Lessard: Brother Benoit Lessard fic

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Lessard 1969 yearbook

Brother Lessard 1969 Sixth Grade

Lessard Grade 6 1971 yearbook

Bro Lessard Grade 6 1971

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THIS PAGE IS UNDER CONSTRUCTION (Any further information would be appreciated)

Brother Daniel Lessard

Brother Daniel Francois Lessard

Canadian religious brother with the Brothers of Christian Instruction.  The brothers are also known as La Mennais Brothers,  Mennasians or Mennaisians.   (They are, specifically,  the Brothers of Christian Instruction of Ploërmel, not to be confused then with the Brothers of Christian Instruction of St. Gabriel)

Taught at St. Mary’s International School in Japan from 1961 through the 70s.  Died in March 1980.

Allegations that he sexually abused students at St. Mary’s

There are now allegations that five Mennasian Brothers  sexually abused boys at SMIS:  (i) Brother Lawrence Lambert (Guy Lambert); (ii)  Brother John Paradis (Brother Paul-Emile Paradis or Brother Paul Paradis);  (iii) Brother Benoit Lessard (Brother Daniel Lessard).  Brother Lessard died in 1980,  (iv) Brother Marcel Villemure fic (Brother Claude Villemure) and (v)  Brother Alban Cyr fic

It has also been learned that Frank Selas, a  layman who taught at SMIS, is a child molester. Ditto Donald Andrews.

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Letters & Documents of Interest

04 October 2014:   Kagei letter to parents and alumni re contact by victims and talk of some sort of inquiry

11 September 2014:   Kagei letter Alumni Letter acknowledging he knew of Brother Lawrence apology January 2014 and victim came forward May 2013

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Media Coverage & Blogs

20 April 2016:  “Japan Catholic school sex-abuse victims demand to be heard” & related articles

16 August 2015:  Australian diplomat’s son in Tokyo St Mary’s child sexual abuse story

27 October 2014:  Former St. Mary’s teachers faced child sex abuse charges in U.S.

27 October 2014:  St. Mary’s school in Tokyo to investigate child sex abuse after teacher’s rape confession

01 September 2014:  St. Mary’s International School in Tokyo rocked by sexual abuse claims

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Lambert Brothers of Christian Instruction Jean Emile Parent page 8 Lamennais magazine_001 pictrurew croppedThe picture to the Left is a group picture of the brothers taken in 1963 after a retreat at St. Mary’s International School in Tokyo.  In the picture are:  Brother Paul-Emile Paradis (Brother John Paradis), Brother Guy Lambert (Brother Lawrence Lambert) and Brother Benoit Lessard (Brother Daniel Lessard)  (31 December 1963:    Group picture of Brothers of Christian Instruction taken after a retreat at St. Mary’s International School in Tokyo)

1971: Teaching at St. Mary’s – see pic below (Click to enlarge)

Brother Lessard with students 1971 SMIS Yearbook sans

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1969:  Teaching at St. Mary’s….. (Click to enlarge)

Lessard rotatedPicture Left from 1969 St. Mary’s yearbook captioned”  “What’s a Brother?”  Brother Lessard at desk.

 

 

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Lessard with boys circa 1980 at KEEP redactedPicture of Brother Lessard and Grade 6 students taken at one of his ‘sex ed” camps at camp  KEEP (Seisen-Ryo.  This was taken around 1979 or 1980.  Lessard died  March 1980.   )  (For info on Camp KEEP see also:   ” Camp KEEP ”  (Seisen-Ryo)  and Camp Keep The Brotherhood of St Andrew, and “The Kiyosato Educational Experiment Project” (KEEP) )

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06 October 2014:  BLOG SMIS sex abuse scandal

28 April 2014:  BLOG “I had sex with bro Lawrence”

03 April 2014: BLOG  More on the Brothers and SMIS

02 April 2014: BLOG  New pictures of Brothers

22 March 2014:  BLOG ‘Counselling’ sessions in the landing office

20 February 2014:  BLOG  Three of them

15 February 2014: BLOG  Brother Lessard added

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The first day of school, September 1969

St. Mary’s International School, Japan.  Silent video clip

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24 March 1980:  Died.  I have heard that he died of cancer.  I have also heard that he died suddenly and that the boys were told that his death was due to an electrical accident

1970s:  Teaching Grade 6.  Used to take Grade 6 boys to KEEP, a camp located about an hour out of Tokyo in Kiyosato.  Lessard taught the boys sex ed at the camp.  After the classes the boys had to line up to have one-on-one chats with Brother Lessard about sex.  The word is that a number of boys were molested during these ‘chats.’ (The camp trips may having been going on the 6-s as well.  At this time I only have knowledge of trips to Camp KEEP in the 70s)

Also, while they were taking a bath in an onsen, Lessard would sit on a chair and watch the naked boys.

