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UPDATE: Long Career for Child Rapists at ASIJ & St. Mary’s International School

[Update May 4, 2015: If you haven’t been reading Sylvia MacEachern’s encyclopedic blog exposing the Canadian Catholic church’s piss-poor protection of children from sexual abuse, there is much more there that SMIS victims are sharing.  The latest is an email from Brother Raymond Ducharme who is trying to get a victim to cut some slack for his rapist Brother Lawrence who had to take a tough vow of chastity, for chrissakes! (deep sarcasm)  It shows how self-referential, insular and possibly sociopathic the people who run St. Mary’s are. Ducharme does not think like a parent protecting a child, nor does he empathize with a vulnerable child being grossly violated by a trusted figure, nor can he express disgust like a regular person at the situation–let alone call the police.  

When thinking of that moment of rape, Ducharme shows he can only imagine how difficult it probably was for Brother Lawrence to keep his nasty dick in his pants, what with his lot having to forgo women, Japanese porn, “deal with the internet” etc!  Now, we can clearly see that St. Mary’s International School has been hiding behind the hetero-normative facade and rationale of an “all boys school”.  Problem solved: no temptation there.  None at all.  The boys of St. Mary’s have been the perfect cover for this den of vipers.  The best line was: “I think that there is a potential abuser in every person. Some people deal well with that problem, others don’t”.  (How about NOT allowing the ones that clearly don’t be Elementary Principal of a school full of children, you know, just in case!)  Just who is Ducharme referring to when talking about potential abusers?  Himself?  Other Brothers??  How many?  How common a trait “potential abuser” must be in Ducharme’s experience at SMIS to refer to it like eye-color: some have blue eyes, others don’t.  This asshole indulges his philosophy of merely errant men, instead of realizing the SERIOUS business of the school as legal protectors and educators, Locus Parentis, of children–and charging tons of money for it.  For $%^&* sake!!]

It’s been an interesting week reading the newspaper.  We found that our blog post from last week was duly corroborated point-by-point in the official media!

(Today) April 29, 2015 – The Japan Times officially releases an article detailing information surrounding the circumstances of rape that happened to the former St. Mary’s International School student 50 years ago.   Those calculating, psychopathic Brothers have known all along and have just sought to play out the erasure of community and corporate memory to bring back their rapist to several campuses and act like nothing wrong has happened. (Click on the article by Simon Scott, to read):

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  • Brother Lawrence’s contemporaries, including Headmasters who served into recent times, knew of the case 50 years ago, and knew of Brother Lawrence’s serious expulsion, yet they obviously brought him back to Japan just a couple of years later and even eventually installed him as Elementary Principal, leader of children (when the memory of the community was erased)
  • The Australian Embassy knew at the time
  • A doctor in Tokyo knew at the time
  • The “punishment” of (i.e. excuse to rape) the child was, in all probability, a planned routine of the Brothers to be done to the children in their charge!
  • 50 years ago Brother Lawrence threatened to rape the victim’s younger brother if he told anybody; today the school threatens a lawsuit if the victim tells anybody
  • Turns out, St. Mary’s has hired professional crisis managers, not “independent investigators”.  When asked to comment, these folks suddenly have nothing to say about this serious matter regarding children that their gilded brains and moral hearts have previously, “independently” championed (can there BE any worse examples of independent investigators?? what asshats!!)
  • Brother Lawrence lived and worked among Japanese children, who may have been preyed upon as well

April 24, 2015 – The Japan Times releases an article about the 13 women who have taken a stand against ASIJ admin.  The school has not released a report about decades of sexual abuse, presumably due to the overwhelming, damning evidence of their piss-poor standard of protecting children and even their passive complicity with the criminal, for the sake of upholding the school’s reputation.  (Click on the article by Tomohiro Osaki, to read:)

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  • ASIJ admin have known since 1968 about these sexual abuse cases by a member of their staff
  • at least 48 cases have been reported, yet nothing was ever done
  • an untold number of Japanese students may have been victimized as well during Jack Moyer’s 1987-2003 island camps (=15 years of seclusion with children, away from parents and authority–like that ever made a difference)

You already know our major side-eye to the idea of even holding our breaths for these “independent investigation” reports to come out.

These twin articles brought to mind an issue that we have NOT dealt with well enough during the reporting of this:

The untold damage to Japanese children that these rapists, and their complicit employers must have inflicted.

Japan has been a hugely generous and gracious host country for these corporations–allowing them to flourish and reap trillions of yen in tuition over the years, literally enriching the lives of admin and teachers.  The idea that these admin; these supposed “stewards” of goodwill enabled the debasement of children, in a country with much less wherewithal and agency than even our vulnerable children, to speak up against this type of abuse, is nauseating.

But this is what St. Mary’s International School and the American School in Japan have done.  Furthermore, these schools are hiding much more.  We need to realize that the ONLY reason we know this much is because of the brave survivors who have come forward!  It is NOT to the credit of these schools to have done anything proactive.  They have been circuitously finding ways to stall, cover their asses, and only speak when absolutely forced to.  With decades-long cultures of enabling we can be sure there are MORE perpetrators and MORE victims. They must each, every one of these admin and teachers who have FAILED to speak up when they knew wrong was happening (including NOW), be held accountable.

