Sins of the Fathers > Sins > TOC > Testing Precedes Grooming

In discussions of Child Sexual Abuse, the Conventional Wisdom is that the first stage of the process is Grooming.

However, my experience, at least, is that there was a step that preceded Grooming.

What I call Testing.

Testing Precedes Grooming

I've been asked, many times, how many guys my abuser, Fr. LeRoy Valentine, might have "gotten" at the Church of the Immacolata.

My answer?

One hundred or more.

In part, that answer is based on the fact the Valentine didn't full out sexually abuse everyone.

And I'm not sure it's accurate to say that he Groomed everyone.

But, near as I can tell, Valentine TESTED everyone.

As for what that Testing involved?


One of my favorite memories from my childhood is of the Risk & Pizza Party in the Rectory.

The problem with that memory is the "wrestling" that was part of the evening.

Wrestling that, I suspect, was my abuser's way of testing us, to see who would react to what he was doing.

Who would Fight and try to Flee.

As the Number Shirt Guy did, I think in seventh grade; when Valentine tested him NSG, who was a big guy, threw him off him and across the room.

And who would just Freeze.

Like I did.

My memories of wrestling aren't super clear. Just fragments. Sensations. But the thing I DO remember about the wrestling is how Father Valentine's hand kept...
And "accidentally" touching me.
Down there.
He was trying to teach us how to flip each other; how to get a guy on his back, so you could pin him.
To do that, you had to grab your opponent by the thigh. But, what I remember clearly, is him telling us that we were all doing it wrong. We were trying to flip each other by grabbing our opponent up by the knee.
But that was wrong.
And it irritated Fr. Valentine.
I remember that.
And, when it was my turn to be on the bottom, and my opponent did it wrong, Fr. Valentine told him to step aside and climbed on top of me to show us the right way to do it. To flip your opponent and get him on his back.
And the way to do that was to grab your opponent, not at the knee end of the thigh, but down towards the butt.
But his hand kept slipping.
Instead of grabbing my thigh outside of the butt cheek, Fr. Valentine's hand would touch me.
Down there.
Over and over again.