**********The City of Angels is Everywhere*********

At age five, 1954, "The Bishop" (Card. Stritch) stood over me and said, "Stop babbling about what Father Horne did to you." It took me 40 years to talk about it again. Now, I babble. - ke
In 2009 our ongoing coverage of the pedophile epidemic in the Catholic Church will be at http://cityofangels5.blogspot.com/ .

Read more stories by Kay Ebeling, LA city buzz Examiner at http://www.examiner.com/x-1960-LA-City-Buzz-Examiner

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

His perp is a parish priest. A scream inside says children are still at risk, go public with the story from Immaculate Heart seminary in NY

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By Kay Ebeling


The church finally admits that thousands of children were damaged by sexual predator priests and pays close to a billion in settlements to adult survivors the last decade. As crime victims we should feel vindicated. But thousands of us got no acknowledgement. The church only responds to cases that come with fully documented lawsuits. If you can’t find other victims, if there is no hard evidence, if local law makes prosecution impossible, the Catholic Church does not count your crime in with its statistics about the clergy crisis. You feel your case counts for nothing.

Survivor Peter Saracino, pictured at right, knows his perpetrator is still in a parish, the bishop more or less acknowledges the priest is a pedophile, but the Capuchin religious order “investigation” did not include interviews with those closest to the accused priest. The talk in the town, at the local bars and coffee shops, is that local kids learned to stay away from Immaculate Heart Of Mary Seminary. But many victims keep their experience at the hands of serial pedophile Catholic priests a secret, especially in regions like upstate New York, where the Catholic Church is built into the foundation of city and county governance. The crime victims’ hesitance is understandable, but in Saracino’s case it means the perpetrator priest is still in a New Jersey town, serving Mass, even “babysitting” according to the parish pastor.

“To this day I have received no confirmation from another victim that they were abused at the seminary – let alone by Father Anthony Blank. That is part of my reason for making it public now – and part of my reason for my willingness to name names. my hope that I will find other victims of this man,” says Saracino. “To this day I'm still afraid he is going to come back and rape me.”

Saracino and I deal with recovered memory as well. Pete says he always knew there was something wrong with him, and in therapy even identified, he had been molested at some time as a child. He pondered and brooded over it, who in his family would have done that. I had a similar experience. For years therapists told me I had all the signs of someone who had been molested as a child, but I couldn't imagine anyone in my family doing that. Saracino and I both recovered memories decades later as adults.

On Saracino’s new commute to a new job he drove past Geneva on the Lake resort, and as he’d get close to the former Immaculate Heart Of Mary Seminary land, memories started colliding in his brain. He pulled in to the parking lot to find out why he was going so crazy -

And the memories began to pour in.

Much like when my daughter turned five years old, I pulled her away from a window where I was sure she’d been exposing herself to neighbors, but of course she wasn’t, and then memories began to pour in of what Father Horne did to me when I was five years old, and why that made me behave the way I did, from five years old on.

It is not an experience a person gets over quickly.

It is not the kind of case attorneys like to take on either.


So Saracino and I and thousands of other pedophile priest crime victims remain un-named, un-numbered, un-resolved, and un-restituted. Still Saracino and I keep putting one foot in front of the other, hoping by getting our stories out, a few more people will see the name of the perp, the seminary, the parish, or remember other incidents, and more survivors of childhood rape by a Catholic priest come forward and make the crimes known.

In 1989 Saracino started remembering what happened to him at the hands of Father Anthony Blank, Capuchin

Now almost 20 years later Saracino is finding strength and courage to put his story into new media as a way to reach more potential victims, by posting his story here at City of Angels Network. Below in Peter Saracino’s own words, is his experience at the hands of a pedophile priest, the effect it had on his life, and his current frustration trying to run his own investigation with no help from the church, no help from attorneys (his case is too hard to prove for your usual civil lawsuit, like mine is), but with a little help from new friends he’s found in the national pedophile priest crime victim community.

He sent me his story recently, and here are excerpts.

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Peter Saracino, in his own words.