1969:  teaching Grade 6.  He seems to have been a Grade 6 teacher for most if not all of his years at St. Mary’s?  Can anyone confirm or refute that?  I have reports from several sources who say he was teaching Grade 6 in the ’70s, and others that he was teaching Grade 6 in the ’60s

Early 60s -1969?:  teaching Grade 6 at St. Mary’s

allegations that he routinely gave his Grade 6 class one-on-one ‘counselling’ sessions in the small office on the landing.  The boys were asked, among other things, if they masturbated, and to show Lessard how they masturbated

September 1961:  Probably started teaching at St. Mary’s at same time as Brothers Lawrence and Marcel?

1959-1961:   was either teaching or a student  at Pell Wall Hall School, (St. Joseph’s College) Market Drayton, Shropshire,  England (the stately mansion, acquired by the brothers 1928,  was abandoned in 1962 and sold in 1965. )

He was there at the same time as Brother Laurence Lambert fic.   Ditto Brother Brother Marcel Villemure fic (Brother Claude Villemure).   It looks as though Brother Lessard probably landed in Japan and started teaching at St. Mary’s a the same time as Brother Lawrence?   They were definitely both there in 1963

14 August 1954:  Final vows as brother

Born:  15 April 1926.

49 Responses to Lessard: Brother Benoit Lessard fic

  1. Gordon says:

    Hello Sylvia,

    I was at St Marys from 1976 to 1980. I can confirm that Br Lessard molested some of my friends at the KEEP camp in 6th grade. I currently live in Adelaide, South Australia. Please let me know how I can help. Regards

    Gordon

    • Sylvia says:

      Thank you Gordon. That in and of itself is a big help.

      I have heard about Keep from other sources. I was told that Brother Lessard taught the boys sex ed during that week at camp. The boys then had to line up one to have a one-on-one chat with Brother Lessard about sex. I have been told that a number of boys were molested during those ‘chats.’

      Does this marry with your recollection?

      I have also been told that Brother Lessard regularly sat on a chair and watched the boys bathe in an onsen – the boys were naked.

  2. a heartbroken alumnus says:

    One alumnus passed away on April 30, 2013, of cirrhosis of the liver. He went to KEEP, to the sex education camp with Br. Lessard. He was fondled by Br. Lessard.

    When the hurt came out, he turned to heavy drinking. He was also subject to very bad temper tantrums as a result of the sex abuse. He also constantly spoke about the sex abuse with his close friends and would shout about it. He also left the Catholic Church over the sex abuse.

    He died without coming to terms with the abuse. He was very bitter and refused to return to the Church. This is too sad.

  3. dennis says:

    But SMIS and its big brothers in Canada will do nothing. Surely it is time the brothers left Japan. This is so sad about the alumnius passing away in 2013.

    Where are the public announcements now Kagei-san, you will be reading this but your lawyers will prevent you from commenting. Can you sleep at night.

    Brother Michel it is apparent you knew about the sex scandal from reading the Labor Dispute site … where are you now … Don’t you think it is time to resign from the order?

    Brother Lawrence or Guy, or what ever name you are using today, don’t you think it would be appropriate to give a public statement. Or are you guilty too by not making any comment. The answer is obvious. How many boys did you fondle over the fifty years, how many hundred? I imagine you can’t even remember but like Br. Lassard.

    But the order made a nice profit by having you as a free labor teacher for half a century.

  4. a heartbroken alumnus says:

    If Br. Michel knew and covered up, he will be removed by his superior and returned to Canada. He will then be placed in a retirement home and will not be allowed to work with minors anymore. He will definitely be removed from public ministry. Br. Michel is under perpetual vows so I do not think that resigning from the order will be that easy.
    A friend of mine told me that during the private chat with Br. Lessard, Br. Lessard asked him. “What do you know about sexual pleasure?” The friend replied, “I have known all about sexual pleasure for 3 years.” Br. Lessard dismissed him. That friend was shocked over what happened to many other classmates. That same friend told me that Br. Lessard molested one of his classmates in the bath room.

  5. a heartbroken alumnus says:

    Sylvia, Br. Lessard made his perpetual vows on August 14, 1954. In those days, most brothers entered the novitiate when they were 18.

  6. there is no honesty left at SMIS says:

    A call to the switch board at SMIS seeking to speak with Brother Michel advised “we don’t think he will be returning”. So it seems very true that he both knew and covered up.

    Perhaps he does not need to resign, he could be removed. He should be removed. A men’s shelter would be too good for him.

    But imagine this, if his Superior the Vice-Provincal in Japan also knew and did nothing, and the Provincal in Canada also knew and did nothing. And what if this went right to the top of the Order in Rome? Who was the important visitor from Rome in early January?

