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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

Monday, July 14, 2008

Theme at SNAP 2008 was our need to work together, among ourselves, with other groups, in order to counter organized crime tactics of Catholic Church

By Kay Ebeling
City of Angels

CHICAGO: In intimate conversations, in groups, in the bar, we continued to reference Angela Shelton and her analogy when she spoke the first night of SNAP 2008: Your trauma is a sword pierced through your body. You have to pull out the sword, as painful as it is, or it will hurt forever, maybe kill you. After you pull it out, you have this sword in your hand and you can turn it into an instrument. Literally an instrument if you're a musician, my instrument is this blog. Continuously at the conference in Chicago last weekend, people said things to each other like, My sword is still in me or, I really am in the process of pulling out my sword.

There were a lot of whoops and hollers and standing ovations. Kathy Shaw got a standing ovation for her work keeping up Abuse Tracker. The Survivors’ Support Working Group got whoops and hollers, a lot more applause than VOTF did. Throughout the conference the theme seemed to be coalition, work together, get past petty stuff and focus on our common goal. We need to get laws passed, hearings convened, and the only way to be effective at decision making levels in America is to be as big as your opponent.

Marci Hamilton got a standing ovation before she even got to the microphone to speak. “The major barrier is the statute of limitations,” she said. “It will take collaboration and coordination of all the groups to get laws passed.” She includes the insurance industry. “They are supposed to exist to reduce risk, that is how they make money,” she said. “We need to convince the insurance industry that siding with us results in better enforcement and deterrence.”

Hamilton recounted blatant law breaking by Catholic Conference lobbyists, how they bulldozed away everything advocates had done legally to pass a new SOL law in Ohio in 2006. In her speech Hamilton called it “Midnight machinations of lobbyists, in some ways brilliant on the part of the Catholic Conference."

Hamilton's book Justice Denied reveals more of the story, plus numerous arguments we all can use to lobby for change in statute of limitations laws locally. With elections approaching, Hamilton urged us to find out where candidates stand on prosecuting sex crimes in the Catholic Church.

After her speech I needed to know more. She told me that professional lobbyists for the Catholic Conference went into the meeting of the Republican caucus, behind closed doors with the legislators, the night before final vote, after weeks of testimony, the work of advocates working within the laws of the democratic process. The Republicans appeared next day with an entirely different bill, nothing that had been hammered out in the past weeks through legal efforts. At the behest of Lobbyists for the Catholic conference, Ohio legislators replaced the bill on the floor with the Catholic Church heirarchy's useless version.

Yes, that's illegal Marci Hamilton told me, in fact one family of a victim who had testified before the legislature actually sued or tried to get a criminal investigation. No judge or DA would touch it, she said.

In a speech another day, Patrick Wall said, “That's how the Mafia works,” describing the scene of bishops flying into Oakland airport from all over the country, meeting for the day with lawyers, and flying back to their archdioceses. Then “Before any investigation can get going, they pay off the cases,” Wall said.

I apologize, readers, I did not make it to every speech, and got there late for Patrick Wall. In fact, by the second half of Saturday at the conference, I had Spontaneous Onset Attention Deficit Disorder. I did not shoot any videos either. Every time I tried to interview someone, about seven other people would interact with me as I was trying to set it up. Not that I minded. As many of you know, my life in LA is horribly isolated. I can’t get past all the gunk in my third world neighborhood to get out of it, so I almost hide in my apartment all the time. All of a sudden at the conference I was surrounded by people who knew me and spoke my language.


Adoring me

Coming up to me, or happening to see my name and City of Angels Network on the blue thing dangling from my lanyard and say, “You're KAY!!!” or “You're the one who does City of Angels” and then they would shower me with compliments and all kinds of affirmations, so I was walking around the conference with waves of endorphins going all through my body all the time, happy as a sinner dying and finding out they don’t have to go to hell after all.

But I didn't make it to all the speeches, and didn't even realize that the book they gave us when we registered has the schedule of speakers and other activities in it until late on Saturday. So I didn't really make it to any breakout sessions to speak of. The good ones were too crowded. I think anyone who saw me there now knows about the way I twitch and squirm and evoke noises from my mouth at sometimes inappropriate times. It gets worse if I have to sit still in a crowded place. I may never fly agagin. It's all tied to this weird central nervous system disease which doctors tell me is due to the Prolooooooooonged PTSD. In other words PTSD that was never treated, but instead festered in me so I lived 40 years of my life Running Away from the Trauma, hiding it, never slowing down long enough to face it.

So I’ve taken the sword out and made it an instrument. Now I'm running forward and since a side effect of all this seems to be I Can’t Stop or Even Slow Down, it’s best for me to work on something that never stops or never slows down, and that's the outpouring of information about how far flung, how immersed in the culture of secrecy and intimidation, is the pedophile priest epidemic in the Catholic Church.

