MI--Victims blast Adrian College over new case
For immediate release: Thursday, July 23
Statement by David Clohessy of St. Louis, Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 566 9790, firstname.lastname@example.org)
We’re glad that a sexual harassment case against an Adrian College professor is moving ahead but deeply disturbed that school administrators are again embroiled in a scandal involving a staff member. For years, we have prodded Adrian officials about an admitted predator who is still teaching at the college.
Vic Libiri is accused of sexually harassing a student. Adrian music professor Thomas Hodgman, however, is accused of assaulting a girls and admitted molesting two girls. He is accused of molesting at least one more.
Yet he’s still on the college payroll and his college supervisors and colleagues are doing nothing to safeguard the vulnerable on campus – students, staff, volunteers, alums, and prospective students.
Hodgman’s former employer had to pay $1.6 million to a California woman who was repeatedly sexually violated by Hodgman when she was a youngster.
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 our group'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."
But back to the most recent Adrian College scandal. Our hearts ache for the brave woman who was exploited as a young student by Libiri. We commend her for having the courage and compassion to report his abusive conduct. We hope others who may have seen, suspected or suffered Libiri’s hurtful actions – or cover ups by Adrian officials – to come forward, call police, expose wrongdoers, protect others, and start to heal. We especially urge them to call law enforcement, not college staff, and seek help from independent sources like our support group.
Our hearts also ache for Joelle Casteix. And for others in California who were abused as innocent kids by Hodgman. And for Methodist donors and Adrian alums who are unknowingly supporting – because college staff are concealing Hodgman’s past – a college administration that puts its students at risk of sexual violence.
And our hearts ache for students, staff, parents and alums of Adrian College who live, work or study with or near both Hodgman and Libiri.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. SNAP was founded in 1988 and has more than 20,000 members. 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, email@example.com), Barbara Dorris (314-503-0003 cell, bdorris@SNAPnetwork.org), Joelle Casteix of Newport Beach CA, western regional director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (949 322 7434,firstname.lastname@example.org)
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.