    But we have heard from Kagei-san the new headmaster that he reported the allegations about Brother Lawrence to local police. But phone calls to local police reveal they are unaware of any.

    Does this mean Brother Michel must go, the Vice-Provencal in Japan must go, the Provencal in Canada must go, and this leaves Rome to go too.

    The Vatican took over another order for a period of time pending reorganization. This is surely destined to be the way of the Mennasians too.

    Let us see the details of the police report, who was the officer, which station? It most likely never happened.

  7. TA in Tokyo says:

    So far I’m just reading allegations and “somebody heard from a friend that”. Anyone with direct knowledge should be encouraged to go to the police immediately.

    Dennis, I see you posting all over with an axe to grind. If you are/were a victim, please go to the police. Otherwise you appear to be someone trying to “make hay” out of a very serious allegation.

  8. there is no honesty left at SMIS says:

    TA in Tokyo, if you are so sure, and indeed in Tokyo, please go and find out and post the name of the koban (police station) where the matter was reported, I can’t locate anyone with knowledge. As if it did not happen, as if it was not reported.

    As for rumors we now hear Brother Michel has been sacked … this has been rumor too until now. Now it is confirmed. Read the comments on Brother Lawrence’s page. The school is not being transparent. Without transparency, there can be no honesty.

    Even the Alumni chapter sites will not report or allow comment, but then it might go away.

    Then the headmaster said he reported it to the Archbishop in his letter of January 31, just before he was rumored to be off to Boston for an Alumni party (he is pictured there on Facebook) But there has been no public comment, not one follow up letter to parents, surely the Archbishop could have put out a press release saying who he has commissioned to investigate the allegations.

    But all we have is SMIS putting a photo of the school covered in virgin white snow, a sign of purity on their Facebook site.

    Let us have an end to this. SMIS go public.

  9. Just a Thinker says:

    We live in treacherous times. The world is more of a mess than it has ever been. Things are just not right, and to fix them, well, not in our life time, nor in this world’s time.

    What has been done is done and cannot be changed. The so called alleged are either dead, almost dead, or long forgotten.

    It is time to move on and make what remains of SMIS a success story. The students in general have proven time and time again that they are out there to make this world a better place. They are heads of corporations, doctors, lawyers, family people, house husbands, and house wives.

    My opinion is to move on and make SMIS a proud place to be a graduate of or to have attended.

    I think the community is with me on this.

    Sincerely,

    A Parent With Kids

  10. B says:

    Really, A Parent, you think it would be a good idea to ignore child abuse as having happened in the past, ensure that nobody is punished for allowing children’s lives to be destroyed, lie about the institution’s past, and only focus on those students who are success stories? I sincerely hope that most of the community is NOT with you on this, because what an awful example to your children that would be.

    If your children came to you in the future and told you that their lives had spiralled out of control after they were victimized, would you tell them that things like this cannot be fixed, rather than supporting them? Appalling.

  11. a heartbroken alumnus says:

    Yes, I know that Saburo Kagei made the report. He speaks Japanese fluently. I even heard him speak Japanese.

    I did receive word that Br. Michel did know about the allegations against Br. Lawrence towards the end of his time as Headmaster. I knew of this back in early February and did not want to say anything about it then. He covered it up so no one else knew about it. He then became the President of the School Board. When his superiors found out, Br. Michel was removed from St. Mary’s and fired as President of the School Board; he can no longer even visit St. Mary’s. I applaud the Superiors of the Brother of Christian Instruction for taking action.

  12. there is no honesty left at SMIS says:

    Shame on you “JUST A THINKER”, and as “B” said so correctly, what an appalling example for your children. MOST people, at least those who are not apologists for pedophiles give your ideas NO support. But if it WAS time to move on, why are you reading this?

    So let us have a full disclosure

  13. Mother of an says:

    At the end of the Second World War the Emperor said to his people {suffer the insufferable, bear the unbearable, we will survive} Japan today is one of the world’s gear nations. And so it is with SMIS. It will survive and prosper but without pedophiles and their apologists.

    In Germany and elsewhere throughout the world nazi war criminals are still being hunted. They may be old men now however they are being hunted where ever they hide. Those who knowing hide and protect them are very likely breaking criminal laws.

    And so it is with the pedophile brothers of Christian Instruction and those who protect them,they will be found and dealt with. All as it takes for injustice to occur is for good people to do nothing, and give the example to their children to do nothing.

    If there are good people at SMIS and within the order, let us see open disclosure Abuse of children is a crime against humanity.

  14. TA in Tokyo says:

    “So let us have a full disclosure”
    How about, “let us have due process”?

