Here’s details on the De La Salle apology as reported in The Tablet.
Looking ahead to when Operation Hydrant reports on the DLS, here is a good starting point on:
HOW AN APOLOGY SHOULD BE DONE.
It could be done NOW on the three most notorious and multiple abusers Brothers Solomon, Kevin and James. Because the DLS must already have files proving their guilt beyond any reasonable doubt. They can’t possibly not know.
Making a true apology now on this trio would be a gesture of good faith. It would also save valuable police time and Safeguarding time proving what the DLS already know.
So here’s a possible ROLE MODEL FOR APOLOGY.
It is a recent example from the monks at St John’s Abbey in Minnesota. Whilst by no means perfect, it’s a HUGE improvement on the De La Salles apology
So if the DLS or Safeguarding ask, ‘Well, what is it you do want?’ I would say this was a good starting point.
I would urge the DLS and Safeguarding to study it because it shows there can be a solution. Or maybe they know of a better one?
What I like about the example is the FILES of the abusers are made available to survivors. I don’t really want to know all their personal history and medical records, but I would like to know who they were and why they did the terrible things they did. Brother James, in my case.
And when the De La Salles knew about their crimes.
And by releasing the files they are acknowledging the crimes of individuals. So if anyone wants to seek compensation, which is their right, the path is made a little easier and clearer.
I would hope the files have not been lost or destroyed as has happened too frequently in Catholic abuse cases.
St John’s also do a public outreach through the media to other potential survivors which is another thing the DLS could do.
It also makes clear (in the interview below) that the crimes have to be confirmed first. That’s fine and is the work Hydrant I hope is currently doing.
But just as important as the input below– IMHO we Survivors need to make contact with the DLS. At the moment, I’m pretty certain they can’t be reached. They’re in their fortress, responding only with lawyer-speak and guarded and limited apologies.
Saying ‘We’re sorry, but we don’t want to speak to you, now please go away’ is not good enough.
A key element in reconciliation or closure is to make EYEBALL contact with the abuser or his representative and know they mean it.
After the cases have been proven, I’d certainly like to speak to a DLS brother spokesperson in his robes (not a Suit or a Lawyer) and hear what he has to say and for him to listen to my views. That would work for me. I want to see their faces.
It can be limited to… 30 – 60 minutes max? And if they fear the call becomes abusive, which is most unlikely as we’re all grown-ups, well, they can just end the call.
Twenty or more calls (say) to survivors by Skype or Zoom is practical and feasible. A phone call – for me, at least – isn’t personal enough. It’s better than a webinar because each survivor needs an individual response. Or individual letters if survivors don’t want to look at a DLS brother.
But EYE CONTACT is best. That makes it real.
I think we can all recognise a genuine apology, so it would be up to the DLS to pick genuine and courageous brothers, rather than spin doctors and definitely not Suits. I would hope they still exist in the ranks of the DLS. It may be triggering, but if safeguards are in place I feel it should be okay.
If the De La Salles have no spine to do this, no gumption, no compassion, no time, then what is the point of their existence?
Although a public webinar is an interesting alternative or addition that would be similar to IICSA and might be recorded like IICSA. A Survivors Tribunal on line would have gravitas but it would take a lot of organising and I doubt the DLS would turn up! I could see the DLS and their Suits obstructing and resisting a common sense procedure , so that would not be practical, I fear. A pity.
Sometimes – even now – it seems to me the DLS think they have the power and we are individuals to be treated with impatience or even disdain. Similar to how things were when we were kids and they were abusing us.
As part of our healing, we need them to acknowledge the tables have been turned.
We have the power now.
Not the Suits. They need to talk UP to us. Not down to us.
Not the DLS brothers. They have lost their power by their crimes.
And not IICSA with its cringe-worthy establishment respect for abusive clerical organisations unworthy of respect (e.g. Benedictines)
On balance, individual calls seems easier and feasible and if it’s never happened before, that’s no reason it can’t happen now. Zoom and Skype are relatively new so we should take advantage of the technology.
I know 12 step programs sometimes include making contact with someone who has been wronged, so it’s hardly unique.
As I said previously, a true apology would be healing for the DLS, too. It can’t be pleasant living with the constant gorilla of abuse in the corner.
Other survivors may have better solutions. If so, do please say. These are just my thoughts on the subject.
Here’s the link to a better way:
Below are just highlights of the article and interview:
Saint John’s Abbey is voluntarily releasing the files of monks who credibly have been accused of sexual abuse of minors. These files include the personal letters, medical records, legal documents, and other papers that document every aspect of these monks’ lives. They are being released with the consent of the monks in the hope that their disclosure will help survivors.
Read an interview with Abbot John Klassen, OSB, on the importance of the files and their role in the abbey’s decades-long journey to help the healing of survivors, to hold offending monks accountable and to prevent abuse. The interview is here.
Certain portions of these disclosed documents have been obscured (i.e, the names of victims and uninvolved persons, and social security numbers). These mark-ups, or redactions, were made out of concern for the rights and privacy of private persons, and to protect the rights and privacy of victims of sexual abuse.
The Walk-In Counseling Center in Minneapolis, MN, which has been engaged by Saint John’s Abbey to offer assistance to anyone who may have experienced abuse by a monk of the Abbey. Contact Mr. Gary Schoener. Telephone (612) 870-0565.
Is the transparency Initiative something new? Abbot: The name, Transparency Initiative, captures a 30-year record of the abbey taking effective actions to reach out to survivors, to hold offending monks accountable and to prevent abuse. Those who review the files will see a decades-long record of the abbey making public the names of monks who have offended, public outreach through the media to other potential survivors and a history of effective actions the abbey has taken to prevent abuse. The actions have been extraordinary and effective. We know of no incident of sexual abuse of a minor by a monk of Saint John’s in more than two decades.
Why aren’t the files of other monks who have been accused of abuse included? Abbot: The abbey has released comprehensive files of all monks who likely have offended against minors. When credible allegations have been presented, the abbey rigorously has implemented its sexual abuse policy regardless of the monk involved. This policy requires a thorough investigation of the claim by an expert, objective third-party. While some allegations have garnered headlines, the detailed and objective investigation found the claims to be unsubstantiated. The files released in the Transparency Initiative are those of all the monks, past and present, who have likely offended against minors. Claims that there are other offenders are simply false.
How do the files help survivors of abuse? Abbot: The release of the files is an acknowledgement of the harm that has been done. The files share heartbreaking and tragic details of suffering inflicted on survivors of misconduct. We in the monastic community grieve the pain and suffering of those who have been harmed, whose lives have been diminished by the pain they suffered. Survivors will find in these files a commitment to holding accountable those monks who have offended and a consistent record of effective actions to prevent abuse. It also is important that survivors – those who have come forward and those who have not yet made that decision – have complete and accurate information. The files provide that information.
Is the information in the files relevant to others? Abbot: Absolutely. It is important to evaluate the files in the context of a journey the abbey has been taking for the past quarter century or more. The release of the files is not the destination. The destination is defined by three critical goals: First, contributing to the healing of survivors; Second, holding accountable those monks who have offended; and, Third, preventing new incidents of abuse. The importance of the files and their release is not so much in their detail — although, we are hopeful that survivors will see in the detail the abbey’s commitment to acknowledging the harm that has been done and the priority we have placed on accountability — but the record the files collectively show of the abbey’s initiatives to reach out to survivors and to prevent new cases of abuse. What often gets lost in today’s headlines is that because of the effective actions the abbey has taken we know of no incident of sexual abuse of a minor by a monk of St. John’s in more than two decades.