|Kids Swimming with Pedophile Priests: Interview with a Former Servant of the Paraclete
By Kay Ebeling
City of Angels
October 21, 2010
He was about to get drafted into the Vietnam War when friends said you could find refuge at a retreat in the New Mexico mountains. "Oso Pious" and a buddy drove 290 miles through winding wilderness roads and arrived in the middle of the night at the cluster of structures that was Via Coeli, a rehab center for problem priests in Jemez Springs. There, Servants of the Paraclete religious order brothers bustled the young men onto the grounds for what was to be safe haven from the draft while they worked on deferment.
But soon Father Gerald Fitzgerald (pictured), with his Kennedy family eyes, stood over young Oso saying, "God sent you here" and without preparation or going to seminary or even particularly having a calling, the 20-year-old found himself with a new identity: Father Pious. Oso contacted me through Facebook after we published Murmur She Wrote 1 October 16th, announcing that City of Angels Blog is going on the road, first stop Albuquerque to write about Servants of the Paraclete. Now a New Mexico resident, the former Servant is known in online comments and blogs as "Oso Pious." He only remained with the Order from April to December 1965, then became a special education teacher in New Mexico.
Over the phone this week, Oso told me of watching local kids swim in the pool with the pedophiles in New Mexico, helping draft dodgers slip over the border into Canada at a Vermont Servants of the Paraclete center, and living out a false identity as Father Gerald's secretary, "Father Pious." Oso left Servants of the Paraclete when a fellow brother set himself on fire as part of an antiwar protest.
I'd actually read some of Oso Pious's story earlier in Sons of Perdition the 2009 book by former Missing Link editor Jay Nelson, on page ix: "'Father Pious,' as he prefers to be called contacted me. This gentleman claims that he'd been a novice with the Servants of the Paraclete for some time in the mid to late 1960s. Though he has not provided any documentary evidence, his local knowledge plus assertion of certain obscure facts about Servants of the Paraclete, which later research verified, have convinced me that he was indeed present there."
When Oso and his college friend arrived at Via Coeli, the priests put them up in the Nuncio Villa, where they were to cram for exams and get their grades up. "I was going to Regis College, a Jesuit university in Colorado," Oso said. "The draft board wasn't allowing student deferments. We had to make a certain grade or we were going to Vietnam."
Hours after their arrival, the priest from Boston who founded the religious order and said he was a Kennedy family member penetrated Oso's young visage and said, as Oso relayed to me, "You think it's an accident that you came here, but it's not an accident, you're the one we've been praying for, you're going to be the first priest ordained in the Canyon."
Oso said, "I was a twenty year old kid, imagine how that affected me."
Oso told me the story, and I'm so happy I've worked as a Transcriber since 1998, so now can type so fast, I can take down pretty much everything a person says to me over the phone:
"Gerald made me Father Pious so I could be his secretary. They invented this person named Father Pious and I was good at writing what they called Pious Pap.
"We'd get people to sponsor priests. We wouldn't say they were pedophiles, but say this priest needed a sponsor. That was my job as Father Pious, as his secretary to bring in all the money."
Kids Swimming With Pedophile Priests
Oso also was lifeguard at a Servants of the Paraclete pool in Jemez Springs that was open to the locals.
"I was a lifeguard at Camp Ped, the special pool they had for the kids in the neighborhood," he continued in our recent phone call. "That's where pedophiles would molest some of the little kids. I was the lifeguard.
He tried to explain the environment to me: "The Jemez Springs Via Coeli was a prison. Priests could get sent there for all kinds of reasons, then they divided them up. We put all the alcoholics in one house, the guys trying to have sex with kids in another place.
"I was at the one where they had the pedophiles, where they also had the pool for the kids to swim, and they let them swim together.
"We knew we had crazy nuts there, but we didn't know how bad it was. One guy was painting crucifixes red, one guy was a compulsive bingo player, but the Catholic Church was in denial.
"I was trained by Servants of the Paraclete as a guard. I'd get a call to go to the La Madrid Bar and pick a guy up. The police didn't know how to deal with them. Any kind of crime these priest did, the New Mexico police would turn them over to us. Even to this day, the Governor of New Mexico will not put priests on the sex offender list, because the Governor is Catholic and the Church has control of everything."
Oso's ruse as Father Pious, helping donors sponsor problem priests while he was staying at Via Coeli, was cut short:
"One day this nun showed up and said, I want to meet this holy man," Oso laughs into the phone, "I said, tell her Father Pious is in the woods in deep meditation."
Father Gerald helped Oso get out of Dodge fast.