    Given the very seriousness of the allegations, can we not treat this as a proper criminal investigation? Put down the pitchforks and provide statements to the police if you have witnessed anything. Presumption of innocence tends to get lost when their are allegations of child abuse, but we should aim to remain calm and let the investigation follow it’s proper course.

  15. there is no honesty left at SMIS says:

    TA in Tokyo:

    The Police will need assistance if this is to be investigated.

    If anyone knows which Police station it has been reported to please advise here.

    The Police need to give their email and phone contact here, if they are investigating they will be reading this.

    If a victim is not in Japan they need to advise how a complaint can be made.

    If the Police are not asking questions they are not treating this if it has been reported as worthy of the proper investigation you refer to TA.

    I am sure Sylvia would have no objection to Japanese Police posting their contact details on this web site. (Sylvia perhaps you could confirm this).

  16. a heartbroken alumnus says:

    I also heard news about the teacher who replaced Br. Lessard. That teacher left St. Mary’s after 5 years there. He had a sad event too.
    http://www.spokesman.com/stories/1995/apr/04/ex-principal-faces-charge-of-sex-abuse-st/

    http://community.seattletimes.nwsource.com/archive/?date=19970415&slug=2534038

    Saburo Kagei was hired at St. Marys as 6th grade teacher; he replaced the teacher who succeeded Br. Lessard.

  17. there is no honnesty left at SMIS says:

    After reading ‘a heart broken alumnis’ comments about the teacher who replaced Brother Lessard being jailed for child sex crimes it makes me wonder for how long have the SMIS teachers been acting and living out a Kamasutra of Pedophilia.

    We have heard elsewhere on this site that Brother Lawrence was sent to live at a local school, and hopefully he has been returned to Canada, if this is true he has now had shopping for more boys to molest curtailed.

    However, Kagei’s allegations are very serious by virtue of the fact he would not have issued the letter without damning information (rumor has it there are photographs of Brother Lawrence ). Brother Lawrence will no doubt be returning to Japan and a prison cell in Fuchu prison near Tokyo where all foreigners are sent.

    I can see the headlines in the Tokyo Weekender, only this time it won’t be like the last story with photos of Kagei-san and Brother Michel smiling with SMIS boys on the playing s fields. We will see photos a bedraggled Brother Lawrence in handcuffs being led off a very long flight from Quebec probably with a transit stop in at the Vancouver Island Regional Correctional Center while awaiting his Japan National Police escort.

    The Corporation of St Mary’s School is silent, but then this mysterious body is not listed or mentioned the school web site. And the Provencal in Canada is silent too, perhaps Brother Gabriel you could make a quick trip to Ottawa give Sylvia an exclusive insight into the dark and illegal sex lives of at least some of the Brothers of Christian Instruction.

  18. a heartbroken alumnus says:

    Many alumni talk about the KEEP experience and it is a topic of gossip and gets brought up too many times at alumni gatherings. If you were to recommend the alumni to report it, they would shy away and come up with excuses such as, “it happened so long ago,” “that Brother is dead so nothing can be done about it,” etc. Many alumni do not want to report it, yet they talk about it so many times. Some say that they were not affected. I have a question for you Sylvia. How would you answer these alumni? Another question, Sylvia, what is your recommendation?

  19. a heartbroken alumnus says:

    I applaud Archbishop Charles Chaput, the new Archbishop of Philadelphia, for stepping in to clean up the archdiocese. We need strong bishops like him.
    http://www.catholicworldreport.com/NewsBriefs/Default.aspx?rssGuid=archbishop-chaput-finds-two-priests-unsuitable-for-ministry/

  20. a heartbroken alumnus says:

    Here is another Bishop who made headline news for taking action as a new Bishop. He is no case of a cover-up at all.
    http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2006/may/17/20060517-125647-6150r/?page=all

  21. there is no honesty left at SMIS says:

    I have just read your comments today.

    “Sad to say, when it comes to the sex abuse scandal I see no real sign as yet that Pope Francis is going to clean house. And, by clean house I mean defrock them all. Every single one of them. Such a purge is long overdue. Catholics are at the very least entitled to be assured by Church officials that is known – as far as is humanly possible – that the priest in sanctuary or wherever he may be is not a molester”.

    But then there are the members of religious Orders, they can not be defrocked. But they can be removed from their Orders. Those like the three Brothers of Christian Instruction you named are in this category. Brother Lawrence is still living in Yokohama or Shizuoka in one of the Mennais schools, he needs rehousing pending investigation and removal. Brother John/Paul Paradis too needs moving from the Mother House in Quebec which is in the grounds of a school.

