|The Franciscan Grabbed the Freshman by the Testicles and Instructed the Boy to Cough As If It Were a Hernia Exam. Just Another Day of Seminary Life.
City of Angels
December 1, 2009
Franciscan friars with no medical training tested boys for "undescended testacles" at St. Anthony's high school seminary in the 1960s and '70s, as revealed in a new lawsuit filed in Santa Barbara last month and reported here in Part 4 of the Santa Barbara Story November 2009 here at City of Angels. Soon after the testicle exam, an assault by a group of unruly Franciscan friars fills out the plaintiff's first year of high school, apparently just another part of life at the seminary.
The legal documents in pedophile priest rape episodes again speak for themselves. Here are more direct quotes from: First Amended Complaint for Damages and Relief, Case Number 1338070 filed in Santa Barbara Superior Court November 3, 2009.
Assault During a Physical Exam in the School Infirmary, from First Amended Complaint Case #1338070: "Although initially thrilled to be so far away from his abusive home, the situation for Plaintiff at St. Anthony’s degenerated quickly. Specifically, within a month or two of school starting Plaintiff was called to the infirmary. Upon arriving Plaintiff observed notorious perpetrator Father Robert Van Handel sitting near an infirmary bed, along with another Franciscan he did not recognize. Van Handel then informed Plaintiff he was there 'for a check-up.'
"Unbeknownst to Plaintiff, this was a fraudulent misrepresentation as the Franciscans have never had any agents qualified to conduct medical exams, much less any such agents assigned to St. Anthony’s [seminary in Santa Barbara]. To the contrary, when a serious medical problem arose with a student, the Franciscans either called Paul Munch MD, or took the ill student to the hospital.
"Unfortunately Plaintiff had no knowledge of this fraud as the Franciscans had never notified law enforcement, parents or the community that physical exams of students by men with no medical training had been approved by the Franciscans almost two decades earlier, and had been utilized to abuse numerous students since then. Plaintiff also had been raised to trust priests and follow their every instruction."
Because these stories seem unbelievable, I asked Tim Hale, the Santa Barbara attorney who authored the briefs, how he came up with the details in these cases, as reported here November 23, 2009 Hale said: "Everything alleged in the amended complaints is supported by admissible evidence assembled from investigation and discovery conducted during the last eleven years of litigation involving the Franciscans." Hale works for Nye Peabody Stirling & Hale law firm in Santa Barbara.
The second Franciscan told Plaintiff where to stand and to drop his pants, Plaintiff complied without question. The man then approached Plaintiff, grabbed his (Plaintiff’s) testicles, and instructed Plaintiff to turn his head to cough as if he was conducting some sort of hernia exam.
More direct quotes from Santa Barbara Case #1338070:
Consequently, Plaintiff believed Van Handel’s fraudulent misrepresentation, and when the second Franciscan told Plaintiff where to stand and to drop his pants, Plaintiff complied without question. The man then approached Plaintiff, grabbed his (Plaintiff’s) testicles, and instructed Plaintiff to turn his head to cough as if he was conducting some sort of hernia exam. This ploy was utilized repeatedly during sexual assaults by Father Cimmarrusti, the abuser of at least twenty-three (23) St. Anthony’s students in the 1960s.
The Franciscan then told Plaintiff he had to perform another purported test, and without any further explanation instructed Plaintiff to bend over the infirmary bed. When Plaintiff again complied without question, the Franciscan proceeded to digitally penetrate the shocked boy rectally.
When the supposed exam was finished Plaintiff felt embarrassed and ashamed, and confused as to why he felt this way. However, he still gave no thought to questioning the Franciscan as, in Plaintiff’s mind at that time, Catholic priests were incapable of any wrongful conduct and were beyond reproach.
The Assault by Dave Johnson
First Amended Complaint Case #1338070 Continued:
Also during his first semester at St. Anthony’s Plaintiff was subjected to another sexual assault by two Franciscans, then religious brother and future priest, Dave Johnson and one other Franciscan who Plaintiff was unable to identify other than by his garb. However, there was no "check-up" charade this time. Instead it was a physically violent and terrifying assault involving Johnson’s forcible rape of Plaintiff with a foreign object.
Plaintiff was walking down the hall one evening after dinner having just finished kitchen duty. Another student told him he needed to go to Johnson’s office, and Plaintiff did so without question, knocking on the closed office door. Johnson told him to come in and immediately instructed Plaintiff to take all his clothes off and get down on his knees.
