11/30/11

A Harrowing Story of Survival

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Why I Slept with My Therapist, How One Gay Man Tried to Go Straight

Just how far will a gay man go to be straight? For Brian Anthony Kraemer, that journey included thirteen years of celibacy, daily prayer, extensive reading, participation in an ex-gay ministry, and two exorcisms. He still hadn’t reached his goal when he met a man he believed to be the therapist of his dreams—a married, Christian therapist with an innovative method of healing.

Through what he called “spiritual adoption,” the therapist began a reparenting experiment in which Brian’s therapy included spending time with his therapist in his home and meeting his wife and biological children, as well as other “spiritually adopted” clients. Brian and his therapist shared a bed, showered together, and spent extensive amounts of time holding, cuddling, and caressing.

In his memoir, Why I Slept with My Therapist, How One Gay Man Tried to Go Straight, Brian Anthony Kraemer shares the details of his developing relationship with a Christian male therapist in his attempt to change from homosexual to heterosexual. Though the goal was to go straight, this relationship ultimately led to Brian’s acceptance of himself as a gay man—and the therapist’s loss of his license.

Just before Christmas of 1997, I flew from Southern California, where I worked in a Christian mission agency, to visit my parents five hundred miles north. I originally planned to stay for two weeks, from December 20 through January 3, but after a few days, I knew I could not stay that long. I felt anxious, nervous, and afraid. I had to get back to my own home, my gym, and my routine. I was addicted to my daily trips to swim at a local university pool, where I spent long periods of time in the men’s locker room showering, hoping to see as many naked men as possible.

I watched men come and go in this group shower setting and tried to avoid being too obvious in my sexual interests. My penis, however, often revealed my thoughts, and I had to direct my erection toward the shower wall and pretend nothing unusual was happening. Most men ignored it. Some engaged in friendly conversation without mentioning it. Others revealed interest with eye contact or by moving closer, to a shower head near mine. Still others gave a scowl of disapproval and left. With my eyes, I soaked in these masculine bodies in an eff ort to satiate my longing for any kind of connection with them. … I had not had sex with a man since my conversion to Christianity thirteen years before, in May 1984, at age twenty. I wasn’t about to break my record of celibacy.

Brian Anthony Kraemer holds bachelor’s degrees in psychology, health science, and social science; he is currently working on a master’s degree in psychology. He has taught in elementary schools and served as the president of Parents, Families & Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) in Pasadena and Chico, California. He currently lives in Chico, California, where he performs as a musician and engages in public speaking opportunities, mostly on gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender issues.

This book can be ordered through amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com, and many other book retail outlets.

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11/29/11

Retired Philadelphia cardinal testifies in rape, endangerment case

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A retired Roman Catholic cardinal who suffers from cancer and dementia testified behind closed doors for about three hours Monday as lawyers prepare for a groundbreaking priest abuse trial.

Prosecutors deposed 88-year-old former cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua in case he cannot appear for the March trial of three priests, an ex-teacher and a church administrator. The three priests and the former teacher are charged with raping boys. The administrator is the first Roman Catholic church official charged in the U.S. for his administrative actions.

Bevilacqua’s deposition was set to resume Tuesday at the cardinal’s residence at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary, just outside Philadelphia.

Church lawyers fought to block Bevilacqua’s testimony. However, Common Pleas Judge M. Teresa Sarmina deemed him competent Monday after reviewing his medical records and meeting with him Monday morning, her office said.

The church administrator, Monsignor William Lynn, Bevilacqua’s longtime secretary for clergy, is charged with felony child endangerment and conspiracy. He’s accused of transferring predator priests without warning new parishes.

Defense lawyers argue that Lynn was following orders from Bevilacqua, who led the archdiocese from 1988 to 2003. Lynn, 60, served as secretary for clergy from 1992 to 2004.

More than a dozen prosecutors, defense lawyers, defendants and court staff were on hand for Bevilacqua’s deposition. Given his health problems, it’s unclear how much his testimony helped city prosecutors who had sought it. A gag order prevents the parties from publicly discussing the case.