    This purge is long OVERDUE. Removal from all office until an investigation is complete and rehousing in an appropriate place until then is ethically and morally correct. If found guilty then total removal and expulsion with NO benefits for retirement. This MUST include those who covered up sexual abuse, and no doubt Brother Michel Jutras fits this category. No retirement home for them to live in as “a broken alumnus” has suggested for Brother Michel, but put on the street and left to find shelter with no Church resources, and like their victims totally NO Church support or services. If this needs to include Archbishop Peter in Tokyo so be it. The molesters and those who hide them MUST go, clerics, or those in religious orders who are involved MUST go.

    To put it very directly these people are at best “oxygen thieves.” The world does not have a place for them. Old age and infirmity MUST not be considered, CHURCH support MUST stop ,just as it was for their victims. Let them wander the streets just as many of the homeless and sleep rough under bridges, and search the trash cans for food. They deserve no better. Brother Lawrence, Brother John, Brother Michel and all those other molesters and those who hide them take heed. The Church has no place for you in its ministry, there is no role for you.

    If you next speak to your Priest, ask him to contact his bishop with your protest, speak with your bishop, start petitions, attend Court hearings when these peole are charged, people power can force change and get rid of them. Look at the Ukraine.

    • Sylvia says:

      Yes, you are absolutely right “there is no honesty…” – then there are the religious/members of religious orders. They too must be ousted. Their order can and should get rid of them. They too are a threat to children and bring scandal to both their order and the Church.

      And, yes, the last I heard was that Brother Lawrence is on site at a Mennaisian schools? Who is protecting the children? And who decided that it is okay to place those children at risk?

      And then, yes, of course there is Brother John in La Prairie.

  22. a heartbroken alumnus says:

    I will speak from the heart. I had seen dishonesty at St. Mary’s during my time there. If you were bullied, the bullying was covered up and the victim was blamed for bringing it all on himself by his reaction.

    There was a Brother who taught biology at St. Mary’s and at Seisen International Schools (Seisen is the all girls school near St. Mary’s). That Brother had been seen walking into the girls’ locker room at Seisen a good number of times. That Brother was not an easy man to get along with at St. Mary’s.

    There was a Brother from the US who taught physics. During his spare time, he would go to the swimming pool and take pictures of little children in their swim suits. He would then show the pictures to his students in the high school and ask, “Aren’t they cute?” Parents complained. Then Mr. Fleehtham (then high school Principal at St. Mary’s) and Fr. Matthew (then chaplain) made the same observation. They reported that brother to his Provincial in the US. They went behind the backs of the Headmaster (Br. Michel) and the Vice-Provincial of Japan (then Br. Lawrence). That Brother was removed from St. Mary’s and is no longer permitted to work with children nor live in a house that is attached to a school for children.

    Then Mr. Fleetham was mistreated by a certain lay school administrator who was a corrupt power that be at St. Mary’s (probably for dealing with the brother who took pictures). Mr. Fleetham left St. Mary’s over the mistreatment. Fr. Matthew became high school Principal and also left St. Mary’s over mistreatment by the same lay administrator.

    St Mary’s had a high turn over rate for high school Principals because of the lay administrator. That lay administrator is now retired.

  23. a heartbroken alumnus says:

    one alumnus who was molested called up Br. Michel about 3 years ago to report the molestation. Br. Michel replied, “Maybe you misunderstood Br. Lessard. Maybe it was not what it seemed to be.” The victim of Br. Lessard insisted. Br. Michel then accused the victim of having an attitude problem. The victim asked to speak with Br. Guy Morissette (then the Vice-Provincial). Br. Michel refused to release Br. Guy’s contact information.

    That victim died of cirrhosis of the liver last April 30th. After the hurt over the molestation came out, he turned to heavy drinking and just about drank himself to death.

  24. there is no honesty left at SMIS says:

    This sounds so familiar: the mysterious Board of the Corporation of St Mary’s of which Brother Michel was Chairman recently. Who are they? The school provides no details of the members.

    Surely it is time for the Brothers to pack up in Japan and keep out of schools until there is an independent investigation?

  25. Brother Lessard student says:

    Brother Lessard was my 6th grade teacher, and he also accompanied my class at Camp KEEP. I can honestly say that I admired him both as a teacher and as religious leader. While I can’t speak to what occurred with other students, and I’m shocked to hear of those allegations, he was always good to me and I credit him with my knowledge of French decades after I took it from him.

  26. there is no honesty left at SMIS says:

    Brother Lessard student you were so lucky, so many report very consistent differing accounts.

    However there are issues which continues to put fuel on the fire.
    a]. That is we are hearing no more about Brother Lawrence. He is still not permitted near SMIS students, or to contact parents.
    b] Kagei-san’s letter seems to be lies. There is no evidence of a Japanese police inquiry, and the Archdiocese advise they have no inquiry (not that they should be investigating a police matter).

