MO - Statements regarding Fr. Hederman
Below are three statements relating to Fr. Kevin Hederman, including a statement from a relative of a Hederman victim, a statement from a victim himself, and a statement from the friend of the victim.
Statement by relative of a Fr. Hederman victim (the one who sued in the 1990s)
In the early 90’s a family member of mine was sexually abused by Fr. Kevin Hederman. He was just a teenage boy at the time. That is where his life ended. His life wasn't just ruined; it was stolen by a thief of the worst kind; a man masquerading as an adult that could be trusted, a priest. It was done in such a vile manner with unspeakable acts that leaves one, not just broken, but shattered. Not only was this relative of mine raped physically but raped of the mind as well. This was done on purpose. It wasn't just enough to touch him against his will but Fr. Kevin whispered words in his ear intended to confuse, manipulate and to instill fear of massive proportions. He left no part of this teenage boy untouched. In his own words to police Fr. Kevin Hederman stated that he wanted to view my relative, a teen boy at the time, as his wife.
The abuse happened on one very long night, where a second of time must have felt like an hour of torture. My relative must have felt like he was trapped in that room for years. In a way, he still is. He may physically have escaped the hands of Fr. Kevin but mentally his mind spins in that same room in a tornado of pain, bouncing against the walls, searching for a way to unlock the door to his own personal hell, to finally be able to escape and be free. It has been about 20 years. Two decades ago. Time does not heal all wounds. It pains me in unimaginable ways to say this but that night simply ruined my relative.
And if my relative is locked in that room, my family is on the outside trying to kick down the door to rescue him. We can hear the inner destruction happening. We can hear the silent screams. And the not so silent screams. While there is no question who the victim is here, there is also no question as to the fact that other people, and their lives, have been greatly harmed with this abuse. Our lives have forever changed. The abuse may have only happened to this one relative but the aftermath is nothing but a line of dominoes of family and friends lined up to experience the anguish and pain as each person is touched and falls. It is just as painful to watch my other loved ones struggle with all of this. To know how they hurt and how much hurt they have for the victim but can do nothing to protect him. This type of abuse shatters everyone it touches.
It is as if Fr. Kevin has a chisel and each day for these last 20 years has chipped away at my relative. Little by little, piece by piece falls to the ground. The original sculpture becoming more and more unrecognizable despite the efforts of everyone else around him trying to help this boy mend himself back together, to someone he can face in the mirror. His mother once said to me, “He was the most spiritual one of all my kids. Back then.”
My relative went to the police. He told his story and it’s horrific. The police then questioned Fr. Kevin and eventually gave him a polygraph test, which he failed. He never admitted to sexually touching the teenage boy. I have obtained and read his statement; it is more than disturbing. He told the investigators that he was sexually attracted to this kid. That he fantasized about him. He massaged his shoulders. Those are the tame statements. Then come the statements such as feeling the need to ejaculate while hugging him for five minutes. If that doesn't sound like a long inappropriate time to you for a hug, try watching a clock for that long all the while imagining being a teenager with an adult wrapping their arms around you. Or close your eyes and without counting try and guess how long it takes to reach 5 minutes. Fr. Kevin found nothing wrong with this. I do not feel the same. I am releasing a portion of his statement. This is the official police record as written by the investigating officer. You will notice that there are many quotes from Fr. Kevin that clearly shows he should not be allowed near children or teenagers, especially in a position of trust and power. View what this man of god says in his own words and decide for yourself. Using those words imagine what it was like for the children who were in this man’s world. Based on his own statements ask yourself if this is a person who should be able to freely interact with innocent vulnerable children?
The family and victim did initiate a civil case. The prosecutor believed Fr. Kevin was absolutely guilty but advised this route over a criminal case due to a few different factors. In the end the case was settled out of court with a promise from the Archdiocese that this priest would not be allowed around children again. They lied. Instead of keeping their word they sent him to Belize (where he continued to work with children) hoping he would be out of sight, out of mind. It wasn't until John Doe 115 was brave enough to step forward himself that Fr. Kevin had to return back to the United States. It’s funny, what got sent him out of the country is the same thing that forced him to return. At this time I would also like to briefly address any connection I have with John Doe 115. My family had no knowledge of him until 2009 when I read an article in the paper about his allegations, many years after my family had settled their case. It wasn't until after JD115’s own case was settled and closed that we ever communicated. My relative has never met, nor has even talked, to JD115. It’s heart wrenching to know that someone else has gone through the same pain by the same priest. Yet at the same time you feel guilty when you feel relief to know there is someone else out there who has gone through the same pain by the same priest. Someone to talk with, that understands and that believes you because it happened to them too. In a horrifying way, it's comforting to know there are others out there but it sure is a lousy reason to be able to bond with someone this way.
