Boulder Creek Pedophile Priest Kept Detailed Diary
By Shannon Burkey
June 1, 2012
A shocking 27-page narrative written by a Boulder Creek resident who is a defrocked Franciscan priest and a convicted child molester detailing his abuse was released last week.
Robert Van Handel, 65, is accused of molesting at least 17 boys, including his 5-year-old nephew, according to the Associated Press, who obtained more than 4,000 pages, including Van Handel’s 27-page narrative, from a plaintiff’s attorney last week.
The documents are the first of their kind to be released to the public and graphically detail Van Handel’s history of abuse with young boys during his time teaching at a seminary high school in Santa Barbara and running a boy’s choir in the mid-1980s to mid-1990s.
According to ABC News, Van Handel, who is now a registered sex offender in Santa Cruz County, “describes wrestling, tickling, and fondling young boys whom he invited to attend one-on-one choir practices, admits to molesting high school boys at a seminary where he taught, and says he took pictures of young boys wearing few clothes or showering.”
"It was clearly my choir and the fulfillment of my fondest dreams," he wrote. "Now I understand that it was also a constant supply of attractive little boys."
The document was written by Van Handel, who himself was molested by a priest, between 1993 and 1994 for a psychologist as part of therapy.
The documents were recently released, according to the AP, as part of a $28 million settlement between the Franciscans and 25 clergy-abuse victims that was reached six years ago.
The church fought unsuccessfully all the way up to the California Supreme Court to keep the documents from being seen by the public.
Van Handel pleaded guilty to one count of lewd and lascivious behavior in 1992 and served four years in prison.