Thomas Haberer: Victim Impact Statement

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My teenage years and adult life have been an existence of emotional problems. I have, over the past forty-three years been treated (and medicated) for depression and related conditions. I have suffered from obsessive-compulsive disorder, impulsive behavior, an inability to focus/concentrate, and a constant day-to-day battle with compulsive thoughts related to guilt and especially shame.

I have been persistently afflicted with mood swings, emotional outbursts leading to verbal abuse of family members, and an inability to voice true feelings. To verbally express my love for my family members has always been next to impossible.

Normal sexual behavior in my teen and pre-marital years was always thoroughly saturated with feelings of guilt and the concept of sin. I have had great difficulty in understanding female sexuality, as well as establishing close relationships with women.

I have never had the feelings of self-confidence, self-trust, and self-worth that I observed in my peers at Assumption High School and over the ensuing years.

My insecurities were manifested in binge alcohol abuse and these episodes were marked by foolish and immature behaviors. I look back and see those episodes as fruitless attempts at self-acceptance, self-importance, inner solace, and an impossible attempt to find my long gone youth. However, I have abstained completely from alcohol consumption for the past twelve and a half years.

I am no longer a practicing Catholic and bear significant resentment (and often outright anger) towards that institution. Whenever I am in Windsor and drive past Assumption College or Assumption High School, these emotions emerge and remind me of what I lost there.

The successes that I have had in my life (and my redemption) have been largely due to my wife of forty-three years. She is truly a unique individual who married an extremely troubled and insecure young man, and I have no doubt that her kindness, patience, and tolerance saved me from complete ruination.

With regard to my successes, I believe that I was able to accomplish much through a work ethic and also an ability to repress my feelings and emotions. The result being a facade of normalcy and a cover for my inner turmoil.

My years at Assumption High School were essentially fruitless and negative. Years that should have been intellectually, emotionally, and socially a period of personal development were no such thing. They were to a minimal degree either positive or beneficial.

I look back on my attendance at Assumption High School and see an environment in which I was abused and shamed. Instead of attending an academic environment in which I should have found various forms of success, I never found such forms. Nor did I find or realize the paths to true worth, true talents, or true self.

I am indeed resentful and angry. My fondest wish is that I could relive my teenage years and recover what was taken from me at Assumption High School.

Thomas Haberer

4 Responses to Thomas Haberer: Victim Impact Statement

  1. Trisha Gelinas-Facchineri says:

    Tom, I have been looking for someone who might have known my Dad…Ken Gelinas. He went to Assumption High in 1954,55,&56. I have his year books and you are just a few pictures away. If you remember anything at all, please contact me THX

  2. TH says:

    Hi Trisha:

    Unfortunately, I do not remember your dad. I am sure that I was never a classmate in any particular subject with him, although I do remember the name.

    Sorry that I could not help.

    Tom Haberer

  3. Deborah Kloos says:

    Hi Tom. You are a very brave person and I ask the Lord to give you peace and healing. I know where you are coming from about seeing the school and being reminded of stuff. For me it is seeing the clergy’s outfit and white collar. It makes me nervous, but I have been doing better with it now. I have struggled with depression over the years too, but it is doing better. The worst things that really upset me is that every time another case of clergy abuse comes up in the media, it sets me off into depression again. I did go back to the Catholic faith, but it has not been without struggles. I have already been to 3 Catholic churches because it seems like problems always occur between me and the clergy. It is pretty messed up but I do love being part of the choir and being involved in church ministry despite everything. I hope things work out at this new parish. I don’t know. My son wants nothing to do with it and decided against being confirmed. I believe it is his choice to decide and I support him. I asked the priests to pray for the victims of sexual abuse during Lent but have not heard any positive responses to it. This upsets me. I believe that the church should pray for the victims of clerical abuse at every mass because they have been wounded by the church so I decided that I will do it when it is time for the congregation to say their prayer intentions. Just because people fail to mention it, does not mean it does not exist or will go away. That is what the church has tried to do all along……just ignore it, don’t mention it, then it will go away. One day it will be more than the courts that they will be accountable to. One day they will face God and have to answer to Him about why and how did these things happen under the churches’ name and not be stopped?????? I think that the church really has to take into account that there are so many people wounded that were vulnerable ones by the person who was supposed to be their Spiritual Leader and Teacher. It is sad because there is no way to get back those years where a person was hurt and the years and years that a person has struggled with their pain as a result of the abuse. We just have to look to the Lord and ask Him for healing. I ask Him to be with you in your healing, Tom, especially during those days you feel alone and depressed. Take it one day at a time. It is all you can do. It is all I can do too!!!

  4. TH says:

    Hi Deborah:
    Thank you for your kind words. It means so much to me to have the support and understanding of good people such as you and Sylvia. Since Marshall’s convictions in Windsor, I have realized that each of his victims were not the only ones in that horrible situation, and there is a bit of consolation in that.
    Still, there is all the anger and loss of self which I have to contend with each day. My emotional battle continues and some day I hope to have a sense of mental normalcy.

    Thanks again!!!

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