Sins of the Fathers
ChrisOLeary.com > Sins of the Fathers > Abuse of the Abused

When I was a child, I was sexually exploited, abused, and assaulted -- raped, ultimately -- by a priest named Fr. LeRoy Valentine at The Church of the Immacolata in Richmond Heights, MO, a suburb of St. Louis.

Then, when I went to the Archdiocese of St. Louis for help in 2002, and Timothy Cardinal Dolan returned my call, that's when things got REALLY bad.

While the sexual abuse I experienced was terrible -- and merely writing these words is stirring up physical reminders -- it was nothing compared to what the Archdiocese of St. Louis has put me through since I first went to them for help.

The Abuse of the Abused

Sexual abuse is bad.

Traumatic.

Duh.

But I and other survivors of abuse by priests in the Archdiocese of St. Louis -- and, from what I've heard, in Buffalo as well -- weren't just sexually abused.

Rather, when we went to our (arch)diocese for help, we were subjected to an entirely different, and in many ways worse, form of abuse.

What I call the abuse of the abused.

I first discussed (some of) what was done to me, when I tried to get help from ArchStL, in Assistance Coordinators and Other Lies. This piece is my attempt to tell the complete story in one place.

If you'd rather listen to or watch me tell my story, I've put together a Podcast and a Youtube video...

2002

I hadn't thought about him in years, so the New York Times piece in which Fr. LeRoy Valentine was named as an abuser affected me in a strange way.

They asked people to come forward if they had any information about Fr. Valentine.

And I did.

So I did.

But, from the start, it was weird.

Timothy Cardinal Dolan

While my call to circuit attorney Jennifer Joyce's office was never returned, my call to the Archdiocese of St. Louis (ArchStL) was returned.

By Timothy Cardinal Dolan.

Who told me nothing happened.

And then failed to inform me -- much less help me -- when Fr. Valentine resigned a few days later.

Instead, Cardinal Dolan sent me on a 10-year wild goose chase, exploring diagnosis after diagnosis, instead of letting me save my marriage, my career, and my family.

2003

In 2003 my older son made his first confession.

And I had a panic attack when I took him to the Dark Scary Room side of the (west) confessional at MQP and then went into the Face To Face side of the confessional myself.

But I didn't think anything of it.

Because Cardinal Dolan had told me nothing happened.

2005

In 2005 my older daughter made her first confession.

And I had a panic attack when I took her to the Dark Scary Room side of the (east) confessional at MQP and then went into the Face To Face side of the confessional myself.

But I didn't think anything of it.

Because Cardinal Dolan had told me nothing happened.

2004-2005

In late 2004 or 2005 an episode of Law & Order: Criminal Intent entitled Eosphoros first airs on October 24, 2004.

In that episode they talked about how people often have panic attacks when taken back to a place where something bad happened. That made me wonder, for a moment, if there was something to my recollections about Fr. Valentine because of what happened during at least my older son's, and possibly also my older daughter's,0 first confession.

But I didn't think anything of it.

Because Cardinal Dolan had told me nothing happened.

2005-2007

I started having psychological problems in 2005 and, by 2007, had become what my co-workers and superiors described as "catatonic." However, instead of helping me, they just laid me off. And that was the last regular job I held. And was able to hold.

2009

In 2009 I started seeing a psychologist to deal with my disintegrating marriage and impending divorce.

2010

By 2010 I had shifted my conversations with my therapist from my divorce to my productivity, depression, anxiety and other issues.

Grasping for straws, I brought up what I remembered about Fr. Valentine. However, and like Cardinal Dolan, my psychologist told me it wasn't that big of a big deal; that what I was telling him wouldn't have caused what I was dealing with.

2011

It wasn't until 2011 that I started realizing that many, if not all, of my most cherished memories of Fr. Valentine -- times when I felt special and singled-out -- could actually be espidodes of Testing and Grooming.

Deacon Phil Hengen

As a result, on May 9, 2011 I went back to the Archdiocese of St. Louis with a simple question.

Are you SURE my memories about Fr. Valentine don't mean anything?

They told me all of my problems were my father's fault.

And, while they told me they wanted to speak to my psychologist, they never bothered to contact him.

2012

It wasn't until 2012 that I started having my first flashbacks and recovered memories. I continued to try to get help from ArchStL, but they wouldn't do anything.

2013

2013 was the worst.

