Archive for November 2, 2008

Letter to Kansas City Bishop Finn from Kay Goodnow

Sunday, November 2, 2008

This letter to Kansas City bishop from Kay Goodnow should be read in conjunction with Kay’s compelling personal sharing/essay How I Was Abused, previously posted on Voice from the Desert.

The letter was carried on the Virtual Church of the Blind Chihuahua website. Here is the introduction to the letter from that website:

In Kay Goodnow’s opinion, Bishop Finn “finked out” on the non-monetary commitments of the Settlement Agreement between the Diocese of Kansas City / St. Joseph and the victims of sexual abuse perpetrated by diocesan clergy. In this letter she expresses her anger.

Apparently, she had hoped that representatives of the Church would follow up the money settlement by dealing with the victims face-to-face, soul-to-soul, even though doing so would cost them the personal sacrifice of experiencing the victims’ pain and resentment.

Here she expresses her disillusionment over the Church behaving like a corporation, rather than like the earthly manifestation of the Kingdom of God. She is saying to the Church, “God calls you to be worth more than just your money.”

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More than Just Your Money’s Worth

My Letter to Bishop Finn

by Kay Goodnow

11 September 2008. Received in October 2008.

A company has no limbic structure predisposing it to recognize its own as intrinsically valuable. People who extend fidelity and fealty to a corporate entity – legally a person and biologically a phantom – have been duped into a perilously unilateral contract. — Lewis, Amini and Lannon, A General Theory of Love, p215, 2000

Dear Bishop Finn:

Please know that you have made my life much easier.

My education in understanding the church is complete.

  • I understand that victims are business deals.
  • I understand that bishops are corporate executives in an institutional church.
  • I understand that the institutional church is not a church.
  • I understand that the institutional church has no God other than money.
  • I understand that the institutional church has policies and procedures.
  • I understand that the policies and procedure are more important than people.
  • As a victim (business deal) I understand that the policy and procedures used against me as a business deal means that Bishop O’Hara, the corporate executive of the institutional church in the corporate archdiocese of Kansas City / St Joseph in 1954, was doing his job when he transferred a priest who made a “mistake.”

I understand that the priest who made a mistake [that is, seduced me when I was a child] made other mistakes.

I understand that the value of the life of a child is significantly unimportant as respects the monetary values of the corporate institution known as the church.

I understand that the most important interest of the corporate institution is to ban abortion because doing so might prevent other business deals.

I understand that social justice, women’s rights, discrimination and truth are political terms that are not relevant to the corporate institution.

I understand that those Catholics who are interested in moving the corporate institution to parallel the message brought by Christ are to be silenced and or fired by the corporation.

I understand that “Freedom of Religion” does not mean “Freedom FROM Religion”

I understand that politics are ploys utilized by the corporate institution to enhance benefits paid as “perks” to its stockholders.

I understand that the officers and shareholders have profited financially by removing a god that they have carefully crafted for centuries.

I understand that from pulpits all over the corporate institution known as the Diocese of Kansas City /St. Joseph we business deals were labeled liars in order to protect the value of the corporation.

I understand that your promise to defrock “mistakes” has been withdrawn due to the age and health of those “mistakes.”

I understand why you chose to ignore the business deals from the corporate institutional diocese of Cheyenne, Wyoming, as it would not be proper policy.

I understand that your corporate promise to apologize to KC business deals in person was a promise you had no intention of keeping.

I understand that you have now said that you will write a letter of apology, on behalf of the corporate institution, to any business deal who ASKS (begs) for an apology and explain corporate mistakes. I will apologize to my entire family for considering that proposal. I am an “old business deal.”

Thank you but no, I am not interested in duplicity at this time.

I will always remember you as one of the corporate officers who could have made a difference.

You chose NOT to make the difference so needed to salvage a bleeding church.

And so, with pleasure, I ban you from my world.

* * *

When you are about God’s business, you’re supposed to emphasize the God part.

$5 million verdict upheld against Belleville (IL) diocese in sex abuse case

Sunday, November 2, 2008

From the Belleville (IL) News Democrat, 11.1.2008.

This is a followup story to a previous Voice from the Desert post.

