December 24, 2004
I was in the legion of Christ for five years. I was recruited by them at the age of 13 and entered their novitiate at the age of 16.
The entire five years of my experience with them was one of manipulation and abuse. I was physically, mentally, emotionally, humanly, spiritually and sexually abused.
Sexually Abused by Legionary Priest and Legion’s denial and put down of victim
I was abused in 1995. November 2000 is when I first spoke to my counsellor about this after I had read the Hartford Courant account of Maciel’s abuse: the technique used by my pepetrator was eerily similar. I reported it to Vicar General, Fr. Luis Garza, via the Chancellor of my Diocese in April 2001. The chancellor acted as facilitator on my behalf. No action was taken by the Legion except Luis Garza ‘interviewed’ Fr. X who denied everything. Garza wondered how I could have come up with such a story. Intimidated and quite vulnerable I let it lie until I had better processed the whole ordeal. I then reported the incident to the Irish Police April, 2004.
What has added insult to injury has been the Legion of Christ’s stance on this all along. They called me a liar and did not pursue my claim. Their only procedure was to present the priest with my claim, which he denied. They stood by him, even though he was recently appointed director of a Legionary primary and secondary school in Medellín, Colombia; was superior of his community there and also director of the Regnum Christi Movement Youth Section at a national level. It was not until I approached the police that they took any action.
Generational Sexual Abuse in LC
What has also been a particular weight on my shoulder is that it is so easy for a superior or priest of the Legion of Christ to sexually abuse someone in their care. Not only are they covered up, but the entire system – in my opinion, created by a pedophilic monster for his own personal harem- lends itself to this from its abuse of obedience, silencing, and manipulation of conscience. I worry that it can have happened or be happening in any Legionary seminary in any country at any time.
Sexual abuse has been reported to have taken place in their minor seminaries in Spain and in the USA during the 1980s and 1990s. The minor seminaries are boarding schools for boys aged 11-16 who show interest in being a Legionary priest.
The abuse I suffered was very similar to the abuse reported by nine other former legionaries at the hands of the founder Marcial Maciel in the 1940s and 1950s. The same scenario of the abuser being ill and needing ‘medical assistance’ in the form of a ‘massage’ in the groin in the middle of the night was present in both cases. My abuser had only recently been ordained, and this happened in the mid 90s.
My abuser was my Novice Master. His novice master was a child seminarian under Maciel at the time of the first allegations and possibly a victim of Maciel. My abuser’s Novice Master has also been recently questioned about sexual misconduct and abuses at the time my abuser was his novice. I am convinced that my abuse was institutional and third generation, that my abuser was abused, and that his abuser was also abused.
Redressing the Abuse
At this point in time, my abuser has apparently voluntarily left the Legion of Christ and has returned to be with his family. I see this as a good thing, as it means any contact I desire to have with him, towards reconciliation, will not be interfered with/intercepted by his superiors, nor will he be told what to write or how to reply to me.
While I have had a lot of support and advice from the Irish Diocesan Church –I was abused in Dublin, Ireland– they tell me that only the Legion of Christ can investigate my abuse because that is the law of the Church. I have explained my frustration about this because the present head of the Legion of Christ is the same Marcial Maciel.
I wrote to the head of the Congregation for Religious and Apostolic Life in the Vatican formally asking an external investigation be made, but I have no reply nor acknowledgment of my letter as of yet.
I am angry because I believe that if the Vatican had listened to complaints made against Maciel in the 1970s, the 1980s and indeed the 1990s, I would not have been sexually abused. They are in part responsible for my abuse and the subsequent hell.
They still make no effort to reasonably address this ‘issue’ to the satisfaction of either the victims or of the public.
I don’t know what else I can do to prevent others being abused, to help others that have been abused and have left the Legion or are still there – such is the manipulation of the individual in the Legion and dependence on the Legion system, that to think about leaving is worse than death.
I have been in therapy for more than three years to address these wounds, and am moving along slowly. I have within the past year notified the police of my sexual abuse and have achieved that the priest in question be removed from his position as a priest and he is at home with his family, inactive until the investigation is complete. I am frustrated and despairing, but finding strength from my endeavors to achieve justice.
March 24, 2005
Dear Regain, I thought it might be an idea for an ‘editor’ to update the article simply by saying that the Congregation for Religious Life replied to my letter with some general suggestions six months after my writing to them.