The seminary was run by the Province of the Sacred Stigmata out of Union City, N.J. We were kind of close to the priests there. My Father signed us up to be in the “Third Order of St. Francis, a group of lay folks who helped out with food baskets at Thanksgiving, etc. A number of these priests would often come down to St. Pat’s parish in Seneca Falls to say Mass. It was common for them to stop at our house after mass to have coffee. My mom and aunt were kind of close to these guys. It was also common for these priests to take many young boys from Seneca Falls up to the seminary to go swimming.

I believe my abuse happened on one of these swimming trips to the seminary.

While I still remembered the NAMES of the priests from back then, I couldn’t connect a name with a face. I wondered who the priest might be. I got my hands on an old year book of the place and started looking at the pictures. When my eyes landed on the photograph of the abuser, I looked down and saw his name – Father Anthony Blank, OFM Capuchin, (City of Angels cannot run his entire name as he is still alive.)

Father Anthony GiudiceOFM Capuchin.

It was the one priest who I was really hoping it would NOT be – I had just named my second child BLANK!!

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Saracino and I share this. My sister named her son Damian, not even remembering at the time our perpetrator was at St. Peter Damian Church outside Chicago
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Peter Saracino, In His Own Words, Cont'd:

It was a perfect summer’s day and I was so glad to be alive. The grass was so green, the sky so blue and I was going on an “adventure”

I believe something happened that day. Ever since I’ve had a “feeling”, a “perception”, a very weird “knowing”/”unknowing” that “something” happened that day. I couldn’t put my finger on it but I had a sense that, deep down inside, at my very core, I had been “changed” – and not for the better.

Throughout my life I found myself continually fighting depression, despair, sadness. It was very difficult being close to people. More than once I felt like ending it all. In spite of my best efforts, I couldn’t seem to shake these feelings. Friends grew up and got married, had families, raised kids. Pete Saracino, on the other hand, seemed to be a loner – with no wife, kids, etc.

Finally, with no hope remaining, I turned to God for help

I was now on a spiritual journey that has lasted to this very day

Little, by little, however, “it” began to surface. I gradually came to understand that I had been molested as a young boy. This, by the way, was a bit before the scandal began to surface with Frank Fitzpatrick going public with the Father James Porter story in Massachusetts. In fact, it was just a few years before that – perhaps 1989. I was shocked and dismayed………and very worried…………WHO could have done such a thing? Was it my dad, my uncle, a brother, WHO?

Around this time I was commuting to a job by a road that took me past the old seminary. It is now a world class resort called “Geneva on the Lake”

As I drove by, I knew I did NOT like the place…..that something horrible had happened there. T hen, one day as I drove by and again said to the little guy within me, can you please tell me……………………….and then, just after I spoke these words, came to my mind the image of a face……………it was a Capuchin priest – the dark eyebrows, the beard……..the face. I was shocked; I was absolutely dumbfounded. It couldn’t be possible…..A priest? I had to be the only person in the world ever molested by a priest. Who would ever believe me.

I wondered who the priest might be. I got my hands on an old year book of the place and started looking at the pictures. When my eyes landed on the photograph of the abuser, I looked down and saw his name – Father Anthony Blank, OFM Capuchin. It was the one priest who I was really hoping it would NOT be – I had just named my second child the same name as the priest!!

I gradually began working up the courage to begin investigating. I called Barb Pedeville, a woman who works with the Diocese of Rochester as an advocate for abuse victims. Little by little, with each phone call, I began telling her my story – WITHOUT telling her my name. She promised to “ask around” to see if she could dig anything up. At one point she told me that she had spoken with the Bishop – at the time, a retired former bishop of the Rochester Diocese. She informed me that when she questioned him about any “goings-on” of a sexual nature at the seminary back then, his reply was “that place was a mess…………that’s why it closed” . I gradually found the courage to identify myself. Slowly I developed a relationship with Barb.

Meanwhile, through spiritual direction and therapy, the memories began to surface. They continue to this very day.

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'If you ever tell, no one will believe you over a priest.' It is little wonder that my mind kept this experience hidden from me for so many years

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Peter Saracino in his own words, continued:

I just remember a feeling like being a “pig on a spit” – being pierced through both ends and slowly being turned and cooked over a fire…….

