|ChrisOLeary.com > Sins > TOC > September 13, 2019|
I'm not sure how I expected MO AG Eric Schmitt to treat me on September 13, 2019 at the press conference announcing the results of the investigation of the Archdiocese of Saint Louis.
But I certainly didn't expect what happened.
Just over a year ago, I'd watched PA AG Josh Shapiro release his grand jury report, not just with but surrounded by survivors of abuse by priests.
It was a scene that was impossible to forget.
I knew — well, I suspected — that Friday the 13th wasn't going to be the same. I hadn't received an invitation to the press conference, and had only found out about it by chance, but I still had SOME hope.
Among other things, the investigator who interviewed me twice seemed to change his tone the second time, in large part because he realized he knew some of the survivors.
As I walked into the building, I knew where I was going because my second interview had been held in the front conference room just a few weeks before.
There was a KMOV video guy there and, after I went to the bathroom, he and I followed a young member of the MO AG's office into the press conference room.
Despite the fact that I'm a survivor, and I identified myself as such, this young man — just a few years out of college and, nominally, a public servant — was quickly hostile.
He told me the event was press-only.
Like Helen Mirren in RED at the fundraiser at the end, as she descended the escalator and was confronted by security, I told him it was OK.
And kept walking.
And the KMOV guy threw me a look which I returned with an eyeroll.
We entered the room the press conference was told be held in, a large conference room that was roughly 25 by 35 feet, with the table pushed off to the side with copies of the report on it. A podium at one end and a row of chairs at the other.
The KMOV guy set up his camera in the middle back of the room and I moved into and stood in the stage right far back corner.
And it was just the KMOV guy and me and a bunch of chairs in an otherwise empty room.
And I wasn't sitting down, just standing quietly in a corner.
I just wanted to hear some hopeful words.(1)
My thought/plan wasn't to protest/disrupt.
That's not my style.
What I do — what I have done in the past — is just stand there and hold one or two photos of myself, my abuser, and a couple other guys from Immacolata.
And I didn't even take them out as I was undecided as to what I was going to do.
Like Richard Dreyfus in "Close Encounters," I just felt compelled.
To BE there.
(Want to know what PTSD is like? To have an image in your head? Watch Close Encounters.)
And here's where the really horrible stuff starts.
After a minute or so, 10 people enter the room or stand in the hallway just outside the room.
And they're PISSED.
They want me out of the room.
The GALL of my being there.
My images of PA AG Josh Shapiro disappeared.
This is where it gets hard to write.
So I'm a survivor of abuse by a priest.
An ACKNOWLEDGED survivor.
And I'm NAMED in the fucking report that's being released (Victim 27).
And my abuser (142) is also named in the fucking report.
And I've got 10 FUCKING PEOPLE from the FUCKING MO ATTORNEY GENERAL'S OFFICE glaring at me.
The people who are supposed to be serving me.
Who are supposed to care about and for me.
Some of whom, I assume, worked on the report in which I'm named.
And they DESPISE me.
Which is no surprise, given what happened at the end of December.
That was when a family member of a VERY high-ranking member of the MO AG's office — someone who was in the room on Friday the 13th, which may not have been unrelated — came after me on Twitter.
And called me a liar.
And let me know I couldn't trust the MO AG.
So I've got all these people from the MO AG's office coming after me — forcing me back into a corner VERY familiarly and triggering the absolute SHIT out of me — and getting increasingly hostile.
And I don't understand why.
And I'm getting younger.
And I'm getting shorter.
Why are these people with the MO AG's office — who are supposed to be on my side and protecting me — attacking me?
Why are they so angry?
What have I done wrong?
I'm just standing here.
Hoping to hear MO AG Eric Schmitt tell me he believes me.
But the people in my face are making it ALL to clear to me that they DO NOT believe me.
That they DO NOT care.
Supposedly, the MO AG said something to survivors that it's not our fault, but the actions of the MO AG office made it ALL too clear.
This was ALL MY FAULT.
I WAS THE PROBLEM.
And everybody’s coming after me.
And then the police enter the room.
Yes, I look light-hearted, all No Big Deal in this clip.
But I wet the bed that night.
Something I haven't done in 40 years.
And one thing I figured out in therapy is the worse I feel about something, the bigger I smile. I once thought this was an autism spectrum thing.
P.S. I also have stories to tell about the "investigation" of ArchStL when it was headed up by now Senator Josh Hawley.
(1) Ironically, MO AG Eric Schmitt did have some kind words for survivors — that this wasn't our fault — but I wasn't there to hear them. I had been thrown out of the building. Literally kicked to the curb.