Shocked at the instruction and sensing something was horribly wrong, Plaintiff panicked and began crying. Johnson then angrily said something to the effect of "I told you to take your clothes/pants off," walked behind Plaintiff and violently tackled or pushed Plaintiff into the ground, simultaneously grabbing Plaintiff’s hair and shoving Plaintiff’s face into the carpet.
Utterly panicked and terrified, Plaintiff continued crying, struggled, to no avail.
SB Case #1338070 continued:
The door then opened and two more people entered, an adult dressed in Franciscan garb, and a student. However, he did not get a good look at them as Johnson was straddling his upper back. Plaintiff heard the door being closed immediately after they entered, heard Johnson say "grab his pants," and then felt hands pulling his pants off. To Plaintiff’s horror, he then heard Johnson say "and the underwear."
Utterly panicked and terrified Plaintiff continued crying, struggled to no avail, and began pleading with Johnson "please don’t do this, what did I do?" Now naked from the waist down, and feeling as if someone was lying on him at a 45 degree angle holding him on the ground so that his bare buttocks were exposed, Plaintiff heard Johnson yelling at him, saying "now it is my turn."
Plaintiff then began to feel something that felt like a big wooden stick first being poked and prodded between his buttocks, and then being pushed against his anus. Plaintiff now recalls at this point going into another state of mind, dissociating himself from the violent sexual assault. He prayed to God not to let this happen, while hearing himself crying and sobbing, and still pleading with Johnson to stop. As the assault continued Plaintiff stopped struggling and submitted, having learned from past experiences that this was sometimes the best way of ending an assault.
Plaintiff may have blacked out and recalls regaining a semblance of consciousness or awareness of the sound of Johnson and at least one other person in the room laughing. He felt people get off of his now limp body, and then either stood or was pulled up and pulled his pants up. He recalls seeing the student standing in the corner with a coat rack that may have been the foreign object used by Johnson during the assault. He also saw the second man standing over him, and recognizing the man was wearing the brown robes worn by Franciscans.
Johnson then told Plaintiff to keep his mouth shut about the assault or he would make matters worse. Plaintiff fled the room.
The Assault by Gus Krumm
Case #1338070 continued:
Unfortunately, as the school year came to a close yet another notorious perpetrator and faculty member, then religious brother and future priest Gus Krumm, inflicted another violent sexual assault on Plaintiff. Specifically, one night as Plaintiff walked down a seminary hallway he passed by Krumm’s office and heard what sounded like grunts or groans coming from inside.
As the front office door was open, Plaintiff entered and asked if everything was ok. Krumm emerged from his bedroom shortly thereafter; Krumm appeared to be sweating and smelled bad, and looked disheveled wearing only Corduroy shorts and a gray t-shirt. Krumm angrily asked what Plaintiff was doing in his office, and Plaintiff explained he had heard strange noises and thought someone needed help.
This enraged Krumm who proceeded to grab Plaintiff, spin him around, and drive Plaintiff forcefully into the office wall. Krumm then pinned Plaintiff from behind to the point the boy could not move, pushing Plaintiff’s face against the wall.
Krumm then began thrusting his groin against Plaintiff’s buttocks, placed his mouth next to Plaintiff’s ear, and reached around and grabbed the terrified and immobilized boy’s genitals, squeezing them tightly to the point Plaintiff was in so much pain he began to cry. Eventually Krumm said something to the effect of "you didn’t see anything here, you didn’t hear anything, and you’re not wanted. And you’re probably not coming back." Plaintiff was so terrified and in such pain he agreed immediately. Krumm then released Plaintiff’s genitals and shoved the still crying boy out of the office.
‘You didn't see anything here, you didn't hear anything here, and you're not wanted.’
First Amended Complaint Case #1338070 Continued:
10.1 The sexual abuse and exploitation of Plaintiff and the circumstances under which it occurred caused Plaintiff to develop various psychological coping mechanisms which reasonably made him incapable of ascertaining the resulting damages from that conduct. Within three years of filing his lawsuit, Plaintiff discovered or reasonably should have discovered that psychological injury or illness occurring after the age of majority was caused by the sexual abuse.
