Friday, October 16, 2009
On November 12, 2003 I sent the following letter to Jack via ASIJ,
It is with deep sorrow and pain that I write this letter that I should have written many, many years ago. It has been approximately 33 years when we first met. I was a young eleven year old seventh grader and you were a teacher whom I looked up to. Not only did I look up to you but you made me feel special and important, especially in my vulnerable stage of moving, again, to a new school and trying to fit in during the awkwardness of adolescence.
After many years of reflection I have come to the understanding that you saw my vulnerable state and my need to be accepted by my peers as an advantage to you. It was this weakness that you used to your benefit to begin sexually abusing me for several years, beginning in 1970. I've often wondered if you even would remember me and the many others who were under your spell. We do remember.
I have put this abuse out of my mind off and on for many years. In 1990, I informally contacted ASIJ and in the year 2000 I formally contacted them. I suppose my letter is the one that caused your total divorce from ASIJ. I was hoping at that point that you had moved on and retired. However, much to my disappointment, I find that this is not true.
It has come to my attention, during the past several months, that you are once again working in Japan and more importantly working with children. It saddens me deeply that you have chosen to continue to work with unsuspecting kids. It also saddens me deeply, that because of the neglect of those in the past to protect me and others, that I have to do whatever is in my power to protect any child who is currently in harms way. This should have been taken care of long ago.
I want you to know that in my heart of hearts, I have forgiven you for the abuse you subjected me to. My faith in God and his provision of his Son on the cross has enabled me to see that you are in deep need of a Savior. My hope is that during this time, God will grab you and you will be able to see this need and fall flat on your face in front of Christ, the only one who can save you.
It is my hope that you will decided to come forward and take responsibility of your past actions. It is vital that you immediately cease working with children. It is also critical that you admit to your pedophilia and seek help. Part of that admission would require contacting all of your former victims to see forgiveness from them. I have recently been in contact with several women who were abused by you. If you would like I will help you contact them.
However, if you choose not to come to terms with this problem, I will proceed as necessary. I have once again been in contact with ASIJ and its administration. I have informed them of my intentions. I have sought legal advice and am proceeding as recommended. I will contact the local authorities along with all those involved with your work. It will be necessary to contact your wife and young children along with your adult son. If necessary, we will begin to contact the American Embassy along with the FBI.
For your own welfare, you need to come forward to seek help. I'm sure there are many organizations that can help you stop sexually abusing children. As I said before, I will help you find help. This letter is dated November 12, 2003. If I have not heard back from by December 13, 2003 I will proceed as stated.
You may contact me through email at email@example.com . Or you may call me at 225-555-5555. I hope and pray that you will do the right thing. I will keep you in my prayers.
With deepest regrets,
Janet Calcote Simmons
As I wrote this letter, between the two of us (Michele and me), we really didn't know what we were asking or expecting from Jack. As I re-read this letter I realize now that maybe asking him to contact all of those he abused wasn't fair to those who he did abuse. Possibly, there were those out there who didn't want to face it or be contacted by him. As in the case of Theo Fluery, it took several years - if not a decade after his abuser was convicted for him to come out and share his experience. But, in our defense, since this topic was rarely discussed, we didn't know what we were doing. In fact, I went to the library trying to find a book that would help me navigate this part of the process and found nothing. The only book I found helpful was a book written by a psychiatrist who studied the behavior of pedophiles. I have reference to that book in my file but I'm not where I can access the file so I'll reference it later.
I also don't know what I was thinking when I wrote that I would get in touch with his children. I assume that during that time, I was grasping at straws, not knowing what I should do or how I could protect them. So when you read this, please keep my frame of mind at the time in your thoughts as well.
As you can imagine, it was really scary waiting to see if we would hear from him. The letter more than likely took about a week to get to ASIJ. Then, once it arrived there, they had to forward it to him, which I imagine that took another week. So we waited from November 12, 2003 until...................
Thursday, October 15, 2009
CALGARY — There are nine people pictured in the front row of the Moose Jaw Warriors' official 1984-85 team photograph, but only eight are named.
