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Hello.

I am a very long-time Kos reader with an very low 5-digit UID - registered over 8 years ago. I have posted no diaries, have commented only a handful of times but have rarely gone more than a week without reading. For this diary, for reason of necessary anonymity, I have created a new user name and UID. I look very new but am a long-term, if seldom seen, Kossack.

I am looking for a bit of general and non-committal legal advice or opinion concerning an uncomfortable subject. Perhaps a 4th or 5th opinion to add to the few I've gotten in person and from well-respected legal minds. I am hoping to make sure all my bases and options have been covered before accepting what I feel is a sadly insufficient settlement offer.

I am the victim of sexual abuse by a clergyman. I am a lost boy healing...

I am the victim of sexual abuse by a clergyman (who was also a distant family member). I am a man. My abuse began when I was 6 years old. It continued until I was 20 years old.  An unfathomably length of time that all but destroyed most facets of my life in whole or part. But I have survived. Perhaps in ways even thrived. But for 14 years and across maybe dozens of instances of sexual molestation my life was a sad hell-hole filled with depression, rage, self-destruction, self-abuse, lack of development of social skills, flashbacks, nightmares, loss of relationships - right down to taking my great sadness, depression and lack of control out on people who loved me becoming, at times, an abuser myself in the form of physically and emotionally hurting my partners and wife and having to work to undo even that. I have had a very difficult and sad life and thought you wouldn't know it from the outside - I have a good career, a nice home, a wonderful wife and children – but on the inside, I have spent a lifetime hurting, failing, trying and recovering.

I am here now because I made a decision a year and half ago to open the door more than I had. I was hurting, possibly losing my wife (again), my life in shambles (again) and I decided I had enough. So I wrote. All my life I have written. It was a thing I developed early on the help myself. I write about my life and experience and when I do and share any of it with people close to me, they read it and say that I should share it because it is entrancing and inspirational. I write pretty well, I suppose. So I figured I'd use that to shine a light on my troubles. So I wrote letters to everyone I could think of that would have an interest or a connection. I wrote to the Order involved, the two Archdioceses that were involved, the legal authorities, etc. I told them everything. I told them I was seeking justice and a voice. I began to hear back from people. District Attorneys who could do nothing because too much time, and all Statutes of Limitation, had passed and my abuser - who was already old when he hurt me - was dead. I was passed on to the Victim's Coordinator of the church who was to "work with me". They apologized to me in letters. They offered to "help" (I didn't know what this meant). They began to pay for my insurance co-pays for my therapy. They would apologize again and always ask to meet me in person. I always turned them down. I didn't see the sense. I didn't know why they wanted to see me. I was intimidated even. I am always unsure of so much.

A year rolled by. My marriage was failing. I was hurting my wife, as I had hurt two other partners. I was a scared, loud fraud. I was diagnosed with cancer. I had surgery and recovered. The checks for co-pays kept coming $50.00 at a time. I pushed my wife. I was arrested. I had been here before. I entered a program to try to fix me because I was very, very broken. Fortunately this program and some other things have done wonders for me and I have been a year now without hurting anyone or really even getting to overly sad or mad or loud. My wife loves me so hard, so well, so patiently. My goodness, I have never been so loved. I am hard to love. She is with me and loves me and forgives me. I am healing. Each day I try to remember why I made it this far and forget at the same time.

It is not easy to forget being 6 years old and being pulled to the face of an old smelly mummy of a man who fondles you. Or being 8 or 12 or 15 and having and large old man hold you in steel arms and jam his tongue in your mouth and shiver himself to orgasm against you as you try to fall away into space so you don't feel it. Or be a teenager hiding in the back of closets smashing glass bottles on your head trying to release the pain and cutting your arms to bleed out the sadness. It's hard to forgive yourself for hurting people that loved you because you were so mad and sad and they tried to love you but you felt so worthless and unlovable. This is all so hard sometimes. But I'm getting there.