A comment by Sister Maureen Paul Turlish follows.

* * *

$5 million verdict upheld against diocese in sex abuse case


Judge denies motion for new trial




BELLEVILLE — A judge on Friday denied a motion by attorneys for the Catholic Diocese of Belleville to set aside a $5 million civil jury verdict against the church for damages suffered by a former altar boy or to order that a new trial be held.


St. Clair County Circuit Judge Lloyd Cueto issued his one-sentence order that legally clears the way for an appeal to the 5th District Appellate Court in Mount Vernon.


As for whether an appeal will be filed, St. Louis attorney David Wells, who represents the diocese, said, “that’s up to the diocese.”


Belleville Bishop Edward Braxton, who approved filing the motion for a new trial, will make the final decision on an appeal. He could not be reached.


On Aug. 27, after a trial that spanned eight days, a jury awarded James Wisniewski, 47, of Champaign, $5 million in damages and medical costs connected to his 2002 lawsuit that alleged that the Rev. Raymond Kownacki sexually abused him for five years beginning when he was about 13. Wisniewski served as an altar boy at St. Theresa’s Church in Salem.


Kownacki, 73, of Dupo, has stated he does not wish to comment. He was removed from active ministry in 1995 by a review board made up of civilians and priests on grounds that he sexually abused minors. He remains a priest and receives retirement pay but cannot wear a priestly collar or perform any church duties.


During trial, Belleville attorneys Mike Weilmuenster and Steve Wigginton presented diocesan documents obtained during the legal discovery process that showed that former Belleville Bishop James Keleher and other top church officials knew that Kownacki was a child rapist of both boys and girls.


The evidence, which went unrefuted, also showed that Keleher and eventually former vicar general Monsignor James Margason repeatedly reassigned Kownacki to unsuspecting parishes even though reports existed of his sexual abuse of children. Keleher has not responded to repeated requests for comment.


Wells attempted to prevent the trial from occurring by filing a special motion directly to the Illinois Supreme Court to stop or postpone the trial on grounds that the lawsuit was barred by statute of limitations and other legal time limits. The high court refused to review the matter.


Some of the same arguments concerning the time limit bars were contained in the motion for a new trial.


Wisnieski testified that he didn’t realize the extent of psychological damage from the sexual abuse until 2002, when similar cases of sexual molestation of minors in the Archdiocese of Boston became national news.

The damages include $2.4 million for compensatory damages including medical costs and $2.6 million in punitive damages.


Contact reporter George Pawlaczyk at gpawlaczyk@bnd.com or 239-2625.


* * *

SMPTURLISH wrote on 11/1/2008 5:27:50 PM:

Bishop Edward K. Braxton would have the people of the Belleville, Illinois diocese accept as fact that the paying a 5 million dollar jury award in the case of the Rev. Raymond Kownacki, a known sexual predator, “would diminish diocesan resources and significantly limit the church’s ability to continue to serve our people, our parishes, (and) our schools,” yet no financial statements have been produced to support the bishop’s claims. What is known, however, is that the diocese is said to be earning approximately 3.5 million dollars a year in interest from investments. If true, that fact alone would go a long way in weakening the bishop’s arguments. Like the words of too many bishops, Braxton’s words indicate that there is still a long way to go before the transparency and accountability promised in 2002 becomes a reality. Not one enabling bishop or church official in the United States has been held accountable for his part in the conspiracy, collusion and cover-up in which unknown numbers of children were put in harm’s way by the perverse actions of thousands of predator priests. Even in the light of Pope Benedict XVI’s words to do “all that is possible in addressing the scourge that is childhood sexual abuse,” the majority of bishops, together with their State Catholic Conferences, continue to fight tooth and nail against any changes in arbitrary statutes of limitation and particularly with respect to civil window legislation that would hold all predators accountable. In refusing to support the complete removal of statutes of limitation, the hierarchy puts all children at risk from predators of any stripe, persuasion or religious affiliation. Bishops like Edward Braxton, Charles Chaput of Denver, Edwin O’Brien of Baltimore, Donald Wuerl of Washington, D.C., Justin Rigali of Philadelphia and John McCormack of Manchester, New Hampshire, along with many, many others, continue to viciously oppose the removal of arbitrary statutes of limitation which give more protection to predators than they do to the very real victims of childhood sexual abuse. Some even refuse to make public the names and present locations of known predators. Even in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles Cardinal Roger Mahony has resisted producing predator priests’ files and records for many months, in direct defiance of a court order. Such positions from those who claim spiritual leadership roles in the Church are hard to reconcile with Jesus’ words from St. Luke 17:2: “It would be better to be thrown into the sea with a large millstone tied around his neck than to face the punishment in store for harming one of these little ones.” More unworthy still is Braxton’s appeal of the Illinois court’s decision on the grounds that the statute of limitation has passed since it comes from one whose first and foremost responsibility is to protect the Lord’s “little ones.” The institutional churchs loud protestations of commitment to victims of sexual abuse in the present offer neither absolution nor justice for the the sins and crimes of the past. Justice and charity are what Jesus taught. He never said it was contingent on the price tag. The people of all states and religious persuasions deserve better and our churches should be leading the way, not building barriers that thwart victims’ access to justice. In Delaware on July 10, 2007 the Child Victims Law was signed. It removed all criminal and civil statutes of limitation regarding the sexual abuse of children and included a two year window for previously time barred cases of abuse by anyone. W. Francis Malooly, the new bishop of Wilmington, Delaware said during his Installation Mass of September 8, 2008 that, “the innocence of too many…children was stolen by the very individuals whose duty it was to safeguard and protect it.” If bishops were to follow the words of Delaware’s Bishop Fran which are more reflective of the words of Pope Benedict, perhaps there would be some chance of restoring credibility to the church’s leadership because without that their words are only so much, “sounding brass and tinkling cymbals” (1 Corinthians 13:1-2).


Sister Maureen Paul Turlish Victims’ Advocate New Castle, Delaware.

Sister Maureen is a Delaware resident and educator who has testified before the Senate and House Judiciary Committees in support of the Child Victims Law, Delaware’s landmark legislation.

She can be reached at maureenpaulturlish@yahoo.com


How many chances does Cardinal George get?

Sunday, November 2, 2008

From the SNAP national blog, 10.29.2008.

* * *

How many chances does Cardinal George get?

For immediate release:
Wednesday, Oct. 29, 2008  

Statement by Barbara Blaine of Chicago, national president of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (312-399-4747)

How many chances does Cardinal George get? For years, he shunned victims, deceived parishioners, protected predators, and stonewalled prosecutors. But put that aside for a moment. Just consider his very recent track record on clergy sex crimes and cover ups.

In 2006, despite his being arrested and against the advice of George’s own lay review panel, George left Fr. Daniel McCormack in a parish. A sensible person has to ask

“HOW MANY MORE arrested predator priests are still in Chicago parishes right now?”

In 2006, despite at least four allegations of child sex abuse and against two recommendations from his own lay panel, George left Fr. Joseph R. Bennett in a parish. A sensible person has to ask

“HOW MANY MORE serially accused predator priests are in Chicago parishes right now?”

In 2008, George admitted using his political clout to try to free a convicted predator, Fr. Norbert Maday, from prison. A sensible person has to ask

“HOW MANY MORE proven predator priests is George trying to get out of prison right now?”

In 2008, despite his criminal conviction for child molestation, George keeps Fr. Kenneth Martin on the church payroll. A sensible person has to ask

“HOW MANY MORE admitted predator priests work in or for the archdiocese right now?

Each of these four troubling cases surfaced thanks to brave victims, determined lawyers and hard-working journalists. Does anyone really believe that these four disturbingly reckless cases are the only ones in the archdiocese now? That defies common sense.

So today, we call on Cardinal George to ‘come clean’ and answer these crucial questions, questions that address the core issue: how can he continue to put his flock at risk of horrific, preventable childhood trauma.

The excuses that “Fr. X is just in an administrative job” and “Fr. Y is elderly and can’t get around well” just don’t cut it. It takes just seconds for a predator to get his hands on a child.

We also call on George’s weak-kneed, hand-picked abuse panel to speak up or step down. He’s manipulating them, and they’re letting themselves be manipulated, and it’s wrong.

