Category Archives: Legal

The Price of Male Fragility and Sexual Harassment at St. Mary’s

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The infamous case of Harvey Weinstein, who has been accused of sexually harassing women for over 30 years, has sparked international public acknowledgment of this problem in every industry. It is estimated that 80% of women have experienced sexual harassment or assault, however, less than 10% of victims report it for fear of not being believed by a system that favors men, or for fear of losing their jobs.

Probably LONG LOST in this uncovered mess regarding St. Mary’s deep culture of cover ups and silence (and we hope, by now, reform) is the story’s roots in one woman’s very subtle attempt to call out and de-escalate what seemed to be Sexual Harassment by the Assistant Elementary School Vice Principal, at St. Mary’s, in 2006.

It bears highlighting what’s already been written in the Case Background of this blog, to show the extent of how toxic the particular fragile male ego in question was: in the same breath where he was made to apologize to Ms. Tran, this called-out Middle Manager vowed to retaliate and turn the tables on a woman who only subtly hinted that she’d like for him to just STOP, please. The entire consequence of this case could have been prevented if this guy had a modicum of personal responsibility and humility. Much credit to Brother Michel*, at the time, who at least had the instinct, heart and judgment to see that an (ill-fated) apology to the weaker party would help everyone start over. Oh, but then of course, eventually, the Middle Manager’s campaign to demonize this new teacher worked the top admin over and Ms. Tran was “simply not renewed” 2 years later. Thank goodness for labor laws!

 *Also read the Case Background to see what the one WOMAN in St. Mary’s top admin, who Ms. Tran turned to for help, did to help or hurt the situation.

In the recent positive sea-change of attitudes toward women who come forward about being sexually harassed, and about being economically threatened by men and a system designed to keep them quiet, we wanted to highlight this very case you know and love, through this lens. Despite the obviously difficult course of action that the woman in this case chose to take (Ms. Tran did not speak Japanese, nor did she start out understanding how to navigate the country’s judicial system), we wanted to point out that the LAW WORKS, even for foreigners and even for women in Japan. This case, which stemmed from trying to de-escalate Sexual Harassment, may have morphed into power harassment and then an unfair-dismissal case (as it often does for women who “cause trouble”), but the point remains: speaking up about harassment works.

AND we wanted to point out the ENORMOUS cost to the school corporation of, essentially, protecting one man’s fragile ego, and his inability to just accept responsibility and be a better superior. Here are the estimated costs:

Retainer of St. Mary’s legal team: 3 million yen x 4 years = 12 million yen

Miscellaneous court costs (translations, admin and staff time to attend court, mailing of documents): 1 million yen

Settlement with Ms. Tran (confidential): estimated 3 to 8 million yen

Non-enrollment at St. Mary’s due to bad publicity: estimated 10 students x 3 million yen = 30 million yen

Withholding of donations from alumni who want to distance themselves: estimated 1 million

Retainer of that weird PR team to look into Child Rape cases among alumni (that didn’t go anywhere): estimated 500,000 yen

Conservative Estimate Total: about 50 to 60 million yen or at least $500,000 USD (hope it was worth it!). How many SMS Carnivals is that??

The email that started it all (with Japanese translation):

When Ms. Tran started working at the school in August of 2006, it was in the sweaty old building with no air-con. She had a big sweaty male superior giving her daily advice, both useful, and redundant, while being asked to sit knee-to-knee with him and his ripped khaki shorts in his cramped little office; or while pressing himself on her in her classroom whispering in her ear, under the guise of being “confidential”. His gross sweat and cologne caught on her clothes and hair, and would linger in the hot air all day. This went on for weeks, well into the beginning of the school year, when the kids arrived. She knew this Middle Manager had a wife who worked across the hallway, and two sons who had thrived at the school. No need for drama. Here was the email Ms. Tran wrote to him, CC’d to his superior Brother Lawrence (yes, that guy), simply asking for all the advice in writing, to prevent the Middle Manager from having the excuse to approach her one more time physically (yet, allowing him to continue to give advice whether useful or redundant). Ms. Tran was 29 years old, and had lived in Japan for 2 months when she wrote this. Who knew it was a pebble thrown at such a fragile character?? Well, now you know.

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Boys Don’t Cry (They Sue)

It’s time to lawyer up, St. Mary’s! And the Catholic Archdiocese of Tokyo. (Parents, if you see tuition go up next year–you’ll know why now).

If you haven’t seen the 2016 Best Motion Picture Academy Award Winner Spotlight, you should. (Now on Netflix!)

