Making the problem go away

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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.

1.  “Allegations”

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”

“Our”?  

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?.

Email: [email protected]

Mailing address:
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.

A lawyer?!!!

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? 

Sincerely,
Saburo Kagei
Headmaster

…….

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

30 October 2014:  Father Joe LeClair:  Ontario Parole Board – Temporary Absence Decision of the Board

 Ontario Parole Board Temporary Absence Program (online 19 November 2014)

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,

Sylvia

This entry was posted in Accused or charged, Bishops, Brothers of Christian Instruction, Canada, Scandal and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Making the problem go away

  1. Pingback: St. Mary’s Brothers & Teachers Confess to Rape and Abuse | St. Mary's International School Labor Dispute

  2. Sylvia says:

    I have some information and links on the SMIS panel member Keiko Ohara.
    I see nothing which indicates that Ohara has expertise in child sexual abuse be it abuse of boys or girls, either in or out of the Roman Catholic Church.

    Here is a link to her online CV: http://www.kamlaw.com/en/profile_oharakeiko.html

    And here is a link to Kamiyacho International Law Office, the lawfirm where Ms. Ohara is a partner http://www.kamlaw.com/en/practiceareas.html

    I could perhaps see Ohara providing advice on the thorny issue of providing compensation for victims from country A molested in country B by a man from country C. BUT, …the thing is that the Brothers of Christian Instruction could provide compensation on its own initiative, could it not? To my knowledge there is no law anywhere which prohibits a school or religious order from compensating whomever they wish to compensate. If there is a sense of moral accountability and responsibility for the damage done by members/staff/employees to vulnerable and innocent young boys they are free to do as they wish, are they not?

    Further to that, the Kagei letter provides an email for reporting information to the panel as: [email protected].

    kamlaw.com is the url for Ohara’s lawfirm Kamiyacho International Law Office. When one clicks on [email protected] the email directs to [email protected], Ms. Ohara’s email. (plus, hover the mouse over [email protected] and up comes “mail to: [email protected])

    So, Keiko Ohara, a lawyer whose expertise seems to lie in the realm of international law, is the email contact for all victims who wish to come forward to report abuse to the SMIS panel, and the email point of contact for all who believe they have information which would be of interest to the “inquiry.”

    I don’t understand. I really and truly don’t understand.

    Ms. Ohara is no doubt a lovely lady and skilled lawyer, but why did SMIS choose her (1) as a panel member and to conduct an inquiry, and (2) as the first point of email contact contact for men who, as children, enured sexual abuse at the hands of brothers or staff at the school?

    For those who opt to make contact by mail, Mr. Kagei gives the contact mailing address for the 360 Risk Management Group.

    That’s where Jack Byrd, another panel member works. The same Jack Byrd who is quoted as saying: “What clients are really interested in is making a problem go away after they have encountered it. Once the crisis hits, they call us”?

    How pray tell will does that sentiment help a victim? I can see it helping the school, but, how will it help the victims? Not only that, how pray tell does that sentiment help those who wish to report cover-up? Again, I can see it helping the school, but how will it help whistleblowers?

    What am I missing here? Can anyone out there help me to make sense out of this panel. Please.

    I will add info on other panel members as I round it up.

  3. prima facie says:

    Sylvia: You are not missing anything. As we have discussed, you, me or others cannot change the “process” that the authorities have chosen to follow. What you, me and others can do is point out the facts of any given case and comment on them, on this website, despite what some people with something to lose, would like people to believe. If opinions or comment are not refuted with FACT and evidence, then they become public opinion, right or wrong. We have seen that so well, haven’t we Sylvia. The person who has the mighty pen with the greatest exposure and publicity will win the arena of public opinion. That won’t be you Sylvia. It will be the experts, lawyers and other professionals. Today, despite the facts being otherwise, an attempt to form public opinion via the “allegations” assertion will be pursued by those who would like to see “it all go away”. You, me and others have seen the same theatrics, unravel act by act for a couple of decades now, haven’t we? Same old same old. I believe inquiries, as you know, are constructed with the intent to create public opinion that; “all is well”, “your children are safe”, “you can sleep peacefully tonight”. And at the end, “they” will write up a plan/suggestions to make life better, so it will never happen again; without admitting to any guilt or actual responsibility. Sure, “the panel” will find and admit there were a few shortcomings, blame some victims, blame the system and institutions. Some convicted, accused and alleged predators and their co-conspirators will be described as being controlled by addictions or mental illness or other illnesses and they didn’t know what they were doing. I believe, as always, they and the institutions they are/were associated with will be basically exonerated. Something like “gee, I was in a drunken stupor and didn’t know what I was doing”, will probably be one of the lines of defense. You see, every new “Inquiry” invites new victims and related. They have no knowledge about Inquiries and they blindly trust and follow the “word” of authority. Unlike you Sylvia, who has become informed and experienced about inquiries. It’s like visiting with a lawyer for the first time. People usually think this is an eye-opening experience, however, after interacting with lawyers a few times or over several years, your eyes may begin to blink rapidly…for various reasons….ha!ha!. What you are doing is presenting evidence and facts. Your questions are valid, reasonable and justified. “Their” lineup of credentialed professionals, lawyers and other authorities appear to be impeccable. Let me emphasize “appear”. Again, Sylvia, why don’t you submit your website and the hundreds of cases that went nowhere. There may even be a few “Inquiries”. Am I skeptical? Well, I think we could put together a team of victims willing to speak out with other laymen and professionals who would be willing to be “watch dogs” so-to-speak. These transparent, behind closed door discovery proceedings have already begun. If not, well Sylvia, as I see it, you have presented excellent evidence, facts and informed opinion so far. In addition as I wrote, your questions are valid and reason for concern. YOU, Sylvia have informed opinion, experience, knowledge, relative referenced evidence, contacts and a forum (your site). You are NOT missing anything. Your questions are evidence of that.

    James P. Bateman

  4. Sylvia says:

    Yes prima facie/James. the same old same old. It’s difficult to watch it play out again and again, isn’t it?

  5. Ohara is seemingly doing a Kegei and avoiding victims. says:

    I called the phone number in Tokyo for Ohara’s law firm ‘Kamiyacho International Law Office’ and asked to speak with Ohara. The female answering the phone wanted to know who was speaking before she would place the call through to her. I was very firm and said that I would not be giving my name, the issue I wanted to discuss was child sexual abuse which is sensitive and was not going to be discussed with a third party. This banter went on for a while.

    Eventually a male with a Japanese accent answered. I again repeated my request to speak with her. He too wanted to know my name and what I wished to discuss. I refused to give my name and advised I would provide this to her only as the matter was highly sensitive and concerned child sexual abuse at SMIS. Despite having been told that she was in the office, this male advised that she was not in the office. I asked when she would return he did not know, “she does not have an appointment diary”. I asked what time should I call her tomorrow, he replied it is Saturday tomorrow (I had forgotten Japanese time and the International date line).

    I asked for the name of the senior partner at the law firm. This was confidential (quite strange for a law firm). I asked for Ohara’s cell phone number, this was confidential too. I asked for this male’s name, again he said it was confidential. He asked “was I an alumni, or a third party”, I advised I was a victim and would not be participating in a relayed conversation with a matter so sensitive. I was angry at yet another Kagei style avoidance and ceased the call.

    So Ohara if you read this. Please advise HERE of your expertise and qualifications to deal with a matter of child sexual abuse. You may also care to address ALL of the very valid questions Sylvia has posed. Or, you will no doubt “do a Kagei, perhaps dance the Takurazuka like him and do nothing”. You may, but I doubt it, provide your cell phone number, after all your office declines to put your calls through.

    • Sylvia says:

      A disgrace. An absolute and utter disgrace. A responses such as this by a panel member – identified by Mr. Kagei as a contact – is not something which will instill trust in victims.

      Who then are victims to call?

  6. Sylvia says:

    I have posted the following blog with information on panel member Mr. Angus B. Llewellyn I have posted the following information:

    19 November 2014: Making the problem go away

    Once completed I will draw all of this information on panel members together on one page

  7. prima facie says:

