Man Alleges Memories of Abuse

By Aimee Juarez
Bradenton Herald
January 29, 2005

California-based psychologist Michael Fraga was teaching a college class in the late 1990s when, he says, his past caught up with him.

His students were undergoing a group therapy session when a repressed memory tainted with sexual abuse began to surface from one of the participants. Fraga felt he could relate to what his student said, and used his knowledge of psychology to analyze himself. He knew he had been through a similar situation. He knew it wasn't repressed. Instead, it sat dormant in his memory for more than 30 years.

"It opened it up," he told The Herald by phone Friday night. "It wasn't something I was conscious of and let sit there. It became troublesome."

Fraga is one of the many plaintiffs who sued the Boston archdiocese in 2001. Two years later, an $85 million settlement was reached, with plaintiffs receiving up to $300,000 each. Fraga reportedly received $250,000.

In the 2001 lawsuit, Fraga accused Haile assistant principal Joseph Gilpin, who had been a seminarian in Massachusetts during the mid-1960s, of abusing him.

In the lawsuit, Fraga says he met Gilpin at Camp Miramar, a seminary and educational facility that also housed a summer camp for boys. He claims Gilpin used his authority to befriend and molest him as a child between 1965 and 1968. Gilpin removed the boy's clothes, fondled him and performed lewd acts, Fraga claims. The incidents took place at the camp, at the boy's home and at other locations, according to Fraga, who is now 48.

In response to the lawsuit, Gilpin and the Archdiocese of Boston denied the allegations. Gilpin acknowledged being a seminarian in Boston at the time, but denies ever meeting Fraga, befriending his family or working at Camp Miramar in Duxbury, Mass.

The denials anger Fraga.

"Often times when these kind of situations happen, there is a small pause and people start stepping forward," Fraga said. "Where there is smoke ,there tends to be fire."

David Clohessy, national director of he Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, said he hopes Gilpin's resignation brings comfort to Fraga.

"I just wish that his friends and colleagues could express support for him privately because it's crucial that we create a climate that encourages victims not discourages victims from coming forward," Clohessy said. "We were powerless as kids, but as adults we're not and we have a moral duty to protect others."

Fraga stressed his case is closed.

"It's like coming full-circle now," Fraga said. "I'm a firm believer in we reap what we sow."


Any original material on these pages is copyright © 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.