It is a story of how the Boston Globe uncovered the massive, systemic cover-up, by the local Catholic Archdiocese, of children being molested by priests. This initial case was how the world woke up to the inhuman system of an ‘untouchable institution’ that cannibalized children’s souls because people were too afraid to challenge it. It was the work of Boston lawyer Mitchell Garabedian that subpoaened the Archdiocese’s records showing that it knew one priest was harming over 130 children, and kept re-assigning him to new parishes to cover up the stories. (Sound familiar, St. Mary’s? Sending confessed rapist Brother Lawrence Lambert to a Japanese school in Shizuoka—all under the watch of the Archdiocese of Tokyo!). The case was a watershed moment that exposed the same rampant system of cover-up in dioceses across the US and the world. Thousands of victims have filed civil lawsuits based on the precedent of Mr. Garabedian’s initial class-action suit of 86 plaintiffs. He has been doing these cases for over 20 years in many countries around the world.

Mr. Garabedian is the legal counsel the alumni of St. Mary’s will be engaging. The jig may be up for the evil still doing business in Tokyo.

In mid-2015, the Tokyo community of international school families witnessed the intrepid journey of the 13 women survivors of sexual abuse at ASIJ holding their international school accountable, through petitioning with 1800 signatures, hiring their own lawyers and forcing an acknowledgment and apology from the notoriously absconding ASIJ Board.

In the June 15th, 2015 Final Report issued by the legal team of Crew Janci LLP (Portland, Oregon) representing the 13 survivors, an acknowledgment by ASIJ’s Board of Directors of crucial points that had been denied for 40 years was published. It also summed up the final result of the case:

…on June 5, 2015, the school’s newly appointed Board of Directors released a public apology, stating that “Jack Moyer’s abuse of students was extensive, and there were Heads of School, high-level administrators as well as teachers who were aware of information concerning abuse by Moyer.” The Board’s apology was issued as part of a unique resolution and reconciliation achieved by the victims and the American School in Japan, which included reimbursement for counseling costs, compensation for the survivors’ injuries, new and improved child safety policies, and full acceptance of responsibility for the actions of “teachers and administrators…[who] failed to protect students in their charge.”

A summary of the report can be read here.

St. Mary’s admin, in comparison, have lied about ever reporting the criminal and crime to the police, or seriously investigating anything. (For those of you new to the stories–the ASIJ scandal and the St. Mary’s scandal broke to the wider community at about the same time–early 2014). So, now, what about the boys of St. Mary’s?

Fathers, friends, leaders of society, and broken men living today were once students at St. Mary’s who were raped and molested by the Brothers and Staff. Months, and now years, have passed since the story broke and it is evident that the school and the archdiocese have taken ZERO measures to account for children harmed in their care and jurisdiction. The admin hope that in silence, it will be business as usual.

In St. Mary’s case(s), one of the worst perpetrators is still alive (a confessed rapist of children), and was even living on campus when the story broke—30 years after his first(?) early(?) raping days. Can the school corporation honestly say that they knew NOTHING all these years? Is that even possible when two brothers were present at the rape? When dozens of more boys’ lives were scarred in a system of depraved ‘summer camps’ and ‘office visits’, again, with multiple staff in attendance?

The only way to determine the extent of systemic abuse is to stitch together the massive array of narratives from the survivors of abuse at St. Mary’s International School. Many of the survivors are still alive.

The men will sue.

Here are some details about joining the class action lawsuit as we at the blog know it:

  • it will be at NO legal cost to the individuals (i.e. $0); Mr. Garabedian only takes a percentage at the end IF there is a financial settlement
  • anonymity throughout the whole case is the individual’s choice and will be honoured
  • survivors can live anywhere in the world
  • Teja Arboleda, a St. Mary’s Alumnus and survivor, has volunteered to be the lead and public plaintiff

Survivors looking for closure, with a band of brothers can contact Mr. Garabedian:

and / or

contact Teja Arboleda (Class of 1989):

That’s right: to all those who wish to sweep this under the rug and carry on as usual: this cottage industry of boys in Tokyo being sexually abused by a cloaked institution is going to go out of business.

May you not sleep until it is over.

FYI: Pope Francis has set up a tribunal to clean house of all the Bishops into covering up evil against children.


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Rape Culture and St. Mary’s

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Original picture shows Stanford graduate joining her Class of 2016 in calling out the Rape Culture perpetuated by her Alma Mater (Re: Brock Turner case). See these young people’s stunning moral stance here. Do we or our boys have the moral fiber to do the same?