My relative’s case had such vile acts of physical and mental violation that they were able to settle for a moderately high five figure monetary amount. My relative should have received more. To this day he still cannot hold down a steady job. Medication for various mental illnesses as a result of this one night, such as PTSD and others, is extremely expensive. Counseling, doctor visits and hospitalization bills pile up at an alarming rate. Every month, for 20 years. He will never have nor live a normal life and existence. No amount of money is worth losing your self-worth, your happiness and your future. No amount of money is worth watching someone you love shrivel and shrink from the inside out. I would pay the Vatican to have my family member back the way he was before the rape. Back to the person he should be, to the person he could have grown up to be, to put back the hope and dreams that used to light up his eyes.
I would like to point out here that my family’s case is closed and never to be re-opened or re-tried. My number one concern is my relative: his anonymity and his well-being. His case was never made public in the past. So why, after all these years, am I coming forward? Fr. Kevin Hederman is an evil person. The Vatican and the Archdiocese just wants to “turn the other cheek”, sweep it under the rug and just move him around from country to country as he destroys innocent victims unfortunate enough to cross paths with him. They refuse to accept responsibility for the lives they have ruined, refuse to make changes to ensure the safety of others and refuse to even just acknowledge that wrong has been done. I am trying to stop that. That is why I am releasing my story and releasing an excerpt of Fr. Kevin's statement to the police showing, in his own words, that this is not a man who should be in a position to continue doing truly horrific things to innocent children. I have blacked out portions of this as a necessary means to protect the identity of the victim. My relative is deeply ashamed by what was done to him, even though he has absolutely no reason to be so. It was an extremely difficult decision whether or not I should release this statement and police report. What is the right thing to do and if it's worth the possible consequences. Quite frankly, I'm scared. I, personally, have more to lose than gain by coming forward. I hope, though, that others have more to gain than lose by my actions.
Statement by one victim of Fr. Hederman (the one who sued in 2009)
Hearing a rumor that Rev. Kevin Hederman maybe returning to service has left me with a variety of mixed emotions. Most of my emotions are of anger and disgust, but sadness, confusion, and utter disbelief tip the scales.
In case you haven't figured it out yet, I'm am John Doe 115. I am the victim that came forward after many years, years of wondering. Would someone else would do that difficult task of coming forward, bringing public scrutiny down on an evil man who used the guise of a priest to do his deeds of self gratification? Has this man also done plenty of good things for the general good of humanity? Absolutely. So did Jerry Sandusky. Is it really worth the price? You decide.
At the time I came forward, ,many asked, "Why didn't you go to the police? You must just be after money."
Why I didn't go to the police: the statute of limitations. Do some research folks before you kill the messenger. The reason I used the civil court system was because it was my only means necessary to protect the public from this evil person.
To set the record straight regarding monetary gain, when my case came to a point where it had served its purpose and obviously was going no further, I chose to settle my case. I was given a small sum of money, but it is not what I requested from the church. I specifically requested to NOT receive money. Here was my exact request:
1) I requested that every church and school that Rev Kevin Hederman worked for be sent a letter warning, and ALL of the parishioners that may have come into contact with him asked to come forward if they had been abused.
2) I requested that the St. Louis Archdiocese pay for my counseling related to this matter. I informed them that they could pay the counselor directly and that I didn't ever need to see payment as long as I received counseling requested due to the pederasty of Rev. Kevin Hederman.
I received neither of these validations or "settlements". As I mentioned, I received a small settlement of roughly $3,000. I have been in counseling for almost a year now for an average of twice a month. This amount wouldn't begin to cover those expenses. Surprisingly enough, the YWCA has a great program for sexual abuse victims to receive these specialized services paid for by private donations. It is through these services that I am finally coming to grips with what happened to me many many years ago at the hands and body of Kevin Hederman. It doesn't change what happened to me, but it does allow for me to better handle what occurred to me. Often it takes decades for victims to be ready to deal with this type of issue, and years to work through it.
I do not wish to come across as defensive; I am just looking at the big picture of my marathon over the last 3 years of dealing with this whole mess. Let me just give you a little glimpse in the AWESOME amount of courage and strength it takes to file one of these cases.