"He showed me a map of the world with all these push pins. He said, we've got about thirty or forty houses, all over the world, and we have the papal privilege, because we work directly for the Pope. He said, we don't have to go through channels. He says, where would you like to go.
"I said, Father Gerald, I've been all those places because my dad was in the military, except this one on the Canadian border in Vermont. So he sent me up there."
'My friend Roger set himself on fire'
Oso says that at the Servants of the Paraclete center in northern Vermont they helped young men cross the border into Canada and evade the draft in the Vietnam War. Around that time in New York City a group of Buddhists set themselves on fire.
Roger LaPorte a Servant of Paraclete member in Vermont, joined them.
"My friend Roger set himself on fire in front of the United Nations building. It was 1965 and he was a Servants of Paraclete member."
Oso said by order of Cardinal Spellman, nobody found out the connection of the antiwar protest suicides in New York to Servants of the Paraclete in Vermont.
"Roger went nuts," Oso said, "seeing people burning themselves to death. He went to New York to get our supplies, and we found out later he had set himself on fire too.
"All the higher ups, Cardinal Spellman etcetera, said we couldn't tell anyone he was a Paraclete.
"We were doing all kinds of illegal stuff, smuggling people across the border, the Father Pious stuff. They said if anyone investigates you, say Brother Roger was a homeless man we fed but don't admit he was one of the members of the Order.
"We were told to bare faced lie.
"The police did ask us questions and we did lie, and I was deeply disturbed by this.
"My friend had just burned himself to death and I was supposed to tell people he didn't exist. It was bad enough being Father Pious, but this was way over the line."
Oso left the Order, took refuge with family and friends, then contacted Via Coeli.
"They said if you don't come back right away, we're going to turn in your name and you're going straight to Vietnam, and they turned me over to the Draft Board. That's how I ended up back in New Mexico, as a Vista Volunteer.
"Cardinal Spellman made sure Roger's connection to us didn't get into the press as nobody knew about the Paracletes. They were supposed to be a secret order, and we were helping people get across the border into Canada, that's why they had a center up there by the border."
A decade later, "A couple of my students when I was teaching special ed were victims of these priests," Oso said.
Father Gerald Fitzgerald was one of Those Fitzgeralds
The Servants of the Paraclete religious order was founded, Oso Pious tells me, thanks to the charisma and cash Father Gerald Fitzgerald had as a Kennedy family member from Boston.
"That's how they got so much power," Oso told me. "He was related to the Kennedys through Honey Fitz the Mayor of Boston, he's from the same family.
"He didn't brag about it, but he was connected.
"He got whatever he wanted. He got to pick his own place, he picked Via Coeli in New Mexico, which by the way used to be run by the Capone family. Where Jemez Springs is today, there was a whore house, that later became the Via Coeli building, the road ended in Jemez Springs."
From Sons of Perdition page 79:
"Fitzgerald was given a choice between a rundown monastery in the mountains near Pecos, ease of Santa Fe, or an old tourist hotel in Jemez Springs to the west. He instantly chose the Jemez Inn, and on January 5, 1947, celebrated the first Mass there. Rumors to this day persist that the hotel itself was actually owned by Capone, who died less than three weeks later. Supposedly, it was given to the Church in exchange for allowing the Chicago gangster a Christian burial in a Catholic cemetery. It's also said that Fitzgerald had to clean a massive amount of filthy pictures, liquor, and gambling equipment out of the place before he could use it."
Oso said that in 1965 Servants of the Paraclete "owned the whole town, they owned the San Diego Land Grant."
The story is "Capone was dying of syphilis in 1947, and this was his hideout in New Mexico. He cut a deal with the church, if they'd let him be buried in holy ground, then he would give the church this house of prostitution. Everything in return for him being given the last rights.
"Then the church had this whorehouse and didn't know what to do with it. Gerald Fitzgerald was flying around the country with his vision of starting a religious order for problem priests. He went to see the Pope to talk about his vision. He had plenty of money to use for these trips, being in the Fitzgerald family.
"He comes to New Mexico, sees the whorehouse that the church is only too happy to get rid of, it's in a dead end canyon, nobody knew Los Alamos was up the road.
"The Church gave him the place, they they had to clean out all these old slot machines and stuff."
Legend has it that movie stars, even Marilyn Monroe, would arrive at the Albuquerque train station and ride the 40 miles or so north to Capone's place to party days on end.
I'll be getting off the train in that same station in a couple weeks, to blog here about Servants of the Paraclete and other things I find in Albuquerque, and as long as I have an internet connection I can keep doing my other job.
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