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Bullshit Investigations: St. Mary’s and ASIJ admin fail

[Update–thank you for sharing this article far and wide on the web–we are nearing 50,000 visitors!  Talk about this.  Put it on the agenda.  End the institutional enabling of sexual abuse of kids from your alma mater!]

Last blog post, due to Headmaster Kagei’s empty and useless “update” on the investigation into sexual abuses at St. Mary’s International School, we wrote how we suspected this was a whole lot of PR-exercises to buy more time to secure next year’s tuitions and promote memory loss among the school community.  We didn’t even bother wasting memory space on our free blog to save the update letter / clutter.  But, who knew how right we would be: a much more significant letter has surfaced!  The school wants the community to believe in its investigation–that justice and help will come to victims who come forward.  Let’s see just what kind of “contract” they put in front of one victim to sign!

At ASIJ, that school’s admin had been shamed into launching an investigation earlier than St. Mary’s, but failed to hit its own report release date of “Fall 2014” and has no information going forward.  Half a year later, the 13 sexual abuse survivors who have bravely come forward are issuing their own update.

Let’s fill you in.

St. Mary’s: What Happens When Admin Get A Victim Behind Closed Doors

Loss of self-agency, abuse, lies, taking advantage.  I’m not even referring to when Brother Lawrence first sodomized his victim.  I’m referring to what happened when the TOP admin at St. Mary’s got the victim, now a man, in the room.

http://www.theinquiry.ca/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/Lambert-First-draft-of-Agreement-Lambert-Ducharme-Tadashi-Chigira-with-blog-attached.pdf

The above letter was procured by the irreplaceable Sylvia.  In it, the school tries to arrange an “agreement” with the victim to waive all his rights to any future civil or criminal action, or any publication in the media regarding the admitted sexual abuse against him by the school’s admin.  Sylvia does a thorough critical analysis of this agreement in this room absent any lawyers.  In her Canadian-ness, she wonders if in Japan, it’s even possible to make another person renounce their right to seek justice?  Well, we asked a judge in Yokohama.  Here is what he had to say:

“The constitution and the penal code take precedent over any agreement to waive the rights of an individual to seek justice or redress in criminal or civil court.  Such an agreement would be dismissed as a defence.”

Sylvia also notes from her contact with the victim, that the lawyer for St. Mary’s (or for anybody) wasn’t in the room.  He must’ve known it was bullshit.

So, this is how the school treated an abused former student who came forward.  Next?

Sylvia also documents these observations:

1. The victim is Jewish;
2. The victim’s father was an Australian diplomat;
3. The child was sodomised by Brother Lawrence Lambert fic in the SMIS chapel;
4. The boy was 11-years-old;
5. The boy was in the chapel eating what was for him a Kosher treat, rollmops – essentially pickled herring;
6. The child was warned that if he told anyone the same thing would be done to his little brother, also a student at the school;
8. The maid  saw the blood on the little boy’s underwear;
9. Brother John Paradis knew. That’s Brother John Paradis/Jean-Emile Paradis / Brother Paul Paradis headmaster at SMIS.

The first point is important to me, because at my most cynical, I can imagine that this evil man, Brother Lawrence, used ANY excuse to assuage his psychopathy.  He must have believed that if he raped a Jewish or non-Christian boy on this day (who knows who else he damaged on other days), Jesus would forgive him for at least causing damage to a non-believer.

Jewish and non-Christian parents, for that matter, all parents, don’t wait for any rapist-logic to single out your child!

Shall we additionally nitpick that in that “agreement” the school itself said it would block Brother Lawrence from any elementary, middle or high school child, but then promptly transferred him to the school corporation’s Shizuoka campus? What was the logic” there?  That Japanese children don’t matter?

They did it once, they can do it again.

ASIJ Admin: Trying to Keep the Door Closed

13 women, who survived sexual abuse as little girls, at the hands of former ASIJ staff Jack Moyers, over decades, have come forward in the past year to fully participate in the investigation that the ASIJ admin had been publicly petitioned into launching last year.  For those of us who may not grasp what it means to talk to the lawyers of the institution who belittled your cries for help, for the sake of progress:

“We participated in the Ropes & Gray interviews, revealed and relived our abuse before complete strangers, and shared our personal and painful stories. We did this because we, too, want the report to be as thorough and complete as possible.”

ASIJsurvivors.org

The survivors have always maintained that the ASIJ admin, over the (once again) decades, knew of this abuse and still chose to look away.  One can only assume this was in order to keep the reputation of the school and the abusive teacher, in tact.  The survivors hired their own counsel, O’Donnell Clark & Crew (of Portland Oregon), who were finally able to prove to Ropes & Gray and the school, with concrete evidence, these facts (among many more):

  • ASIJ learned of Moyer’s inappropriate behavior with young female students by at least 1968 and yet denied any knowledge of such for decades, extending as recently as its March 17, 2014 community announcement.
  • In the years that followed, ASIJ leaders – including but not limited to former Headmasters William Ricketson, Ray Downs, Peter Cooper, and Tim Carr, as well as former Principals Jack Collins, James Juergensen, and Robert Winer – received more than four dozen reports of Moyer’s ongoing sexual misconduct and abuse of ASIJ students.
  • Moyer confessed in writing to sexually abusing ASIJ students and specifically identified seven of us by name among the ranks of his victims.
  • ASIJ leaders concealed Moyer’s sexual abuse for more than forty years, and even after repeated warnings, did not take steps to remove Moyer or safeguard ASIJ students.

