A.L. – Chain of Sexual Abuse in the Legion of Christ
Editor?s Note: As of March 05, 2010 there has been no response from the Legion to this letter:
4 Newlands Crescent
14th December 2009
Dear Alvaro Corcuera,
I have been following very closely recent developments in the Legion regarding Marcial Maciel over the past few months, indeed years.
Recently Juan Jose Vaca spoke to me about your recent phone call with him. This has prompted me to write to you directly.
I was a legionary for five years – two years in Dublin and three in Salamanca. In 2001 I made a complaint to Luis Garza Medina about sexual misconduct of Fr. Eoghan Devlin LC (no longer a priest). I made this complaint with the assistance of the vicar general of my Diocese – Down and Connor.
The Legion?s response at this time to my detailed complaint of sexual abuse was inadequate and hurtful. The Legion of Christ simply asked Fr. Eoghan Devlin if what I said was true. Of course he denied this and the Legion simply believed him and asked me
how could I come up with such a story.
I retreated into myself and continued to try and heal through counseling, provided by Faoiseamh, an Irish Charity for those abused by Clergy. This charity is funded by CORI – Conference of Religious in Ireland, and by some Catholic dioceses.
The fact that Fr. Eoghan Devlin LC – in spite of my serious complaint against him – was still allowed to exercise authority as a superior in Medellin, as director of the senior and junior school there, as the head of the junior RC section made me sick. I worried so much that he would continue to hurt other trusting young men.
In 2005 this led me to report my complaint again, but this time to the Irish Police. I was encouraged and assisted to do so by the Child Protection Services of the Dublin Archdiocese. This was a very big decision for me to make – the prospect of going to court, of having to tell publicly what happened to me etc was very frightening. Nevertheless, I decided that I could not live with the fear that Eoghan Devlin would continue to abuse – that he
got offwith it.
Again the Legion of Christ?s response was inadequate. Luis Garza Medina phoned me within 24 hours of knowing that I had made my complaint to the police and he told me on the phone that the Legion had never had a complaint of sexual abuse brought to them before my complaint, and that the Legion of Christ did not know how to behave appropriately.
I do not believe for one moment that the Legion of Christ had not had any complaints about sexual abuse brought to them. I know that Luis Medina Garza lied to me.
Further correspondence from the Legion, by Raymond Cosgrave, was also misleading and deceptive – the legion invited me to speak with an
independent person for the purposes of information gathering. The Legion mentioned the name of the person as Johanna Merry but failed to point out that Johanna Merry is usually referred to as Dr. Johanna Merry and is a psychologist. It also failed to mention that it was paying Dr. Merry.
When I found out this information, my mistrust of the Legion prompted me to reject these requests. Why would the Legion employ a psychologist for the purposes of information gathering and not disclose that this person is a psychologist? Why not, for example, appoint a notary or solicitor to gather the information? I had already provided the Legion with very detailed information – I was satisfied that they had more than enough information on which to act. Was the Legion trying to evaluate me psychologically without me knowing?
I had made the same detailed complaint to the police and local health services. Why did I need to make it again, in person, to the Legion when the Legion had rejected my complaint, when the director general of the legion – a known child abuser – was still in charge of the Legion?
The Legion of Christ also rejected my many requests in my correspondence with you. I requested that you send me a copy of your protocol regarding your process upon receiving complaints about sexual abuse. By 2005 I know for a fact there were other cases of similar complaints. I felt that my correspondence to the Legion of Christ was unanswered and ignored.
I learnt that in Medellin, where Fr. Eoghan Devlin LC was working, a letter was sent by the directors of the male and female schools to all the families of the schools that they were not to believe any false rumours that were circulating and that they should only accept the truth from the directors themselves. I know that Eoghan was removed from his ministry because of the police investigation, and I know that that was made known to some families in Medellin. Families were told that Eoghan had left to go home to visit his family, that there was illness in his family in Ireland.
The Legion and RC members in Colombia told lies about this situation to the families of the children in their care. Your duty was to make everyone know about my allegations so that other victims might have the courage to come forward and offer full support to them.
I wonder why you covered up with lies the truth about Eoghan Devlin to the families in Medellin.
I learnt that Eoghan left the priesthood and the Legion of Christ, and even though the department of public prosecution deemed that there was not enough evidence – actually this was a relief for me – I found some closure in knowing that Eoghan was no longer working with children nor could be protected by the Legion.
Nevertheless I was worried that he once again lived in the same country as me – would I bump into him? Would he look for me? I learnt also that he was receiving a substantial monthly payment from the Legion of Christ. This angered me.
