MI- Letter to Dept. of Education re Thomas Hodgman
May 14, 2014
830 1st Street, NE room 72 J1
Washington, DC 20202
Dear Mr. Moore,
We are members of a self-help support group called SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priest). Our mission is to heal the wounded and protect the innocent. That’s why we’re asking for your help.
We are worried about the safety of those at or near Adrian College in Michigan. A music professor there, Dr. Thomas Hodgman, admitted molesting two girls and is accused of molesting at least one more.
His former employer, a Catholic high school, had to pay $1.6 million to a California woman who was repeatedly sexually violated by Hodgman when she was a youngster.
Hodgman is also the Artistic Director and Conductor at Lenawee Community Chorus and “works with other educators and students to offer a music class to community preschoolers,” according to an Adrian official.
From 1986-1990, Hodgman taught at Mater Dei High School in Orange County California, where he met the three girls. The names of two of them are confidential. http://www.ocweekly.com/2008-07-10/features/joelle-casteix-fights-for-catholic-church-sex-abuse-victims-while-pursuing-her-own-abuser/5/
But the third, Joelle Casteix, is now an award-winning advocate for abuse victims and SNAP's long time volunteer western regional director. http://www.kansas.com/2011/07/16/1935627/woman-continues-fight-against.html
In 2005, Casteix traveled from her California home to Adrian and met with then-President Stanley Caine. She expressed her fear that Hodgman might still be molesting children. But Caine took no action, telling Casteix that her motivation was "sour grapes."
In court documents, Casteix also says that Hodgman impregnated her and gave her a sexually transmitted disease.
Through her civil lawsuit against Hodgman and his former school, Casteix has obtained roughly 200 pages of personnel documents, which she has posted on her website: TheWorthyAdversary.com. They include:
-- A signed confession in which Hodgman admits molesting at least two teens,
-- A signed document from a school administrator who admits she knew about the abuse for at least a year,
-- A glowing recommendation from the school principal, despite his knowledge of Hodgman's crimes,
-- A letter from the principal to a school superintendent, detailing the abuse, but blaming the actions on Casteix's alleged "emotional problems.”
Several years ago, we wrote then-Adrian President Jeffrey Docking and Music Department Chair Peter Ford “It’s bad enough that Adrian officials won't take the simple, cheap, and morally prudent step of warning their students and staff about Hodgman. But it’s worse that you are compounding his victims’ pain and adding to a predator’s reputation."
As you know, there is a provision in the Clery Act that university officials must give a timely warning about crimes that represent a threat to campus safety. We believe having an admitted child molester on staff at Adrian College – with no warning to students or staff – represents such a threat. (Remember: Hodgman is a serial offender and has committed crimes that are very apt to be repeated.) We believe Adrian officials are violating the spirit and perhaps the letter of the Clery Act.
We ask that you investigate this troubling situation and demand Adrian College officials at least warn students and staff about the facts about and allegations against Professor Hodgman. At a bare minimum, college officials should put the safety of students and staff first, and follow both the letter and spirit of the provisions of the Clery Act.
We look forward to hearing from you.
David Clohessy (314-566-9790, SNAPclohessy@aol.com)
Barbara Dorris (314-503-0003, SNAPdorris@gmail.com)
Claudia Vercellotti (419-345-9291, SNAPtoledo@aol.com)
50 State AG Call for Grand Jury
Any investigation must be:
- independent of and separate from the church
- must have subpoena powers and ability to compel testimony under oath
Anything short of these criteria is a sham and whitewash.
In addition, write letters to the editor, make phone calls to politicians as they can apply pressure to keep them responsive to our demand. We need to make efforts to ensure that they follow up on what the state is doing to investigate these crimes.
The Attorneys General of forty states have inquired about the grand jury process in Pennsylvania. Let's get statewide investigations going in fifty states.
Note to Letter Writers
Use your own words and style of writing. Cut and paste from the templates as you wish. Include your experiences, whether as a survivor or as a member of the community. And relate your letter to the state you were abused in or state now living in.