These are RECENT names, folks!  At St. Mary’s, Brother Lawrence was preying on the student body until 2013; ASIJ had sexual abuse enablers right up until last year!!

In light of this damning evidence, it’s no mystery why ASIJ has quietly missed its report deadline.  It’s pretty clear what they would have to write.  That’s no excuse, of course!  After all, what did they think was the point of an investigation?  To find the truth.  But, the ASIJ admin, like the St. Mary’s admin, can’t handle the truth.  In fact, they are doing their best to back out of this long and narrow dead end: the ASIJ’s admin have  responded that the survivors’ demands for “transparency” and “compensation” are causing (too) “significant…demands” on the school, thus being the ‘real’ cause of delay of the report.  Really.  You know what causes “significant demands” on a person?  Being raped.  Being sexually abused.  As a child.  And then remembering that shit.  Asking for transparency and compensation–it’s pretty standard!  What did they expect?

However, the survivors aren’t accepting the school’s rolling over and playing dead.

The survivors at ASIJ are demanding a report date of no later than July 1, 2015.  Once again, the alumna at ASIJ are setting an incredible precedent in organizing and setting a road map for the boys at St. Mary’s.  Visit their website, launched recently.  And sign their newest, almost 1,500 signature petition (incredible community organizing!!)  blog continues at the bottom:

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Not one of the admin from either of these schools will get to continue their careers with a clean conscience until they learn to solve real problems.  All this idyllic imagery of the schools at their sports, intramurals, choirs, and fundraisers–you know what?  That could have been real, if the people in charge, at the time of the crimes, took out the trash and saved the souls of the students and of the school.  The admin now want current parents and students to believe that those were past issues, mistakes made by past admin!  But how different are they really, in soul and mettle, if they too refuse to solve difficult problems?  Until they prove they are different, these admin a-holes are showing that they would do exactly the same: sacrifice students to monsters for the sake of the school.  St. Mary’s and ASIJ, as we now know, have never deserved nor ever had spotless reputations–so why be delusional about carrying on as usual?

Btw, St. Mary’s “Top 10 reasons to go to St. Mary’s“?  They don’t include protection from sexual predators.

The dangers of wilful blindness:

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How to Ensure a Culture of Silence: Finance 101

When George Washington was offered a 3rd term as the first-ever President of the United States of America, he refused it citing that an indefinite power-grab would set a terrible precedent for a country that aimed to be democratic and open to progress.  And so the cap was set at 2 terms.

Unfortunately, this sunset clause fails to make it into the charter of most institutions, which instead aim to capitalize on expanding and entrenched power, forever and ever.  After all, it saves on start-up costs by already existing.  To win both ways, institutional PR will try to tell you two opposing things:

  1. That they are “stable” because of their size, age and “tried and true” policies
  2. But that they also have the resources and wisdom to be responsive to a changing world

It’s “win-win”!!  However, by definition, an institution defies change and progress: no “anomalous” person or event can ever change its course; it will not mutate; it will not adapt.

To keep up the public face of  “balancing stability and responsiveness”, the institution, say, an international school in a poorly regulated, isolated educational context, would make sure to have it “both ways”.  For instance, they would put teachers on one-year renewable contracts with no contribution to the Japanese pension plan–in order to fire any teacher at their discretion, but, also renew other teachers over and over at their discretion–for the overall semblance of rewarding good work with job security.  However, because there is no real job market to speak of when people are on specific working visas, there cannot be a real meritocracy.  Teachers are therefore totally financially dependent on the school.

As a private institution, you’re thinking, maybe a school admin can do what they want!  Sure.  But, sometimes standard labor laws don’t allow them to have it both ways–as Ms. Tran looked into.  If they did have free-rein both ways, it would wreak havoc on individual lives financially, whose cost society sometimes has to pick up.  A lesser known example: St. Mary’s didn’t pay unemployment insurance at the time it willfully made Ms. Tran unemployed in Tokyo–she had to demand it. Hence, laws.

So, what about the manoeuvres of an institution in a totally different case like this one dealing with child rape at St. Mary’s International School?

No change.  There is no real will or motivation for the administration to own or admit the fact that they had a child rapist among them–by this I mean hold this to the criminal standard that society has already dictated in law.  Doing so would invite financial ruin.  Instead, we’ve seen them shuffle their rapist to an unknowing Japanese community of children, then back to Canada, in another jurisdiction where everyone could then conveniently wash their hands of the whole thing.  That is exactly what an institution would do and what this one did.  Of course.  So, when we see this recent update from Kagei, we have to see it for the banal, “keep the course” drivel that it is.  This response would seem appropriate if it were from some pro-active neighboring school in Setagaya, wanting to assure parents that their institution has got NOTHING to do with this horrendous mess at St. Mary’s down the street.  But it’s actually from St. Mary’s International School: the “tried and true” institution, that by its very nature and policies, actively harbored and smuggled a rapist of our children, and countless others who sexually abused them, and now wants us to believe that it is earnestly searching for the one right thing to do to make it all better!  Please.