On one hand, we’re grateful that 2 years ago, they expressed their outrage to George for his deceptive maneuvers to essentially try to blame them for the fact that a dangerous predator stayed in a parish and molested boys long after he should have been removed.

But shame on the board for writing a private letter to George, when they should have shouted from the rooftops that Chicago’s highest ranking Catholic official was deceiving the public.

Since then, we’ve seen at least three other fiascoes – the Bennett case, the Maday case, and the Martin case. Yet the abuse panel stays silent.

Two years ago, George tried to make the review board look bad. Now, the board is making itself look bad.

They’re becoming as complicit as George is.

We call on them today to show some spine, honor their mandate, and either publicly protest George’s on-going misdeeds, or resign.

If they’ve believed that they can bring reform to this corrupt institution working “behind the scenes,” they’ve been duped. The evidence clearly shows there has NOT been any meaningful reforms regarding child safety or even basic honesty. The board members continue, by their silence, to provide political and public relations ‘cover’ for a recalcitrant, unrepentant, secretive and reckless church official.

In 2005, the board urged George to remove Bennett. He did not.

In 2005, the board urged George to remove McCormack. He did not.

In 2003, for the second time, the board urged George to defrock Maday. He did not (until 2008).

And again, these are just the George misdeeds that have been publicly exposed.

Today we call on George to ‘come clean’ and disclose how many other proven, admitted, and credibly accused predator priests are still working in or for the archdiocese, are trying to be sprung from prison by  the archdiocese and are being imported by the archdiocese.

And we call on George’s abuse panel to speak up or step aside.

(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the nation’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We’ve been around for 17 years and have more than 8,000 members across the country. Despite the word “priest” in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)

Contact David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, 314-645-5915 home), Barbara Blaine (312-399-4747), Barbara Dorris (314-862-7688)

Must Read: How I Was Abused

Sunday, November 2, 2008

I received this powerful personal sharing/essay from Kay Goodnow yesterday, 11.1.2008, by email. It was originally published on an interesting website called The Virtual Church of the Blind Chihuahua.

Before presenting Kay’s personal sharing/essay, I have included introductory background material written by Kay.

* * *



Kay Goodnow writes of her deposition:

In March of this year (2008) the Diocese of Kansas City / St. Joseph contacted the law firm that works with victim/survivors in this area. The diocesan lawyers wanted to work out a settlement between victims who had sued the diocese; some of those cases had been wending their way through the court for eight years. The diocese stalled, wrote briefs, etc. etc. ad nauseum. By March of 2008, our law firm had deposed several “higher ups” as well as all of the victims and their families.

I got a call in March, as I have stayed active with SNAP in an attempt to prevent further harm to children and as support for victims. The attorney said that she believed I could be a part of the settlement although my case was well beyond the Statute of Limitations.

So I filed, I did press conferences and the news spread across both Kansas and Missouri, into the Chicago area and eventually to Bishop Accountability in Boston.

Then, on August 17th or so, the lawyers (ours) released the tentative settlement agreement to be shared by 47 victims of 12 area priests. One of those area priests is a retired bishop in Cheyenne, Wyoming.

This was a mediation process and not a lawsuit. I believe it was encouraged by the judge who would have to hear the individual cases as they occurred. All parties agreed to the settlement amount and every one of us 47 victims stated that the non-monetary awards were more important than the money.

Because my case was so old, I figured I would be at the bottom of the heap.

All of this will explain the enclosure, which is what I planned to say when I was deposed. Actually, I did not read it, but my attorney highlighted it and led me through it, which was great. I got everything I wanted to say said, and everyone in the room cried, including the male moderator. Only piggy priest tried to look away, but I caught him and demanded that he listen. He did. He himself had been accused, but not publicly, of soliciting sex and he knew that I had seen both the written accusation and the bishop’s written response.

The reason I thought of you is that my lawyer suggested to the mediator that he Google me, and she gave him a copy of what I had written as well. Later, she told me that that evening, the mediator had called to tell her that he had spent quite a lot of time reading my stuff on the internet and he had found the Dogchurch…

The Bishop, whose name is Finn, finked out on the non monetary provisions. In so doing, he irritated me (mild understatement) so I wrote him a letter and mailed it this past Saturday.