And in this final chapter of my dealing with the church, I have a decision to make. They offered me money. $50,000. I asked the opinion of a very well respected team of attorneys in this specific field. They told me my case was tool old, to convoluted, to this and too that. These attorneys are handling some of the big cases in the news. They are very good and very vigilant - and they recommended taking the offer.

I answered the church, no. I said that was an insult and gravely insufficient considering the length of time I gave to their monster, the devastation it did to my life and their moral obligation. They asked for a number. I gave them a large one that mirrored a settlement they paid to another man 5 years ago so not a u number that would shock them. I understand he was much more a threat to them as he was well inside his Statute of Limitations. I was so far along with far fewer options that I must appear far less a threat. I figured that would be negotiated downward to a middle number that was both fair and punitive. They took 6 weeks to reply (and further prodding from me to get on with it). They wrote. And offered exactly the same $50,000. It's all they could do considering their resources, they say. They don’t mean to insult me, they say. They hope I understand, they say.

I got that letter 2 weeks days ago and have not responded. I consulted with another attorney and received the same recommendation. Take it, they say. I have another appointment tomorrow with another firm and expect them to say them same. Take it. There is nothing more there. I am frustrated. I understand that it was a very long time ago. I understand that the S.O.L. in both of the states where I was molested have passed.  I understand the law says it’s sorry but it can do nothing. So many layers to my story and each make the church more liable (morally-speaking) and obliged and yet I seem to be at a point where I must release from this fight and carry on with what they think I should take.

But it is a patently unjust number considering the things in my life that have been broken for so long and need mending. My family is hurting and needs repair. My children have been deeply affected and need guidance past the life that I unfairly filled with confusion and to whom I passed bad decision-making skills. I cannot explain fully how many aspects of a person life go wrong when this happens to them. It touches and harms you children, your home, your life-decisions. It's like making decisions and living life while wearing 20 layers of gloves - your touch and feel for what is good for you is so diluted that you don't know that effect of what you're doing. Even when all looks well from a distance, the tornado swirls and is held together by fragile layers of papier mâché illusion.

So my long-winded story comes to this question. Do I have any further recourse or threat? Do I have anything that will help my family and me more than this measly go-away payment? Not measly in dollars as I understand that others are hungry, jobless and homeless. But measly in terms of relativity to the crime and to what it is supposed to fix. I'm not even ashamed to say that I wanted something more punitive - something that would hurt them and hopefully teach them to treat the next kid better. I have many corrections to make in my life. I could have been a completely different person. Some days I question who I am and who I chould have been. Yet this is the number the church hangs their hat on.  One small boys life = $50,000, before taxes.

I want to tell them no. You have to move you number. It's only right. I don’t even really like being told by them what the number will be. If I could demand even just one dollar more it would at least mean that I chose the final number and they said yes. But I am afraid of them saying "never mind" to what's on the table - and my family needs and deserves at least what’s on the table so I can’t risk that.

My options are to say no and insist they come up and substantially so. Or ask for a bit more so I can at least pay the taxes on it. Or accept it as is.

Thank you for reading this small bit of my very large story. I could write for days about it. But it means a lot that anyone at all would spend any time at all reading me. Any input or opinion at all would be gratefully accepted.

Thank you.

Originally posted to LostBoyHealing on Mon Dec 03, 2012 at 04:07 AM PST.

Also republished by House of LIGHTS.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I suppose legally (14+ / 0-)

    you don't have much to push them with.  Do you feel the money will help you heal in any way?  Is that the worth of it?  Have you talked to a counselor about the effect the money will have on you? Perhaps your option should be to write a book about your life and experience.  Bring it all out and have it published to forever haunt the men who let this happen.

    Everyone! Arms akimbo!

    by tobendaro on Mon Dec 03, 2012 at 04:31:55 AM PST

  •  I don't have any advice as to whether you should (8+ / 0-)

    accept the offer or not. But I do want you to know that I hope you find healing and that you are not alone.

    I hope you find a good therapist who will help you to deal with the harm that was done to you so you will be able love yourself so that you can better love your wife and family and to accept their love.