Parents, alumni, is our institutional nostalgia so impoverished that we can’t be generous enough to support the most vulnerable among us?  We are not an institution–we do have the flexibility to progress.  Let’s not be blind or naive to an institution’s bias to quietly keep course at all costs.  A progressive response from them is patently impossible.  Especially with this administration…

*    *    *

Recently, a former SMIS dad, who is now an investment banker in Antwerp, reminded us of this little thread of thought that made us think even more deeply about how institutions and their long-time staff become an “entrenched”, obstinate bunch:

In the Japanese Real Estate and Stock Bubble of the 1980s, banks were just lending, lending, lending at low interest rates, with easy credit checks, pushing up the land prices so high, that at one point, all of Japan was worth 4 times the land value of all of mainland USA, even though it was barely the size of California.

We wonder what St. Mary’s did with all that available credit?  As a large non-profit with an educational mandate, did it borrow to give the students a world class education?  Not that we remember: everything was pretty stuck in the 50s and 60s, same rotting textbooks, nasty carpeting and no air-con, until the new campus in the late-2000s, parents had to pay for every extra thing or raise money through events.  So, did the school just pass up that major era of easy credit?

Maybe not:

It would have been really easy for a non-profit to get in on the real estate craze.  It could have borrowed using its credit and then lent money to its staff to buy houses (i.e. foreigners and their wives with no bank credit).  It could even have made a profit by charging higher interest to its staff than what it paid to the bank.  Since the repayments and interest to the school would be deducted via salary expenses, all this would have been invisible to an auditor.  Unless this non-profit had a bank charter, it would have been illegal to lend money in these amounts, never mind make interest profit that is undeclared, hidden and expensed under the guise of, say, operating a school…

The title of the houses would have been in the non-profit’s name until the foreign staff paid enough of the equity down.  The foreign staff wouldn’t know any better anyway, as they would likely have gotten some altered, in-house, translated version of the mortgage contract.  In this arrangement, a co-dependency of longevity ensures that staff are now entrenched in the institution.  Child abuse?  DUI?  Poor skills?  Uncertified?  Lazy?  Can’t understand whenever they speak?  Doesn’t matter if this staff still owes the institution money, payable with their salary in a #humancentipede.

So, in this interweb of financial obligations, maybe we shouldn’t be surprised to see the same hardened crust of staff and admin decade in, decade out, all shilling for an institution as if they were indebted to it.

Oh, wait.

Apparently, this may not be hypothetical at all, and a list of mortgagees exists!  If our network of financially savvy former parents can find the time to dig into this, we’d totally be interested!

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St. Mary’s Brothers & Teachers Confess to Rape and Abuse

Update, November 20, 2014: The inimitable Sylvia deconstructs a recent Kagei letter to parents, blow-by-blow, in an awesome exercise of critical thinking.  My favourite is how Kagei declares that the raped alumni are “no longer members of the St. Mary’s community” (??), yet, asks parents at the end of the letter to “pray” for them.  That’s right, parents: abused victims of Catholic institutions are to be thrown out of the community and pitied.  Carry on.  Eueeeech.  Kagei lumped the expelled victims with their abusers, who are somehow also not part of the SMIS community.  No doubt Kagei hoped to divert from the awareness that perhaps there are CURRENT victims at the school, and EXISTING abusers.  Not to mention that Br. Lawrence lives with the Brothers in Quebec, who own the school, which makes this a lie. 

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The best part of Sylvia’s analysis is highlighting that when the St. Mary’s rapist himself writes a letter to say that he did rape a child, Kagei lied to have called it an “allegation” over and over in every letter sent out to parents.  Does the fancy swirly whirl of the Br. Lawrence signature not mean anything to Kagei?

Sylvia points out that SMIS has hired a risk management company as part of an investigative panel for the sexual abuse cases.  WTF indeed.  They’re even named 360, as in degrees?  I guess we gotta prepare to see Kagei do a couple of 180s.  First, from total silence for 8 months to “we care so much” (upon news story exposure).  Next, from “we care so much” to…”damn these pesky alumni trying seek acknowledgement of their childhood rape whilst in the care of our institution, how dare they??”  It’s already precipitating in the letter.

Are the panelists here to make lemonade out of lemons?  It’ll be kinda hard to put a positive spin on child-rape and cover-up.  Who chose this panel?  Who’s paying them?  Who cares?  It’s the the A-team of PR consultants, y’all!  What are they being paid?  If not enough, why would they lend any more than a disinterest glance at any victim, coming forward?  Even Kagei has to speak for them–prob. to save some yen.  Are these rare compassionate human-beings pitching in to help simply out of the goodness of their hearts?  Not likely.  What resources do they have to handle sensitive, deep, troubling and time-consuming cases?  That’s important to know.  For comparison purposes, this is how the investigative team for ASIJ victims (the survivors’ own lawyers: O’Donnell Clark & Crew) championed the issue in a press-release, issued directly by them.  These legal professionals, without the need to make a grand entrance, cared enough about the issue, to say a few words to the beleaguered community, themselves.  However, the school’s set of lawyers, Ropes & Gray, who are doing a parallel investigation, are a totally different story [Update April 18, 2015: not only have the school and Ropes&Gray failed to process a report by their own due date of Fall 2014, they have issued no updates except one that seems to shift blame on the victims for the delay–because the victims demanded too many things like “transparency”.  See what O’Donnell Clark & Crew were able to prove with concrete evidence to Ropes & Gray.]

