The following letter is to be sent by Mr. Kagei to parents and alumni of St. Mary’s International School (SMIS) in Tokyo to explain the panel which has been established and the ensuing steps to be taken regarding the recent accoutns of sex abuse at the school. It was an attachment to an email sent to a victim.
The school is operated by the Canadian branch of the Brothers of Christian Instruction based in La Prairie, Quebec, Canada (just outside of Montreal Quebec)
I have interspersed the thoughts which came to mind as I read it. I am sure I will have more. My comments are the numbered red text
St. Mary’s International School
Tuesday, November 18, 2014
Dear Members of the SMIS Community,
As promised, I am writing to provide an update on steps we are taking in response to allegations of sexual misconduct at St. Mary’s International School that recently came to light. The accusations have also been the subject of recent media reports. All of the allegations of abuse that we are aware of – including several we received in response to my letter of September 11, 2014 – date back several decades and involve individuals who are no longer members of the St. Mary’s community.
Brother Lawrence Lambert admitted that he sodomised a young boy. Brother Lawrence is a child molester, not an “alleged” child molester. That is a fact known to officials with the school and the Brothers of Christian Instruction: it is not an allegation.
2. “Recently came to light”
Not all reports of sex abuse at SMIS came to light “recently.” For example, the abuse Brother Lawrence perpetrated on at least one young boy was known by other brothers back in the 60s shortly after the child was so cruelly and savagely molested.
3. “Date back several decades”
Yes, it is true that the abuse of at least one of Brother Lawrence’s victims dates back “several decades” – and equally true that throughout those several decades there has been a cover-up. Throughout those decades Brother Lawrence has been permitted unfettered access to young boys. In fact, despite the fact that Brother Lawrence is a molester he was permitted to teach catechism in English at Seiko Gakuin, Shizuoka (catechism of all things! what a sacrilege!!), be around boys at summer camps, and from the early 80s until very recently serve on staff at St. Mary’s Elementary school, Tokyo – most of those years in the prestigious and trustworthy position of Principal of the school
4. “involve individuals who are no longer members of the St. Mary’s community”
Are alumni not considered part of “St. Mary’s community”? I truly don’t know. Those who know please help me out here.
In response to the allegations, our first step is to appoint a panel of experts to conduct an inquiry into the reported incidents. I am pleased to inform you that the panel is now in place and has already begun work. Its members are:
• Ms. Keiko Ohara, a Japanese attorney, a graduate of Harvard Law School who is licensed in New
York and has more than 25 years of experience in cross-border and international matters.
• Mr. Jack Byrd, an investigator with more than 20 years’ experience in a broad range of complex cross-border crimes including allegations of sexual misconduct
• Dr. Harold J. Bursztajn, a graduate of Harvard Medical School and Princeton University and a forensic psychiatrist with a long-standing special interest in the prevention of sexual harassment and abuse in educational institutions. Dr. Bursztajn consults regularly with health and law professionals regarding victim witness interview methods and analyses.
• Mr. Angus B. Llewellyn, an investigator and a 25-year veteran of the FBI who has led 60+ compliance reviews in response to sexual abuse allegations involving children.
5. Mr. Jack Byrd
Is the Jack Byrd in this link the the same Jack Byrd on the panel? The same Jack Byrd who is a partner in 360 Risk Management Group Ltd. who stated stated in the interview: “What clients are really interested in is making a problem go away after they have encountered it. Once the crisis hits, they call us”? I am quite certain that it is. Look further down the Kagei letter. Note the channels for reporting – mailing address: “360 Risk Management Group…”
Bear that quote in mind both now and in the future: “What clients are really interested in is making a problem go away after they have encountered it. Once the crisis hits, they call us”
6. “our first step”
Did Mr. Mr. Kagei, other school officials and one or more of the Brothers of Christian Instruction select the “experts?
7. “the panel is now in place and has already begun work.”
Why the silence about his great initiative until now? Why were parents, victims and alumnus not told that “experts” had been selected and had already commenced their work? Why the secrecy?
8. If anyone can tell us any more about the child sex abuse expertise of any of these above “experts” please do. I will start searching as soon as I am finished here.
We are very grateful that these distinguished experts have agreed to conduct an independent inquiry and are confident that, given their outstanding credentials, we will receive an unbiased report. In the spirit of transparency, we will share that report with our community while continuing to do our best to satisfy the requests of those who desire privacy in the understandably painful process of coming forward. However, it’s important for everyone to understand that this will take time and the cooperation of our community. We, therefore, ask for your patience and cooperation to allow this work to be completed in a methodical and meaningful manner.