Theoren Fleury doesn't need anyone to tell him the identity of the man sandwiched between assistant coach Cam Ftoma and captain Mark MacKay, who is referred to simply as 'coach.'
But he'd sure like to know whether some of the other people in the photograph, from the trainer to the assistant coach, knew the truth about Graham James, the coach Fleury claims sexually molested him from the age of 14.
"I will always ask myself, did our trainer Stan Szumiak know? Or the assistant coach, Cam Ftoma? He says he was shocked when he found out. How about the director of marketing, Bill Harris — did he suspect anything? I dunno," says Fleury in his tell-all book, Playing With Fire.
"One thing I know is that I was a naive 16-year-old kid living away from home, and they were all grown men, and not one of them came to me and said, 'Kid, is there anything you would like to tell me?' "
Ftoma, who now works as a mortgage specialist in Winnipeg, told the Herald he doesn't want to talk about James.
"I just don't want to go down that road again. Theoren and I have discussed it," he said. "Nobody knew other than obviously what was happening back then."
Bill Harris, who now owns a financial services firm in Moose Jaw, is on a business trip overseas and didn't return calls. Szumiak couldn't be reached for comment.
Barry Trapp, the general manager of that 1984 team, decided to force out James when he became suspicious of his coach's relationships with some of his players, a move that made him extremely unpopular in Moose Jaw. James' power and influence was such, said Trapp, that it's entirely possible no one else suspected anything.
"When I was in Moose Jaw I never heard it come up. I was the first one that raised the flag," said Trapp. "If anybody was aware of it in or had suspicions, nobody came to me and told me."
Trapp said although he's happy he voiced concerns about James, he wishes things had worked out differently.
"I sent Theo an e-mail yesterday," said Trapp. "I always had an open-door policy with my players. I wish he'd come to me and we could have nipped it in the bud right there and then.
"Other people probably had suspicions but nobody wanted to come out. (James) could have run for mayor. He was a media darling. He had people just completely fooled."
One of Fleury's teammates that season was Kent Hayes, who didn't question James' conduct at the time.
"Away from the rink, he didn't really have a whole lot to do with the older players. Maybe in hindsight now, 25 years later, obviously there's maybe some reasons why," said Hayes, who came to Moose Jaw as a 19-year-old and today owns a construction business in Calgary.
"Did I think he was maybe a bit of a different character? Well, maybe. When all of the Sheldon Kennedy stuff came out (revelations of sexual abuse at the hands of James) you could say, well yeah, maybe he did hang out in the dressing room more than most. To be honest it was a shock to me, what was going on."
In his book, Fleury also questioned why the league didn't investigate any suspicions surrounding James.
"Dev Dley, who was the commissioner of the Western Hockey League, is quoted as saying that no one filed an official complaint, so the league didn't investigate," wrote Fleury. "Uh-huh. If the league indeed really knew of the suspicions about Moose Jaw, I find it incredible that without an official complaint it would simply turn a blind eye."
Dley, who was appointed to the bench of the British Columbia Provincial Court in Kamloops in 2008, declined to comment.
Moose Jaw Mayor Dale McBain hopes his community can move on from the James scandal.
"A number of years ago there was the Sheldon Kennedy revelation about Graham James. I guess there was a ripple through the community then and I imagine it will be the same thing again with the Fleury revelation," he said.
Sheldon Kennedy was coached by Graham James, a highly respected and nationally famous coach, as a junior-level hockey player in Winnipeg, and then during the late 1980s on the Swift Current Broncos of Canada's Western Hockey League. Between the ages of 14 and 19, Kennedy was sexually abused by James. The abuse went on, twice weekly, between 1984 and 1990.