If we weren’t sure before, we are now: the admin at St. Mary’s never did call the police about the rape of one of its boys by a former  Elementary School Principal. It was only a lie the admin told of action and accountability for one of the worst crimes imaginable on school campus, and against a child. Associated Press Reporter Yuri Kageyama straight-up asked the police if they had ever even heard of this case:

School officials say they reported the chapel rape allegations to Tokyo police when the victim approached them in 2013. Yet Tokyo police spokesman Satoru Matsunaga said there were no records of the case in their files and no investigation is ongoing.

So, it is confirmed: that lie, that letter from the headmaster, and the convening of that ridiculous and useless “independent panel” of self-help gurus and lawyers etc. had only been done in a fit of PR face-saving—not in any protection of children in the school’s care. The fact is, the rapist is now enjoying a quiet retirement in Quebec, Canada, with impunity for having raped a boy at St. Mary’s International School.

If that is not enough for us to choke on, we should be worried, very worried, that this school where hundreds of our boys are educated, perpetuates Rape Culture.

I bring this up because the zeitgeist of our youth, social and media culture is undeniably in the throes of defining this term “Rape Culture”—something that us older people have lived through and have taken for granted as something incidental that happens to unlucky individuals. But now, we are slowly starting to understand that when rape and sexual assault have been perpetrated as much as they have (as in all the cases at St. Mary’s, which we’ve lost count of) and not a single perpetrator has met any form of punishment, it must mean that there is a system and culture in place that allow safe and easy passage for rapists, and that enable rape. This is Rape Culture.

 The Impunity of Powerful Men

The Class of 2016 who graduated St. Mary’s just a few weeks ago once had the confessed rapist, Brother Lawrence, as their Elementary Principal. So, this is their story as much as it is that of their alumnus who was raped in the 60s, by Lawrence. Thanks to the internet’s long memory, they will know that for years they were exposed to this same rapist. They will know that nothing at all was done to hold this predator accountable for the sexual assault of one (?) of their brothers.

What would turning in Brother Lawrence had done to Saburo Kagei, or Thomas Tremblay, or Michel Jutras? To the normal, moral mind, you’d think it would have just shown these men in charge to actually have moral integrity and honesty. Not to mention, it is a no-brainer to turn in known criminals to the authorities in a lawful society. But what did they choose to do instead? The men in power at St. Mary’s chose to protect the impunity of one of their own, by allowing him to have ZERO consequence, and then they pretended to have done the integral thing. This is the crucial point. There must be a slippery slope that results when these men in power start turning each other in—so they did everything they could in order not to set it in motion. It means that the men in power now, still have something to hide and something to lose. We have lost count of the St. Mary’s sexual assaults reported in newspapers since the story of Brother Lawrence broke. Are some of the assailants still on the payroll? We may never know—we have seen that they form a system that keeps crimes and misdeeds amongst themselves, silent. It’s a Mexican standoff, and our sons are in the middle.

*Long-time skeptics of St. Mary’s “integrity” knew of their lying about having gone to the authorities. There were clues in the careful letter the headmaster wrote in January 2014 to parents:

“After the school administration learned of the situation, we notified the local Japanese authority and the Archdiocese of the Catholic Church in Tokyo. Both agencies are conducting investigations with the schools’ full cooperation. While the investigation is ongoing, Br. Lawrence Lambert is prohibited from having any contact with students, staff or parents at SMIS.”

Notes: What does “notified” mean? Did they whisper it on the wind in the direction of the koban?  Why would an Archidiocese be allowed to have any kind of interference or parallel investigation in an official criminal investigation? 

Our sons will long be in positions of subordination before they become men in power. From their alma mater, they will have learned that men in power don’t suffer consequences; men in power don’t tell on each other when they abuse the powerless—this is the Top Secret. Our sons will long endure abuse at work, or in relationships thinking this is the norm. When they become men in power, they too will destructively believe the same of themselves. Until someone does tell. This is Rape Culture.

