Xiomara Fadei July 24, 2011 at 5:22 pm

    I think other website owners should take this site as an example , very clean and wonderful user pleasant design and style . “Only I can change my life. No one can do it for me.” by Carol Burnett.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: