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#404931 - 07/26/12 07:51 PM To report or not to report..
Mike26 Offline


Registered: 07/25/12
Posts: 34
Loc: Maryland
Salutations!
I just joined here after finding that there aren't any support groups that seem active in my area. I've been struggling with my journey recently and am eager to get some advice from others on here.
I recently (as in November of 2011) admitted to my partner and myself that I was sexually abused by a priest when I was 17. I met him through a Catholic youth retreat, he groomed me starting around 16, and the abuse continued until I was 22 and finally told him I wouldn't do it anymore. For a long time I told myself it wasn't abuse because the majority of it happened when I was over 18. When I started counseling about 2 months ago, my therapist helped me realize that there was a pretty intense power difference there, and helped me identify where I had been guilted and coerced into continuing.
When I told my partner, it was because he had confronted me about it after having a conversation about this priest. I burst into tears and spilled everything. It makes me sick to look back and think that I lost my virginity to this priest, and that it continued for as long as it did because of the mind games he played with me. My partner certainly struggled a lot with the news, and initially expressed a lot of anger that I had kept this from him for so long (although he has now gotten pretty amazing with supporting me!)
So, here's where my current struggle lies: I feel like I have a moral obligation to report this priest to try and stop him from doing this to other youth. I haven't told my family or friends, and I'm really worried about putting that on them, especially my parents. I feel like I would have to do that before reporting him. I'm also having a lot of anxiety about the actual reporting process. I know going to the church isn't typically a good idea, but should I go through law enforcement or hire a lawyer? The idea of taking the stand in front of this man scares the crap out of me!
If anyone has gone through this process (namely, reporting/telling family and friends) I would really like any feedback or ideas to help me through it. Right now its feeling like I have an angel and devil on my shoulder, each telling me two very different things.

Thanks for reading!
Mike
_________________________
"And the day came where the risk it took to remain tight inside the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom." - Anais Nin

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#404950 - 07/26/12 09:41 PM Re: To report or not to report.. [Re: Mike26]
Shado Offline


Registered: 04/16/12
Posts: 6
I am a former police officer.

I would say DO report this person.

Almost all states have some kind of abuse hotline that you can telephone to report an abuser. You might CONSIDER phoning the non emergency number of your police department to inquire of this phone number, or you could ask a teacher in a school, a person who works in the medical field, or a scout leader. If your state has mandatory reporting laws, they will have, or can get the information.

You don't need to get a lawyer unless you want to sue this man.

Now, having said these things: If you report him and an investigation happens, you may be called to give evidence. And, yes, if it is so horrifying to you you might consider NOT reporting him. On the other hand, if you can live with the possibly publicity...think of the agony you might be saving some other young man. But if you can't, don't report him and don't feel guilty because if it will (literally) break you you aren't required to sacrifice yourself.

There are no easy answers.

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#404959 - 07/26/12 11:57 PM Re: To report or not to report.. [Re: Mike26]
Anomalous Offline
Greeter Coordinator
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 03/07/10
Posts: 1353
Hi Mike,

Welcome to MS.

I am glad you have found this place of healing and support.

I am sorry that priest abused his position and betrayed your trust.

As several of us discussed in chat last night, chances are if you report him, your name will either be added to an investigation already in progress or many names will be added to the investigation that ensues as a result of your report.

You will be in contact with law enforcement, possibly the district attorney and a victim's advocate, who will be with you during every step of the judicial process. You would only need an attorney if you choose to sue.

There will be a significant period of time (years) between reporting him and the actual judical proceedings. That time will give you the opportunity to disclose to whom you choose and you will have the the opportunity to disclose without a time pressure.

The other thing we discussed was the statute of limitations. You do not want to wait too long only to find out you missed your opportunity. Also check into the statute of limitations for bringing civil action against him and the parish/ diocese in which he worked. It is also probable that he had been moved around several times for doing the same thing to others.

I hope your partner realizes that you were not keeping this information from him - you were keeping it from yourself. You were trying to protect yourself from the thoughts, feelings and memories. As a consequence, your partner didn't know about the abuse. But it was not your primary objective to keep secrets from him.

I hope he feels honored that you trust him enough to have shared the secret of the most terrible things you have endured. You gave him a very precious gift, and I hope he realizes that.

Whether or not you tell your family or friends, only you can decide that. Tell your parents some of the things we discussed last night. It will be inevitable that they will not be upset. They love you. If they didn't love you the news wouldn't affect them.

Telling your friends can be a bit more tricky. I would evaluate each friend and get an idea for their feelings of these issues. You know your friends and you will know who will be supportive and who may not.

Give yourself more time in therapy before you disclose to anyone else. Give yourself some time to get used to saying the words. If you choose to tell your parents, you may want to write a letter, jsut so you can organize your thoughts. If you prefer to tell tehm in person, read the letter to them.

Bringing a friend to whom you want to disclose to a T session might be a safe way to tell. You would have T supporting you and T could also help your friend make sense of what is sure to be difficult news.





Anomalous
_________________________
Acceptance on someone else's terms is worse than rejection.

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#404973 - 07/27/12 04:26 AM Re: To report or not to report.. [Re: Mike26]
peroperic2009 Offline
Moderator
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/09/11
Posts: 3617
Loc: South-East Europe
Hi Mike,
welcome to Male survivor!
I'm sorry that you had such terrible experience and that you are now caught in such important and difficult dilemma.
It is great that you have therapist, have you talked about this issue and your anxiety relating to reporting?
It is great that you have support of your partner, you have to have all support possible in this moment. In this respect it is good that you started this conversation here, get all your worries out... I hope some good advices would emerge.
I'm not familiar with US legal system but I think that good advices you got already from Shado (regarding phone call and reporting) and Anomalous about overall picture.
Maybe you could look for some additional resources (I would do that in your place).
Here is link to page of organization 1 in 6 which offers online support service including: ""Explanations of the criminal justice system, and what you might expect if you report the abuse.", this is text how it works that I copied from their web page:
"How does it work?
It works just like instant messaging. You'll go into a private session with a trained volunteer and communicate, live, by typing messages back and forth. The service is completely anonymous, and you do not have to give your name or any personal information."
here is the link:
https://hotline.rainn.org/1in6/terms-of-service.jsp
Maybe it worth trying?
Be well!
Pero
_________________________
My story

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#405472 - 08/01/12 03:46 AM Re: To report or not to report.. [Re: Mike26]
Lancer Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 07/13/12
Posts: 901
Loc: Florida
Hey Mike --

I don't think any of us MS "wanted" to be here, but it's been a terrific resource for me. In that spirit, welcome. I'm also glad to read your partner is supportive and you've found professional help. After living alone with this for years, I'm still a bit amazed at our numbers...and that's the strength.

As far as parents, coming out to my biological mom was fine. And I gave her the abuse part in small doses. Yes, she cried about it, but is 100% supportive. The Sandusky thing - if there's anything good to be said about it - actually gave us a common ground to start the discussion. And I've fed bits to my three closest friends.

With police, etc., my situation is a bit different because the perp is worm food. Feelings are similar. Like you, the potential for media attention concerned me. I went ahead because two institutions turned a blind eye to this perp's activities and let him continue to operate, a bit like the institutional blindness outlined in the Freeh Report on PSU. It was a trigger, made me madder than hell and this was the best, perhaps only way for me to feel as if I was more survivor than victim.

My only regret in not reporting, years before he died when I'd initially acknowledge the abuse to myself - as much as I could at the time - is that he likely was still preying on teenage boys and I could have had the police nail him. That said, I also acknowledge it was not a time when today's extensive resources were available to support MS. And I was about your age.

In the course of preparing to report, I wrote down every detail I could remember, even if the details weren't always clear or were uncomfortable. It's taken a lot out of me. But being able to examine my feelings and the effects the CSA had on me over the years made much of it clearer. Of course, the bonus is that my story has consistency, credibility and detail.