Without the knowledge of the degreed panel’s level of care, here’s what the Kagei game-plan looks like:

“Children were raped at our school, you ask?  By our teachers?  Why look at these here Harvard degrees from our illustrious panel!” Kagei says as he wand-waves over the parents, who are desperately trying to hold together a decent school year for their kids.  

Kagei, your school makes it hard for parents.  Why do they even have to deal with the spectre of your staff’s criminality?  And foot the bill so you can PR-spin your child-rape cases? USD $25,000+ a year per child in tuition?  It was certainly a great business model, while it lasted.  Will it survive the internet’s long memory?  How about film?  One alumnus who came forward is a documentarian.

Also, just to keep it in perspective folks, here are 15 notable criminals from Harvard University.  16 if you count President Larry Summers, king of conflict of interest, architect of massive deregulation that put many St. Mary’s dads out of investment banking work in the global financial crisis of ’08, and helped wipe out $5 trillion in global savings and pensions.  More than anything here, that man was most responsible for the enrolment drop at St. Mary’s and the consequent lack of international diversity at the school, bar none.  I’d add him to this list (for the global crisis, I mean.  Obviously.):

Amy Bishop (born 1965)
PhD 1993
mass-murderess
John Donald Cody
Harvard Law School 1972
Aka “Bobby Thompson”; Convicted November 14, 2013 of charges in connection with United States Navy Veterans Association
Marc Stuart Dreier
Juris DoctorHarvard Law School 1975
Securities fraud
Gina Grant (born 1976)
Did not matriculate
voluntary manslaughter. Lied on application about killing mother. Early Admission offered, then rescinded.
Christopher Janus (1911–2009)
College 1936
Bank Fraud
Ted Kaczynski(born 1942)
College 1962
Unabomber terrorist/Murderer
Viktor Kozeny (born 1963)
College 1989
Fugitive financier
Chas Lee (born 1971)
College 1993
Embezzler
Suzanne Pomey(born 1980)
College 2002
Embezzler
Joshua Parker {1690-died after 1732}
Class of 1710 {did not graduate}
Forger; brother-in-law of Nicholas Fessenden Class of 1701
Henry Phillips
Class of 1724
Murderer {Duelist}-died in exile in France 1729
William Pickard(born 1945)
Kennedy School of Government1996
LSD manufacturer
[518]
Eugene Plotkin
College 2000
Convicted of insider trading
[519]
Robert Livingston Schuyler {b.1798}
Class of 1817
Embezzler/Bigamist
Louis Agassiz Shaw II {1906–1987}
Class of 1929
Murderer
Jeffrey Skilling(born 1953)
Business 1979
Conspiracy, making false statements, insider trading, and securities fraud during the Enron case
[520]
Sinedu Tadesse(1974–1995)
College 1996 (did not graduate)
Murderer
Chuck Turner (born 1941)
College 1963
Convicted felon and former Boston City Council Member
Dr John White Webster (1793–1850)
College 1811
Murderer
Richard Whitney (financier) (1888–1974)
Embezzler
Stephen H. Kessler(1930s-?)
Medical 1957
“Mad LSD Slayer” of 1967

[Brother Lawrence’s and the Brotherhood’s letters of confession / apology for rape, below]

Pain of Sexual Abuse 1

Leo Burnett Thailand created this powerful ad for Bangkok-based Center for the Protection of Children’s Rights Foundation

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Click to link to story

Well, so much for allegations.

The following are excerpts from the letters of confession, which we just learned that the school actually had in their possession prior to January 31, 2014 when they were still communicating this matter as “an allegation”, to parents:

Letter 1 is from Brother Lawrence to his victim:

“I finally take this opportunity to offer you my sincere apologies for assaulting you in 1965. It should never have happened. At that moment, I chose selfishly my pleasure, putting aside your value as a human being, the values that I wished to live by, the true endeavor of an educator, and the mission of my congregation. I am ashamed of what I did.”

Letter 2 reveals details of the sexual assault:

“The simple truth is that still today I cannot understand the fact I raped you. It was the first time I did that in my life, and I did not do that again. I was on my way to my bedroom upstairs when I saw you and saw nothing wrong with talking with you on the way. But then somehow passion suddenly took over and I did what I should never have done and selfishly and violently hurt your body and hurt your heart for the rest of your life.”

Letter 3 is from the Brothers of Christian Instruction:

“Our Congregation also bears responsibilities concerning the evil that was done to you. A warmer community life, a better awareness of the sexuality of men living in communities, and also a strong willingness to cope frankly with the evil done to you could have helped in preventing such wicked actions, or could have helped you get through that ordeal, but it was not the way the situation was dealt with. I am sorry.”