"Kennedy testified he was first abused when he received permission from his parents to spend the weekend at James' house to discuss his future in hockey." (Knight-Ridder, 1/9/97)
"Kennedy has said that James sexually assaulted him more than 350 times, beginning when Kennedy was 14. He said he was assaulted while playing on several clubs with which James had an affiliation." (Knight-Ridder Newspapers, 1/9/97)
Kennedy said: "The coach is so respected. Your parents send you away and say, 'Do what he says.' At that age, you listen. That's your first step if you want to play pro." (Ottawa Citizen, 1/9/97)
"Kennedy describes his life as a lonely, living hell. He was sexually abused as a teen by Graham James, his coach and "father figure," who controlled his hockey career and his daily life from the time he was 14 to 19. Kennedy found he was unable to make friends. Unable to trust and unable to love. Unable to feel "normal" unless he was drinking. Unable to turn a junior career into a solid National Hockey League career. Suicidal at times because inner turmoil haunted him. "You feel people are looking at you. I put up a shield. I didn't let anybody in. It's a very lonely way to feel. You never feel normal. You know something is wrong but you don't know why it is like that,' Kennedy said." (Calgary Herald, 1/7/97)
A friend of Kennedy's said: "The coach is a godlike figure -- he holds all the cards. I guess in a situation like [Kennedy's] a kid can go home, but that is the end of your hockey career. That is the problem. There is no way to turn." (Washington Post, 1/8/97)
"He was 14 or 15 and James was 31 or 32 when the assaults began. Every Tuesday and Thursday for six years, Kennedy went to James' house. Kennedy said, 'He considered me his wife. There was absolutely nowhere for me to turn. I had no one, nobody.'" (Los Angeles Times, 1/7/97)
"When Kennedy was 15 he told James a lie - that he had been abused by a teacher - in the hopes that James would stop the molestation. 'He didn't even blink an eye,' said Kennedy. 'He kept me with him all the time. It was like we were married. It was unbelievable.'" (Calgary Herald, 1/7/97)
"Kennedy said if James was fired from one team and started coaching another he would 'keep trading for me.'" (Toronto Sun, 5/9/97)
"'You do not have a clue what to do," Kennedy said. "You tell your mom and she makes you come home. You tell your friends and they will just portray you as a gay guy. It is just a very scary thing.'" (Detroit News, 1/7/97)
"Kennedy...said he considered suicide several times." (Tampa Tribune, 1/11/97)
Eventually, Kennedy left the Broncos and began playing for the Calgary Flames, and later the Boston Bruins.
Circa 1995, Kennedy finally told his wife about the abuse. "Many in hockey -- including his Bruins teammates -- knew of his situation but kept quiet at Kennedy's request until he felt comfortable talking about the subject. 'It's difficult to discuss with anybody," Kennedy said. "It was difficult to discuss with my mom, dad, sister and brother. I went 13 years without discussing it with anybody.'" (Knight-Ridder, 1/9/97)
Kennedy came forward on Sept. 3, 1996, taking his complaints of sexual abuse by James to Calgary city police.
In January 1997, Graham James was sentenced to 3 1/2 years in prison for sexually assaulting Kennedy and another unidentified player.
Sheldon Kennedy went public with his story after the sentencing.
"James pleaded guilty to the offences and admitted in a statement read to the court that; 'I offer no excuses. I blame nobody but myself. I was selfish.' But he added: "I am truly sorry that this happened.'" (Calgary Herald, 1/7/97)
James also later recounted, in an interview with the Ottawa Citizen, that he felt surprised and betrayed by Kennedy's coming forward. "Did I expect Sheldon Kennedy to do this? Absolutely not. Sheldon and I were close...He legitimately cared. Not about (the sex), obviously. He cared. He knew I was lonely, and you know, that sort of registered as desperation. He cared enough to put up with limited things...I didn't think, at the time, that this was something that was bothering Sheldon. It wasn't that Sheldon was gay -- he's not gay. It wasn't that he enjoyed it -- he didn't. Maybe I'm just trying to legitimize things myself, but at no time did I think it was a major thing for him." (Ottawa Citizen, 1/8/97)
Kennedy: "I feel like I am 10 months old inside a 27-year-old body. You are learning to live again. You are learning to have friends. You have to learn to love and relax. ... I can't remember the last time I relaxed totally." (Tampa Tribune, 1/7/97)
In 1998, Kennedy enrolled in a substance-abuse program sponsored by the NHL, for continuing drinking and drug problems.