My only "problem" - if you can call it that - is the public nature of the Interweb ;-) I'm selective in what I share until there's action, if any, by officials. You may notice our MS hosts, in their wisdom, have the Who's Online window which actually tracks how many spiders are at work on the site. In a sense, that's reassuring because a Google of enough keywords in my posts may produce a result for another MS. I save detail for PMs with other members.

As other MS have come forward - likely three of us now - it's been a huge sense of relief to know I wasn't the only one. Having done my bit, I'm mostly at ease - mostly - about letting the other MS of this bastard take it at their own pace. Even better, a couple of the adults in the background at the time have confirmed the perp's reputation. In short, it felt like, "Gee, so I'm not crazy after all!"

I've been in media all my life. Most respectable media outlets have a policy of not identifying victims of abuse without their permission. But, whatever does come out publicly I don't care that much any more. I have a good core of people who I trust to support me and people who will back my story with their own.

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#405788 - 08/04/12 01:48 AM Re: To report or not to report.. [Re: peroperic2009]
Mike26 Offline


Registered: 07/25/12
Posts: 34
Loc: Maryland
Thanks for the resource! I can't believe how thorough it was! It provided a lot of insight into what I'm going through, especially with triggers right now.
_________________________
"And the day came where the risk it took to remain tight inside the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom." - Anais Nin

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#405789 - 08/04/12 01:50 AM Re: To report or not to report.. [Re: Lancer]
Mike26 Offline


Registered: 07/25/12
Posts: 34
Loc: Maryland
Thanks for the response, Lancer. Its helpful to know others feel the same sense of guilt in reporting, yet share the feeling of moral obligation. I know its something I should do to try and prevent it from happening to other boys, but getting over the anxiety and fear and doing it is still a pretty big roadblock. Thank God I have an awesome T who is really supportive. He's awesome at letting me feel the anxiety, but still slowly pushing me towards the end of the diving board. We'll get there one day smile
_________________________
"And the day came where the risk it took to remain tight inside the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom." - Anais Nin

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#405802 - 08/04/12 03:20 AM Re: To report or not to report.. [Re: Mike26]
Metolius Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/09/12
Posts: 41
Loc: Oregon
Mike:

I'm a survivor of abuse by a Catholic priest; I am also a former priest and a former assistant to a bishop.

I do hope and pray you are able to find the courage to report the priest, especially if there's any chance he's still active in ministry. If you need time to build up sufficient support for yourself, do that so you don't feel isolated and alone with all the ups and downs that are part of the process. If your family is likely to be helpful and supportive, let them know what happened and enlist their support; if they don't have a history of looking out for your genuine good, or if they're likely to defend the church or the priest, you are under no obligation to tell them anything.

I personally think your best bet is to report to law enforcement rather than to a church official (bishop or religious superior). It brings scrutiny from outside the institution.

I hope you would also consult with an attorney so that you can get good information about what your legal options are. At the very least you deserve to have your counseling costs covered by the church.

My abuser was dead before I got in touch with the reality of the abuse. When I reported what happened to the head of the religious community, I naively thought there was enough mutual trust and respect built up over the years, that I would be treated fairly. He handed me over to his attorney and it didn't take long before things turned fugly. Furthermore, as a result of my abuse, I had little ability to understand what I really needed, not to mention to speak up for what I need. I eventually got my own attorney, sued, and reached a fair settlement. The money doesn't do squat to make up for the abuse, but I now have the security to make sure I can get as much counseling and support I need, as well as an additional cushion to pursue an education and start a new career. The process was excruciatingly painful, and I didn't always know how to rely on those who could support me. It was as traumatizing for me as the original abuse. The best advice I got from an attorney I consulted (but did not hire) was to figure out what was most helpful for my healing and to pursue it. You may decide litigation won't help your healing, but why not get could specific advice about what the law allows in your own state so that you can make an informed decision.

I'd be happy to share more of my experience with you privately, if it would be helpful.

Keep up the courageous work therapy requires.