* * *

How I was Abused

My deposition to the mediation hearing

by Kay Goodnow

Received in October 2008

But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea. — Matthew 18:6

I was invited here today to tell all of you how my seduction by John C. Baskett, a Roman Catholic priest has affected my life. My case dates back to 1953 when I was 14 years old and a student at Notre Dame de Sion, a private Catholic school for girls run by an order of European nuns.

As I understand it, this is a hearing that is comprised of victim Kay Goodnow, the mediator, attorneys for the victim, a priest as a representative of the institutional church.

It is my understanding that this hearing is a business deal initiated by the institutional church known as the Diocese of Kansas City / St. Joseph. As such, it follows that all human beings are fallible and in that respect, all human beings are equal.

It is also my understanding that this hearing will determine the amount of compensation that I will receive, based solely on the degree of sexual abuse. Oral and anal penetration, digital penetration, kissing, fondling, alcohol abuse by either or both parties, ritual abuse, how long the abuse took place, where and when it occurred and how often will all be considered factors as to how much financial compensation each victim will be awarded.

I am not here to describe my sexual experiences as I find doing so both degrading, demeaning and beyond contempt. I have to work within the limits of the law as it stands today, but experts believe there are no ‘degrees’ of sexual abuse because every human being is different. Our present laws reveal ignorance in respect to the damage done to all victims of sexual abuse. In time, Statutes of Limitation laws and the misrepresentation of “Freedom of Religion” will be clearly defined and implemented, with or without the consent of the institutional church and organized religion.

As requested, I completed a very long written form to confirm the extent of my abuse. That form was initiated by my attorneys when the form provided by the institutional church proved inadequate. I understand that my form has been made a part of what will occur here today.

The contents of the form include my educational, medical, sexual, social and economic background along with my employment history. Every word of it is true. That form will stand by itself.

The person you see here today was the victim of a crime. She is also a survivor. She is a wife of 45 years, a mother of three, a grandmother of eight, a sister, an aunt, and friend to many.

Yes, I am a survivor, but I was seduced, not violently raped and sodomized. I was treated to long walks in a park adjacent to where I lived, I was treated to movies and ice cream cones and long talks. I attended concerts, basketball games at other high schools with this priest, and sometimes I went to parties with him, or met him at parties. On one occasion, I was treated to eggnog, which I later learned was laced with rum. I was carefully groomed by this priest. I trusted him and eventually I loved him.

I had never even dated before this man walked into my life. I was 14 years old. He was 33. He told me that God had sent me to him as a gift because he was so alone. He told me that he did not enjoy the company of other priests. He told me that he would always love me. He told me that because he was a man of God, our love would forever have to be kept secret. He was a man of God, how could I not believe the things he told me?

Yes, I am a victim, and there are thousands of victims out there who will never have the opportunity to speak of abuse and the ruination of their lives. Yes, I am a victim but I am not a lemming, I am not a sheep, and I am not a parrot. I have feelings. The institutional church and American lawmakers are apparently unaware that human beings have feelings.

Many victims of the crime of sexual abuse have committed suicide and my heart aches for their parents, siblings and friends. The institutional church makes no comment. Those victims were seriously damaged first by being abused by someone they trusted, and then by their treatment by the institutional church. That callous treatment so demoralized them that they chose to leave this world. Weapons of choice were placed in their hands by sexually immature priest or nun predators and the institutional church that conspired to shelter and protect them. The institutional church lied when it said that “this problem has been resolved” or “Father so-and-so will never be allowed around children again.” Even victims who have had their day in court have committed suicide thanks to the mental abuse inflicted by the institutional church.

Some victims are too traumatized to speak for themselves. Some are under pressure from their families. And there are those who fear the loss of their eternal souls if they speak against the church or darken her image in any way.

I will speak for myself and for them.

Sexual abuse is an insidious cancer. It spreads out like ripples in water. It wreaks havoc, pain and fear not only on its victim, but also on the victim’s family members and friends.

Sexual abuse is a very extensive social problem, so broad in scope that people generally deny it, look the other way or cast their eyes downward. They avoid mentioning it, let alone discussing how to prevent it. They have the right to make moral choices for themselves but at the risk of the lives of their children and grandchildren.

