[The following is the Victim Impact Statement which was read to the court in a Pembroke, Ontario court by “Victim A” on 17 September 2013. When he was ten-years-old Victim A was sexually abused by Father Dan Miller ]
Victim Impact Statement
For 35 years I said nothing about the fact that I had been molested by Daniel Miller. I tried to close off that part of my life and I guess at the time I thought it was no big deal. I was wrong about that. What happened to me has had a huge impact on my life.
I have read the guidelines for this victim impact statement and all the rules about what I could not say – if I was allowed to say what I really wanted to say then the court might begin to understand how I feel. I do a lot better job talking than I do writing.
Looking back on my childhood now believe that Daniel Miller took full advantage of how messed up things were for me at home. I tell people that my mother was like Mother Theresa and my father was like Ganges Khan. I grew up being someone with a personality between those two extremes.
My father was an alcoholic and he was very abusive to my mother and us kids. I watched him hit my mother while I stood helplessly by. We didn’t have much in my family- we had no money, we used the food bank and the church was where we went for help. Father Miller was good to us in many ways. He bought me warm winter clothes, he gave me things and took me places that my mother could not. When I was 12 years old he drove me and my mother to the hospital where I was scheduled to have [redacted] surgery. He prayed over my bed. Looking back on that now I can’t help but feel cynical about his prayers. He had already molested me by that time and told me I would go to hell if I told anyone. I lost my relationship with the church then too. There was nothing holy about it anymore. I was drinking the left over communion wine with the knowledge and encouragement of the priests. I didn’t want to be an altar boy anymore. I didn’t trust God and I didn’t believe in him anymore. Nothing about the church felt right. In some ways I feel very guilty about telling Father Miller’s secret to the police. I guess I thought the sexual abuse was a small price to pay for the good things he did for me. I knew that over the years I could ask anything of him and he would give it to me. I borrowed money from him different times. I thought he cared for me and wanted the best for me but now I wonder how much of his care was a lie designed to keep me quiet.
Growing up I was the kind of kid who loved to be outside and hanging around with other kids all the time. I loved to be outside going tobogganing or whatever with the other kids. After the day I woke up with Miller’s hand on my erect penis something changed. He told me not to tell anybody so right away I knew what he did was wrong. I felt different then. I thought that people would be able to look at me and know what happened. I didn’t know what I would do if anyone asked me – I didn’t want to get him in trouble and he was helping my mother and doing good things for us. I felt ashamed. I didn’t understand why my penis was erect and to this day I wonder how long he had been rubbing it while I was asleep. Had he done this other times? I have so many unanswered questions. He told me that it was normal for boys and men to masturbate that there was nothing wrong with it. As I grew up I became obsessed with masturbation. I didn’t even know really what I was doing. I was afraid of what would happen if I ejaculated and I wouldn’t let myself ejaculate. I believe this set the stage for how messed up sexually I am today.
To me being sexually aroused feels sick and twisted. I do not know what healthy sexuality is because I have never experienced it. I cannot function sexually unless I feel I can dominate the woman I am having sex with. Part of this domination includes my using degrading and abusive language. I have flashes of Father Miller come into my head when I am trying to be intimate with someone. I am disgusted with myself and feel it is better that I have no sex life than to have the twisted one I have now. My first sexual experience was at the hands of my priest Daniel Miller and I feel this set the stage for my sexual problems and for how much I hate the way I am.
As a teenager I did very poorly in school and it wasn’t because I was lacking intelligence. I started drinking alcohol every chance 1got – I started stealing so I would have money to buy drugs. I used whatever I could to numb out and stop feeling things. I didn’t like feeling like a failure. I still don’t. Appearances were very important to me. I was always trying to impress people and since I was hopeless at trying to impress good people I started trying to impress bad people. That was a lot easier. I was involved in a lot of criminal activity even though I knew better because it was better to be included in someone’s group than to be looked down on and dismissed all the time. Even bad attention is good attention when it is all you have.
I have struggled to maintain sobriety all of my life. I am angry and irritable with people I love. I have a very short temper. I was in a relationship with the same woman for 13 years. I treated her terribly. I don’t know why she stayed with me because she deserved better. I am thankful every day that I never had children. I would not know how to love or care for a child. I have attempted suicide twice, once when my mother died and again shortly before I decided to go to the police. I still struggle with suicidal thoughts. I live with the guilt of knowing that others may have been abused by Miller because I didn’t tell sooner. Could I have spared any of the other men here today if I had spoken up? I wonder about that a lot.
I am 47 years old now. I can’t relate to men my age. They worry about careers and pensions and paying for their kid’s education. I worry about getting through the day without hurting someone or using drugs or having a drink. I am getting help from [redacted] and I have just recently had an intake appointment to start counselling for men who have been sexually abused. I feel as though I have been robbed of my potential. What kind of person would I be if this had never happened to me? Would I have a normal attitude toward sex? Maybe I would have a family and a satisfying job. Would I stop hating myself? Would I still believe in God?
Would I trust people who say they want to help me or would I still treat everyone with suspicion?
I am upset when people say things like it only happened once or it could have been worse. I was a 10 year old kid – I didn’t even realize what Miller was doing to me – As an adult I have tried to convince myself that it was no big deal but the more open and honest I am with myself the more I realize that is a lie. It is a big deal and I have a long road ahead of me if I ever hope to heal and become the person I want to be.