    As such it seems you were lucky.

  27. Brother Lessard student says:

    I’ve heard many rumors and allegations of (sexual) misconduct regarding those of the cloth at SMIS. However, I haven’t heard from anyone I know from there substantiating any of them (though that’s not to say that these aren’t true). Perhaps I’m an exception and truly am fortunate, but I’m grateful to the religious staff and laity of the school for making me the person I am today. That includes the fact that I’m a devout Catholic, who sees no problems in sending my children to Catholic schools for the entirety of their educational tenure.

    If there were victims of abuse by Brother Lessard and others, that is truly reprehensible. Although I’m a strong supporter of the Church, it must take a stand in acknowledging the abuse that has occurred and bringing those responsible to justice. In some cases, that involves singling out some high-ranking Church officials like Cardinals governing large dioceses in the US. While it’s uncertain what, if anything, local law enforcement authorities will do with respect to these individuals, we can take solace in knowing that they will, one day, face a day of reckoning in God’s judgment. If there is any sin that ranks higher than others, it is someone who, under color of God’s authority, betrays the trust of an innocent child.

    I’d also like to point out that, despite all these and other problems the Church has (and will have), the Church is a great instrument for good and compassion in this world. So too are its many faithful who condemn the acts of those representing the Church who have committed unspeakable acts against children. While we’ve definitely have a long ways to go as a Church, I’m hoping people don’t miss this big forest from the comparatively small bad trees in it.

  28. B says:

    Yes, but the Church is only “a great instrument for good and compassion in this world” IF it acts swiftly to end all abuse of children by its representatives, brings those representatives to justice, and addresses the suffering of all the victims.

    If the pervert “small trees” were knowingly protected by a system that allowed them to molest without reprisals, and the Church just says, “other groups molest more than we do,” or uses other methods to try to deflect responsibility, then what does it matter that many of the trees are healthy?

    Unless the infected trees are clearly cut out, rejected and burned, who will know which trees are healthy and which are diseased? A refusal by Church leaders (like the Pope or Cardinal Pell) to stand up for truth and justice is just another disease that will turn Catholics away.

  29. Brother Lessard student says:

    B,

    There is no doubt that the Church has fallen well short of what it needs to do in terms of the abuse that’s occurred. This is a particularly glaring deflacation of trust since the abuse is well-documented and proven beyond any reasonable doubt, so much so that former priests are deservedly serving jail time for their unspeakable conduct. And you don’t need to stop just there since the Church should look introspectively at other shortcomings it has.

    Having said that, you can’t issue a sweeping indictment of it and its hundreds of millions of followers it has based on incidents that are, when viewed holistically, certainly more the exception than the rule. This is especially true when considering so many other things the Church has done (e.g., Little Sisters of the Poor hospice care for the elderly poor, Catholic Charities missionary work around the world, etc.) Indeed, it is far too easy to seize on grist-for-the-mill media fodder like priest sexual abuse to conclude that it’s some corruptive phenomenon that has metastasized through the Church.

    Believe it or not, the Church is now aggressively addressing this problem (something which it should’ve done from the very beginning). It’s finally taken the moral imperative of calling out miscreant priests and asking those who’ve been victimized by them to come forward. To be sure, there are instances where some high-ranking officials who’ve abetted abusers still elude both the long arm of civil and canonical law. While there’s no assurance that this issue will be completely eradicated in the future, there are plenty of measures in place that are intended to address this as best as possible.

    Like simony and indulgences that dogged the Church’s legitimacy at the turn of the 16th century, the Church effectively eliminated those to a point where only a few now appreciate what significance they carry. As many won’t know or care that the Reformation will turn 500 years old in 2017, the Church will hopefully put this behind them as they did with those 16th century practices by doing what’s morally necessary in terms of accountability, remediation, and prevention. As it does, people should view its broader mission and moral stewardship as a whole despite what it’s done in the past as opposed to characterizing its sometimes terribly unfortunate acts of commission and omission as the rule rather than a very small exception.

  30. B says:

    I’m sorry, but I consider child molestation by priests to be more than “sometimes terribly unfortunate” or a “very small exception” to the rule of moral leadership. I agree that the Church can and must reform itself, but it must begin by acknowledging the enormity of the damage that has been done–not, as you appear to do, by attempting to minimize its devastating impact.

  31. Brother Lessard student says:

    B,

    I’m not trying to trivialize the plight of those victimized by the abuse committed by the priests. Nor am I attempting to condone — as I’m in fact condemning — the Church in turning a blind eye to the problems that have occurred. What you are missing, however, is the fact that, when considering this against the other good things the Church does, you’ll see that it, as a whole, is an establishment that sets a great moral compass for the world.