When Plaintiff first arrived at St. Anthony’s he felt tremendously relieved to be away from his abusive home-life. Catholic schools and parishes had long been his sanctuary, and St. Anthony’s felt particularly safe as it was located far away from his stepfather in another state. As a result, his initial sense of relief was overwhelming, almost to the point of euphoria.
The Perpetrators, acting as managing agents of the Defendants, utilized the trust and reverence inherent in their status as a Franciscans to isolate and abuse Plaintiff.
Plaintiff was raised in a devout Roman Catholic family that idolized priests, was taught by Defendants to trust, revere and obey priests as God’s representatives on earth, and had long viewed priests as the caretakers of his sanctuary from an abusive home-life. The Perpetrators exploited Plaintiff’s hope of having been rescued from his abusive home-life and also utilized Plaintiff’s trust and resulting vulnerability and deference to priests to manipulate Plaintiff, who was approximately fourteen (14) and fifteen (15) years of age during the period of abuse.
One of the manipulations resulted in Plaintiff’s abuse in the infirmary during the purported physical exam. When Plaintiff was instructed to go to the infirmary he did as he was told. Once there, Father Van Handel fraudulently informed Plaintiff before the assault that Plaintiff was there for a "check-up" to be performed by the Perpetrator. The Perpetrator then fraudulently informed Plaintiff he had to conduct a "test" on Plaintiff.
This check-up, what on its face appeared to be a legitimate medical purpose, performed by a perpetrator.
This use of what on its face appeared to be a legitimate medical purpose, while in the school infirmary, coupled with Van Handel’s and the Perpetrator’s trusted status as Franciscans, inhibited Plaintiff’s awareness of the wrongfulness of this conduct until recently. Van Handel and the Perpetrator thus exploited Plaintiff’s having been raised in the Catholic church, as well as Plaintiff’s desperate need to feel he was finally safe, and fraudulently induced Plaintiff to believe he had been called to the infirmary for a legitimate medical purpose.
Consequently, while sensing something was wrong Plaintiff could not comprehend why he felt ashamed and embarrassed after the supposed exams, and was unable to appreciate the wrongfulness of the conduct until recently, within the last three years. Specifically, it was not until after he began recovering his memories of the abuse by Johnson and Krumm that he first sought out and read other accounts of St. Anthony’s students who were sexually abused.
It was during this time that he first learned that many students had been abused during fraudulent physical examinations conducted by Franciscan perpetrators. Only after reading these accounts did he begin to suspect Van Handel’s and the Perpetrator’s statements were fraudulent, and had been utilized by the two Franciscans to make him vulnerable to the abuse by the Perpetrator. Until then, Van Handel’s and the Perpetrator’s fraud, coupled with Plaintiff’s inherent trust in the words of the priests and his desperate need to believe he was finally somewhere safe, resulted in psychological blocking mechanisms that prevented Plaintiff from facing and realizing the Perpetrator’s conduct in the infirmary was wrongful and had caused him injury.
In the lawsuit here is the story of going to O’Brien in Phoenix to report these crimes in Santa Barbara, reported in City of Angels in The Phoenix Connection here
[For Plaintiff] Countless days of extreme introversion and walking around in silence, emotionally shut down and unable to face the reality of his life, would follow. It was not until July of 2006 that Plaintiff began to recover the repressed St. Anthony’s memories sometime after an unexpected encounter with Johnson, or at least a man who looked like Johnson. In the weeks that followed that encounter Plaintiff suffered through numerous inexplicable sleepless nights.
Finally, after one particularly fitful night of disturbing dreams, Plaintiff awoke to the shocking realization he had begun recovering memories of the abuse by Johnson and Krumm. And it was not until sometime after he began recovering these memories that Plaintiff first realized the abuse had caused him injury. He also began for the first time to understand his own feelings surrounding the abuse, how the abuse has affected him, and how it continues to affect him.
Plaintiff’s repression also rendered him unable to recognize the wrongfulness of Johnson’s and Krumm’s conduct, and further resulted in Plaintiff internalizing feelings of shame, self-blame, and self-loathing. Blocking out and dissociating from those feelings rendered Plaintiff unable to perceive the injuries he suffered from the abusive conduct and its effect on his life.
11. As a direct result of the wrongful conduct alleged herein, Plaintiff has suffered, and continues to suffer great pain of mind and body, shock, emotional distress, physical manifestations of emotional distress, embarrassment, loss of self-esteem, disgrace, humiliation, and loss of enjoyment of life; has suffered and continue to suffer spiritually; was prevented and will continue to be prevented from performing Plaintiff’s daily activities and obtaining the full enjoyment of life; has sustained and continue to sustain loss of earnings and earning capacity; and/or has incurred and will continue to incur expenses for medical and psychological treatment, therapy, and counseling.