Privilege Over Humanity

In the end, all St. Mary’s actions amounted to was protecting its reputation of being a safe school for kids; it had effectively done NOTHING to hold a rapist on its campus criminally accountable, which was the only right thing to do. This (unearned) reputation is, of course, important to maintain for alumni donations, maintaining current enrolment and future enrolment. For the community of parents and alumni—they/we also become complicit in this cover-up when we are more concerned about upholding an abstract reputation of an abstract institution than demanding accountability when this system reveals itself to be the enablers and protectors of predators. Are we choosing Love, or Fear (really, the only two choices we ever have to make in life)? Do we fear that our sons are not capable of being good, successful people without the backing of the name of a school, on a piece of paper? Do we fear that we are not good people if our sons are not successful? Can we just overlook a couple of rapes of sons that are not technically ours? Such a high price to pay for choosing fear: our humanity. This is Rape Culture.

Other instances of protecting privilege (the school’s reputation and finances) over humanity (doing the right thing):

  1. Sending the known rapist to an unsuspecting Japanese school community of children, so the headmaster could say “with a clear conscience” that Brother Lawrence was off St. Mary’s campus
  2. Having no restitution in place for survivors all the while actively inviting them to come forward to tell their stories to some strangers convened on a panel of lawyers. This exploited survivors further under the banner of “doing something”, when it was, really, reputation damage control
  3. Telling parents during enrolment drives that the brand of the high school matters–helps keep them silent about problems at the school; telling parents that there is an affiliation with ivy league schools, when in fact, there is not (the information below shows an example of an ivy league university replying that it did not have any affiliation with SMIS nor any high school. Students achieve acceptance on their own merit):

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  • Exploiting the culture of emotional silence of boys / men to protect reputation & rapists
  • Exploiting the culture of emotional silence of Japan to protect reputation & rapists

This is Rape Culture.

Survivor, SMIS Alumnus, and Producer Teja Arboleda is documenting this element of St. Mary’s International School’s reality in his documentary on sexual abuse in the Catholic Church, Ring Around the Collar. Here’s the trailer:

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A son to be proud of–take note, parents!

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They hired a messaging plane. “Protect survivors, not rapists”. Moral minds, moral hearts. These graduates used this special day of theirs to shine. Btw, “Persky Must Go” refers to the lame judge who allowed the rapist of a woman behind a dumpster, the lightest of sentences, fearing a longer one may have “severe impact” on the rapist.


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The Statistics Behind Our Blog: Thank you!

Thank you, to our readers!  You have taken an interest, given us feedback and made us feel that this issue is being discussed.  That’s all we’ve wanted.

As you know, the bloggers who have contributed in writing and translating here, have done so to help readers learn how to navigate a system that is designed to keep an individual quiet, stop  progress and discourage speaking up when something is wrong.  It was, in particular, illustrated by Ms. Tran’s case and how she’s fought back.    Most of us have been direct members of the school community, which deals with so many children and vulnerable families that can’t afford to have a bad experience with St. Mary’s.  In discussing Ms. Tran’s case, we hope that the school will think twice about treating any individual like this again.

We thought you might be interested in the statistics that you have generated over time.  As writers, we are not counted if we log in as writers (and we try not to be).

1. Over the months, even when there was no activity from us (we resumed recently from an over-3-year hiatus, in October 2013), this blog seemed to sustain interest and stand as a resource for people to learn about this case at St. Mary’s.  At the end of 2012, WordPress, the host of this blog, showed us that, on average, visitors come to view multiple blog posts:

Stats by month

2. More recent stats show, for example, in the past 90 days, links from Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn were among sources that drove our traffic:

Referrers 90 day stats

3.  Since “Search Engines” were the strongest source of traffic, we wondered what were some of the terms people searched?  It turns out, some people search specifically for Ms. Tran and this story, about Linda Wayne, and even now for Gregory Strong at Aoyama University.  A candidate teacher searched for vacancies at St. Mary’s International School.  And people look for advice about labor disputes in Japan:

search terms stats 30 days

4. In the past month, it was no surprise that people read our most recent posts.  But they also seemed to dig through the archives too:

Content 30 day stats

5. Our FAVORITE stats is this one: our blog is being read all over the world!! (The view allowed as far back as February of 2012):

Stats by country since Feb 2012

So, thank you.  And please continue to share this story with readers you think would be interested.  The shortlink to our home page is .



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Part 3: Don’t Expect the Japanese Courts to Care

Recap of Part 2:

[Update: Linda Wayne and Gregory Strong’s initial court letters were added to the last post]

  • Ms. Tran realized that court was the only way to find out who was really behind the email, which attacked her teaching reputation and her career.  So, she took St. Mary’s back to court for Breach of Settlement because the email’s author had specified that he knew of the settlement details from a school admin.  The school had signed a confidentiality clause.  Professor of English at Aoyama Gakuin University, Gregory Strong was this email author–a man Ms. Tran had never met, but to whom she did apply for a job.

