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At age five, 1954, "the Bishop" (Card. Stritch) stood over me and said, "Stop babbling about what Father Horne did to you." It took me 40 years to talk about it again. Now, I babble. - ke
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in 2009 our ongoing coverage of the pedophile epidemic in the Catholic Church will be at City fAngels5. in 2010 at CityofAngels8

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Off to The Woods to find the pedophile priests, with a stop at a Hyatt for a SNAP conference first


By Kay Ebeling

In order to pursue my story, I had to stop and call my sister Patrisha in San Francisco as Father Horne got to her before he got to me. In all these years I’ve never asked her any details about what Father Horne did to her. However, one conversation we did have in 1994 changed the direction of my life:

“Do you remember if Father Horne did, did he ever, you know?” I asked back then, and Patrisha’s voice on the phone got breathy. She said, “Oh, he got to you too,” and that's when I knew, it was confirmed, what I’d been remembering was true, that I had some kind of sexual interaction with the parish priest when I was about five years old. I thought I heard concern in Patrisha’s voice but then she almost growled out, “No wonder I’ve been so hostile to you all these years. You took away my first lover.”

You Took Away My First Lover

When she said that I actually screamed into the phone, “Don’t say that.” Then we went into another 6 month to 6 year period where we didn't talk to each other at all. In fact, most of our adult lives have been spent in silent agreement just to not call for a while. For the past 6 years or so we had been in one of those mutual silences. Then because of this blog in fact, I had to call her a few months back, so now we're talking again. I had to call her before I left for Chicago.

“I'm leaving tomorrow night,” I said, “going to spend two weeks out by Bartlett and interview people, dig in historical records. And I need to ask you, what do you remember about Father Horne and St. Peter Damian Church?”

Patricia said, “Well when we first moved to the country, at first there wasn’t even a church, and so while the church was being built, we met in a room above the screw factory” she was laughing “and everybody always joked about that later.”

Me: Hmm.

I said, tell me about the incidents with Father Horne. She thought a minute then went into the thought:

“I have, have flashes of memory, but I have, I remember when it started, because it was right before First Communion and I was doing first Confession.”

I’m shivering as she says this, as that's when he got to me, she goes on.

“And I confessed I had committed adultery because I knew that had to do with sex and I’d been masturbating.”

I want to jump in here and scream, “Trish, six-seven year olds don’t know that much about sex unless they're molested.” She went on.

“I remember him laughing at that and that gave him a notion, probably. It was very soon after that he took me back to his little place. It was this really austere situation, just a mattress on the floor, and really primitive. But I can’t remember how many times or details.”

I shivered, as that’s the most clear memory I have, being on that sparse mattress, on a hard wooden floor. Today I joke: Father Horne took a vow of poverty. So he only had a thin mattress on a hard wood floor to rape us on.”

Patrisha told me more about Barlett in 1949.

“Right after the church was built, it got struck by lightning and burned down. Then it was almost like an Amish thing, people gathered to rebuild it.” I asked her to try to remember more.

“They didn't have school but they had a kindergarten,’ she said. I couldn't get the nun’s attention and I peed in my pants,” Patrisha said, “and I think that was why mom and dad transferred me to St. Mary’s in Elgin.”

I wanted to say, “No, Patrisha, it was probably a sign of sex molest,” but I wanted her to keep talking.

Why my sister is not able to testify about being raped by a pedophile priest

25 shock treatments in 2 weeks

The weeks up to this trip, I’ve been going to Google satellite maps at the closest vantage point and gazing at Bartlett and our old house in the woods. I told Trish you can still see our old lo-o-o-o-o-n-g driveway, but not the old house, if it’s still there it’s covered by trees from a satellite view. (My sister refuses to buy or even touch a computer.)

“A lot of stuff is still there. You can see Villa Olivia, it’s still there.”

Trish said, “Villa Olivia?” she was straining, struggling.

I didn't push it. I know why she can’t remember Villa Olivia even though the name was spoken often around our house on Route 20. Villa Olivia is a country club right down the road, from our old house, in fact our oldest sister Peggy got her first job there. Father Horne used to take the Ladies’ Sodality there for lunch and drinks on weekdays when their husbands left them all bored and alone at home, ah the 1950s, but I digress. Our parents would go there for drinks almost nightly, if I remember right.

Patrisha does not remember Villa Olivia. In the mid-1960s Patrisha was put in a suburban LA mental hospital where they gave her 25 shock treatments in a matter of two or three weeks. To be honest, Patrisha has never been the same since.

I asked my dad, why are they giving Patricia so many shock treatments.

He answered, “She has a lot of bad memories in her head, bad-bad memories, and we thought it best if we just shocked them out of her. You see they apply electricity to her brain and it just erases the memories. And that's better, that's what we want. After this she won’t remember any of it.”