It is undeniable the full extent of rape that happened at St. Mary’s by a Brother, acknowledged by the perpetrator and the administration.  Why didn’t the school publicize this as such?  Since then, we know Brother Lawrence was sent off campus to a Japanese school in Shizuoka, where apparently the safety of Japanese children don’t matter as much.  Then, he was allowed a quiet exit from the country to retire in Canada.  Is St. Mary’s International School truly being accountable for what went on at their institution?  It is only because the Japan Times, outraged alumni, this blog and others have been persisting that the school has HAD to admit that it knew.  The school admin add that they are only now distressed to learn the extent of things and started reaching out to alumni who’ve been abused.  Of course, they have known all along and were content to sit on it passively for 9 months.

If you are part of the school community and are committed to it–recognize that the “leaders” in place are probably NOT the ones to make real, credible policy about this deeply important matter for the present and future safety and reputation of the students and school.  This is a complex situation, requires a a steady hand to separate the cancer from the vital organs.  Know that it IS possible to support the current students AND hold this administration to account.  YOU and the students are what makes the school great every year–how much greater would the school be with an admin that would act responsibly?  Remember: the perpetrator only retired a year ago.  Current students were among his charge.

And in case you thought it was just the Brothers at St. Mary’s, here’s a second article:

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Click to link to story.

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Japan Times: St. Mary’s International School’s Sexual Abuse Report

[Update #3: Headmaster Kagei has issued another letter dated Oct 4 to parents and staff.  Some of you may have already seen it on FB or the SMIS site. The letter talks about how Kagei has spoken with some victims and was “distressed” to hear the accounts of sexual abuse.  Yes, Mr. Kagei, just hearing of them is horrible–imagine experiencing them and being haunted by them for life. Mr. Kagei will identify a panel and launch yet another investigation. But who will lead these panels: SMIS payrollees who may have been abusers themselves?  Or staff that have interest in silencing the stories that have ruined the only institution on their resumes for the past 30 years?  Btw, what ever happened with the Archbishop’s and the police’s investigations that Kagei spoke of in the January letter?  Why is there no update on those fronts after 9 months?  Why didn’t Mr. Kagei write just now that these accounts will be submitted to police?  Mr. Kagei needs to report on the results from actual authorities who have the power to enact consequences for these crimes.  If there is nothing to report from the police, either one of two things happened: the school has not seriously engaged the police by providing evidence at all or the police were not interested.  In either case, parents cannot be satisfied that some in-house panel and improvised policies will be enough to protect their sons from one of the worst crimes possible, from a school and jurisdiction that obviously have been unable to redress past multiple occurrences of it.  Tuition money has gone toward paying for the retirement comfort of these abusers in Japan and Canada.  Finally, we need to learn of pertinent details to audit the efficacy of future policies: where on campus were these boys abused?  How were these boys separated from their class and led behind closed doors?  Did any of these boys say something at the time–and if so, how did their voices die off in the system?  This blog has long side-eyed the school’s practice of taking things behind closed doors, and of setting up their own panels to get the result they want–it is a classic d#$% move by admin.  This new “solution” isn’t any more transparent or open to public scrutiny than anything we’ve already seen.  But we are glad there has been a response.  Down the path that the community is headed now, there is nowhere to hide the truth.]

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Update #2: Sept. 25, 2014. Looks like the survivors of SMIS abuse are serious.

[Update #1: Headmaster Saburo Kagei has sent out this Sept 11 2014 response to alumni regarding the matter of sexual abuse at the school written about in the January 2014 letter.  A main point of Mr. Kagei’s latest letter is that Br. Lawrence had actually written an apology to the victim who had come forward, thus acknowledging his role in the sexual abuse.  This doesn’t sound like “an allegation”, it sounds like a criminal confession by a St. Mary’s admin who committed the worst possible betrayal of trust against a child. What did the school do to bring this crime to justice?  Some people in our community learned that Br. Lawrence had briefly been transferred to a sister school in Shizuoka, when this was found out, exposing Japanese children to this matter, which their families wouldn’t have known about.  Mr. Kagei has now written that Br. Lawrence has simply moved away.  The school is asking (in earnest) for information on any other St. Mary’s staff predators past and present.  How can we be sure that this information would be treated with any kind of severity?  The school needs to acknowledge that the era of the status quo admin is over.  Their culture is one of hiding and confounding problems until they become epically bad.  To convincingly show the school community that it is dedicated to a new era of accountable management, the entire admin needs to be replaced.]

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(Click on image to link to story)

Well, there it is.  A great piece by Simon Scott of the Japan Times, built upon the accounts of St. Mary’s International School’s sexual abuse survivors both named and anonymous.  Despite the school and the Archdiocese of Tokyo failing to comment on the matter (note: even the admin of ASIJ responded in their case), the story is out and in circulation.  As it should be–for the community to acknowledge and solve going forward.

If the school remains silent, it will be met with the silence of families who will no longer be willing to pay for such unaccountability in a matter so crucial to the education of children.

Much respect to abuse survivor Mr. Arboleda, whose compassion to empower future generations of children to identify and speak of such abuse, has meant for  him to unearth unsettling memories.  This is surely something difficult for anyone to do, and I’d say even more so for a grown man in our society.  Men are expected to internalize all kinds of emotional turmoil.  I suspect it is largely the reason the ASIJ case, led my so many female abuse survivors, was acted upon in a faster, more decisive way.  The Alumni at St. Mary’s probably have had to work through an invisible, but thick, layer of social stigma against men revisiting emotional and psychological pain.  Not to mention the Japanese culture, isolated international school culture and Catholic culture all embedded, all at work, in addition!  All the more reason it has been hugely important for Mr. Scott, Mr. Arboleda and “Mr. Smith” to bring this story forth.