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#407113 - 08/17/12 03:24 PM Re: To report or not to report.. [Re: Mike26]
Mike26 Offline


Registered: 07/25/12
Posts: 34
Loc: Maryland
Big news! I reported to my T today smile I finally got tired of accepting the doubts and the fears, because they're always going to be there, but I decided the need to report him and hopefully stop him from preying on other teenage boys was far greater than any worries I had about having to see him in court or whatever the case may be. I'm feeling really elevated right now because its such a load off my chest. I know there will be some challenging feelings down the road, but right now, I'm feeling pretty damn proud of myself smile
_________________________
"And the day came where the risk it took to remain tight inside the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom." - Anais Nin

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#407119 - 08/17/12 05:17 PM Re: To report or not to report.. [Re: Mike26]
peroperic2009 Offline
Moderator
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/09/11
Posts: 3617
Loc: South-East Europe
Hey Mike, congratulations on your courage. Wow man, this is so inspiring smile !
Must be great feeling, you are doing great job!

Pero
_________________________
My story

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#407121 - 08/17/12 05:42 PM Re: To report or not to report.. [Re: Mike26]
just me Offline


Registered: 05/27/09
Posts: 196
Mike,
Wow! Proud of you man....
JM
_________________________
My Story

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#407127 - 08/17/12 06:18 PM Re: To report or not to report.. [Re: Mike26]
Mike26 Offline


Registered: 07/25/12
Posts: 34
Loc: Maryland
Thanks, guys! I'm feeling pretty amazing right now. Its pretty cool thinking that if I have the courage to finally do something that has been weighing on me for 10 years, the sky is the limit smile
_________________________
"And the day came where the risk it took to remain tight inside the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom." - Anais Nin

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#407132 - 08/17/12 08:02 PM Re: To report or not to report.. [Re: Mike26]
Lancer Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 07/13/12
Posts: 901
Loc: Florida
HUGE step Mike. Well done. And when the challenges come up, we're here for you.

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#408488 - 08/30/12 10:39 PM Re: To report or not to report.. [Re: Mike26]
Mike26 Offline


Registered: 07/25/12
Posts: 34
Loc: Maryland
I had a bit of a setback today that I'm struggling with. I went to my 1st T session since reporting my abuser, but my T found out that in our state, he cannot report without my signed consent. I signed the consent form and we called the state where the abuse happened. It happened when I was 17, but it turns out that the age of consent there is 16. When talking to the detective, he asked me if it was forced or consensual, and I had to say it was consensual, which is really, really bothering me. Yes, I agreed to it at the time, but that doesn't take into account the years of grooming that went on to get to that point. I'm feeling really disgusting and having to say out loud that it was consensual is stirring up a lot of the feelings of blame and guilt that I was experiencing before therapy. I still know that what the priest did was wrong, but I'm feeling like my mind regressed a lot tonight, which is incredibly frustrating.

Here's the bright side: There's a chance that even though I was above the age of consent, since he was a priest, he might fall under the "counselor/mentor" law which basically says that no matter what the age, he violated my trust and broke the law because of the power difference. It will be a hard thing to prove, and in order to do so, I'll have to go back to my home state to make a verbal statement at the police department, which is intimidating as hell. I'm going to look into legal help to see if there are any other ways, but its feeling like a huge setback to think that I had reported my abuser and come to find out that not only could the report not be made, but I am going to have to be way more involved than I had hoped to be.
_________________________
"And the day came where the risk it took to remain tight inside the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom." - Anais Nin

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#408494 - 08/30/12 11:23 PM Re: To report or not to report.. [Re: Mike26]
cant_remember Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/26/05
Posts: 1045
Hang in there.

We're here for you.
_________________________
Recovery is possible. Hang in there, brothers.

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#408498 - 08/31/12 12:12 AM Re: To report or not to report.. [Re: Mike26]
Lancer Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 07/13/12
Posts: 901
Loc: Florida
Hey Mike --

Seems you and I are both on rollercoasters at the moment. What I'm finding useful, as long as I'm going to be obsessed about it, is to put that energy to good use. For me it's meant immersing myself in research, particularly on the law in the state as it stands.

End result, aside from being tired, is that I have a better handle on my options.

And, hell no, I didn't want to be as involved in this as I am either. I'd rather forget about it. Life seemed easier before. But there's just something inside me.

I'm with you, Mike.

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