9. “Independent inquiry”
i. How can the inquiry be “independent” if these “distinguished experts” were hand-picked by Mr. Kagei, school officials and one or more of the Brothers? Where is the independence?
ii. Who is funding this inquiry?
iii. To whom are the “distinguished experts” accountable?
iv. Who is paying the salary of the “distinguished experts”?
10. “Unbiased report”
If indeed the “experts” were, as it seems, hand-picked by those with a vested interest in sparing the schools reputation, and if those same “experts” and the inquiry are paid for by the same, how can we anticipate an unbiased report?
11 . “Transparency”
i. Why is the inquiry being conducted behind closed doors? Why is the inquiry not open to the public? Why is there no thought of live-streaming the proceedings to ensure that alumnus and parents around the world can follow the proceedings and hear the testimony of victims with their own ears, rather than read a filtered version?
ii. Who is heading the inquiry? Who is the chair? And by whom and how was this individual chosen? Why no mention of any of this? Someone has to be in charge, but – no name given.
iii. Will victims and those with sex abuse allegations and first-hand knowledge of such abuse be interviewed in person?
iv . Will molesters and “alleged” molesters be interviewed in person?
v. What is the mandate of the inquiry? Why no mention of the mandate/terms of reference? And, of course, who crafted the mandate?
This panel and inquiry are separate and independent from SMIS. Therefore, if you have information to share with the panel, I encourage you to contact them directly. Those who report will be given an opportunity to indicate what degree of confidentiality they wish maintained during the inquiry. The panel has set up the following channels for reporting:
12. “This panel and inquiry are separate and independent from SMIS”
How pray tell can the panel or inquiry possibly be separate and independent from SMIS?.
360 Risk Management Group
Toranomon 40MT Bldg. 7th Floor
5-13-1 Toranomon Minato-ku
Tokyo, Japan 105-0001
13. See #7 above. This is the address for panel/inquiry memeber Jack Byrd, the Mr. Byrd who said: “What clients are really interested in is making a problem go away after they have encountered it. Once the crisis hits, they call us”?
Meanwhile, our utmost priority at the school continues to be the safety of our students. We are taking every step to ensure that we provide all students enrolled at SMIS with a safe and sound environment conducive to academic achievement and personal growth.
14. “our utmost priority at the school continues to be the safety of our students”
If this is fact, why then was that concern absent for the decades Brother Lawrence, a known molester, was allowed to teach and interact freely with the young boys at the school and elsewhere?
Soon, we will be sending information to our faculty, staff and parents about training sessions to be conducted by David Wolowitz, an attorney with the McLane Law Firm in the United States. Mr.
Wolowitz has extensive experience advising independent schools and regularly trains school administrators, faculty and staff on safe practices to protect students in their care, how to operate safely, how to recognize and address signs of inappropriate behavior and how to respond to allegations of misconduct. We look forward to his visit, when he will hold training sessions for our faculty and staff, as well as parents.
15. “an attorney”
Why a lawyer? Why in the name of all that’s good and holy has SMIS opted to bring in a lawyer to advise and teach about safe practices?
A lawyer?!! There is no one more qualified than lawyer to teach teachers about “safe practises” and operating safely, and recognizing and addressing “signs of inappropriate behaviour ” and how to respond to allegations of misconduct.”
I am floored. A lawyer! I’m not for a moment thinking that a lawyer can not have knowlege of such things, but this really is bizarre. I will have too look up Mr. Wolowitz’ credentials and background to see if I can make sense of this. Right now it makes no sense at all.
Once again, I want to thank all of you for your patience during this difficult time. We are especially grateful to those who have expressed your support and ask that you continue to pray for those who have reported abuse. Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns about this matter.
16. “pray for those who have reported abuse”
Would it not be more appropriate to ask that all pray for those who were sexually abused while attending at SMIS?
Remember, this quote, from a hand-picked member of the panel: “What clients are really interested in is making a problem go away after they have encountered it. Once the crisis hits, they call us”
Yes, indeed. Now that the “crisis” has hit, how far will SMIS go to try make the problem go away.
These are the people victims are supposed to contact? That’s the contact number? It makes me cringe!
I will do a little more digging to sort out who’s who on the panel. I ask for and would appreciate your assistance.
For those who may have missed them I have posted one more article and two documents related to convicted fraudster Father Joe LeClair who is now out and about somewhere after serving 2/3 of his sentence:
18 November 2014: Father Joe Leclair granted early release from jail
A reminder here that in a statement issued January past after Father LeClair’s guilty plea Ottawa’s Archbishop Terrence Prendergast stated, in part, the following: “Aware of his many talents and of his 25 years of effective pastoral ministry, we will work with Fr. LeClair in his desire to return to the exercise of his priestly ministry.”
Enough for now,