Going to the police and thereby removing Eoghan from ministry and taking him away from children really meant a lot to me. This helped me heal. It is unfortunate that I had to go the police in order for this to happen. I hoped that my initial complaint in 2001 would have done this. Indeed if you had acted properly at that time, this part of my healing would have taken place sooner.
In my detailed complaint I made known my concerns about intergenerational abuse in the Legion. I will reiterate my concerns to you now, upon learning of a possible new generation of abusers in your institute.
In your phone call to Juan Jose Vaca you ask for forgiveness from Juan Jose Vaca for what Marcial did to him and the others. You have not said this directly, but you imply that you acknowledge that Maciel sexually abused him and the others as children and young adults. If you believe this – I can only presume so as you have never said this – then you will share my concerns.
Here is how I see the chain of abuse:
Marcial Maciel sexually abused Guillermo Izquierdo as a child. Other victims of abuse are witnesses to this – they have told me this directly, in first hand.
Guillermo Izquierdo sexually abused Patrick M Keane, again he told me this in first hand.
Guillermo Izquierdo was sexually inappropriate with Isaac Chute, whom he asked to strip naked in his bedroom and wait on his kneeler for Guillermo to inspect him. This was given as a penance in confession. Again Isaac Chute has corresponded about this to me directly.
Isaac Chute was a novice with Eoghan Devlin.
Eoghan Devlin made his novitiate under a known sexual abuser, in an environment where minor sexual abuse took place.
I believe that Eoghan Devlin was sexually abused. This explains to me how he copied the abuse that Maciel subjected his victims to. Eoghan also mentioned to me that Maciel treated Eoghan specially when he visited the LC in Dublin. Perhaps Maciel abused Eoghan as well.
Fr. Robert Sloan LC has recently – months ago – been accused of asking highly sexually inappropriate questions to the children and adolescents he worked with in the Instituto Irlandes in Mexico DF. These detailed questions about sexual fantasy, about the size of the children?s? penises etc are an echo of the questions that Eoghan Devlin asked me in his process of preparing me – grooming me – for abuse. As I mentioned in my detailed complaint Eoghan asked me questions like this.
Robert Sloan was a novice with me, Eoghan Devlin was his novice superior.
The news of Robert Sloan has greatly upset me and caused me considerable anxiety.
I want you to know that my life has been interrupted greatly since I joined and subsequently left the Legion. I am still at counseling, still have nightmares, am still trying to understand the effects of sexual abuse on me and all my relationships.
I turned to other exlegionaries for help and support, and found over and over again so many hurt people. The websitewww.exlegionaries.comwas a great help and resource to me – when the Legion of Christ shut this website down I was once again hurt. It is a great shame that you denied so many people a means to heal. In the light of recent developments and acknowledgment of Maciel?s plagiarism, I would hope you allow that website to be restored as it was originally and repay the legal costs to those affected.
I am angry, and it is so unfair that my life is still on hold. What do I have to do to heal? What do I need to change my life and live again? When will the Legion and Fr. Eoghan be a closed chapter in my past?
As a victim, I believe that the following will help me greatly:
- – A sincere and detailed apology. An apology which acknowledges and names the wrongs made to me by the Legion. This must include an admission that I was abused and that my reporting of this abuse was mistreated by the Legion.
– I believe that you should make a substantial financial contribution to the organisations that have paid for my counseling over the years. I have been fortunate enough in that I have received high quality and very helpful counseling for free since 2001. I am angered that the resources of charitable people and organisations are being used by me when I feel you should be paying for this.
– I believe you should make financial restitution for the effect my abuse and the Legion?s response to my complaints have had on me and continue to have on me.
Alvaro, I too was a Legionary of Christ. I blindly and devotedly followed Marcial Maciel, I believed his every word and held him to be a living Saint. I ate the scraps off his plate when I served him as guest waiter. I cried thinking about what the sacrifices he made in his life.
I would have died for the Legion.
Like you, I have learnt a different story about Maciel. I learnt about his excessive luxurious lifestyle, about his sexual abuse, about his disregard for anyone around him, his drug use, his lying, his not writing his famous Cartas, Salterio etc and so much more.
Please believe me when I tell you that finding out the truth was a terribly painful experience for me. My whole world fell down.
I do not want any of this pain any longer – I want you in the name of the Legion to respond adequately to my complaint of abuse and help me forget about the Legion and forget about what happened.
Give me resolution.
A.L.?s original testimony on Regain Website may be found here