In January 1999, an unidentified hockey player, who also played on the Swift Current Broncos under Graham James, filed a $650,000 lawsuit against 24 individuals and organizations who allegedly knew, or should have known, that James sexually assaulted some of his players, including him. Among the groups sued were the Western Hockey League and its parent group, the Canadian Hockey League, as well as the Swift Current Broncos and the Sasketchewan Amateur Hockey Association. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 1/17/99)
Former Flames star recalls contemplating suicide in his tell-all book
Calgary HeraldOctober 13, 2009Comments (18)
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Theoren Fleury announced his retirement from hockey on Monday, Sept, 28, 2009. His new book, Playing with Fire, tells the story of his life and struggles.Photograph by: Lorraine Hjalte, Calgary HeraldCALGARY - Six years after Graham James was jailed for sexually abusing two young hockey players, former Calgary Flames star Theoren Fleury jammed a loaded gun into his mouth and decided to end his life, according to new revelations in his book, which goes on sale today.
The troubled winger, who claims James molested him from the age of 14, had been suspended by the National Hockey League for violating the substance abuse program and figured he was done with hockey.
In Playing With Fire, the book he co-wrote with local author Kirstie McLellan-Day, Fleury describes how guilt, shame and his addiction to drugs and alcohol brought him to his lowest point.
"I went hard at it for three months. Just mounds of coke and lemon Stoli and strangers who followed me home from strip clubs. I basically stopped eating and sleeping. I wanted to die, but my body was too resilient. Finally, I bought a gun from a pawnshop and decided to blow my brains out. I was 36 years old," writes Fleury.
". . . I grabbed the bullet, loaded the gun and jammed it in my mouth. I don't know--maybe if I'd had it ready and didn't have to take the time to put the bullet in the chamber, I might have gone through with it. But once the barrel was rattling off my teeth and my finger was on the trigger, I'd cooled off just enough to hesitate.
"It's not as if I'd felt this sudden urge to live. I still felt like shit and wished I were dead. I think that's why, after I ran outside and chucked the gun into the desert, I was screaming at the universe like a madman. But it was the easy way out, and I had never taken the easy way out. Besides, killing myself was just too scary."
Fleury returned to the Flames this fall to launch a comeback bid at the age of 41.
Sober for four years and in great shape, the winger didn't make the team and eventually retired as a Flame. But it was the latest chapter in Fleury's roller-coaster life, which took another dramatic turn last week when excerpts of his new book revealed claims he was sexually molested by James, who was convicted in 1997 of assaulting two of his former players.
Other excerpts from the tell-all book, published by HarperCollins, reveal that: - Fleury was just "trying to survive" when he was part of the group that brought James to Calgary to coach the Hitmen of the Western Hockey League. "We were doing what we'd been taught to do in hockey since we were 11, listen to the coach and shut up." - James was devastated when he was fired by the Hitmen. "It was a heavy scene. Graham cried a lot. He told (Hitmen part-owner) Chuck (Matson) he loved hockey and his players. He said the game was all he had in life and he couldn't figure out why people were taking it away from him . . . Believe it or not, there were parents who hated Chuck for that decision. Hated him!" - Fleury believes he is one of many players James assaulted. "I can tell you this: Sheldon and I are not the only ones Graham messed with. I'm quite sure there are others, probably many, who are still not ready to talk." - James called Fleury after Kennedy went public with his story. "I said, 'You know what, man?Don't ever call me again. I'm glad it's finally over. You deserve everything that you are getting. Have fun in jail.' " - Fleury hopes his story will encourage victims of abuse to come forward. "If you are a kid who was in the situation I was in, and somebody older is using you for sex, call for help. You can call the police or you can search kids' help lines on the Internet. Seriously, you are not alone. Pick up the phone."
© Copyright (c) The Calgary Herald
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By George Johnson, Calgary HeraldOctober 13, 2009Comments (40)
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More Images » Theoren Fleury is set to press for charges to be laid against Graham James,CALGARY - Theoren Fleury sounds ready to see this thing through.
In Toronto for the launch the of his candid autobiography "Playing With Fire", the former Calgary Flames’ captain said Wednesday morning that a complaint of sexual abuse against his former junior coach Graham James is in the works.
