Marie Tupper's Statement
By Marie Tupper
Boothbay Harbor [Maine]
November 16, 2005
Two years ago, and for the first time in 25 years, my son revealed to me that Rev. Thomas Lee sexually molested him when he was a toddler. My mother (my son's grandmother) worked for Lee as his housekeeper at the parish rectory. When I visited my mother at the rectory, Lee would ask if he could take my son into his office. I did not know then that Lee was abusing my child.
My grief and sadness for what Lee did to my only child has been overwhelming.
I filed a lawsuit against the Diocese of Portland after my requests for Bishop Joseph Gerry and Bishop Richard Malone to tell the truth to the public about my son's abuser were repeatedly ignored. I want other victims to know the truth.
I believe that Lee abused dozens of children at his sister's cottage on Sebago Lake and elsewhere.
I believe that most of Lee's victims have never told anyone about their abuse. Most of Lee's former parishioners don't believe that Lee abused any children. Their denial is making it difficult for those who were abused to feel safe about talking about their own abuse. I have asked Bishop Malone to do the right thing - tell people the truth about Lee's abuse of children.
During settlement negotiations for this lawsuit, I asked Bishop Malone over and over again to help Lee's victims. I asked him to make public the number of allegations brought against Lee.
I asked Bishop Malone to go to all the parishes where Lee served (including Maine Youth Center). I asked him to stand at the pulpit and speak clearly, forcefully and candidly to the parishioners. I want him to tell the truth about Lee's abuse of children.
It is irresponsible for Bishop Malone to keep making excuses by saying that he can't tell the truth about Lee's abuse because "Lee's case has been forwarded to Rome for further investigation." The bishop knows that Lee abused children. The bishop has an opportunity to help others. More victims can be helped if the truth is made known. Victims will begin to understand they aren't alone. They will begin to understand it wasn't their fault. They may begin to reach out for help.
Victims who hear the truth about what Lee did to children may begin to say, "That happened to me too." It is an opportunity for them to find the courage and strength to begin talking about their shameful secret.
I tried as hard as I could to make Bishop Malone understand how important it is for him to tell the truth to the public about Lee's abuse of children. I tried as hard as I could to get Bishop Malone to do these simple things that can help so many victims.
Unfortunately, Bishop Malone would not agree to do any of these things.
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