One correction we’d make to Mr. Scott’s reporting, is that while this site was certainly put together during Ms. Tran’s first case against the school over labour matters, it was set up by a community of people who helped translate, attend court hearings, secure legal papers, blog and vet comments.

We have Mr. Michael DiMuzio and Linda Wayne, of the St. Mary’s Admin, actually, to thank for the existence of this blog.

Without such monumental egotism, middle-manager paranoia, abuse of power, denial and obstinacy toward Ms. Tran and in other dealings within the community, we never would have been inspired to carry on like this 🙂

Ms. Tran by the way, flew to Japan this August to testify against Gregory Strong, the friend and arguable revenge foot-soldier of Linda Wayne in the university teaching industry, at the Yokohama District Court.  It was the first time Ms. Tran and Mr. Strong had ever met.  While, like all cases, this will likely go down in a settlement, it’s nice to know that there are all kinds of people willing to stand up to abusers of power.

Abuse of power, denial and obstinacy in one small case, is a sign of much more behind the scenes.  Like seeing a cockroach.  Glad we could be part of the fumigation.

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Instructions on Restitution: An Interview About Solving Sexual Abuse at Our International Schools

“I am writing these things to you so that, if I delay, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, a pillar and buttress of the truth.” — 1 Timothy 3:14-15 (we like it as a literary reference!)

Screen Shot 2014-06-21 at 9.08.11 PM In today’s blog, we have an interview with Susan Larson, an ASIJ 1979 alumna instrumental in leading sexual abuse survivors’ snowballing movement against their alma mater.  The school’s systemic denial that at least one of their star teachers harmed children, lasted years, exposing countless children to harm.   Ms. Larson will lay out some tips for communities, like that of St. Mary’s International School, regarding what it takes to organize hundreds of alums to bring an institution to account for better protection of its children past, present and future.  SMIS actually had a parallel case announced by the school itself in January 2014–but it was ASIJ alums that have gone the distance in finding a solution to this complex problem for themselves and hopefully for future ASIJ students.

Moral, psychological or financial restitution are all possibilities down the road for this phenomenal group of alums who have reached critical mass in their 500-signature petition (now at over 700, and extended) lobbying for an investigation, compelling the engagement of several international legal firms to enact investigations on both the school and the survivors’ behalf.  Of note, the abuse victims have engaged the law firm O’Donnell Clark and Crew, LLP, a firm specializing in these types of cases against large institutions of trust like the Catholic Church or Boy Scouts of America.  Read the firm’s PRESS RELEASE on June 11, 2014: Screen Shot 2014-06-21 at 9.41.37 PM

Here is an except from the Press Release:

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To SMIS alums who are abuse survivors, you may have yet to decide on a public movement for restitution, but this is for you:

Without further ado, our interview with Ms. Susan Larson:

Us: The alums in your case have gained media attention, critical mass with the petition, legal counsel and are on the verge of an inquiry–how does it feel?  Are you surprised at your own power?
Susan Larson: It feels very productive! This was a challenging process involving many points of view among the ASIJ family. I am feeling more battle-scarred than powerful, but pleased that we’ve made so much progress as a group. It was important for us to cut through all the aspects to find a collective focus, and the ASIJ abuse survivors provided that focus. Despite many opinions about what our process should be, or what the school should do, most of the alumni who have spoken up or added their name were doing it for the survivors – in a mass show of support. A few of the survivors helped us a great deal by letting us know we were helping. Without that encouragement, there were times when it looked like we could have stalled out. They kept us together, and they kept us going.
Us: In the event that old cases cannot turn up concrete evidence proving the victims’ cases, would this exercise still have meaning for the 700+ alums supporting the petition for the inquiry?
SL: I can only speak for myself, but I would say yes. There is meaning in getting so many people on the same page to do this collectively. I’ve been told there is also meaning in that for the survivors, and that our support has made them feel more empowered to take action. Whatever happens from here on out, I believe our collective efforts will help make ASIJ a safer place today and tomorrow.
Us: In Japan, the concept of “saving face” is huge–especially for institutions.  There seems to be almost no way out for parties on the defence (in court case or investigation) except to deny and fight, even though they have a moral responsibility to concede and show humility if they are accountable.  What is your take on this?
SL: Wow, big question. I haven’t looked at this from a cultural perspective. I am concerned about certain aspects, such as the insular nature of the expat community in Tokyo, which may have contributed to a lack of resources in how to report these crimes. As for how ASIJ has handled this over the years, sometimes I think they started down a path of denial very early on and couldn’t backtrack later. And if so, perhaps that was where face-saving became very dangerous indeed. (This is just a theory on my part.)
Us: What one piece of advice would you give to a sister school who may be going through very similar issues?
SL: Expect people to be divided in how to handle it. Don’t walk away from the fight, but try to understand the other person’s perspective. I have learned much by listening to concerns that I could not understand at first. There will also be personal attacks. Ignore them. This is not about any individuals or how they feel about each other on a given day. Your objective is much bigger than that. It’s a difficult discussion, so it’s only natural that people will get upset at times. Just try to stay on the path. You will need many people involved, in many different roles.
Us: You’re just beginning a challenging road ahead as a group of alums supporting each other–is there a message you’d like to say to your group?  To others observing you?
SL: Every single person in the group has made a big difference already, whether they actively campaigned or signed their name to the petition. Everyone has a role to play. Right now, the most important thing is for people to report what they know, saw, or heard to Ropes & Gray, the firm conducting the independent investigation. At times, ASIJ alumni have been telling each other to exercise caution in saying what they know. Now that we have third party investigators, this is not the time for caution. Talk to the attorneys in confidence and let them sort out what is actionable or helpful to their findings.
     *     *     *
Contact information for Ropes & Gray is now on the home page at ASIJ’s website.  Despite being hired by the school, they are meant to be a reputable third party.  The Japan Times had also posted:
Readers who have information related to Jack Moyer’s abuse — or abuse committed by other ASIJ employees — can contact Ropes & Gray by phone on 03-6259-3566 (in Japan) or 617-235-4397 (U.S.), or by email viaASIJReportline@ropesgray.com.