I remember his words to me – more devastating than the abuse itself………..”if you ever tell, no one will believe you over a priest…………….if you ever tell, the Blessed Mother (Mary) won’t love you………besides, she won’t love you because YOU did this horrible thing…………….if you ever tell, I will come and kill you!

It is little wonder that my mind “kept” this “experience” hidden from me for so many years………….

I finally found the courage to have a meeting with Bishop Clark to disclose the whole story.

Bishop Clark seemed to believe me

Bishop Clark said that he had little jurisdiction over Father Anthony Giudicebecause he was a Capuchin and not a priest of the Rochester Diocese

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Yes, we knew he was raping children, but he is in a religious order, we are an archdiocese. So it is not our responsibility.

Me, I am tired of hearing that excuse - ke

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Peter Saracino In His Own Words, continued:

When I first approached the Capuchins of Union City, NJ, I spoke with the Provincial who did tell me that Father Anthony Giudicehad been sent to St. Luke’s in Maryland for “testing”. Evidently he stayed there for just a day and the tests – according to the Capuchins, showed no cause for concern.

The Capuchins did agree to an investigation.

For their investigation they spoke with people about Father Anthony Giudice– friends of Father Anthony Giudicewho had nothing but great things to say about him.

They decided that it was his word against mine. Nothing was done to him. In fact, shortly thereafter, I was told that he had returned to Geneva and was babysitting!!!

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His perp was in Geneva New York Babysitting

BABYSITTING!!!

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Peter Saracino in his own words, continued:

I continue investigating

A psychologist told me that in group therapy, two of his clients mentioned they had been sexually abused at Immaculate Heart Seminary. While the therapist could not give me their names, he promised to give those patients my name and phone number in the event they wanted to call me. To this day I have never heard from them.

My mom recently told me that when I was little - during the days of kids going to the seminary to swim – there came a day when I began begging her NOT to make me

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Fr. Anthony Giudicefound out Saracino was asking questions about him around town. The priest reacted like a criminal, almost stalking Saracino, intimidating him into a few more years of silence.
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Peter Saracino In His Own Words continued:

Anthony Giudicekept asking my friend and neighbor the name of the street where we lived. My friend began to feel uneasy and refused to tell him. That night, Anthony Giudiceshowed up on the street where I lived. He simply sat in a parked car looking down the street toward my apartment. His presence was discovered when this same friend came out to jog and ran right by the car. As he passed the car he realized that he recognized the face……it was Father Anthony Blank. Realizing that he had been caught, Anthony Giudicesped down the street at about 45-50 miles/hour.”

Also in my investigation I discovered that a number of important individuals – including priests who were family friends and who were at the seminary at the time of the abuse – Fathers (Names cut) and another Capuchin Brother, were Never asked if they knew anything!!!!

I also spoke with Father "Blanket" who also said he knew nothing. Angelus told me, however, that, as a young seminarian, he, himself, had been abused by a Capuchin friar. In order to force Fortunato to call these priests himself, I was forced to write a letter to his Superior in Rome!!!! Then, and only then, did he contact them. Then, and only then, were they even an official part of this “investigation”.

Meanwhile I continue in therapy, both individual and group. I participated in a male survivors’ group in Rochester, NY for four years.

At one meeting, I personally called Father Anthony Giudiceand “had it out”. I confronted him. His answers were very short. He was denying everything I said. You could tell he just wanted to get off the phone. I finally said to him: “Do the people in Geneva you come back to visit know the kind of person you really are? Do they know you are a murderer of souls?” For the first time there was silence at the other end……then he dropped the phone! Then he hung up.

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‘To this day – and much to my disappointment – I have received no confirmation from another victim that they were abused at the seminary’

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Peter Saracino In His Own Words, continued:

Of late, I continue on my healing journey. For the past six years I have co-facilitated a support group for men who were abused by priests. We hold our meetings in Geneva, NY.