First of all, you have to be willing to go the "long haul" and deal with everyone that wants to discredit you and make you, the victim, into the bad guy. That's not the worst of it. The worst of it is constantly reading, thinking, breathing, that nothing will ever come of this after all the courage it took to actually speak up. It is never about the money and it's always about protecting others from victimization.
Secondly, when you bring forth a law suit, the church lawyers "turn on the machine". I am not saying that people shouldn't be allowed to defend themselves, I am all for a fair trial. This however is CLEARLY designed to get victims so discouraged that they just GIVE UP. Here is what they asked me for:
1) Every School record since birth
2) Every Medical record since birth
3) Every residence record since birth
4) Every job held since birth
5) Every single record of everything of anything eventful or uneventful that happened in your entire life before, after, and during the abuse period.
While SOME of this information MAY be necessary for the discovery process, I am suggesting this tactic is done for ONE reason and ONE reason only: to get the victim to throw in the towel. I have a strong constitution and I don't like being bullied; I knew that is exactly what was going on, so I proceeded forward. I tell you this not to discourage other victims to coming forward but to enlighten the public as to how they go about trying to discourage victims from telling their story.
The third part, and this truly was the worst, was the two day deposition by the opposing legal team. There were 4 attorneys in the room from the opposing side and two from my side along with a stenographer. They went through every single medical record and high school record and asked me specific questions I asked a doctor as a 12 year old (among many other ridiculous questions that were completely irrelevant to the matter we were all in that room for). The abuse by the hand of Rev Kevin happened roughly 5 years later. How is this relevant? Quite simply, it isn't. It is just another tactic to try to scare the victim. Once again, I don't like being bullied, so I put up a pretty good fight.
Even then, after a while, they finally wore me and my attorneys down. I agreed to a settlement as long as I was able to meet with the archdiocese in person to request what I specifically wanted, as noted above.
Once again, I tell you all of this so that you know how "easy" it is to be a victim and to file suit against the church. People don't come forward and take things this far unless they really have been horribly victimized.
Many of you will still call me some money-hungry terrible person and I will never change your minds. I am not writing this for you. I'm writing this to the other victims to let them know I am with you and feel your pain. If you don't come forward, that's OK. It's a very difficult process. I am saying that if you are waiting for someone else to come forward, don't wait too long, there are others, but many are waiting for someone else to do it. If you think you can be the one to come forward, don't wait, because there will be more victims.
Lastly, I have seen excerpts of a police report of another victim of Father Kevin's. I viewed them shortly after the completion of my case. I assure you if and when you read Rev. Kevin Hederman's OWN words to the detective included in this police report, I'm quite sure you will not want Reverend Kevin Hederman servicing your parish family the way he "serviced" me and my parish family.
Sincerely, John Doe 115
Statement by a friend of the victim (who was also "approached" by Hederman)
Hello, my name is Christopher Bertke. (firstname.lastname@example.org) I graduated CBC in 1992. I had Kevin Hederman as a speaker in my religion classes. That is how I became aware of him and met him. I, like many others, went on a retreat to his parish at the time in north county, North American Martyrs. That is where I learned even more about him. He came across initially as one of us. He used foul language and had a very cool way about him. That all changed for me on the previously mentioned retreat.
At the beginning/start of the retreat, we were all required to go into a 'confessional' of sorts with Kevin...one on one. I didn't think much about it until it was my turn to go in. I went in, face to face with him, and we talk about random things. Very casual conversation. At one point Kevin said to me that he could tell I was different from the other people in my class. I thought nothing of it, because I was different. I didn't play sports. I was more into music. But then, he looked at me and put his hand on my knee and told me I have 'very pretty eyes', and continued on to tell me it was okay to be different. I was very uncomfortable and decided to cut the one on one time short and walked out.
Which leads me to a friend of mine. He had to go on this retreat during his time at CBC and the EXACT SAME LINE was used on him...'very pretty eyes'...'I can tell you are different'. For some reason, my friend felt comfort, or something I can't even speculate, with Kevin and I guess Kevins 'charm' worked. My friend was ultimately possibly and probably(according to legal documents) drugged and definitely sexually assaulted by Kevin. That is all I will say about the case to protect his identity. The documents are public knowledge and so is the payoff. But my friends life is permanently scarred from the whole thing.
That's what I'm here for . My friend. Kevin literally took his life from him. He took his pride, self esteem, and a lot of his functionality. That is why I am asking that Kevin Hederman is not allowed back in the ministry or on an even greater scale, near children. Because I believe there is more than enough evidence to prove that Kevin Hederman is not a 'man of god' but in fact a monster.
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.