SNAP to Adrian College - "It's like Penn State, only worse"

SNAP to Adrian College - "It's like Penn State, only worse"

  • Victims want professor fired
  • “It’s like Penn State, only worse” they say
  • Teacher admitted molesting two teenaged girls
  • His former employer was forced to pay $1.6 million
  • But he moved & now works at a small Michigan college
  • SNAP “Predator remains around unsuspecting students & staff”
  • Former Catholic staffer is also accused of impregnating girl & spreading STD

In the wake of the Penn State controversy, an international support group for child sex abuse victims is urging a Michigan college to fire, or at least suspend, a teacher who admitted molesting two high school girls. One victim was paid a $1.6 million settlement and in 2004, she visited the college president in person, unsuccessfully begging him to oust the professor.  

Leaders of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPNetwork.org), are writing Adrian College President Jeffrey Docking and Music Department Chair Peter Ford about Dr. Thomas Hodgman. Hodgman joined Adrian’s faculty in 1999, despite the fact that his former employer, a Catholic high school, had to pay $1.6 million to a California woman who reported having been repeatedly sexually violated by him when she was a youngster. 

Hodgman has also admitted to molesting another girl at the school, although her name has been kept confidential. http://www.ocweekly.com/2008-07-10/features/joelle-casteix-fights-for-catholic-church-sex-abuse-victims-while-pursuing-her-own-abuser/5/

SNAP leaders are “appalled” that former Adrian president Stanley Caine refused to even temporarily remove Hodgman in 2004, when one of Hodgman’s victims, Joelle Casteix, travelled to the college and told top staffers there of her abuse.

Casteix has worked for almost 20 years to warn others about Hodgman. http://www.kansas.com/2011/07/16/1935627/woman-continues-fight-against.html  She's worried about the safety of unsuspecting college students, staff and local kids in and around Adrian.

In addition to the molestation, Casteix alleges that Hodgman impregnated her and gave her a sexually transmitted disease.

In a 2005 meeting with Caine, Casteix was rebuffed and told that her motivation was only "sour grapes."  http://www.toledoblade.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20050419/NEWS02/504190310/-1/NEWS

Through her civil lawsuit against Hodgman and his former Catholic employers, Casteix has obtained roughly 200 pages of personnel documents, which she has posted on a website called TheWorthyAdversary.com. They include:

-- A signed confession in which Hodgman admits molesting at least two teens at Mater Dei High School, where he was choir director,

-- 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 that Hodgman had molested at least two students,

-- A letter from the principal to a school superintendent, detailing the abuse, but blaming the actions on Casteix's alleged "emotional problems.”

“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," said SNAP's letter to the two college officials. "But it’s worse that you are compounding his victims’ pain and adding to a predator’s reputation."

The group also praised Casteix.

“Having been molested by a trusted adult, then betrayed by a church hierarchy, some become debilitated, depressed and powerless,” said the SNAP letter. “Others, however, become compassionate, cautious and determined. That’s Joelle. And we applaud her for her courage and concern."

(The letters were sent today by fax and e mail to Jeffrey Docking and Pete Ford. A copy is below.)

SNAP is renewing its effort to get Hodgman fired because the original Adrian president refused to do so have since left the school. At the time, Hodgman was the music department chair. The group also hopes that the controversy swirling at Penn State may lead Adrian officials to “finally step up, act responsibly, and protect kids,” said David Clohessy of St. Louis, SNAP’s Executive Director.

In 2007, a community college in Missouri ousted another former Mater Dei teacher who'd admitted molesting a girl. Larry Stukenholtz was suspended, and later fired, after one of his victims, Sarah Gray, spoke to the college's board.

http://www.stltoday.com/stltoday/news/stories.nsf/education/story/D993EB5C42CFC37A862573BC00107008?OpenDocument

****************

SNAP - The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
SNAPNetwork.org
PO Box 6416
Chicago, IL 60680

Peter Ford,
Chair, Department of Music
pford@adrian.edu

Jeffrey Docking
President, Adrian College
jdocking@adrian.edu

Dear Mr. Docking and Mr. Ford:

We are members of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPNetwork.org), a support group for men and women who have been sexually abused in religious or institutional settings. We are writing to you today in light of the recent scandal at Penn State University and a similar situation that exists at Adrian College.

Since 2003, school administrators have known that Adrian music professor Dr. Thomas Hodgman has been accused of sexual abuse by at least one girl while he worked at Mater Dei High School in Santa Ana, California.  But the facts - just like the facts at Penn State - are far worse.

When Hodgman was made aware of the allegations, he told the press and school administrators that the allegations were "bogus." http://www.toledoblade.com/frontpage/2005/04/29/Alleged-abuse-victim-revictimized.html  We now know that he was lying.  

When one of Hodgman's victims, Joelle Casteix, came to speak with former Adrian president Stanley Caine, she was rebuffed and told by Caine and a school attorney that she was simply a disgruntled ex-girlfriend. 

This is what else we know: As a result of Joelle's lawsuit, she received the documents outlining the scope and scale of Hodgman's crimes and a $1.6 million legal settlement from the Diocese of Orange for what Hodgman did to her. The second victim discussed in the documents has not come forward publicly.

The documents include:

-- A signed confession in which Hodgman admits molesting at least two teens at Mater Dei High School, where he was choir director,

-- 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 that Hodgman had molested at least two students,

-- A letter from the principal to a school superintendent, detailing the abuse, but blaming the actions on Casteix's alleged "emotional problems.”

All of these documents may be reviewed at www.TheWorthyAdversary.com

In light of the Penn State scandal, the fact the Hodgman remains at Adrian is reckless and callous. 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

Joelle Casteix has fought tirelessly to expose Hodgman's crimes. Having been molested by a trusted adult, then betrayed by a church hierarchy, some become debilitated, depressed and powerless. Others, however, become compassionate, cautious and determined. That’s Joelle. And we applaud her for her courage and concern.

This is what we ask:

-- Hodgman be immediately removed from his position at Adrian until a complete investigation can be made,
-- You post all of the documents about Hodgman's crimes for review by school officials and other interested parties,
-- You alert all school families and Adrian community members about Hodgman's history, his crimes and his deception, and

-- You punish all university officials who aided in the cover-up of Hodgman's crimes.

Your immediate action will keep kids safe, help victims heal, and hold wrong-doers accountable for their crimes. We look forward to hearing from you soon.

David Clohessy

Executive Director, SNAP

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

7234 Arsenal Street                 

St. Louis MO 63143                

314 566 9790, SNAPclohessy@aol.com

Barbara Dorris

Outreach Director, SNAP

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

6245 Westminster Place

Saint Louis, MO 63130

314 503 0003

SNAPdorris@gmail.com

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  • published this page in Media Statements 2011-11-14 08:30:00 -0600