During this time - not sure of the exact date - I sent out a letter to people I knew and asked them to forward it. This was in the late summer or early fall of 2003. The letter is included below. Around the same time, Michele sent out her own, but similar letter.
This letter began circulating via email:
As I fondly look over each yearbook from my past junior high and high school years in Japan, I search hungrily to see a life of joyous memories. I see faces reminding me of people who brought laughter and excitement. Only now, knowing that those same faces were going through pains and suffering I could not comprehend being just a child.
This summer, as I attended the centennial celebration of the american school I went to in Japan, my hopes were to recapture many of the lost times I had there. I wanted to relive my time as a child. I wanted to recall fond memories I had during that time of my life. Life was hard enough, growing up in a foreign country, not knowing what country or culture I belonged to, much less having to go through the normal stages of growth, adolescence, rebellion, etc. My desires of reconnecting were met to a certain degree, but not as much as I had hoped. Those who suffer through the sexual abuse in the hands of a trusted teacher, as I did, rarely are able to capture the splendor and joyous memories of those times.
I still look at my yearbooks, hoping to find some kind of understanding of who I am and why I was subjected to such molestation. I read things that bring back memories of fun and joy and childish behavior. Many mentions of the “nunies” running through the golf course after the musical bring back such wonderful memories of folly; ones that I haven’t even thought of until now. If you weren’t one of us, you won’t understand. I also remember, painfully, being labeled “TH and H” during my 7th grade year. The acronym stands for “totally helpless and hopeless”. Which, a child being molested by a “loving and caring” teacher, understandable would be labeled.
Thus the purpose of this letter. 30 years ago for 3 years I was subject to the sexual abuse of a teacher who provided “nurture and care” to students from an American school located in Tokyo, Japan. For much of the year he lived on a farm on an island off the Tokyo Bay. This teacher used his influence and charisma to persuade parents to allow their young, vulnerable female children to attend his “educational” farm, all the while, using this as bait to lure young girls into his den of molestation. I was one of those young girls. From the time I was eleven until I was fourteen, I was subjected to sexual abuse by this teacher. The molestation was not limited to his farm on this island but also extended to his local home near the school.
In June of 1990 we had a small reunion for the classes of the era of the 1970’s. One of the things we were celebrating was the memories of teachers and their roles in our lives. This teacher was nominated as one of the “favorite” teachers of this decade. I quietly but firmly voiced my concern to the reunion committee and they withdrew his name from the nominations. I believe that the school was privy to this information. To my knowledge, nothing was done to distance or divorce the school from this teacher at that time. Subsequently, in the year 2000, in the privacy of my home, I received an email soliciting funds for this teacher due to a disaster that occurred on this island and his home. My initial response was to request a withdrawal of the correspondence from the originator of this email. When my request was denied I decided to contact the school.
In the fall of 2000, I wrote a letter to the headmaster of this school describing the history of my abuse by this teacher. I requested that the school get involved in stopping this correspondence requesting funds from the alumni and I also requested that the school take every measure to divorce itself from this man. After sending the letter I did not receive notice from the school. I contacted the headmaster once again and he acknowledged receiving the letter. That was the last written or verbal correspondence I received from the school regarding this issue.
This summer, when I attended the centennial celebration of this school on the West Coast, I was once again subjected to the classic, “head in sand syndrome”. A book, written about the history of the school, praised this teacher and regarded him as a wonderful asset to this school’s history. For those who experienced his “under the cover methods”, I seriously doubt they would consider him praise worthy but as a man who was much more than just a tainted memory.
Up until July of 2003, I was under the impression that this former teacher was retired and living with his family in the Philippines. However, since the reunion, I have been made aware that this man is still working with children. He had developed another “educational program” designed for children. Adults need not apply. “Some adults will also be considered for inclusion.” Quote from his web site.
As a result of this new information, I have decided that to sit idly by waiting for the next young girl to be molested by this man would make me as guilty as he. If only someone would have stopped him before I was subjected to three years of his sexual abuse, then surely I wouldn’t be writing this letter. My purpose is twofold: 1) to do whatever is in my power to make sure no other child will be subjected to his molestation by stopping his work with children 2) To connect with others that have been subjected to his molestation and to continue the road to healing.
If you or someone you know has been subjected to his abuse in any form, and you would like to make sure no one else has to live with this horrible tragedy, please let me know by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org . I will do my best to keep this information confidential and will not use it in anyway without permission of the person who sent it. I have been keeping it quiet for 30 years, it will not be difficult to do it longer.
However, more and more people are exposing this man for who he is. I have connected with several people who have suffered under the abuse of this man and I believe the list will grow. If you would like to join with us in this process I thank you. If you were molested by this man but are not in a place where you feel secure enough to share with others, please do not feel guilty or sorry about it. Your time will come when you can heal through this and my prayer is that you will not do it alone.
My strength during this time has come from family members who have supported me throughout my entire life, but mostly from a loving heavenly Father who loves me more than anyone else could. Without the nurture and care of God, I would have surely died.
Your friend and classmate,
Janet Calcote Simmons