Sunday, October 11, 2009

Day thirty-four - Contact with ASIJ

So, we get to the current or then current administration in 2003. I sent an email (since now it was the more common form of communication) to the then current headmaster, Tim Carr. My email was as follows.

Your “Second Century Campaign” letter arrived in my home yesterday. As I read the letter, it was obvious that you were able to capture the feelings of camaraderie and oneness we all feel toward our ASIJ heritage while attending the centennial celebration in San Francisco. You were able to see that we do have a unique bond that most never experience. It is because of this that makes this letter so difficult to write.

As the San Francisco reunion coordinator for the class of ‘76, I was responsible for encouraging and making sure as many of my classmates as possible could attend the celebration. It was my hope that I, as well as others, would be able to come together and recapture the lost times of joy and childhood memories that we have only been able to conjure up in our thought and dreams. For me the memories are often painful and sad and I was hoping to be able to experience the memories of childhood wonder and joy.

The class of ‘76 began our celebration prior to the reunion by gathering on Friday afternoon at a local Irish pub in San Francisco. When I got there, most of my classmates had already arrived and as I walked into the group the air was full of excitement and a mysterious current riveted through the invisible space as we came together and reconnected for the first time in 20 plus years. Your use of the word “electricity” was very descriptive of the entire weekend and there was a positive force traveling constantly through-out the reunion. To be able to recreate that would be impossible. My hopes of returning to my past and reliving the fun and unusual past in which we partook were somewhat answered and my dreams of remembering positive times partially came true.

As I progressed to the reunion at the Radisson, I was soon returned to reality when I ran into Michele Connor. Michele was the only person I knew who I could connect with regarding my experience of being sexually abused by a former ASIJ teacher. She had been my protector when there was nobody else around. It all began in 7th grade.

(I then copied the letter we sent out. See post Day Thirty-one - There are no short cures to healing.)

Through-out the last several months I have corresponded with Michele Connor and several other alumni and former/current teachers. This week I received  correspondence from a former classmate describing an incident that she and two or more other students witnessed regarding me and this teacher. It was most difficult to read and imagine but it provides solid evidence of my abuse and not just my word. In addition, I have received correspondence from other students remembering other incidences in which he violated young girls by encouraging them (us) to satisfy the sexual needs of local Japanese business men. I am in the process of extending my contact to girls who were younger than me and possibly more violated than even me.

I hesitate to contact the school again for several reasons. First, my initial contacts brought forth no fruit. It’s not easy to continue to be discouraged and unsupported regarding this horror. Second, I really wanted to let this rest and die and I didn’t feel it was necessary to drudge up old memories. However, once I found out he was still working with children, I felt it was my moral obligation to make sure no other young girls suffer under this manipulator's abuse.

I have contacted an attorney and have an appointment on October 31st. He is one of the attorney’s that worked with the victims of the priests of the Catholic Church. Michele Connor has been in contact with an ASIJ alumnus who lives in Tokyo and was privy to this behavior who is contacting a local attorney to see what our options are there. Michele may travel to Tokyo in the near future.

After hearing about you and your reputation from my good friend I hesitated to get you involved. However, this has started to escalate and the domino effect has taken place. I believe it would be prudent for you to have as much information you can regarding this issue. At this point I don’t know how we will proceed.

I will keep you informed as to our intentions. Please, please at least acknowledge receipt of this email. I plan on keeping an open line of communications with you if you will also extend the same courtesy.

I have attached a picture of me and my family. I have found that sometimes visual connections tend to help us to relate to each other on a more personal level.

With deep regrets,

Janet Calcote Simmons ‘76

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