    If you wish to impart the facade that the entirety of the Church can legitimately be characterized by those victimized by sexual abuse, you’re free to do so. This would hardly differ from organized crime syndicates claiming that isolated random of acts of kindness they may engage in from time to time should warrant a much different public perception of them. This, of course, is folly. Whatever wrongs the Church has committed, its primary mission and works it provides are overall morally sound. On the flip side, the fact that the Mob may hand out free turkeys on Thanksgiving does nothing to detract from its otherwise generally well-deserved reputation as a locus of corruption.

    While I’m sure I won’t change your mind on this issue, I invite you to juxtapose the Church’s failings with its purpose and accomplishments. If you can still convince yourself that those failings can justify the overarching perception you’ve got of the Church, that will be your cross to bear.

  32. Brother Lessard student says:

    Let me also add one other thing: for any victim of abuse, abstract discussions about the general good done by the Church are, quite understandably, flimsy. No one would blame any victim for holding a much different perception of — much less undergoing a subsequent apostasy from — the Church. My point, once again, is a holistic one, and one that necessarily divorces itself from the intensely personal views any one person may have either in opposition to or in favor of the Church. When anecdotal experience masquerades as a rule, nothing good comes of it. That’s basically all I’m trying to say.

  33. The days of good have all but gone says:

    Sorry this argument does not hold water. All it takes for injustice to occur is for good men to do nothing. Pope Francis falls into the DO NOTHING category and injustice is with the Church and all clergy and religious enablers who follow his ethos.

    The days of doing good are generally a distant memory when the holistic Church is examined.

    Please don’t think you can put yourself into the mind of a victim. Your arguments or lack thereof will only exacerbate the hurt.

  34. B says:

    You appear to be saying that actual victims of molestation by priests may well be turned off, but everyone else should ignore deliberate Church policies which allowed abusers to continue to destroy children’s lives, and protected them while it attacked and undermined the victims … because its primary mission is “morally sound”?

    I am happy that most people I know expect more than that.

  35. Brother Lessard student says:

    B, that is precisely NOT what I’m saying. You’re either not understanding what I’m saying or perhaps, due to a blinding crusading zeal you’ve got against the Church, choosing simply to contort what I’ve stated.

    I’d suggest you go over again what I put forth, keeping in mind the discrete points I’ve raised, including but not certainly limited to the distinctions between individual perspectives victims of abuse may (deservedly) have and the more general view others have about the Church.

    Unfortunately, I’m beginning to gather that unless I issue a blanket condemnation of the Church, you won’t be satisfied. That’s not conducive to a civil and constructive exchange about this issue or a broader dialogue of this and other pressing issues faced by the Church and those affected by it.

    • B says:

      No, I do not feel a “blinding crusading zeal” against the Church. No, I do not wish you to “issue a blanket condemnation of the Church.”

      I do, however, need to see changes made, in order to be able to continue on as a Catholic, and I know I am not alone. I live, after all, in a diocese where the bishop deliberately hired a known pedophile priest and washed his hands of any blame when he reoffended in the Catholic school where he was placed. Months after he was finally found guilty, there is still no word from the Pope about whether he will be defrocked. Partly owing to this lack of leadership, the diocese is divided between those who feel betrayed, and those who blindly support the charismatic pedophile.

      You, standing well back to look at the big picture, are content with what you see. That is your choice. But you seem unwilling to consider that those hurt by the Church’s mishandling of this issue does not just include the victims, but also entire families and communities. And it is no longer possible for them to be so blasé as yourself.

  36. The days of good have all but gone says:

    Tell me ‘Brother Lessard student’.

    It is apparent from the web sites that two of these accused Brothers are alive: John in Canada, and Lawrence in Yokohama, and possibly Marcel with him. Brother Lessard has passed on.

    Tell me: Should the Brothers hiding in Canada come back to Japan for a inquiry? If those who are alive are found to have molested boys at SMIS do you think they should be expelled from the Order? Do you think that despite old age they should be jailed in Japan, (no doubt left to die in a Japanese prison) ?

    Or does the Order do nothing and perhaps reward them? A chauffeur driven Bentley or Rolls Royce perhaps? Or Brother John could move out of the Infirmary and spend the rest of his days at the Tremblant Hotel, so charming with its views at the foot of the Laurentian Peaks? After all so many clergy and religious have been rewarded after molesting children.