In the book, Fleury alleges that James, who spent three years in prison after being convicted 11 and a half years ago of molesting two of the teenage Swift Current Broncos players in his charge, including Fleury friend Sheldon Kennedy, also sexually abused him, starting when he was 14 years old.
"We’re looking into it,’’ Fleury said in a telephone interview from the offices of HarperCollins Publishers. "We have a group, a team of people in place, doing just that. We want to make sure we’re protected in this and everything is in order. But I think there’ll be something (to announce) soon.
"We’re going to do what’s best. For me and my family. I think the last four years I’ve shown that I’ve made the right choices. And I’ll do that again. We want people like Graham James off the street, in places where they should be.’’
Fleury was asked if he needed to see James brought to further justice to feel a sense of closure with his painful past.
"No, I don’t think I do.
"But when I decided to write this book, I knew that if that (proceeding with legal action) was part of it, then it’s part of it. I’m ready for it. I’m strong enough now to handle it. I’m at a good place, a safe place, in my life. I’ve stopped playing the victim: ‘Poor me, poor me, poor me. Pour me another one.’
"I’ll just have to lean on the people who’ve been there for me and supported me these last four years.’’
The book is raw, graphic. "Brutal" is Fleury’s word for its honesty. In it, he details his descent into alcoholism, drug and gambling addiction, triggered, he writes, by the same and guilt brought on by James. He’s been sober for four years, re-instated by the NHL as he attempted a failed comeback, at 41, with the Flames this fall.
Does he hope the man he claims responsible for his pain reads the book?
"I don’t care. I don’t care what Graham James thinks. He’s far from me and my family.’’
© Copyright (c) The Calgary Herald
Also, please don't be offended if I suggested that you think I'm weak and victimized by responding to me about healing and all that stuff. I really do appreciate all the feedback I'm getting, the support I'm receiving and the comments I reading. Please keep writing. It really helps me to continue. I received some more information today about Theo Fluery. I will post that in a separate post. It's very interesting. Also, I received several other comments and messages that I believe are worthy to note. I will also respond to those is a separate post. But for now, I shall continue with my story.
On November 1, 2003, the day after I went to see the attorney's, I sent the following email to the ASIJ administrator. Some of the information you will have already read as I repeated it in this letter.
"It has been a week and a half since I have spoken to you. I promised you that I would keep you updated about our endeavors to stop Jack from sexually abusing any more children. This letter by nature will be extensive. You will receive it both by email as well as through the US Postal service. That way there won't be any questions as to whether or not you have received it." (Remember - I had a legitimate reason to be concerned that my letter would not be responded to, so I made sure he knew that it was coming and I had methods to make sure he got it.)
"When we spoke last, I sensed in you a sincere desire in helping us make sure this never happens again. I also am completely aware of your responsibility to protect the school. It is in that vain that I write this letter, hoping that you will encourage those around you to support our efforts to not only protect other children who are presently in contact with him, but also ASIJ students, present and future, from any kind of abuse because of the lack of or ignorance of school policy." (I want to remind you that in 2003 Jack was "running" a program designed for Middle School students in Japan.) "One thing that this kind of circumstance provides is a positive reason to go forward and make children aware of the dangers out there and how to respond to those situations."
"I'm first going to share with you the information I have gathered. You probably have much of it already as the school records would correspond with this information. I might repeat some things that you already have heard or read from me, however, I'd like to have it all in writing in the same place, so please bear with the repetitiveness of this information. In our endeavors thus far, we have contacted no more than 20 people. Of those 20 people we have identified four students who were actual victims of his sexual abuse and several more who either put him off or were eye witnesses to others being molested. The statistics of this are staggering. We have not even tipped the iceberg. As you can tell by our progress, we are talking each step very carefully and methodically. In addition, we have contacted several faculty members who have suspected such activity was going on but had not personally witnessed anything. We are also waiting to hear back from several people we suspect were abused by him.