Defendants continue to conspire
12. Plaintiff incorporates all paragraphs of this First Amended Complaint as if fully set forth herein.
13. Defendants continue to conspire and engage in efforts to:
1) conceal from the general public the sexual assaults committed by, the identities of, and the pedophilic/ephebophilic tendencies of, the Perpetrators and Defendants’ other pedophilic agents;
2) attack the credibility of the victims of the Perpetrators and Defendants’ other pedophilic/ephebophilic agents;
3) protect the Perpetrators and Defendants’ other pedophilic/ephebophilic current and former agents from criminal prosecution and registration as sex offenders for their sexual assaults against children; and
4) exploit and abuse the protection for religious freedom provided by the 1st Amendment to the U.S. Constitution for the purpose of escaping their obligation to report childhood sexual abuse under California Penal Code section 11166, all in violation of law.
14. The negligence and/or deception and concealment by Defendants was and is injurious to the health of, indecent or offensive to the senses of, and an obstruction to the free use of property by, the general public, including but not limited to residents of the County of Santa Barbara and all other members of the general public who live in communities where
Defendants’ conduct has caused further injury to the public and severely impaired the safety of children
Defendants conducted, and continue to conduct, their work and/or ministry, and was and is indecent and offensive to the senses, so as to interfere with the general public’s comfortable enjoyment of life in that children cannot be left unsupervised in any location where Defendants’ agents are present as the general public cannot trust Defendants to prohibit their pedophilic agents from supervising, caring for, or having any contact with children, nor to warn parents of the presence of the pedophilic agents of Defendants, nor to identify their pedophilic agents, nor to identify and/or report to law enforcement their agents accused of childhood sexual abuse, thus creating an impairment of the safety of children in the neighborhoods where Defendants conducted, and continue to conduct, their work and/or ministries.
Defendants’ conduct has caused further injury to the public and severely impaired the safety of children where Defendants have protected and concealed the Perpetrators and Defendants’ other pedophilic/ephebophilic agents from criminal prosecution and registration as sex offenders for their sexual assaults, where the Perpetrators and/or Defendants’ other pedophilic/ephebophilic agents subsequently have left Defendants’ employ, and where Defendants have disavowed any responsibility for the Perpetrators and/or Defendants’ other pedophilic/ephebophilic former agents despite the fact Defendants facilitated these former agents’ avoiding criminal prosecution and having to register as sex offenders. As a result of Defendants’ conduct, when Defendants’ former agents have sought employment placing them in positions of trust with children, Defendants are the only ones aware of the risk posed by these former agents, and potential employers, childcare custodians, and parents have no means of identifying the risk to their children posed by such men. Today’s children continue to be put at risk and abused under these circumstances by Defendants’ former agents, at least as recently as 2007.
15. The negligence and/or deception and concealment by Defendants was specially injurious to Plaintiff’s health as he and his family were unaware of the danger posed to children left unsupervised with agents of Defendants, and as a result of this deception, Plaintiff was placed in the custody and control of the Perpetrators, agents of Defendants, who subsequently sexually assaulted Plaintiff.
16. The continuing public nuisance created by Defendants was, and continues to be, the proximate cause of the injuries and damages to the general public alleged in paragraph 14, and of Plaintiff’s special injuries and damages as alleged in paragraph 15.
17. In doing the aforementioned acts, Defendants acted negligently and/or intentionally, maliciously and with conscious disregard for Plaintiff’s rights.
18. As a result of the above-described conduct, Plaintiff has suffered, and continues to suffer special injury in that they suffer great pain of mind and body, shock, emotional distress, physical manifestations of emotional distress, embarrassment, loss of self-esteem, disgrace, humiliation, and loss of enjoyment of life; has suffered and continues to suffer spiritually; was prevented and will continue to be prevented from performing Plaintiff’s daily activities and obtaining the full enjoyment of life; has sustained and will continue to sustain loss of earnings and earning capacity; and/or has incurred and will continue to incur expenses for medical and psychological treatment, therapy, and counseling.
The Current Santa Barbara Series:
Part 1 is here
Part 2 is here
Part 3 is here
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