I have tried to be a voice for the voiceless – I have appeared a couple of times on TV; written an op-ed piece in the local paper in response to a B.S. piece written by the local bishop. I have also written a number of letters to the editor. I have attending four national conferences for clergy abuse survivors – two in Chicago, one in Toronto, and one in Louisville. A few days ago I visited the local police department and reported my abuse as a crime. I now have an official record of the horrible events.

I called down to St. Francis of Assisi parish in Hackensack, NJ and confirmed that Father Anthony Giudiceis a priest there.

Also, to this day – and much to my disappointment – I have received no confirmation from another victim that they were abused at the seminary – let alone by Father Anthony Blank. Part of my reason for making it “public” now – and part of my reason for my willingness to “name names” is my hope that I will find other victims of this man.

(Unfortunately City of Angels had to replace the name of the man Peter says raped him, because he is still alive and could sue me for - my typewriter. . . )

A recent Good Friday, I once again phoned Father Blanket who is now at a capuchin friary in Beacon, NY. As stated before, I told him of my conversation with my mom and asked him if he could/would shed light on it. He said that he knew nothing about the conversation or any abuse at the seminary. He was put off that it was Good Friday and that I had “bothered” him. I told him that, with all due respect, every day of my life since I was seven had been a “Good Friday” for me. This means I have struggled my entire life with feelings of despair, depression, unworthiness before God and other people, an inability to be close to people’ feelings of suicide, etc.

What would I like to have happen? I would like to continue regaining my “voice” – my sense of myself taken away by the abuse. I would like to continue healing from the pain, of the past. I would like to protect little children. So, In this order:

1. I would like to have the abuse acknowledged.

2. I would like an apology from both the order and Father Anthony Blank

3. I would like to see Anthony Giudice“retired” and jailed………….at the very least, I would like for him to be unable to hurt any more kids.

4. I would like to find other survivors of Father Anthony Giudiceand the Immacualte Heart of Mary seminary. As I’ve said, I’ve been unable to locate any – including my cousin, Jim, who claims he knows nothing about any abuse happening there.

5. I sure would like Father Anthony Giudiceand the Capuchin Order held accountable………..Anthony Giudicefor his abuse; the order for their lack of willingness to even attempt a good-faith effort to arrive at the truth

6. If being “accountable” means paying monetary restitution, then so be it.

END OF PETER SARACINO IN HIS OWN WORDS
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Pete told me, to this day he is “always afraid Father Anthony Giudiceis going to come back and rape me.” He said:

“In light of what I'm going through now, I look back and realize, I used to think what's the matter with me.

“I’d see friends getting married. . . .”

“In spite of efforts to enter pain and move through it, it’s there’s always more stuff inside. It’s surprising and disconcerting the depth of it and how profoundly you're affected by it.

"It is like a scream."

Peter Saracino: My Big Concern is Children are still in harm’s way.

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Psychologists cite the number as about 1 in 10 or even 1 in 20 persons come forward about child sex abuse. The numbers are likely higher when the perpetrator is a Catholic priest, which is probably a reason pedophiles flock to the profession.

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The statute of limitations makes justice a crap shoot for sex crime victims, depending on what state you are in, you get some kind of justice or none at all.
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The statute of limitations to file criminal charges or a civil lawsuit is a crap shoot, depending on what state you were in at the time of the rape. In Maryland and Delaware, there is no SOL on sex crimes, in California they opened a one-year window in 2003 for civil lawsuits then reinstated the SOL on January 1st 2004. In New York you have from age 18 to 21 to file suit, then the statute of limitations runs out.

I was raped by a priest outside Chicago, so I'm left with restrictions of Illinois law, and of course the Chicago Archdiocese has no need to respond to me, I’ll never file a lawsuit.

Those of us who can take no civil or criminal action are invisible to the Catholic Church.

The Catholic Church has no legal or financial obligation to the thousands of crime victims unless they arrive armored by lawsuits with blatant evidence.

To get a response of confirmation from the Catholic Church you have to make them an allegation they can’t refuse.

Onward. . .

1 comment:

Peggy Warren said...

Pete, Thank you for speaking out - you are very courageous!
Kay, Thank you for bringing this atrocities to the public's attention - it is time for change in legislation. There should be no statute of limitations on childhood sexual abuse!


Kay