Less than a decade ago, they had grilled Bevilacqua in his 10 appearances before the grand jury investigating credible complaints filed against 63 priests in the Philadelphia area.

Bevilacqua’s testimony is seen as a key element of the trial, which is set for March 26 and expected to take several months.

Another key pretrial issue is the scope of evidence that will be allowed. Prosecutors want to include Lynn’s handling of a broad swath of child abuse complaints against priests, to try to show a pattern of wrongdoing. Lynn’s lawyers want to limit the evidence to the three priests on trial with him.

They are the Rev. Charles Engelhardt, 64, the Rev. James Brennan, 48, and former priest Edward Avery, 69, along with former teacher Bernard Shero, 48. All of them have denied the charges.

Engelhardt, Avery and Shero are accused of raping the same child, starting when he was a 10-year-old altar boy in northeast Philadelphia, according to the February grand jury report. Brennan is charged with raping a 14-year-old boy from a suburban parish.

Complete Article HERE!

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11/28/11

Church Reform Group Identifies Serious Flaw in Bishops’ Clerical Abuse Report

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A serious flaw exists in the John Jay College report on the causes and context of the Catholic Church’s worldwide sexual abuse scandal, according to the worldwide Church reform group Voice of the Faithful. The report was made public earlier this year, and the VOTF board of trustees recently reached this conclusion after an internal committee studied the report for several months. The committee’s conclusions were released in October.

VOTF trustee Bill Casey of Alexandria, Va., said, “Although John Jay’s causes and context research credibly documents a 60-year pattern of clergy sexual abuse of minors and clerical cover-up, the report’s serious flaw is failing to name and ascribe how much a clerical culture substantially contributed to that abuse by hiding, enabling and minimizing it.”

In a summary of their John Jay study review called “The John Jay Report: Right Context, Wrong Conclusions,” VOTF trustees challenged as a fundamental influence on sexual abuse of children by clergy the John Jay Report’s emphasis on the link between the peak period of abuses (about 1965-1985) and the deviant behavior in society during the 1960s and 1970s: the “blame Woodstock” approach.

“VOTF believes the John Jay report’s overemphasis on this connection distracts from the Catholic Church hierarchy’s persistent denial and enabling of clergy sexual abuse during the entire 60-year period,” said Dan Bartley, VOTF president. He added that such enabling has been seen most recently in Philadelphia, Kansas City and Houston, where bishops failed to report suspected crimes in a timely and complete way even when mandated to do so.

“We concluded from our review,” said VOTF trustee Mark Mulllaney of Wayland, Mass., “that the John Jay Report’s findings clearly show how Catholic Church hierarchy denied or minimized evidence of clergy sexual abuse of minors and mismanaged the Church’s response to the evidence. Their actions resulted in the harmful treatment of victims, their families and the faith communities for which they had pastoral responsibility. That finding from the report deserved more emphasis.”

According to Bartley, VOTF review faulted the John Jay Report most especially for describing but not naming clericalism as a major contributor to the abuse. “We see clericalism,” he said, “as the attitude on the part of the clergy that they are different than, separate from and above others and therefore exempt from rules and consequences that apply to everyone else in society.”

VOTF trustees concluded their John Jay Report review by offering recommendations they said the Catholic Church should adopt to respond to clergy sexual abuse in a believable way for victims and their families, innocent clergy and lay Catholics whose trust in the hierarchy has been deeply damaged.

The recommendations include:

  • fully independent and comprehensive audits in accordance with generally accepted auditing standards;
  • fully independent diocesan review boards and victim assistance offices;
  • specific disciplinary action for bishops who oppose or violate the provisions of their Charter to Protect Children and Young People;
  • official support for reform of statutes of limitation for sexual abuse;
  • listening sessions nationwide to hear lay people’s, as opposed to clergy, reactions to the sexual abuse scandal and expectations for its full resolution; and
  • access by independent investigators to clergy personnel records throughout the U.S., similar to German bishops’ voluntary action in July 2011.

Complete Article HERE!

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