    FWIW, life is sometimes unfair and no amount of money will change that. I wish you the best.

    You can't scare me, I'm sticking to the Union - Woody Guthrie

    by sewaneepat on Mon Dec 03, 2012 at 04:42:02 AM PST

  •  I was also molested.... (8+ / 0-)

    so I know that your childhood was stolen from you.

    $50,000 seems very little for a person's childhood. It really is priceless after all.

    I hope you find healing.

    "The world is my country, all mankind are my brethren, and to do good is my religion." ~ Thomas Paine

    by third Party please on Mon Dec 03, 2012 at 04:51:21 AM PST

  •  I'm terribly sorry, LostBoyHealing. (12+ / 0-)

    This should never have happened to you. It was never your fault. And you're right, $50,000 for a lifetime of consequences you have to shoulder seems like nothing.

    However.

    I don't understand why you think you'd be liable for taxes on this amount. It's not income, but a kind of gift or settlement. I'm not an accountant or attorney; have you consulted with one?

    My other suggestion is for you to consult people at malesurvivor.org. It's a great group, with many different kinds of resources. There are many survivors of clergy sexual abuse to talk with, both as peers and as advisers. For that matter, there's also a partner section that might be helpful for your wife.

    I realize you might already be way ahead of me and have thought about both of these suggestions. If not, though, I hope they help.

    I wish you continued healing. Please remember that you are worth it, that a good life well-lived is the best possible revenge. Peace and blessings to you and yours.

    I'm seeking to organize DKos members in SE Michigan--roughly, from the Ohio line at Lake Erie NE to Port Huron, W to Flint and back S from there. If you'd like to join our new group, Motor City Kossacks (working title), please Kosmail me.

    by peregrine kate on Mon Dec 03, 2012 at 04:53:49 AM PST

  •  As someone who has been snookered by The (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    weck

    Nephew and Charley James, I'm more cautious now.

    This story could be true, and if it is, you have my sympathy.

    But I'm skeptical.

    "I believe more women should carry guns. I believe armed women will make the world a better place. Women need to come to think of themselves not as victims but as dangerous." Anna Pigeon

    by glorificus on Mon Dec 03, 2012 at 05:31:53 AM PST

    •  why would you ever say that here gratuitously??!! (5+ / 0-)

      it is very damaging to survivors to get disbelief! retraumatizing often.

      See, if there was a goal (if someone was asking for money not just advice) I'd understand  better your motive and thougth process...that the COST (of which you seem unaware of or don't care about) might be worth the benefit of warning people not to be "snookered".

      The man here asks only for advice. It is gratuitous, it feels to me for you to say what you just did because it gains people nothing. IT just potentially would hurt the poster for nothing. You may be bitter on what happened to you when you were "snookered" ...but we do not require an warning. Because poster isn't asking us for anything.

      It is just not worth it to do that to people ..you are not protecting us from anything. I hope you see that.

      •  You know, jplanner, very little would make me (0+ / 0-)

        happier than for this to be for real.

        Not because I wish bad things had happened to ANYONE.

        "I believe more women should carry guns. I believe armed women will make the world a better place. Women need to come to think of themselves not as victims but as dangerous." Anna Pigeon

        by glorificus on Mon Dec 03, 2012 at 07:58:45 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  not sure what you mean (0+ / 0-)

          you mean you wish/hope it wasn't real?

          hope you get my point. Best not to say things that can hurt but have no benefit (except for venting's sake perhaps). Not worth the cost.

          THought you must not be aware that posts like yours do hurt true victims. Why take the risk for no gain?

          •  It's possible someone could be here for many (0+ / 0-)

            years, have a 5 digit UID, and yet have no friends/acquaitances that would vouch for them.

            Here all that time, made no friends, yet asks the board for advice?

            Possible, but to my mind wildly improbable.

            Also, the writing style seems very similar to Matt or Charley.

            Unlike you, I'm a member of House of LIGHTS. Do not even try to tell me about true victims.

