The Shame of Ireland
Yesterday I added the following letter to the www.bergencatholicabuse.com website.
"CHRISTIAN" BROTHERS SURVIVORS PLEASE NOTE THAT AS OF TODAY THERE ARE ONLY FIFTY-THREE DAYS LEFT TO FILE A CLAIM OF SEXUAL ABUSE AGAINST THE ORDER. AFTER AUGUST FIRST ANY FURTHER CLAIMS WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED BY THE BANKRUPTCY COURT. IT IS VITAL THAT SURVIVORS COME FORWARD AND FILE CLAIMS... NOW!
A new letter from a survivor of abuse at Bergen Catholic High School, Oradell, New Jersey, USA:
On June, 6, 2012 at 9:11 PM, *Roger* wrote:
I attended Bergen Catholic High School in Oradell NJ, Class of '67. One year when I was there Brother Irwin would come to supervise our class when the regular teacher had "some business to attend to." I did my best to become invisible when he came. Brother Irwin could be very mean and extremely abusive both physically as well as verbally. Sometimes he appeared very rational and at other times totally crazy, I wondered if he was mentally ill and even considered that perhaps, he was possessed by a very vile and evil spirit. He was very good at creating major fear. He would sometimes go off on a student for no apparent reason.
When my regular teacher would return Brother Irwin would tell him that he wanted to borrow me to assist him with a project that he was working on. Oh I prayed hard that he would forget about this and leave me alone. I did not want to be anywhere near him ever. But he didn't forget he kept asking my regular teacher if he could borrow me when he would watch over my class. The day did come when he took me out of my class and brought me by the Bookstore to this large storage room where textbooks were kept. Brother Irwin said that he wanted to organize and straighten this room up. The room was dimly lit and I was moving boxes of books and neatly stacking them where Brother Irwin directed. I was bending way down to pick up a heavy box off the floor, as I stood up he grabbed my shirt in the area of my lower back and very quickly and forcefully pulled my shirt out of my pants. Like a tablecloth quickly yanked off the table without disturbing the dishes and glasses and utensils. I had no idea why or what for this was happening. I set the box down and turned around and looked at him. He was grinning like a little kid playing his favorite game. His actions were very weird to me. This thought was nothing new to me. When I bent down to pick up the next box BAM his hand went down the back of my pants. I didn't even see this coming. I was in a state of TOTAL SHOCK. I struggled to free myself and Brother Irwin was not smiling now. He struggled to hold on to me with his hand down my pants. His hand on my skin was completely repulsive. He was much bigger than me and my surprise was to his advantage. I recall the feeling that I got away but I don't remember how this came to be or what else if anything occurred. I told him "Not to ever do that again." He made me feel ashamed and angry and not worthy and embarrassed. He would pick on me after this and say that I shouldn't be mad at him. It was like he would not let the wound he inflicted heal. He kept picking at it. I did my best to ignore and not respond to his taunts. I was afraid of him.
I want you to know that this has been very difficult to write this – hard to put into words. My intention is three fold. To speak the truth as I was taught by my parents my Church and my Teachers, and to accept nothing less in return; To face my Fear and begin the process of healing from this abuse; finally, to acknowledge the courage and bravery of those who have stood up and taken a stand to end the abuse of our children. Its time to acknowledge the wrongdoing and it is time to make amends.
My Love and Forgiveness are yours.
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