Text of Rev. Michael Hands' Statement

March 4, 2003

Your Honor, for many months now I have wanted to take responsibility for my actions and to offer my most profound apology to the Court, to the people of Suffolk, and to the people of the Diocese of Rockville Centre. But most importantly and profoundly I want to apologize to the young man, the high school teenager I was involved with, and to his family. I am so very sorry and deeply remorseful for my behavior. What I did was totally inappropriate and wrong, it was immoral and I broke the law. I have thought about this deeply and I want to fully repent of my wrongdoing and I beg forgiveness. Most regrettable to me is the impact all this has had on the complainant. Living in the aftermath of all that happened, the embarrassment and the confusion must have been awful. Many times have I been moved to tears of sorrow for having hurt him. I am deeply sorry, and have wanted to apologize much earlier but have been unable to do so because of a court order preventing me from contacting him or his family, directly or indirectly. I have wanted to tell him that he was not to blame for anything that happened between us. No matter how cooperative he was in everything that happened, I was the adult and I am the one responsible. I acknowledge this; I get it. I pray that he too accepts this truth in his heart. None of it is his fault. As your Honor know, I voluntarily entered a psychological treatment center in Maryland after my arrest. I was there for 7 months. While doing psychotherapy I recalled for the first time since high school that I too had been sexually abused. For three years my abuser also manipulated me mentally by telling me the reason why I had few friends in high school was because I didn't believe I was "lovable." He made me think his abusive behavior was a legitimate sign of love and was a "good thing" for me. I repressed so much of this from my consciousness; I never got the chance to process what happened to me as abuse or to dispute the distorted thinking my abuser taught me by his words and actions. In a very emotionally charged situation my "distorted thinking" got acted out. I deeply regret this, While this does not excuse my actions, I believe it does shed light on how and why my normally good judgement was distorted, Once again, let me state unequivocally: I acknowledge what I did was wrong. I am very sorry for my behavior. I am committed to continue therapy and to never repeat this serious mistake again. I sincerely repent and beg forgiveness of all those I hurt and have disappointed. Thank you your Honor.


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