            "I believe more women should carry guns. I believe armed women will make the world a better place. Women need to come to think of themselves not as victims but as dangerous." Anna Pigeon

            by glorificus on Mon Dec 03, 2012 at 05:56:11 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  asdf (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              CroneWit

              I've no idea what you are talking about House of Lights. No one is competing for victim status.
              but I still think it's better err on side of caution and take people seriously when they claim it, so as not to hurt true victims. If you don't agree, fine, but surely you can then see
              why I think you must not know this about victims
              of violence and abuse since you would do this.

              Peace.

    •  Check the user ID. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      glorificus, SilentBrook

      If love could have saved you, you would have lived forever. & http://www.dailykos.com/blog/Okiciyap

      by weck on Mon Dec 03, 2012 at 07:51:06 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I'm sorry for your cynicism... (7+ / 0-)

      Believe me, I'm a big ball of it myself with good reason. My old user ID contains (foolishly, I suppose) enough of my real name to identify me. I would really rather just keep that possibility closed right now.

      I don't mean any harm and I'm not asking for anything but thoughts and opinions. This story is my story. I'm a grown man with a wife and kids who happened to spend his childhood with really crappy things happening to him. I'm just trying to make a difficult decision about what is best or possible for me and my family and thought I might ask for some thoughts in a place where I have seen many well-intentioned, intelligent, thoughtful people write about so may things.

      Yahoo! Answers didn't really seem a great idea.

      Thank you for reading  though.

  •  Thank you... (8+ / 0-)

    for your kind words and thoughts.

    Yes, I am currently in touch with different sources of resource and support and have been for a long time. Endless years of counseling and therapy are part of the program though often times, it doesn't take as the damage is too great. For me, it seems to have finally taken in a different sort of way and I'm working hard.

    In the end, no, it's not about the money and no, money fixed nothing -  though I must say that a persons life becomes a bit of a shambles as a result of these things and money can indeed help dig out of holes that were dug deep - financially speaking due to a life of just not knowing what you're doing. Plus my family needs things, emotionally, and the money will hep to see they get it.

    As far taxes, IRS code says that settlements for physical injury are non-taxable while settlements for emotional injury or distress are indeed taxable. If emotional distress is caused by physical injury, that, too, is non-taxable (due to the physical injury root cause). In cases such as mine where the settlement is "only" for emotional trauma, the funds are taxable. I will, of course, confirm all of this but it seems pretty clear in the tax code.

    •  my apologies for the hurried typing and typos... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      samddobermann
    •  maybe more money is not what you want (6+ / 0-)

      you want them to feel the impact, the pain
      sure, more money would give that

      maybe publicity of what happened would make you feel like they paid. Maybe you can ask for a public apology in the newspaper...a public acknowledgement of what that priest did and where the people above him fell short. Maybe you need ot hear privately from them (they want to meet with you) what they OWN what their mistakes are.

      Or maybe you got it in their letters.

      I was harmed by someone recently (as an adult....I was also abused physically as a child that's another issue) and I can't get the apology I need to move on. They will not even own the truth of what they did (it was a doctor). I am most concerned with them OWNING it, changing the medical record to refect the TRUTH, and apologizing to me. I need to know that people above him know what he did> i want assurances that it will not happen again.

      I do not need money, though I do understand your situation you should get it. But maybe you DO after all need some of the other things too.

      You could make them take out an ad in the paper. Take the money too of course.

      Sounds like you got the legal advice you need to know you won't get more money.

      ALso, some day maybe you can work to get the statute of limitiations extended in your state. In some states the clock starts ticking when you realize your abuse. Some states there is NO statute of limitations, IIRC, for childhood abues becasue of the nature of recovery. Are you sure SURE it's passed?

      I hope you can get clear (perhaps in therapy) to what EXACTLY you need from them.

