Published Date Thursday, April 24,2014
From the Link: http://www.berlindailysun.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=49465:frank-laferriere-support-the-victims-not-the-victimizers&catid=73:letter&Itemid=428
To the editor:
If you were to find out that the leadership of a group or organization you belonged to had appeared before commissions and grand juries and openly admitted to covering up the abuses of children, from rape to severe beatings, to even the death of a child, and that this involved tens of thousands of members own children, and that the cover ups are wide spread throughout the organization or group, you would think that the membership of the group would rise up in arms and make sure that the leadership is arrested and prosecuted to the fullest extent the law allows. That they would stand up and defend and protect their children over the leadership of their group or organization. Yet there is one such organization…though there are others….that its leadership is totally immune from liability for crimes such as these by it’s membership. This organization is known as the Roman Catholic Church.
While they have come far with this problem of child abuse, the Vatican announced that for 2011-2012 almost 400 priests had to be let go because of credible accusations of child abuse, including rape, there is still much to be done. While it is commendable that they caught and fired these priests, what about those whom participated in the cover ups of these crimes? Why are they not called to account for their crimes of the members own children? Why are the leadership of the church put above the law and those whom they have harmed? Why are they defended and even praised or made a saint?
There have been at least a half a dozen commission reports, like the Ryan Report, that detail the systematic sexual, physical, mental, emotional and spiritual abuse of children and teens, children of the Roman Catholic Church; and the cover ups of these abuses by the leaders and even their highest leaders, ones whom are supposed to be the Vicars of Jesus while on this earth and in their position. Yet even to this day, not one credibly accused leader has ever been arrested or prosecuted for their crimes save one, Bishop Robert Finn and that case is being retried. Matter of fact, one of these, John Paul II was given sainthood. There is overwhelming evidence he participated in the cover up of and through acts of omission, turned a blind eye to, the pederast Rev. Marcial Maciel, founder of the Legion of Christ. Yet he is given sainthood? This is an insult to all those whom are survivors of these evil crimes against us.
There are some incredible priests and leaders of the Roman Catholic Church. I have met some of them. From Fr Tom Doyle, ret., whom has fought tirelessly for the victims of priest abuse, at the cost of his being a priest, to even our own local priest Fr Kyle Stanton whom has helped me immensely, to groups like Catholic Whistleblowers, and others, they have sort of restored my faith that this problem of priests and nuns abusing children and teens will stop. Yet to truly set things right the following must be done.
1. All credibly accused leaders, from Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, to Cardinals like Timothy Dolan, Donald Wuerl, Roger Mahony, Bernard Law, George Pell, and many others, against whom there is overwhelming evidence, through commission reports, grand jury testimonies and the churches own documents, must be fired. They must be arrested and prosecuted. We do this to other criminals, we demand this of any rapist or those whom cover up the rapes and abuses of children. They may be leaders of the Roman Catholic Church, but these men are criminals and deserve to be arrested and prosecuted and the victims deserve their day in court and justice for the crimes committed against them because of these leaders actions.
2. Abide by the Pledge to Protect, Promise to Heal charter all of the diocese of the Roman Catholic Church in the United States signed. All attacks against the victims must stop. We are not responsible for our rapes, we did not enjoy being raped. We are not homosexuals because we were raped by a male priest. We are not liars, gold diggers who are out looking for a payday from the Roman Catholic Church.
We are your sons, we are your daughters, who want justice, whom want those who perpetrated these crimes against us punished, whom went through one of the most horrifying and terrifying experiences a human being can go through. We trusted these priests and nuns and they destroyed that trust with their evil crimes against us. We were raped, we were beaten, we had our souls, our hearts stolen from us, we had our bodies destroyed and abused. We did not deserve this, we were not willing participants and we refuse to remain silent while those whom are responsible for these crimes against us go free while we still remain trapped inside the prisons they created for us.
3. No matter what….put your children before your leaders. Protect and stand up and defend your children….not the leaders whom committed these evils against us. Your children should come first. Stand up for the victims of these crimes, whom are your own children. You may know one. Again, we are your sons, your daughters, your nieces and nephews, your God children, whom you vowed and promised to protect and defend.
I started going back to church. I even started photographing St Annes, an incredibly beautiful place of worship. I had no choice though, I had to stop because I felt like such a hypocrite. Far too many of us whom were victims still see those responsible for these evils against us in their positions as if nothing in the world is wrong. We victims are still being attacked, by people like Bill Donohue, President of the Catholic League. We are still being attacked by parishioners whom have called me a liar to my face and how dare I spread lies and rumors and false accusations and gossip against the leaders. Well, sadly, I am not spreading lies, rumors and false accusations, these statements I have made can all be proven beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law if it were allowed.
Yet while these leaders whom perpetrated these crimes against us are still in power, I cannot in good conscious go into the church. I cannot be part of a church where the leadership covered up the crimes of child abuse, child rape and put the church before the children and are still in power, for that makes me a hypocrite in my eyes.
I would love to go on a regular basis to St Anne, to be among the other worshipers, some of whom I made acquaintance and even friends with, especially Fr Kyle, but I cannot, for while the wolves are still in control….someone must stand outside the door for the defense and protection of the children and the victims.
