Trying to Dig My Story up from under 55 Years of Bulldozing, I Accidentally Video a Teenage Boy Running in the Back Door of the Rectory. . .

By Kay Ebeling
City of Angels
July 19, 2008

Considering the subject matter, Catholic priests who rape children, I often think there's a spiritual force pointing me in the next direction I should go to pursue these stories. So when I looked out my hotel window and saw just past the pond full of geese, the beige facade and proud cross of Evangel Church, I thought it was a sign, the next step to take. I made an appointment with Pastor Ron, introduced myself and said, I always do what God puts in front of me and so I'm contacting you. Pastor Ron towered over me, but wilted as I spoke of my mission to write about pedophile priests. “I have a wife and three children,” he interjected into the conversation in what was to me a non sequitur. I said, "There have been three pedophile priests in the Catholic Church in Bartlett and I'm here to write that story. I contacted you to try to find other victims like me, uh, you see, because I’m always attracted to fundamentalist evangelical churches like yours, I mean like this church, um, so I thought there might be, you know, other pedophile priest victims here". . .we weren’t connecting.

“I want my secretary to be in here taking notes to document everything you say,” Pastor Ron spewed. “If you contact other pastors the way you've contacted me, they're going to wonder what your real motives are.” He was looking down at me like he was wondering himself, just what is your motivation, ma’am. So I made a fast exit. Curiously the sidewalk surrounding Evangel Church in Hanover Park is covered with little turds, probably from the geese. Okay maybe every sign isn’t from God, sometimes it’s just a sign painted on the side of a building.

Downtown Bartlett, after several hours wandering around town, I was hot tired and thirsty. Walked into Bartlett Tavern and ordered both an ice tea and a beer and a couple patrons made a joke about me as a two-fisted drinker. That opened a conversation. I said I'm a journalist in town working on a story. After talking to a woman in the group I purred, you're one of the lucky ones, able to be a housewife and stay home with your kids. Yeah, she said, although you can find me here most afternoons. “My kids are in the children’s program at St. Peter Damian Church,” she giggled. I gulped. Later she asked me, what are you writing about? I said St. Peter Damian Church. Both of us darted our eyes away from each other.

You can’t just bellow out in a bar, anyone in here a victim of a pedophile priest. Or, lady, get your kids outta the program, they're probably in danger. A lot of regulars at this neighborhood tavern are also regulars at St. Peter Damian Church. They tell me as they nod reverently over their third or fourth drink of the day, “Yes I go to St. Peter Damian, when I go to church that is.” Fridays are big at Bartlett Tavern because of the all you can eat fish fry, a tradition that dates back to the days of meatless Fridays for Catholics.

I'm learning you can’t do a story like this in two weeks. I need to come back, spend time, stay six months, or longer. By my third cab ride into Bartlett I got a little more aggressive. I told the cab driver as he dropped me off, “My sister and I were raped in that church from 1949 to 1955 and there have been two other pedophile priests in that church since then.” As I gave him a generous tip I added, “I’ll be at the Extended Stay for another week if you know of anyone I should talk to.” Went back to Bartlett Tavern and one person with a pensive intelligent looking face joined me at an outdoor table. He nodded that he went to St. Peter Damian when he went to church and stared into his drink. After we’d talked a good hour I said, “I’m a journalist writing about pedophile priests. My sister and I are victims, I'm looking for other victims.” He leaned against the wall, “You know now that you mention it, I remember hearing about that. About 20 years ago they had to take one of those guys outta there.” But Pensive Intelligent then made a fast exit back into the bar.

I sipped my tea and beer and realized the buzz would have to slowly make its way into the population. I'm like a virus newly arrived in town. The message of what I'm here for will go from one cab driver to another passenger, from one bar patron to another. A lot of people won’t want me around, but that's okay, I'm used to that. Others will want to talk to me. I sat there at Bartlett Tavern alternately sipping ice tea and beer, sitting outside where you can smoke, just waiting for the buzz to spread, thinking about the cab driver across town, dropping me into a conversation with another rider. I have to learn when to drop the topic into conversation, only where it seems strategic, and then wait for reverberations. This story is going to take longer than two weeks.

I Want to Report a Crime to The Barlett Police Please

A Pedophlie Priest Raped Me 55 Years Ago

I did go to the Bartlett Police. A very perky very friendly lady there said call back and I’ll connect you with the Chief of Detectives. I did, and a guy called me back, talked to me like he’d never heard of any pedophile priest crimes around here, but he’s only been a patrolman in Bartlett for less than a year. He’s not a chief of detectives, he’s a newly hired patrolman. Have to find another way to approach the police other than walking in the front door.

As I wait for cabs I'm reading Joe Rigert’s book, The Irish Tragedy. I can see as he crafts the stories of Irish priests in America, brilliantly tying in information from personal interviews with crime files he’s gotten from attorneys and plaintiffs, I have a lot to learn.

Everyone I Had Arranged To See Is On Vacation. . .