      Myself in my  much smaller situation (still life changing though) I need apology ownership acknowledgment

    •  Excuse my bluntness, but -- (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Avilyn, SilentBrook

      -- isn't rape a physical injury?  I mean, not just in the obvious 'assault and battery' way of unwanted touch.  I'm thinking of brain damage and/or developmental damage caused by the physical trauma?  Wouldn't there be, by this day and age, some kind of brain-imaging science that demonstrates a physical change -- say, which areas of the brain light up when a survivor is confronted by this or that situation challenge?

      And is PTSD considered a 'merely emotional' condition?

      Different question:  Is this your very last chance to take any legal action?  If you decline their offer, will you lose your standing (if that's the right word) to take further legal action in the future?

      One concern I have if you were to take the settlement:  Most settlements include a 'gag', which prevents the injured person, under legal penalties, from writing or speaking about the issue ever again (therapy excepted, I suppose).  As someone who has kept his sanity by writing, are you really willing to give up your right to free speech on this issue forever?

      I would imagine that your abuser victimized many, many children during his lifetime, and that there are many of his previous superiors who enabled his abuse.  If someone else brings an action that becomes public, would you be okay with having information that could be helpful, but being unable (prohibited) to contribute your information?

      I agree that the $50k is an insult.  Would your accepting it contribute to the church (and other organizations) establishing a socially and legally 'standard' amount, to be factored in as a cost of doing business?  IMO, that church owes you an annual amount that would allow your family to live in modest comfort and pay for the therapies you and you family will continue to need.

      I apologize that instead of having useful advice, I am only asking questions that you may already have worked through.  You may already be aware of the Milwaukee Walk-In Counselling Center, which does wonderful work with survivors of abuse by clergy and therapists.  One thing they do is take survivors through their list of options -- and one option is: to do nothing.  I'm not recommending that, or any other option for action.  Just pointing out that choosing to take no action is OK, too.

      My heartfelt good wishes to you.  Your courage in writing this astounds me.

      •  Walk-in Counselling Center -- (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Avilyn, sewaneepat

        -- URL is --

        http://www.walkin.org/....

        2421 Chicago Ave South
        Minneapolis, MN 55404
        P:  612-870-0565
        F:  612-870-4169

        My contact with the Center was in late 80's-early 90's, after I was sexually abused (as an adult) by the therapist I had reached out to for help with issues arising from my childhood sexual abuse.  All my contact was by phone with Gary Schoener, who willingly spent many hours on the phone with me at no cost to me. (grschoener@walkin.org)

        If you haven't talked to these folks yet, I URGE you to contact them and let them be a sounding board for your current decision process.

        They have been leaders in the field for decades now, and will help you focus on what's best for YOU.

        Best wishes

        •  Thank you... (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Avilyn, Catte Nappe, CroneWit

          Thank you for your comments and thoughts. I can try to answer your questions as best I can. I do have another appt. in the morning with another firm and will get yet more answers then.

          Rape is indeed a physical injury as would be any other sort of sexual assault but my problem is it having been a very long time ago I’d have to move into “proving it” territory in order to claim that. But that’s just a tax issue. I can wrestle with and settle the tax concern when I have to. I do honestly believe that if I insisted the offer be raised to such an amount as to cover my tax obligation to retain a net $50,000 number they would agree to that as otherwise larger number may (or may not) be on the other side of some longer process. Truth be told, they want me to go away, I’ve not doubt. That smallish increase is a very small amount to them.

          No gag order has been mentioned and so I will need to find out if they intend to make that a condition. If so, I seriously would consider not taking it. It’s not worth it to limit myself in talking, publicly or otherwise, about my own experience. I own it and it’s not for sale. There are a whole lot of “control” type issue in sexual abuse and feeling someone is taking from me my ability to speak of it is not something worth a price. I also would not like to limit my ability, as you say, to offer assistance to other who may benefit from my experience.

          I am told by the attorneys with whom I have spoken that despite the very large a settlement amounts you hear about in the news, this $50,000 number is very average and not unusual. It’s what a person might expect and so I am at least in the area. It’s almost a matter of course for these institions which is very sad. And as I mentioned previously, this same Order settled for a very large number with a young man only a few years back but his case a very fresh compared to mine. I think they are well aware of my level of legal threat and so I am wary of pursuing more and more as the amount I have been offered would be very helpful to a damaged family.