In Bishop Finn’s Letter to Priests on Wednesday, August 20, 2008 (KC Star) he said:

“Over the past five years, our Diocese and a number of our clergy or former clergy have been sued by persons claiming to be victims of sexual abuse or misconduct.”

Yes, all of that is true. The institutional church traditionally uses the phrase “persons claiming to be victims” to cast doubt on the reality that sexual abuse occurs all the way around the world. To deny this undeniable reality is both offensive and disingenuous.

Finn simply failed to mention that over at least the past five years, every effort was made by the diocese to silence, repudiate, malign and re-victimize those who did sue. Many of us reported to the Vicar General and were dismissed as having no case of merit or were merely ignored.

Since my initial contact with SNAP in 1997, the leadership in this institutional diocese has seen multiple vigils held, while countless “good Catholics” screamed at us to “get over it.” We came forward in peace with the intent of protecting children and educating adults. From pulpits all over this diocese, the institutional diocese of Kansas City explained to parishioners that we are “liars.” Had it not been for the inept handling of clergy sexual abuses cases, I would not have had to stand in front of an institutional building with a sign and a candle. I might have been enjoying the life to which I was originally born. Victims do not ask to be abused. They are chosen by skillful predators.

On Wednesday, August 20, 2008, after the TENTATIVE settlement had been announced and before the list of 17 non-monetary demands had been released on August 22, 2008, Bishop Finn said:

“…the church will remain an inviolate sanctuary for healing, for spiritual renewal, and for love.” (KC Star, 08/20/08)

The key word here is REMAIN. The institutional church in this diocese has NEVER been an inviolate sanctuary. Priests, nuns and bishops have violated children and vulnerable adults. If this institution wants to be an inviolate sanctuary for healing, for spiritual renewal and for love it must first tell the truth. It must then keep telling the truth, even when it is inconvenient or costly or uncomfortable, even when it might tarnish the golden image of the roman collar or the pristine purity of a nun’s habit. The institutional church must hold itself accountable to God’s law and to the laws of this nation. Their attempt to bury the damage and recreate history is not truth. It’s so simple. All they have to do is tell the truth.

This institutional “church” is the antithesis of the message brought by Christ. It is a church divided against itself because of men who are fallible, and as leaders of the institutional church, abused their unquestioned power in order “to protect the church.” By “protect the church,” they mean both money and power. Money is power.

Fallible males have believed in the institutional church for so long that they have become the God that they have so carefully crafted for centuries. Religion by fear or by oppression, religion built on smoke and mirrors, religion that requires its’ membership to worship in the church of the almighty dollar, religion that requires total belief in all of its’ fallible dogmas, doctrines, rites, rituals and lies is not a church. It is a cult that abuses all of its members by brainwashing them from birth.

Yes, I am both proud and pleased to have been a part of crafting the original 24 non-monetary commitments. I am even pleased with most of the 17 in the final draft. Finn has chosen not to apologize to victims as individuals. To the best of my knowledge, neither he nor his predecessor has ever spoken with a victim.

Besides, we’ve only been asking for those same commitments for the past six years or so.

On April 15, 2008, Pope Benedict XVI said at a press conference in the United States: “We will do everything possible to ensure that this does not happen in the future. I think we have to act on three levels: the first is the level of justice and secondly the political level. …then there is the pastoral level.

On April 16, 2008, Pope Benedict XVI said to American Bishops: “It is your God given responsibility as pastors to bind up the wounds caused by every breach of trust, to foster healing, to promote reconciliation and to reach out with loving concern to those so seriously wronged.”

On April 16, 2008, Pope Benedict VXI said to American Bishops” “….This scourge is found not only within your dioceses but in every sector of society. It calls for a determined, collective response.”

During his recent visit to Australia, Pope Benedict XVI said:

“These misdeeds, which constitute so grave a betrayal of trust, deserve unequivocal condemnation. I ask all of you to support and assist your bishops, and to work together with them in combating this evil. Victims should receive compassion and care, and those responsible for these evils must be brought to justice.”