Curiously the two people who could help me most, two people who I spoke to a few weeks back on the phone and I thought knew I was coming, both are on vacation this week. The woman who runs the historical museum and the woman who takes requests for police records are both out of town now that I'm here. Of course I'm paranoid that they're gone because they knew I was coming.

I got that feeling at the police station as well, they knew I was coming. Since the Records Administrator was gone, I just spoke out loud. I'm here about crimes committed at St. Peter Damian church by pedophile priests. The clerk didn't seem surprised. She seemed like she’d heard it before. But then when I called back they connected me with a newly hired squad car driver.

One day I rode another cab into Bartlett this time just with my camera.

I walked up and down the street looking for the tree with the treehouse where I had shown the neighborhood kids what the priest had showed me, my first act as a seven year old sexual predator. I was looking for the scene of the crime, walking up and down Hickory Street looking for the tree.

But trees really change over 55 years.

Nothing is the same.

After 55 years nothing is similar enough to even bring up geographic triggers.

I was hoping by coming here I’d remember more, but the triangular shape of the old church is not even a glimmer in the design of the new church buildings. That place where I used to run up and pound on Father Horne’s rectory door is not even available through archaeology. It’s bulldozed. It’s buried. It’s like a whole new topography.

A Teenage Boy Running Into the Rectory, what? A teenage Boy Running Into the Rectory!

Just for the heck of it I was videoing the empty parking lot at St. Peter Damian church yesterday, the new buildings, the rectory. I panned over by the garage and there was a teenage boy taking things out of a trunk and very quickly running into the rectory. I'm even sort of narrating as I do the boring stupid video, there’s the building, there’s all this asphalt, and there’s a teenage boy running into the rectory.

THERE'S A TEENAGE BOY running into the rectory.

Call me Scoop. You can’t see it on the video which is in a post below this one here at City of Angels. Maybe if there is a way to zoom way in and enhance, you can see it. A teenage boy was unloading something from the trunk of a car in the garage and taking it into the rectory just when I happened to be there.

THERE WAS NOBODY else around. One other car in the parking lot. So maybe one other person was in the rectory.

It was a business day. The parking lot at Evangel Church had a sprinkling of staff cars. The parking lot at St. Peter Damian’s was empty but for one car, and this teenage boy unloading something from a car in the garage into the area where the priests live. . .

I wandered around to the other side of the rectory and found a yellow ladder leaning against the building, leading up to a window, probably a bedroom window. There's a picture of that below.

Okay. It all probably has perfectly innocent explanations. Teenage boys always rush in the back entrances of rectories on days when no one else is around.

There’s plenty of reasons for a ladder up against a rectory bedroom window.

Just call me Scoop, or maybe Half-Scoop. The videos and pictures are here at City of Angels network.

I have to come back and stay here for at least six months to do this right. I’ll spend the next week continuing to try to find people.

Monday is free day at Chicago History Museum so City of Angels Network will go there to view and report on

Chicago Catholic

which is still a featured exhibit there. It should be very . . . telling.

Tomorrow I’m even going to St. Peter Damian Church for Mass. Then back to Bartlett Tavern to alternately sip on a beer and an iced tea and continue to try to find people.

Just keep trying to find people.

Meanwhile there’s a duck pond right outside my window and all the greenery and water is wiping through my nerves. I don't twitch here the way I do in Los Angeles.

I need to come back. It will take a good six months here to do this story right. How am I going to arrange that?

Onward. . .

A statue like the one pictured at right, children pawing all over the lap of a priestly looking saint, really needs to be removed from the grounds of St. Peter Damian church, considering there have been three pedophile priests in this one small town parish in Barlett, Illinois. Three that we know of so far. Three pedophile priests in the one church with this statue out front. Imagery of children climbing on priests is all over Catholic Church properties and they are a blatant display of church hierarchy's true sentiments. I mean, look at it. The statue pays homage to the priests' dirty little secrets, right out front on the rectory lawn.

Strangest thing. Went by St. Peter Damian yesterday and found everything empty, though it was office hours. One car in the parking lot and one in the garage where a teenage boy ran in after taking in something from the trunk of the car. Then around the side there was this curious ladder outside a rectory window. I thought I caught the teenage boy running into the rectory from the garage on video, but apparently I just missed it. Other churches in town had lots of cars around them, but the Catholic Church in Bartlett, Illinois, had an empty parking lot. One teenage boy running in from the garage and a ladder outside a rectory window. All just a coincidence I'm sure.

Does this man look sorry? Here is the Pope in a photo from July 19, 2008, in Australia, the day he made yet another "apology" for sex crimes in the Catholic Church. Does this man look like he's even thinking about priests selecting boys from Catechism class for weekly sodomy sessions in the rooms nearby?

Well maybe he does, at that.

But does the Pope look like a person who feels remorse for any of the crimes committed in the Catholic Church? NO. He looks like a man who is eating too much pastry.


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