          I will absolutely look toward the organization you mentioned and see if they have some guidance to offer. Resources are much appreciated. I have been told again and again that there is no legal case to be made anymore and so it feels very much that I am jousting all alone with a very large entity. So information that helps in my jousting is much appreciated.

          •  I am very, very glad -- (0+ / 0-)

            -- that you know that your own your life.  And that you know how valuable owning your own story is.

            I really, really, hope you will call GaryS.  If you had told me this story while sitting in my house, I would have dialed the number and handed you the phone.  Even if you end up talking to (eventually) another staff member, this is ONE place where they WILL UNDERSTAND the complexity of this kind of trauma.

            There are ways (imo) that this decision-point is yet another re-traumatization for you (& family).   It seems to me that the lawyers are advising you appropriately as lawyers -- the chances of winning the case, the likely amount of damages.  However, this legal-only advice cannot address the depth and impact of this decision on you.
            '
            It's this kind of support that the Walk-in people can offer.  I really hope you'll call them.  If it would help, I'd be willing to make a 'real world' contact with Gary S for you -- send me a Kosmail message if you want me to do that.  (But be aware that my Internet availability is intermittent, so don't be dismayed if I am delayed in responding.)

            One question in my mind re the 'do I go forward with a legal case' part of your decision:  If you did so, what would be your definition of 'winning'?  And a follow-up question would be, 'would 'winning' be worth the cost, not just monetarily, but in terms of, well, of re-victimization as part of the process?  And a third question would be, 'is a court case your best venue to accomplish what you define as 'winning'?

            You don't have to answer those questions to me, here.  I just have to ask them.  And these are the kinds of questions the Walk-in people could help you work through.

  •  you have no leverage (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    skrekk, glorificus

    take the money.

    "Kossacks are held to a higher standard. Like Hebrew National hot dogs." - blueaardvark

    by louisev on Mon Dec 03, 2012 at 06:11:33 AM PST

  •  Not all injuries can be redressed... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    skrekk

    Legal systems are blunt instruments.  Many people have been handed raw deals in life, in uncountable ways.  Poverty, disability, ignorance, isolation.....the list is endless.

    How many who read this particular website is doing so out of loneliness, a lack of more desirable connections, so we accept conversations with strangers who not only don't we know, we don't know their names.

    You are focusing on the monetary damages that you may receive and want to maximize them.  O.K., it's how we do things in this country.  But is it the best answer for your particular life, something you have for a really short time, even if you live the biblical or actuarial full number of years.

    Reach out. Try to connect with others who are trying to connect.  It's not easy, believe me.

    But as for trying to collect appropriate damages for the harm that was done, it's not only legally impossible, it probably is so at other levels.  You also could be limiting your potential for happiness, as much as you may be able to achieve, by focusing on this aspect that you describe here.

    Beat of luck.

  •  I am (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Neon Mama, MKSinSA, Catte Nappe

    very sorry this happened to you. I wish you the best in your quest for healing. Part of healing is to get some form of closure. No, $50,000 is peanuts compared to what happened to you, but it does finally lay to rest (should you take it) that portion of your story. It is a form of closure and a launching off point for the future. If that is reasonably what you can get, take the money.

    The next step in your healing is to put yourself in the drivers seat for a change. You said you are a reasonably good writer, I like the suggestion to write a book about it. Purge your demons by naming names, telling your story. Add context by detailing the church's history of abuse and how they stonewalled and denied for so long. Go to the survivors website named above and get others stories if they are so inclined.

    And finally, when you work your way through things and start to see some light at the end of this very long tunnel, don't ever forget that the antidote to the rage you feel is happiness. Make it a priority to finally seek out those things in life that make you happy and do them. That  ability was part of what has been stolen. You need to build up a reservoir of good feelings. Treasure those. And, I just wanted to say, in case nobody has ever told you, yes YOU do deserve to be happy. Good luck.

