Sins of the Fathers > Sins of the Fathers > TOC > Everybody Knew

One year ago I had a conversation that started out as supportive but then devolved into horrible.

And then infuriating.

And worse.

Everybody Knew

A long-time friend who knows about my struggles called me up and offered to take me out to breakfast. As we settled in, he revealed something I hadn't known; that he had been at Immacolata for 8th grade, when I was in 5th or 6th grade.

He then preceded to tell me everything he knew about Fr. LeRoy Valentine, which wasn't much.

As it turns out, he had attended a pool party and a game night with a bunch of other guys, at which Valentine was also present, and his description of Valentine's behavior so thoroughly creeped out his mom that she forbade him from attending any event at which Valentine was present.

But, near as I can tell, she didn't share her concerns with ANYBODY else.

When I asked my friend if he would record a short, anonymous statement that I could use for corroboration purposes, he refused in the STRONGEST possible terms.

Such that I haven't talked to him since.

I don't understand how a mother can see such questionable behavior and not tell anyone else. Perhaps this was because they were new to the parish and the neighborhood and the mom didn't want to look crazy and paranoid?

I also don't understand how a man can know of such behavior — and know multiple survivors — and refuse to speak anonymously to support them.

Timothy Cardinal Dolan

As I discuss elsewhere it wasn't just parents who saw and failed to act to stop what Fr. LeRoy Valentine was doing to boys at Immacolata. Then Father and now Cardinal Timothy Dolan was at Immacolata at the same time.


The idea that everybody knew was confirmed in  a comments to my piece Assistance Coordinators & Other Lies. While I received a number of comments, one comment stood out.

I went to Immacolata parish and school 1976–1979. I knew Fr. Valentine (and Cardinal Dolan, then Fr. Dolan, there at the same time) well. Fr. Valentine was known throughout SLU High and other private high schools and even SLU because kids at Immacolata would share with their older siblings. His behavior with the boys was always creepy and highly suspect. I told my parents and some other girls told their parents too, but we were blown off. I even told a couple of teachers I suspected inappropriate behavior (hugging boys waaaay to long, then rubbing their chests, not to mention the constant attempts at wrestling). The boys I asked always denied abuse, but admitted to hating the hugging and touching.


Apparently, certain moms saw this and were creeped out by it. And forbade their kids from attending parties or events when Fr. Valentine was present.

However, they didn't share their concerns with other moms.

They protected their kids.

And nobody else.

Everybody knew.

But nobody told my parents or me.