[Read in court 08 June 2011]
I was sexually abused when I was 13 years old by YOU, Hod Marshall — Catholic school principal, Basilian priest, family friend and my own sponsor for Confirmation. You called me your Godson.
When you decided to start getting into my bed, repeatedly, and violating me — you violated everything I had been taught and everything I believed in. You violated my trust, my faith, my self-respect, and my innocence. In many ways you destroyed parts of my life that were yet to be, and because of you, never have been. Before I had ever even kissed a girl I had a grown man in my bed pulling my pants down, whispering in my ear, telling me lies. I’d like to tell you what happened when you destroyed my confidence and self-worth as a child, but after 30 years how can I separate who I am from who I could have been?
I look back now and see I went from winning an award for academic excellence in Grade 8 to being a decidedly middling student thereafter. Before you, I believed so thoroughly in myself and my academic abilities, that I felt life was limitless. After you, I feared adults — especially teachers, I trusted no one, and to put it quite simply, I underachieved and withdrew from everyone and everything. You stymied my academic advancement, my social and sexual development, my career opportunities and my spiritual growth. I could spend hours detailing a life of loneliness, and despair — hoping to die, planning my own death, staring into the Detroit River as a high school student. Listen to me so I can tell you of a lifetime without friendships, of 30 years of depression, addictions and suicidal thoughts that burden me to this day. You will hear the damage those things in turn have wrought upon my wife, my innocent children. (Even though I realize you have no concern for children or anyone but yourself.)
Listen to me so you know for the rest of your life what price I paid these past three years pursuing this matter: . . . losing my job last year which I know was influenced by this pursuit of justice, an inability to this day to focus on my job and perform to my ability, the pain of telling my parents and living with the guilt they endure because of YOUR actions not theirs. The few friends I did have silently drifting away. I can’t even count the number of days I’ve had at work sitting at my desk trying to prepare a report and I am 13 again, afraid to get into bed — wondering if I should try to hide. Some days I literally sit at my desk and bang my fists against my head trying to pound memories of you out of my mind. Will I ever function to my capability when you haunt me to this day?
My wife is a beautiful and loving woman who has supported me through this every single day. I love her but I want you to know that we struggle every day to make our marriage work because what you did to me changed me forever. When you abuse a young boy, you change the man he becomes — the husband, the father. And when I say father I mean a daddy to children, not some pedophile priest hiding behind a collar. By hurting me you hurt my marriage. By hurting my marriage you hurt my children. Just the time, energy and emotional investment I have had to put into seeing you brought to justice for your crimes was time and love taken from them. How sad I am when I have to repeatedly tell my 4-year-old daughter that she never lets anybody but mommy and daddy into her bed?
On top of all that, I am now seeing a psychiatrist, and taking multiple medications every day to try and stay my own hand from taking my life so my children will have a father as they grow up — even if I am only half the father I should be. If nothing else, I have to live so they can be protected from the likes of cunning deceivers like you
I pay for my medications out my own pocket as I am unemployed, I spent thousands of dollars on sexual abuse counseling, I have a $4,000 bill outstanding from a lawyer who did nothing, and I have to defend myself against people who accuse me of bad intentions.
You abused me in Windsor, in my own bed with my parents, your life-long friends, asleep right on the other side of the wall. You abused me in Sault Ste. Marie in the Priests’ Residence of St. Mary’s College High School where your Basilian order’s motto was displayed for all to see: “Teach me Goodness, Discipline and Knowledge.” When you were done abusing me, you went down the hall and got into bed with another boy and abused him. That’s right — I heard you and I cried because I didn’t know how to stop you. I didn’t know how to stop you from abusing me, from abusing that boy down the hall and all the others I feared would come after us.
I suffered silently not knowing how many others suffered like me but knowing you were a powerful and respected man, a principal, a priest, my father’s friend. How would I look — standing against you? I feared you but didn’t even know enough to show it, as the confusion, and shame overwhelmed everything else. Even as I stand here today, I can scarcely express the fear, remorse, embarrassment, anger, shame, confusion, and regret that threaten to overwhelm me at any moment. But I feel pride too for bringing you here. You did not come on your own. And I know there are 17 other individuals here today to speak to or of you, for reasons of their own, but by being here they also help me to know in my heart that I did the right thing.
Every day I have to remind myself that you are to blame and I am not. I was a child and you were wrong.