As mentioned above, abuse survivors from Portland, Oregon have themselves enlisted the help of separate attorneys for independent investigation of sexual abuse. If you are a victim in the ASIJ case, the telling of your case is free.  Tell both law firms!  Anonymity is respected, but you’ll still have to identify your year and enough information to know that you were indeed a student.  The investigators will decide on which accounts and details to use, so you don’t have to worry about what they need to hear or don’t–just know your case is welcome to be heard as is.

Here are the latest developments in the media about how the ASIJ case has been brought to the investigative stage:

Screen Shot 2014-06-21 at 9.29.13 PM   And news from the Japan Times: Screen Shot 2014-06-21 at 9.34.18 PM

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You can still sign! (Click the image!)

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ASIJ Petition: St. Mary’s International School’s Twin Case of Abuse and Unaccountability

[UPDATE: on May 12, 2014, The Japan Times followed up the ASIJ case with a story on the school’s active alumni and alumnae’s petition to make admin accountable to the sexual abuse cases it has swept under the rug.  SMIS–you’re next!  Happy to say, we blogged it first!  But the more press, the merrier.  Click on picture to read:]

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We, from the St. Mary’s International School community past and present, want to take this opportunity to support the petition that ASIJ alumni, family and former staff have organized.  Many of us are / have been involved in both schools.  Please sign!

http://www.change.org/petitions/asij-board-of-directors-we-are-calling-for-an-independent-third-party-investigation

Share the short link: chn.ge/1iqeH52

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Such action and activism is the exact vigilance we admire!  When we supported a teacher with this blog, she had started out with a petition!  The alumni and alumnae of ASIJ want answers and redress from the admin of the school, which failed to protect them from sexual abuse over many years.  They want to know how many victims had come forward and were ignored.  Who ignored them?  What other bullshit had the admin swept under the rug?  The current admin’s no-further-comment about the sexual abuse cases since the story came out last month shows that they think they have no obligation to the past children who suffered under the school’s care.  What are the alumni supposed to do–continue to uphold the school’s reputation?  This scenario would be unacceptable in any other business: today’s GM CEO, Mary Barra, for example, has had to answer for the deaths due to malfunctions in the cars (now recalled), which were covered up in the years before she took office.  But girlfriend is cleaning up the mess of her predecessors Like a Boss.  Dare we ask for leadership from these admin?

Just a suggestion: ASIJ alumni and family: you need to CC a copy of this petition to the Ministry of Education in Japan, and the UN and the school certification associations–to encourage reaction.

How else can we help?  How can our story help reveal a deeper problem of jurisdictionally-gray-area international schools in Japan?

St. Mary’s community: how many brothers / instructors were sexual abusers?  Our count is four: Lawrence, Paradis, Marcel and Lessard.  We’ve learned, since Headmaster Kagei’s letter, that the school for years was a hunting ground for these predatory headmasters, teachers and VPs.  Who, in the school corporation, covered up these crimes?  How many sexual abuse victims have been paid off by the Archdiocese to keep quiet?

Let’s let the Ministry of Education and the UN know what havoc these potentially criminally unaccountable schools have been doing in Japan.  Let’s share what’s going on, on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.  This blog is: bit.ly/1fOekqp.  Let’s let every new family and new teacher searching for an international school in Japan know exactly what kind of admin they are dealing with before they entrust their career, minds and tuition to them.  [Our family has withdrawn our sons–so our personal advice is to vote with your wallet].

The good reputation of a school is not an abstract legacy to be protected unquestioningly at all costs by all who attended–it should be an ongoing hard-earned privilege by stewards accountable to the people they represent, past and present.  

For six years running, we are proud to have shown up as a top, first page Google search for “St. Mary’s International School” and now for the ASIJ issue.  The site from Canada which blogs about sexual abuse within the Catholic church, has now even topped us with their reports on SMIS, because of us 🙂

Good on you, ASIJ alumni and alumnae.

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Be vigilant: if they are anything like the #$%^&* admin at SMIS, they will keep slipping back into the slime.  Also, ask the right questions.

 

 

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