A Prominent Sex-Abuse Survivor Hopes #MeToo Finally Gets Her Rapist Fired

By Gustavo Arellano, December 18, 2017, Jezebel

For the past 16 years, Dr. Thomas Hodgman has taught at Adrian College’s Music Department, where he currently serves as the choir director. He enjoys a tenured position at the school even though, in 2005, the Catholic Diocese of Orange County, California paid a $1.6 million settlement to Joelle Casteix, after she filed a civil lawsuit alleging that Hodgman repeatedly sexually assaulted her and gave her an STD in the late 1980s.

Back then, Casteix was his student at Santa Ana’s Mater Dei High School. She was 15 years old. He was 25. Documents released as part of the settlement show a 1989 letter signed by him and Mater Dei’s principal that stated Hodgman “not only admitted to dating” an underage Casteix and another student, “but having sexual intercourse with them.”

Hodgman still teaches at the private, Methodist-affiliated Michigan college even though for the past 12 years, Casteix has repeatedly asked Adrian College to fire him, going so far as to post his Mater Dei confession online and meet with school officials (an Adrian College spokesperson told the Toledo Blade in 2005 that Hodgman had suffered “personal harassment” by Casteix, and that “we’ve supported Tom Hodgman since we hired him.”).

But in the tipping point of #MeToo, when powerful men are seeing consequences for decades-old abuses, Casteix hopes her rapist will be held accountable. 

In November 2017, she published an open letter addressed to Adrian College President Jeffrey Docking, and cc’ed the school’s Title IX coordinator and the former president of the school’s Association of Professors. Casteix once again called for Hodgman’s dismissal, but added that she would be no longer play their victim. “The blame is not mine to bear. It is his and it is yours—for condoning the molestation of children,” she wrote. “With the recent scandals involving Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, and other powerful men in media and Hollywood, the dam is breaking.”

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