Going to the conference confirmed one thing for me, my story is just one of thousands and thousands. There have been little pedophile priest networks in every community in America, every single one, and in each case the circumstances are almost identical.

“The script is the same,” Barbara Blaine said. "When we first got together in 1988 just a few people, we thought it would last maybe three months. But then we started hearing about other cities and began to see that they were all going by the same script."

Me, when I first found SNAP in 1994, there just happened to be a copy of St. Joseph Messenger on the table in the therapy place where MediCal sent me, which was run by Catholic Charities coincidentally. That one issue of the magazine just happened to have an article about priest sex crime survivors and this organization that had formed called SNAP.

That's when I first began to realize there is angelic intervention going on in every step I take on this journey. As I’ve shared with some people, stuff pops up in front of me when I'm not looking for it, people appear in my life when I need them, in ways it’s hard to describe, but it’s all about pushing me forward with my task of uprooting the pedophile priests.


(By the way, someone is f---ing with me again. Google has canceled my ads because of something someone did, and I don't even know what it is. That's why the ads are all Red with "ERROR" written all over them. I hope it gets resolved soon, as I like my ads. It wasn't angels who did that.)

I’ve never written this here, I’ve shared it with a few people. There have been times working on this blog where I felt the presence and saw the work of an angel. One time when I was doing a story about the clergy cases in LA, the hearings last year where LA Archdiocese attorneys were doing all those tap dances and channeling Alice in Wonderland characters (all covered at City of Angels 3) -- I was putting together insert quotes to put in one of the Layout Elements.

I went to select something and my hand got picked up, my fingers selected a piece of copy, made it bold, and then hit publish. I wasn’t doing it, something was moving my hand. Then when I read the layout element, it was correct, those were the words that should have been bolded to emphasize the point. But I wasn’t aware of that when my hand selected, bolded, and published the element. Not until I read it on the blog, published by the angel. . .

Oh sure, it could have been my subconscious, or even happenstance the way I twitch all the time. And a lot of ex-Catholics survivors don’t even like references to the “magic” stuff.

But I spend a lot of time immersed in black spiritual gospel music and anyone who knows me knows I am really a believer. So I think it was part of the same plan that had me end up standing next to Barbara Blaine as she poured out some pretty intimate details about her life and dealings with the archdioceses and her case and how SNAP formed, including a great quote about Terrie Light who ran the first support meeting I ever went to in the mid-nineties in the California Bay Area.

And I didn't have my laptop out, or a camera or a recorder, so I can’t give you any quotes from Barbara Blaine except the one about the same script.

However, when Blaine opened the conference she said, “Maybe someone else would have started SNAP. I was working for 20 dollars a week at a homeless shelter for women and children in Chicago,” Blaine said of when she started SNAP. She got the first standing ovation of the conference, and David Clohessy was really crying when he introduced her.

Blaine said that 73 percent of Catholics disapprove of the way the church handles the pedophile priest epidemic, compared to 53 percent in 2004 in the same poll

Blaine said, “We wouldn't be here if it weren’t for everybody.”

I believe when Clohessy spoke he projected the word “Together” on a screen and said it was the theme word. If not, I just made it my theme word. I know I'm going to have to talk to some reverent Catholics and even Republicans as I do the research I do in the coming months, years.

So focus on the positive.

Tom Doyle’s Speech was so good, I'm going to devote a whole post to it next. Doyle could be a standup comic and reach a whole lot more people with his message. I'm serious. Read the next post.

I didn't even realize that was Patrick Wall speaking before Tom Doyle on the last day or I would have gotten there earlier. Like I said spontaneous onset attention deficit disorder. One thing SNAP really does well is this conference. Remember what SNAP does is about 10 percent of what this movement needs and other groups could be doing all the rest. City of Angels Network can and will be doing more. . .

So even with my ongoing paranoid musings about the structure of SNAP and Who Is Really Pulling The Strings, I can’t help but love Barbara Blaine and say, forget about the stuff we don’t like about each other in different groups and focus on the common goal we share, or we will never get anything accomplished.

Meanwhile City of Angels Network will pursue the Ohio Debacle story further in the future, maybe before the summer runs out.

Man, it was nice for me to realize I’m so much more progressed in recovery than I thought I was. I’ve removed the sword, and am already using it as an instrument with this blog. I'm still amazed at how empowered I got from hearing Angela Shelton the first night of the conference. She helped kick start and set my plan in action. I’ll go back to LA at the end of the month, give 30 days’ notice to my slumlord, and then become a roving reporter uprooting the pedophile priest epidemic.

I should be safe, as if anything unusual happens to me, with all I've written here, it will be obvious who is guilty. They can't touch me, I can walk into the Valley of Death and fear no evil. Try it.

Onward. . .

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