  • In court, St. Mary’s Curriculum Coordinator, Linda Wayne, testified that she had spoken of the case and of the settlement to Mr. Strong.  But the school used the defense that she was uninformed and did not really know what she was talking about, thus, the information that was passed on to Gregory Strong was, essentially, gossip and was not a technical account of the settlement details.  Gregory Strong, who was not being sued, but was obviously responsible for exposing St. Mary’s to this court case testified  to help the school that the information was indeed just gossip.  Furthermore, he took some responsibility for fabricating the information in the email based on his own observations.

  • The District Court ruled that since the school lied about the settlement, they hadn’t breached it.


Ms. Tran was a little more than creeped out by Gregory Strong, a stranger, who seemed to have such personal involvement in sabotaging her career.   As well, it was disappointing that the courts did not uphold their own confidentiality clause.  How inconvenient for a individual!

Ms. Tran appealed to the High Court asking: isn’t the fact of discussing the settlement, especially if it involves lies causing harm to a party, part of the rationale behind a “confidentiality clause”?  Back when the case ended in 2010, the confidentiality clause evidently had an exception: for Ms. Tran to write a final statement to the school community about the case, for closure.  As a member of the school community who opted to be on this list, I got this email:

Court Announcement May 2010:


I would like to inform you that the dispute with St. Mary’s International School ended at Tokyo District Court on April 15, 2010.

 St. Mary’s International School regrets the dispute.

 The school and I confirmed that I worked as a teacher at the school, and my employment contract was completed.  We agreed to accept the court mediated settlement that includes a mutually agreed upon amount.

 Throughout this process, many students, parents and teachers of St. Mary’s have been a tremendous source of support to me morally and through letters and petitions.  It was my pleasure to see this process through and find a way for us to be heard clearly in the school community.

 私と聖マリア学園との間の労使紛争が、東京地方裁判所において、2010年4月15日に、聖マリア学 園において労使紛争が起こったことについて遺憾の意を表明し、私が聖マリア学園との間の雇用契約に基づき教師として勤め、同契約の雇用期間が満了したこと を確認した上、私が納得した解決金の支払等を内容とする和解が成立して解決したことをお知らせします。

 これまで私の精神的支えになり、手紙や署名により支援していただいた聖マリア学園の生徒、保護者の皆様、ま た、同僚の教師の皆様のおかげで解決に至りましたことを心より感謝申し上げます。この労使紛争が円満に解決したこと、この解決を皆様に 報告できたことを喜ばしく思っています。


So, had “gossiping” with members of the teaching industry about the settlement been allowable too, for the school?  Ms. Tran did not remember signing off on that.  According to the court papers, apparently, the confidentiality clause read like most ones do–that neither party was to discuss the settlement details to a 3rd party.  That’s pretty clear!  However, despite the appeal, the High Court did not really improve on or add further comments to the District Court’s ruling.  The papers went through the appeal process like oats through a horse.  Lying about a settlement is not breaching the settlement.

The Supreme Court?  Yawn.  It might have potentially been an Elle Woods’ moment,

but Ms. Tran probably should have realized that she needed to get in line to seek any social justice in Japan from that institution.  The Supreme Court wrote that they had nothing to add, to the nothing that the High Court had added.

Oh Ms. Tran, get in line:

Supreme Court Upholds Non-Disclosure of Companies Whose Employees Died of Overwork

Comfort Women Still Fight For Justice

Courts block evacuation of Fukushima kids, even after admitting hazards

Oh, and not to mention the “terrorism” that freedom of speech has now become here in Japan under Shiny Ape.

So, what we learned from all this is that technical adherence to court orders / laws / rules is what matters to courts.  Therefore, if you find yourselves settling in court–you might want to add “infinity” after each clause, in case the childish party you’re dealing with abuses it once you’re back in the school yard.

Next: This case was either a Breach of Settlement or a Defamation case.  So, since it wasn’t a breach, lying about someone must be defamation (?)  But who is responsible for the defamation?

As well, we wonder, did Linda Wayne speak on behalf of the school corporation when she falsely characterized the settlement and the record of a teacher?  If not, had the school done anything to reprimand her and this behaviour?

If this is done to a teacher, would it be done to students or families who take up an issue at the school?  i.e. Is St. Mary’s International School a bully institution?

Is Japan an institution that makes it hard for individuals to protest being bullied…by institutions?


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