I ask all involved here today to honor the message brought by Christ along with the pope’s request. I charge all people everywhere to guard and protect their children and grandchildren. What has happened in the past, what is happening in our present, and what will happen in the future depends on our ability to speak our truth without fear of reprisal.

I believe that I have done everything that I can do to call attention to a situation that should never have existed. I will admit to having trusted the church. I admit to being very tired of the lies spoken in God’s name by the corporate, institutional church. For Catholics who continue to believe in the leaders of this travesty of church, you have been warned and the responsibility to make correct choices rests solely with you.

John C. Baskett seduced me because he could do so without fear. He knew that the institutional church would protect him. He knew he would not lose his job, his freedom, or his orders. In 1955, Bishop O’Hara, titular head of the institutional church in this diocese enabled a sexual predator to continue to abuse.

The diocese of Kansas City / St. Joseph owes me for a lifetime of shame, guilt, and fear. It owes me for alcoholism and attempted suicides. It owes me for sexual frigidity. It owes me for ADHD and PTSD. It owes me for obsessive-compulsive behavior disorders. It owes me for my enormous need for approval. It owes me for thousands of dollars spent on psychiatrists as an investment in my sanity. It owes me a personal apology for the demeaning manner in which I was treated by Vicar General Rush from the Boland regime. It owes me and every other victim a personal apology by the bishop, as requested in the original 24 non-monetary demands.

It owes me for 54 of the 72 years I have lived the lie of trying to appear ‘normal’ while knowing that something was very wrong with me.

The child known as Kay will always be Catholic. The child misses the mystical beauty of the music, the art, the stained glass windows, the Latin rituals and the French virgin-martyr tales of her early childhood. The child known as Kay was deliberately brainwashed.

I have lived long enough to know that the pain is so deep that it never goes away. Age, time and professional therapists along with the support of family and friends help. Certainly, survivor organizations have strengthened us on all levels and have helped us find our voices. Without them, I might never have understood that I am a victim and that I am not to blame for what happened to me.

My hands are shaking as I write this on August 22nd, and they will shake again when I am deposed on August 28th.

* * *

Courage is doing what is right even when you’re afraid to do it.





Letter to editor of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinal

Sunday, November 2, 2008

From an email received 11.2.2008 from Peter Isely.

* * *

The letters page of the newspaper is a great place to get our issue some visibility—as our good friend David Clohessy constantly reminds us–even when responding to a story not directly related to clergy sexual abuse. My only criticism of my own letter here is that I had forgotten to mention that state prosecutors supported the Child Victims Act—an obviously key point.   But, letters are read by millions of readers in hundreds of newspapers across the United States .  Also, when you are reading most newspapers on line, there is a comment section below the story.  And, the first comment is the one that usually gets read and then closest to the top.  Take time to compose a brief, intelligent, heartfelt response to stories you are accessing (you can get some help on this at the SNAP website).  And, make sure to put in our website, SNAPnetwork.org, in your comment.  That’s one important way survivors and others find us! …Peter




Your Opinions


Pay DAs enough to keep the good ones

Crocker Stephenson’s timely Oct. 28 article about our underpaid and underappreciated state prosecutors, who are daily keeping the crime levees from breaking in our communities, is a sober warning: We are only going to get the justice we are willing to pay for (“Assistant DAs leave by dozens”).

As an advocate for clergy sexual abuse victims for some 15 years, I have had the privilege of working closely with many of these public servants. Like any profession, it has some members one can only wish would find employment elsewhere.

But, in recent years especially, Wisconsin prosecutors have distinguished themselves with the highest conviction record in the United States of clergy child molesters. They quietly and heroically have taken on a well-funded and well-connected cadre of criminals and have managed, at least for the moment, to reverse a sad legacy of springing, not prosecuting, these kinds of offenders.

Why is this so important? Statistics show that, at least with child sex predators, prosecution is absolutely necessary in order to dramatically drop repeat offenses. These men, and some women, don’t stop assaulting children on their own, and treatment without a criminal justice intervention mostly fails. That’s why, among other things, our children can’t afford to have our best and brightest attorneys looking elsewhere for work.

Peter Isely
Midwest director, Survivors
Network of those Abused by Priests