  37. Brother Lessard student says:

    B,

    I’m not sure where you live, but I work in the Diocese of Los Angeles County where its head, Roger Mahoney, has somehow eluded the reach of law enforcement for years. During that time, he’s shuffled priests that molested young boys from parish to parish and then tried to provide them cover from detection by the authorities. If you’ve read what I’ve said, I clearly believe that not only should those abusive priests be brought to justice, so too should Mahoney. Like the Reformation five centuries ago, there must be some stark introspection the Church must engage in and, if necessary, a bloodletting to purge itself of these impurities. Not only will this serve to hold those guilty accountable for what they’ve done (and yes, that means, if necessary, extraditing brothers hiding in Canada to Japan), it will further other important goals such as remedying wrongs (to the extent that’s possible) and putting in place measures to ensure that this won’t happen in the future. Once again, these are points I’ve raised above, and which are points you’ve chosen to ignore.

    Your posts are now taking an antagonistic and personally strident tone. That serves no purpose and sheds light on a personal agenda you have with the Church and now with me. I can’t stop you from doing what you want or thinking the way you’d like, but my points about viewing the Church from an outside, holistic perspective, on the on hand, and through the intensely personal prism of those victimized by its priests and its practices, on the other hand, are wholly consistent — and valid, I might add.

    Rather than trying to embrace this distinction, you take things personally and then dish that back. Like I said before, this is supposed to be a civil dialogue. (In fact, there are plenty of points you make I actually agree with!) Let’s keep it that way.

  38. Nick says:

    Was in his class in the 70s and also went to KEEP. We all knew he had an interest in boys… And true he would always come in at bath time “Are you alright boys?” “Yes, we’re fine, thanks” and he would leave. Never heard any rumours about physical contact, though (I was a smis for 12 years). He was a good teacher and KEEP was fun, so I have only positive memories… RIP, brother.

  39. Phil says:

    I was at St Marys for 10 years and was taught by Br Lessard in the sixth grade in 1976. There were 2 classes, the other one taught by an American teacher who was an angry man. We were taught sex ed in the classroom and told not to tell the other 6th grade class. Everything was very hush hush and made to feel bad. Throughout the year boys were taken to the office in between the two classrooms and talked to. Sometimes we had to take off our pants and be asked questions about masturbation. Sometimes he would have a quick fondle.
    At KEEP he loved watching us change before after showers or bath. Every boy in our class new he was a bit strange and creepy. In fact it was openly discussed. When the other 6th grade class went to KEEP, they were in for the time of their lives, as they had no idea how creepy he was. When they came back they asked us if he was like that all the time. The joke was that none of us knew who was the worse teacher to have – the pervert or the angry man.

    He undoubtedly was a pervert, but I never heard of him actually sleeping with any boy, but could easily have progressed and wouldnt surprise me if he did.

    Saburo Kagei was at school with my older brother, however he wasn’t in Bro Lessards class. He would have known Bro Lessard was a pervert, but like my brother he may never have been touched. I would understand that when he joined the faculty, he would have done nothing as Bro Lessard had already died.

    Is chasing all this down now worth it? Yes it is. Admit it, put things in place to stop it and move on. I have always vowed, that given the opportunity, I would never send a child of mine to SMIS or any catholic school employing brothers/priests/monks as the main core teachers.

    • T says:

      Sadly I agree with Phil’s assessment of the way things operated; I was in Brother Lessard’s class in 1977 and, in summer of 1977, attended the KEEP camp and my experience was exactly as he described. Beyond letters that profess transparency does anyone know of any serious actions being taken by former students? Just curious.

      • harry says:

        Hey “T” do you have any ideas as to what action can be taken? The names of any lawyers who can blow the Order out of the sky would be good.

        The latest bombshell from headmaster Kagei admitting he lied about knowing Brother Lawrence is a molester in his parent’s letter is appalling. They left Brother Lawrence living in at least two schools shopping for more victims. Who knows how many he got at in over just the one year he lived in schools after admitting child sexual assault? And then they let him out of Japan, or in Kagei’s words “Brother Lawrence has moved”.

        Shame, Shame Shame.

  40. Simon Scott says:

    Hi! I am my name is Simon Scott and I am a Tokyo-based freelance journalist who is a regular contributor to the Japan Times. I am also the Japan correspondent for the New Zealand Herald. Many of the stories I have published are up on the web, so Google: Simon Scott + Japan Time etc., if you want to check out previous stuff I have written.

    I am currently researching a story about sexual abuse at St. Mary’s International School for the Japan Times and want to communicate with anyone who has any relevant information. I would like to talk with not just the victims of the abuse, but also anyone who may have information they feel could help with my story or who may be able to put me in contact with someone who does. I fully understand this is a sensitive topic and be rest assured that I won’t disclose the identity of any sources who wish to remain anonymous.

    Please email me at my personal email address: [email protected]

    Regards,
    Simon Scott.

  41. Sylvia says:

    Well done Frank Tremblay. Well done.

    And well done all of you men who summoned the courage to come forward and testify.

  42. Pingback: Rape Culture and St. Mary’s | St. Mary's International School Labor Dispute

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