    RE: Entry above, “Nov. 21, 2014: 12:22pm post. Ohara is seemingly doing a Kegei.” Call to Law Firm, “Kamiyacho International Law Office.” Yes, I agree, isn’t this reported behavior DEPLORABLE? And, “Ohara et al” being promoted as being a member of such a professional, elite and experienced team, with such an impeccable record.. I applaud the caller and reporting their findings here. WAY TO GO. As I have personally witnessed, avoidance, factual misrepresentations, hiding behind the cloak of confidentiality, delay after delay etc, many times, I believe these are all common practices/tactics . You see readers, I believe there are hundreds of thousands of so called elite professionals available, waiting in the wings to be assembled and do the very same work; especially if there is a guaranteed “bank” paying their fees, costs and other disbursements. Many of these “professionals” etc. will hail from various perspectives from assorted social and professional backgrounds. But, I would say, I myself could assemble a “team” of highly credentialed professionals and other, in less than a month. They would of course want to know what the mandate was and what the short term-long term objectives were. They also may question as to what the anticipated or preferred outcome is to be. Then, what also must be considered is MY INTENT. If I assemble a team, what am I hoping to achieve, even though I call the inquiry transparent, unbiased and honest. Anyone can assert anything, if their words, written or otherwise, are not checked or validated as accurate, then the charade continues unchecked and before you know it, it becomes public opinion and factual misrepresentation is unfortunately considered to be fact. I have seen the aforementioned happen so often. However, with each new trial or inquiry, we learn and become more informed. Generally, most people never interact with lawyers or participate in inquiries their whole lifetime. This is where the inquiry managing/executive “stakeholders” hold a distinct edge. Most witnesses/participants are ignorant and/or intimidated by the process. As in other commissions or inquiries, “stakeholders” will attempt to minimize the callers information and discredit “Sylvia’s site” and the (perceived dissenting} words written by myself and others. However, back to this callers “alleged” experience. I say “alleged” because that is what “they” will say. FACT: “A detailed piece of information that is indisputably the case and can be used in evidence or part of a report or news article.” I believe, information such as, when the Law Office avoids discussing the callers issue relating to highly sensitive matters concerning child sexual abuse at “SMIS”, or when the Law Office representative changes their information in mid-conversation, requires follow-up. However, down the road, it is my opinion, the Law Firm will claim the callers information to be inaccurate and nothing but allegations and hearsay. In fact, I believe the Law Firm may claim there is no record of the call or they get so many calls, they cannot recall one specific caller. As I see it, one way around this and to protect ones self is to record the calls you initiate or use other direct evidence methodologies to validate the callers information. However, know the laws on recording calls over the phone. In some jurisdictions the law requires one persons agreement and that CAN be the caller, so the caller does NOT have to inform anyone else that the call is being made. In other jurisdictions, different laws apply. Having the above information (that the caller provided) supported by one or two pieces of other evidence such as a recorded call, email message, signed documents, testimony, names, etc., goes a long way in validating and supporting information obtained….when the Law Firm or anyone wants you or anyone to be held accountable for what you, I, or others say or write.
    James P. Bateman

  8. Thank you James ... says:

    Thank you for the time you have taken for these very insightful comments in your recent blogs. Of course the comments all make perfect sense.

    No doubt in another nine or ten months, maybe longer the chair of the panel (we don’t even know who this is) will issue an interim finding along the lines of “we found no instance of any child sexual allegations at SMIS pre 1954. In due course we will report on subsequent years”. Those of us who were at the American Club 60th anniversary reception recently will know SMIS did not exist pre 1954 !

  9. heartbroken alumnus says:

    Sylvia, I thank you for your work at bringing this to light (cf. Ephesians 5:11-14). That school is Catholic in name only. Much of the Catholicism there is heretical and out of line with the Church Magisterium. The good brothers and most of the good lay teachers are no longer at the school, many of whom were chased out of the school. It did happen that if a student is interested in becoming a Catholic, the student is discouraged and even referred out for psychological treatment to get him to abandon his interest.

    Bullying was rampant at the school, and the administration would cover it up by telling the victim that he brought the bullying on himself by the way he reacts. There was an incident almost 10 years ago. A student was taken off campus by his peers, by force, to the Tama River near Futako Tamagawa train station (about 1 k away from the school), and beaten up to the point of near death.

    For all the victims of the school, here is a good song of comfort and consolation.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i5zZS4QcGCo

  10. SMIS supposed panel announcement says:

    https://3c-lxa.mail.com/mail/client/dereferrer?redirectUrl=http%3A%2F%2Fpublic.smis.ac.jp%2Fsmaa%2FHome%2F2015%2Fsmis-letter-2015-03-18.pdf

    Kagei has done it again releasing an open letter to the school community but effectively hiding it. Instead of approaching this site, and the Labor Dispute site and asking them to publish it, and asking Alumni sites to publish it worldwide, he produced it on a limited access site. No doubt like his last letter it will be taken down in 48 hours or less.

    There are sure to be Alumni who are out there, victims of a Brother or staff member at SMIS who think they are alone, who have no idea of the Panel’s existence. But the Panel doesn’t want to work with victims, that way it can come up with a sanitized finding.

    As for emailing the Panel, they don’t respond. But then would you expect a Kagie Panel to?

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