The article “A Priest Child Abuser Speaks” from the book Slayer of the Soul was contributed by a priest who wishes to remain anonymous. He is a self-confessed child abuser during his priesthood, and by writing this, he wishes to share his experiences and his gradual climb back into society. He also believes that writing this article would provide a lesson for both the victimizers and their victims, and hopes that the victimizers would avoid committing such hideous wrongs towards their victims.
In the article, the priest shares his journey of self-realization as he slowly vaporized the demon that was poisoning his soul and coercing him to do such crimes against children. The priest recalls that he was convicted for abusing children — sexually, psychologically, and emotionally — in the 1980s, and sentenced to 14 months in a minimum security facility. He believes that he was lucky, knowing that a similar child-abusing priest was sentenced for 20 years of hard labor. The priest mentions that life was tough for him both inside and outside of prison.
He felt that a lot of people resented him for what he did to children, and believed that what happened was just a lie, no matter how true it was. Some officers, notably a lieutenant who hated him, bullied and toyed with him. Other prisoners were disgusted at his presence, refused to befriend him, or intimidated him often. For his size, he thought that he would not stand a chance, and he saw that avoiding conflict was the best solution. However, not all of these people resented him or was afraid of him.
He recalls making some friends while in prison, ranging from guards to cell mates. They supported him and were sympathetic of him, especially at the time when the lieutenant’s abusive nature went a bit overboard. While in prison, he fought for the system to give him therapy for the “sickness” he believes that he was carrying. He won that appeal, and the court sent him to therapy twice a week. The Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous (SLAA) provided the opportunity for him to realize the root from which this sickness stemmed.
While trying to heal himself, he also experienced rejection from close friends and acquaintances. Life was certainly difficult for him who was branded as a “child abuser,” which is why he wanted to reform himself in order to reenter society. During his SLAA therapies, he recalled his childhood which was filled with fear, anxiety, misfortune, and harassment. It was at that time when he idolized his parish scoutmaster and weirdly fell in love with him, prompting him into having a sexual relationship with him. It was a very traumatic experience that he knew he had to pull out from.
He deducted that this might be the root of his “sickness” all along, as it was reinforced by an authority figure that it was “okay” to do it. He was also searching for a father figure, since his real father abandoned him and his family, and his mother declared him as the head of the household. When he entered the parish, he wished to help the children who had no father figure and had an emotionally miserable life. Things boiled over, and pretty soon, he was sexually involved with these young boys. One boy told his parents, and this made him realize his mistake.
He mustered the strength to tell their parents that they need immediate therapy, but was arrested in the process when one therapist told the police about him. When he finally got out of prison, he wanted to mend the ties with his family and clear things up with them. However, they failed to “hear him out,” which was the reason that drove him into an unstable state in the first place. He confronted his scoutmaster and felt betrayed by his insights on the issue involving child abuse, telling him that it was wrong while he was regretting the fact that he believed in his scoutmaster.
The damage has been done to him, and he believes that he needs to accept the consequences of his actions and just move on. He mentions that it left a black hole in his life, upon which he was initially placing things to fill that void. However, he realized that it was not the right course of action as he was building his life around that hole, completely avoiding it. Thus, he wished to enter the ministry again in order to help others that are trapped in the same dark cell in which he broke out from, although not completely.
The priest mentions that gradually, he was able to recover his life and reform himself into the person that everyone knew before the incident. He was also able to reenter society as himself once again. Hence, he wishes to share his experiences to the world through this article in order to let people know that victims could become victimizers themselves one day, if they are not treated immediately.
References A priest child abuser speaks. (1990). In S. J. Rossetti (Ed. ), Slayer of the Soul: Child Abuse and the Catholic Church (pp. 99-111). Mystic, CT: Twenty-Third Publications.