If you've been a conscious human being for the last decade or so, you're aware that the Catholic Church has a serious problem with child abuse in the priesthood. And it may be bigger than we think. An estimated 68 percent of sexual assaults go unreported, and there's no reason to believe those percentages don't apply to nervous men in black frocks. Our source for this article, "Tom," was molested as a child back in the '80s, and he never reported it to anyone outside of the Church. For 30 years, he's kept quiet. And then he spoke to us. We're not sure why. Perhaps he was looking for the For Realsies Journalism office across the hall. It's a common mistake.
6Predators Go After The Most Vulnerable Kids
Catholic school in the late '70s and early '80s was "a war zone" for Tom. He told us that "most of the school was populated by large families," which meant kids were often judged on the reputations their older siblings left behind. "For me, that meant I had to live up to the reputation of two dimwitted, truant, and trouble-making brothers," which "made me a prime target for ridicule and contempt."
Apparently, this was one of those religious schools that doesn't cover "forgiveness" until the later grades.
Now, Tom didn't tell us all this to make us feel sorry for him. The fact that he was unpopular and lonely is precisely why he was targeted. As Tom said, "Predators look for the weakest link. There is a reason jackals prey on the sick and wounded; they make great targets."
Tom's jackal was a "Kevin Spacey lookalike [named] Marion Francis Helowicz. I have to use all three names, the way we say 'John Wayne Gacy.' He was a young priest, he was cool, and everyone, especially the boys, would do anything to be his best bud."
Tom does not think he was the first kid his abuser molested, and believes "... he had done it before, [and] they had moved him from one church to another."
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The ol' "Rotate your tires to fix a flat" approach.
We've been unable to find any independent verification of this claim. But the Catholic Church has been caught moving abusive priests to other parishes. This investigation, published last September, found five cases of priests being shuffled off to poorer parishes in Latin America, like the world's worst case of musical chairs. We also spoke with Thomas Doyle, a Catholic priest who wrote the Church's "manual" for dealing with abusive priests back in the 1980s. He told us that, at the time, "secret transfers" were the "traditional way" of dealing with abusive priests.
Wow. Somewhere around the time you start needing a secret manual to help you hide all of your pedophiles, you'd think it might occur to you that you have too many pedophiles, and should perhaps address that problem.
5Confession Is The Perfect Tool For Child Molesters In The Church
Confession is about the most Catholic thing you can do, outside of making lasagna for the Pope. Talking about your fears and problems can be a wonderful way to get past them; that's the whole premise behind psychotherapy. But as Tom is about to explain, the confession box also serves as a snare for molesters to trap children:
"The other priests were pushovers. 'Bless me father, I have sinned, I said a bad word two times, and didn't floss.' 'OK son, two Hail Mary's and go with God.' But not Father Marion Francis Helowicz. He asked questions. Questions a 12-year-old kid had never heard from anyone, much less an adult."
The questions ranged from the expected "Do you have impure thoughts?" to the awkward "Do you think of naked girls?" to the windowless van of queries: "Do you touch yourself?" Tom was on the cusp of puberty, awkward and lonely. He described himself to us as a "loser boy, needing a confidante." He answered the priest's questions. Being a pubescent boy, his respective answers were basically: "There are other thoughts?" "Only if 'all of them' count," and "Fanatically."
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Everybody get a good laugh at that? Good, because that was the "Last smile before the horror" joke.
Rather than the usual several Hail Mary's in penance, Father Marion asked Tom to head into his office so they could "discuss this."
You think this is foreshadowing, building up to something. You're wrong. It gets bad, starting now. Please consider yourself warned.
This started "a year and a half of abuse by Father Francis Marion Helowicz. After he raped me the first time, he wiped his bloody dick on me, telling me it was 'the blood of Christ.' It only got worse from there. He physically stopped when I graduated eighth grade, but like that cold sore that starts to tingle when you spend too much time in the sun, he's always there."