Sin is one thing…sin can be forgiven when there is true repentance from the sin. There has been no true repentance among the leadership whom covered up these crimes. There have been staged acts of contrition, but no true repentance. For if they are to truly repent they must also submit to prosecution for the crimes they committed. They must not hide behind their robes of religion. If they seek to make laws for man like they do, they also must submit to the laws of man and be arrested and prosecuted for their crimes. No one, not even religious leaders, should be allowed to get away with crimes against children. They should not be above the law!
When it comes time to the crimes of the rapes and abuses of children and teens and the cover up of these crimes by the leadership…only justice in a court of law, where the victims may have their day in court to see those responsible for the crimes against them be tried and if found guilty sentenced to prison…that is true justice. The Roman Catholic Church promised this to victims and to prosecuting attorneys…but have failed to deliver on this promise. Instead they still fight the victims and hide behind the statue of limitations to deny justice to the victims. Ask yourself is this true justice? If you were raped would you say this is true justice?
In closing whom do you think Jesus Christ will stand up for in the end?
Those whom perpetrated these crimes against children and teens…or the children and teen victims?
Here is a clue: “For it would be better for you to tie a huge boulder around your neck and throw yourself into the deepest of lakes than to harm a single hair on the head of a child.”
Well the leadership of the Roman Catholic Church did a lot more than harm a hair on the head of a child. Whom are you going to stand besides? The ones Jesus Christ would stand up for? Or the ones He would toss into the pit of hell for their evils against children?
Frank LaFerriere, Berlin
Written by Melissa Grima
BERLIN — A local man with a claim of abuse pending against the Diocese of Manchester hopes that telling his story will help bring the focus of the church sex abuse scandal onto the victims rather than the abusers.
Frank Laferrier, a Berlin resident who grew up on the Seacoast, said he was raped by a priest as a young teen in Durham as he sought refuge at St. Thomas More Parish after running away from an abusive foster home. Laferrier said that although he has a claim pending with the diocese, he is coming forward to tell his story publicly because he believes Catholics “really need to see what was done to the victims.”
“I think if someone like me tells them what I went through, they would understand what the victims went through,” Laferrier said.
Careful to point out that he does not blame all Roman Catholics for the abuse he sustained, only the priest who did it, Laferrier said he recognizes that not all priests and parish leaders are like this. “I’ve met some really good people,” he said.
He added that he is not trying to destroy the church or attack anyone’s beliefs, but he does want those who abused children or hid the abuse to pay for their crimes.
“What the priest did to me that night, he took my heart, my soul, my body and my mind.”
According to Laferrier, on the night in question, he was brought to the church for a single night after running away. Alone with the priest, he was raped. As the priest raped him, Laferrier alleges, he was told it was punishment for his sins — the sin of disobeying his mother and father. Additionally, he claims, the priest told him if he told anyone what had happened he would spend an eternity burning in hell.
His upbringing in the faith and attendance at Catholic school made certain that he took those words to heart, he said, and as a result he held on to the secret until last year.
In September of 2011, Laferrier said, he took his case to the diocese and has since retained the services of attorney Peter Hutchins of Manchester, a personal injury attorney with extensive experience in clergy abuse cases.’
Hutchins, who said he has handled about 200 clergy abuse cases since 2002, said Laferrier’s claim is going through the process with the church but still has a ways to go. The case is currently in the investigation phase, Hutchins confirmed. He explained that claims of abuse go to the church, which then coordinates an informal interview with alleged victim and a diocese investigator. The investigator then prepares a report determining if claim is credible and the diocese moves from there.
Though Laferrier has brought his allegations to the diocese, he has not yet been scheduled for the informal interview with the investigator. Hutchins said he expects that move to come within the next few months.
After that, Hutchins said, the case can take 12-15 months before any settlement might be offered if the claim is found to be credible by the diocese. He noted that the church takes the cases as they come, but “there are certain financial realities with a small diocese especially one that has already paid out a couple hundred claims.”
The settlement process is the first course of action, Hutchins said, and his clients always have the right to pursue legal action in court if they are not satisfied with the outcome of the initial settlement attempts.
Laferrier said is looking for a financial settlement and an apology.
Though it has been many years since the original church abuse scandal broke in 2002, Laferrier pointed to continued comments from high-profile Catholics like Cardinal Timothy Dolan (Archdiocese of NY) and Catholic League president Bill Donohue and even Pope Benedict himself, as part of the reason he has become so outspoken.
“Frank’s an individual who is very involved in following these church related matters,” Hutchins said. He takes issues with many of the comments made by these men on his blog Rape Victims of the Catholic Church (all one word) on WordPress. In his blog, which is a blend of news links and vitriolic tirades, Laferrier takes issue with stories relating to the Catholic Church on a fairly regular basis.
Hutchins added that Frank is not alone in waiting to make his claim of abuse. “A lot of people, they come forward at different random times for whatever reason,” he said. He noted that 2002-03 —when the issue was in the news — saw the most people come forward. Even now, though, his law firm averages one call every 4-6 weeks and he currently has 6-8 pending clergy abuse cases.