Literally.

Permanently Removed

I had spent two years trying to get help from ArchStL, with nothing to show for it. So imagine my surprise when, on May 10, 2013, I received a call from my psychologist alerting me to the fact that ArchStL had permanently removed my abuse.

And ArchStL, before or after, made no attempt to contact me, much less help me.

Monsignor Hanneke

Later on in 2013 I went to a Monsignor who I knew for help. I told him the person I was working with wasn't doing anything. But Monsignor Hanneke told me I had to work through that person. Who was useless.

2014

While everything that happened to me up to that point was terrible, it was just that.

Terrible.

Not criminal.

But that changed in 2014.

The Matrix

In 2014, under court order, the Archdiocese of St. Louis released a spreadsheet -- what came to be known as the matrix -- that was supposed to listed every allegation received during a certain timeframe.

It was incomplete.

I know, because my allegation wasn't in it.

I'm no lawyer, but that sounds like at least Perjury, if not Obstruction of Justice.

2015

As Friends

2017

The

Settlement Agreement

The

Assistance Coordinator

The

2018

2018 started off with my continuing to try to bring to light the truth about the USCCB's (phony) promise of Assistance Coordinators for survivors of abuse by priests. At least when it came to the Archdiocese of St. Louis. Assuming (or hoping) someone at the USCCB would want to know that ArchStL wasn't honoring their promise, I started e-mailing a contact.

Gaslighting

Gaslighting is a term that's often thrown around when it comes to abuse, but what does it mean?

In my case, Gaslighting means ArchStL privately admitted to me that It Happened but then denied it publicly.

IT HAPPENED
In early February 2018 I sent an e-mail, trying to blow the whistle on ArchStL, and CC'd a number of folks at ArchStL to let them know what I was trying to do (and to try to pressure them into helping me for fear of exposure). To my complete, utter, and stunned surprise, I received the following e-mail.

February 5, 2018
Hi Chris,
I wanted to respond to you on behalf of the Archdiocese of Saint Louis.
You chose to litigate your claims of sexual abuse by Rev. Leroy Valentine. YOUR CLAIMS WERE ACKNOWLEDGED by Deacon Phil Hengen, the Archdiocese of Saint Louis and the court system. This matter has been fully settled through litigation and is final. Because your claim has been fully settled and is final the Archdiocese of Saint Louis will not be responding to any further inquiries regarding these claims. Please know that YOU AND ALL VICTIMS OF ABUSE are in my prayers and I do hope that you are able to find peace in the future.
I wish you the best.
Sandra Price
Archdiocese of St. Louis

While that e-mail from Sandra Price was full of lies, it did acknowledge my essential truth.

It Happened.

OR DID IT?
The essence of Gaslighting is leading the victim to question their own reality, and that's exactly what Gabe Jones' statement to Aisha Sultan in April 2018 did to me.

…when asked to comment on O’Leary’s account, “The archdiocese’s record of Mr. O’Leary’s allegations are significantly different; however, due to a court order as well as our own ethical obligation, we are not at liberty to discuss Mr. O’Leary’s case.” Jones also said the information O’Leary shared initially changed multiple times by the time he broke off communication with the Office of Child and Youth Protection.

In other words, I'm lying.

And my story changed.

SO WHICH IS IT?
Did it happen and my claims were acknowledged?

Or did my story change and I'm lying?

I hope you can see how that could drive someone crazy.

And lead to their being shunned by their community.

Which I assume is the plan?

Terroristic Threats

Lying to the people of St. Louis to isolate me isn't the only abusive thing ArchStL has done.

ArchStL also used law enforcement to harass, intimidate, and terrorize me.

When Cardinal Law died in late 2017, the USCCB put out a release that mentioned how survivors should contact their local diocesan Assistance Coordinator. I've already discussed how that promise is a sham, but things got even worse.

When I tried to let USCCB know that ArchStL was honoring USCCB's promise of an Assistance Coordinator for survivors, ArchStL called the police.

And told them I had made Terroristic Threats against ArchStL and Archbishop Carlson.

I of course didn't.

What I said was stuff like this, first tweet.

The prospect of going public terrified me, as did a heads-up DM I received from a fellow survivor, all of which led me to publicly express my ability to defend myself.

What's more, this allegation has since leaked out to the members of my (former) parish, leading my last friends to cut off all contact with me.