    Truth is harmonious, lies are discordant.

    by Babsnc on Mon Dec 03, 2012 at 06:39:18 AM PST

  •  I am no lawyer, but... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Catte Nappe, skrekk

    It sounds like there is no substantive justice available. At least not the large dollar punishment that would in some sense suffice  so I see three options:

    Demand what you think would be enough... recognizing that you are very, very unlikely to win. If you go that route, you embrace all the misery of the legal fight, and the costs of various sorts. I can't recommend this route. Even the moral victory that might be here would likely seem thin....

    Or

    Take the monetary offer, but negotiate a non-financial "increase" to it. A public acknowledgment and apology, in print, perhaps.

    Or

    Accept what the lawyers have told you. Take what you can get, if that will offer any healing at all.

    "Be just and good." John Adams to Thomas Jefferson

    by ogre on Mon Dec 03, 2012 at 09:21:55 AM PST

  •  First, take the money. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    2thanks, Catte Nappe

    I'm a survivor of an abusive controller spouse -- not a lawyer.   But taking the cash does several things.  Keep any copies if you have them of earlier payments.  Copy this check and any "agreement" you sign.

    This verifies forever that they acknowledge the crimes. Keep these documents safe in case you need them in the future.

    On the tax issue -- ask tomorrow's lawyer an opinion on whether the cutting etc. physical damage you did to yourself/others --- takes it out of the emotional only category?  Since these behaviors are result of the physical assault -- why would it not be like other crimes where one person does a misdemeanor which leads to a felony done by someone else, yet the misdemeanant is also thereby guilty of the felony? I think it may be worded like --- the one act is direct & proximate cause  of the second act?  

    Other folks have signed non-disclosure agreements.  These can later be found void because they are using their unequal power to force you to agree  --- and contracts are only valid when both parties are negotiating on an equal basis - which you obviously are not.   Asking for silence is blackmailing you.  Some rights you can't sign away.  

    Living well is the best revenge.  I got this advice from my best friend/partner for a decade who was scarred by priests and then by parents refusing to believe it --- long decades before this trend became public.  Then one morning I realized I was content -- and he'd been right.     It was after struggling with desires for revenge etc. until I realized I couldn't get it without becoming someone I didn't want to be.   That would give my abuser continued power over me.

    The bad guys do it before they met you, and after you got away.  None of it is in any way your fault. Throw away any victim guilt if you harbor any.   Abusers are attracted by your best qualities  and manipulate those to hide their crimes.  

    Helping others escape similar abuse helped me heal.  I presume that specific might not be available to you other than getting laws changed.    

    I wish you smiles for the rest of your life.  

    De fund + de bunk = de EXIT--->>>>>

    by Neon Mama on Mon Dec 03, 2012 at 09:51:29 AM PST

  •  I am not a lawyer (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    skrekk

    but here is my suggestion.
     You are right that $50K does not compensate you for what was done to you, but I think you need to view it in another light.  You are not accepting 50K as payment for services rendered.  It is not and cannot be a sales transaction.  Accepting the money or not accepting the money dies not end the assymetry or the pain.

    So- given that 1) your lawyers are probably right that under the circumstances you will not get more (recognizing that their primary motivation may be to get their share of the 50K) and
    2) your primary motivation is not personal enrichment,
    consider requiring that the church put the 50K in a charity of your choosing in your name  which benefits abuse survivors  (no tax consequences to you), publish a public apology and allow you to tell your story when approached by the people who published it.

    Do not sign  non-disclosure agreement.  Let your story and their money help others.  It will probably do more to help you than buying a new car.

    As my father used to say,"We have the best government money can buy."

    by BPARTR on Mon Dec 03, 2012 at 10:41:07 AM PST

  •  whatever you do (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    skrekk

    do not accept any sort of gag order/agreement.  Keeping free of any sort of dictate from them is part of your healing and you will want to retain the right to speak publicly if you so choose.