They eradicated her memory. . .

I was a freshman or sophomore in high school and thought it strange, but my dad would not say any more. When Trish came home from having all those shock treatments, her hair was all frizzed. Honest. She had long hair and it was soft and wavy before the shock treatments, frizzy and fried afterwards. For several weeks she could barely open her mouth to speak. Now what she says often makes little sense.

So Patrisha’s memories are not real reliable. That's why I had to come here to Chicago and Bartlett to find some other triable issues of fact so to speak. Or just to write an incredible story.


I’ve been trying to get to Chicago since 1994, because there are things that I’m sure once I'm standing on the geography of the Chicago suburb, Bartlett, the memories will come back more clearly.

I have been trying to get to a SNAP conference since 2006. Okay, I have to say this, for two years I criticized SNAP for holding its annual conference in chi-chi hotels and places that are hard to get to, and yes, once again the SNAP conference is in a chi-chi hotel that's hard to get to. Even the airport van driver kind of squinted and said, “That's way south of downtown,” like why would you want to go there.

I used to bitch and moan on the SNAP message board:

“Why don’t they make the conference more accessible, set up video cameras in meeting rooms across the country, and we could all participate, use free meeting rooms in libraries. We could hook up the cities over the internet and more survivors could take part, without having to spend a couple thousand dollars.”

Which I still think is a good idea. It took a thousand dollars for me to get here, for the plane, the hotel, ancillary expenses.

The miracle is that I raised the money and then some here on this very blog with that PayPal button up at the top of the left-hand column. In February or so I said, every dime raised here will go to send me to Chicago for the SNAP conference and to research my story. It worked. I bought my plane ticket way last March, then slowly put together enough for me to stay in hotel rooms from now through July 26th.


So I’ll be reporting live from the SNAP conference, well sort of live, I'll go up to my room to write the posts and publish them here at City of Angels, through Sunday.

Then live from Bartlett, the next two weeks. In a few minutes after I post this, I’ll go wander around the hotel looking for good locations to use for interviewing people on camera and posting those video interviews here at City of Angels as well.

This is actually a lifelong dream. I'm a freelance journalist, working on a story. It’s real. I'm really doing this.

So not only am I at a SNAP conference but I’m staying an extra two weeks out in Bartlett to do the research I’ve been wanting to do since 1994.

What happened in 1994

I’d been clean and sober for two years, was living in the woods, strangely enough, in the redwoods in Northern California. Spring 1994 over a period of weeks, the whole memory of Father Horne and his mat on the floor just flooded in. It took me and my body by such surprise that at one point I literally got thrown against the wall. My daughter might even remember that. Oh, yeah, the other part. In 1994 my daughter had just turned five as well, the same age I was when Father Horne put his fingers on me and aroused me. I stayed that way for 40 years.

I have to admit, I criticized SNAP for holding its conference in swank places, but last night as I floated off to sleep with the 17 or so pillows they have on the beds here, I changed my mind. Now I think survivors should find ways to raise the money to get here, and then pamper yourself when you do. . . that's how I feel this morning.

I also have to say this. I criticize SNAP a lot, but in the past few weeks I think I’d rather say, what SNAP does is fine, we need it.


SNAP only does about one-tenth of what we as a survivor community need to do. Yes, SNAP should keep doing everything it’s doing, but

we need a healing and recovery center,

we need grants for investigations and digging by journalists like me,

we need a foundation that survivors who are struggling can apply to for grants.

We need a lot of other stuff I can't think of.

And if SNAP isn’t going to do it, then somebody else has to.

Too bad the Catholic Church is run by a bunch of criminals. They're the ones who should be providing all the resources we need. Instead we the crime victims have to find a way to do it for ourselves.

And that's what we have to do, do it for ourselves.

So I'm here at the Hyatt McCormick hotel luxuriating the day before the conference. From my room you can see the projects looming on the South Side.

If Barack Obama had anything to do with how much the black population in this city has its act together, providing for itself, opening cultural and financial doors for themselves, then this whole country is going to be doing fine when Barack Obama is President.

This city is SO CLEAN!!!!

I may never go back to LA. I don't even want to wear the clothes I brought from LA. Stepping onto the clean sidewalks of Chicago makes you want to step up your wardrobe. I'm looking now at the clothes I brought and thinking, what was I thinking?

I may never go back. I always say that, and I always go back to LA.

I could pay my daughter to go pack my stuff up and put it in storage.

I could just become a traveling journalist for a while, living in Extended Stay Hotels.

Oh wait, I’d have to be a lot more successful as a traveling journalist to do that. Don’t forget the PayPal button in the top left corner.

That's how I paid for this whole trip. With the PayPal button. Thank you so much all of you who made this possible. It would be great if SNAP showed the same financial accountability.

Wonder where we'll go from here.

Onward. . .

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