SNAP: Stories for Living

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When I was 11 years old, my parents were going bowling with the next door neighbors. My older sister had other plans so the lady next door volunteered to let me stay with her 17 year old son. He said we had to take a shower together to save water. He took my clothes away to be washed. I was terrified and embarrassed.  After we finished, we went upstairs to bed. He turned the overhead light on in the bedroom and told me to lie down on his brother’s bed. He sat down beside me, facing away from me. He leaned over me and was moving up and down. I was terrified. He told me not to say anything to anyone about this. I knew I’d sinned but I didn’t quite know how. I dreaded going to confession. I couldn’t lie to the priest. Sure enough he started asking me sex questions. It was always sex questions.

In 2003, I was searching the internet to make sure Father X was still in prison when I noticed that a Class Action was proceeding against the Diocese of Covington. I was 21 when I studied to become a priest there and I was drugged with Valiums by the seminary and sexually assaulted by an older seminarian and Father X when I went to him for counseling. I complained about the sexual harassment to my priest spiritual director (counselor) at the time. He dismissed it as not important. The harassment got worse and I started complaining even more.

While I was taking a nap in my room, I was sexually assaulted by the older seminarian, who went on to be ordained and proceeded to rape a young wife and mother who worked at the parish school. Still groggy on the valiums, I went to Father X for counseling. Father X told me that the priests at the seminary didn’t care about me and that they were wrong to sedate me. He told me that he cared about me and that I should rest in his bedroom for a while X slipped into bed with me without my permission. That priest was convicted in 1993 and sentenced to twenty years in prison. He recently died in prison.

Dredging up all these nightmares has taken its toll on my health but I'm determined to survive. I can't work but I'm going to get my MSW degree so I can work with survivors. I hope with encouragement and support from friends like all of you, I'll succeed even after those priests hoped I'd take all the Valiums and commit suicide so that the truth would never come out. The truth will come out. My wife says that I will succeed. I asked her why and she said, "because you're a survivor, Paul".

Note: this story is from 2007. View other 2007 stories and 2007 voting results. View current stories.