  •  Hello all... (0+ / 0-)

    Thank you all sincerely for your kind words, support, thoughts and advice. I am taking it all in and weighing it among all my own thoughts and options. So many nice people have offered everything from legal opinion to emotional support to financial concern to resource suggections. They are all part of my current decision quandary and so I appreciate all of it.

    I would like to say that first, after a very long road and a very long life, I do indeed know that living well is my best revenge and the source of my peace. I cannot undo what was done, I cannot re-experience my vital formative years. This is what was dealt me at the table. I don't hate anyone for it. My abuse taught me to like myself and to use the very basic act of liking myself as a tool to survive terrible things. I always liked myself. I like myself now. My abuse caused me to become introspective, creative, deeply feeling and empathic. I'm glad I am those things. The trick, I think, is to work to shed the things that were someone else's that were tattooed onto my skin and stayed there too long, but to keep what is me because what is me, is good.

    I have a wonderful, special, brilliant, beautiful and wise wife who loves me deeply and patiently and who is the first person outside my birth family to love me during, through, and on the other side of the very worst of me. There is no greater gift than that. I have children who could not be better kids, could not be more special and good. Fatherhood was my saving grace and they were gifts the universe saw fit to give me so that I could touch the beauty of childhood that I perhaps did not know before. Children are beautiful and mine affirm my life and I can only hope that some of the cleanest parts of me are the ones they take with them as they make their own lives. I have a job doing what I love to do and have for a long time. I have things and memories and experiences that I have built to do battle with the horrors that came before them. I think they are winning. I think I am winning.

    In then end I expect I will take what is on the table because honestly there are things in my life that need correcting to give my family some stability that is currently not there. A lifetime of abuse sometimes causes a person's decision making skills  to work less well than they should and years or decades down the line you find yourself in sorts of holes. This settlement, as unjust as it may be, would help my family in its stability and its healing. Also, I do not actually wish to have a long-term relationship with the church that a long legal battle would require. It is close to the time for me to move past this stage and onto the next. I lived the first half of my life consumed. I want, deserve and insist that the second half not be defined by this, It's time for me to be free.
    It's time for me to be clean.

    I don't "care" about the money as such. I see it as a tool to help my family recover from things that they did not ask for. Someone was responsible for those things and are responsible for repairing them in any way they can. The money can help stabilize some things that will allow my family some peace and also to allow me to seek for them (and me) any continuing help or counseling they may need in the future. Do they deserve a lot more? Absolutely. All of our lives may well have been very, very different if I was allowed to follow my own path as a boy and not been forced onto this one. I don't know who I may have been or what I could have done. I am owed not so much for having been touched but for my possibilities having been taken from me That is the true moral crime. The physical abuse is bad - very, very bad - but the theft of a person's potential for making themselves a life of their own design is worse. I am half molded from someone else's clay. That is where I am owed.

    I have a meeting this morning with a new law firm and expect to be affirmed in my seeming lack of legal options. I will make a decision after that, if indeed those are their thoughts.  I'll be happy to let you know what comes of this next step.

    Thank everyone, sincerely, for your light and kindness. I am grateful.

  •  My parents abused me physically and sexually. (0+ / 0-)

    One is dead and the other is 90 something.  I have the same sad story of destruction.  No one is ever going to pay me anything or even acknowledge it happened.  I am put out of the family for "telling."

    Take the money and move on.  Or don't take the money and move on.  Move on.

    Wild Geese

    You do not have to be good.
    You do not have to walk on your knees
    For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
    You only have to let the soft animal of your body
    love what it loves.
    Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
    Meanwhile the world goes on.
    Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
    are moving across the landscapes,
    over the prairies and the deep trees,
    the mountains and the rivers.
    Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
    are heading home again.
    Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
    the world offers itself to your imagination,
    calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting --
    over and over announcing your place
    in the family of things.

    I used to be Snow White. And then I drifted. - Mae West

    by CherryTheTart on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 09:33:44 PM PST

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