During 1970-1973, I frequently visited Miyake-jima. I turned 11 in February of 1970. In addition, I worked with Jack at his home in the mornings before school, helping him run his dogs on the golf course. It was during this period that the sexual abuse occurred to me. Beginning in 1973 another student was sexually abused and her abuse lasted until 1975. She was 13 years old when it started. She and I attended Miyake together during Spring Break of 1973. She reminded me of this event, as I thought my last time out to Miyake was in 1972. I did not know at the time that she was being abused by him. She wrote Jack a letter in 1975 telling him to stop abusing her and to stay away from her. She then informed the school through a written letter in 1982 or 1983. She said she thought that Jack was then asked to leave the school. In 1977 another girl was sexually molested by Jack. She was 16. She reported this behavior to her parents who in turn spoke with the school. They were told that the school would handle it. This student was forced to continue to attend a school where a teacher not only molested her but the administration did nothing and her friend and those around her told her that she was making too big of a deal about it. Several people have told us that they were able to ward off any abuse from him but it took much effort. Others speak of his uncomfortable touching and their feelings that they suspected he was up to something but they never knew exactly what. His behavior also was very harsh and emotionally hard for those students who were not the "chosen". He often shunned or ignored students that seemed to get in the way of his agenda. I spoke with one student that remembers being at Miyake with the girl who was abused in 1973-1975. She speaks of his horrible behavior toward her. He treated her unkindly, made her feel unwelcome and even asked her friend. "Why did she have to come along?" in her presence. This person remember being at Miyake alone with just him and two girls. Apparently, her presence made it more difficult for him to have access to the other young girl. The farm at Miyake had three "sleeping" tatami rooms. They were all connected and had only sliding doors to separate the sleeping quarters. When I was there, the boys slept in one side, the girls in the other side and Jack slept in the middle room, supposedly protecting us from each other. He would then select one female to sleep next to him in the middle room. While I attended Miyake I was the "chosen" one. He then waited until the middle of the night to make his visits. One former student who attended Miyake regularly wrote the following:
"Another time, again, early high school, we were all there. Fourteen girls and Jack the pedophile. It was hot, it was summer and Jack slept in the middle and all us (sic) girls had our futons around him. I'm sure none of us slept with blankets. I'm sure all of us had legs, thighs, and God knows what else exposed during those hot summer nights. I woke up in the middle of the night once and sat up deciding whether to go to the bathroom or not. I saw Jack with his had groping up and down one of the girls legs, I don't know whose it was but I think it was XXXXX. I don't know whether she was awake or not, or whether she knew or not. I gasped, he heard the noise and looked in my direction, again with the deer in the headlights look. We didn't exchange a single word. I lay back down and thanked my lucky stars my futon was on the exterior."
This account was not of me but of another student. But I can assure you that she was not asleep. In this same letter she described several girls walking in on Jack and me. It is an explicit eye witness account of his sexual abuse of me. The humiliation that I have experienced as a result of this does not even come close to the serious disappointment I have in the school in their handling of each one of these cases individually as well as corporately. As I have explained previously, in 1990 the ASIJ '70's decade had a reunion in Long Beach, California. Part of the reunion celebrated the favorite faculty member whom we all found to be most influential in our lives. Jack tied with another teacher as the "favorite teacher" of the '70's decade. When I informed the reunion committee about my experience with him I told them that if they announced him as the winner of the award, then I would bring my story out. The problem was that they had already informed both teachers of their nominations. They then had to retract the award from Jack and although I wasn't told about the circumstances I feel certain that the school was informed and involved in this process. (We later found out that the committee shared it with the then headmaster Mr. Downs.)
Again, in 2000 after receiving the solicitation letter from another alumnus, asking for money to help Jack because of the devastation of Miyake due to the volcano erupting, I formally contacted the school via the then present headmaster, Mr. Cooper. He did not respond to my letter causing me to again correspond with him requesting confirmation that my letter arrived in his office and to make sure he had received it. I finally received confirmation that my letter indeed was received and that the board was going to meet after this and determine their next course of action. I was never informed about their actions.
Later on , in 2001, through the '70's yahoo web site, our former headmaster's wife (Vicky Downs) sent out a request asking anyone to recall their memories they had at Miyake for the book The American School in Japan: A History of our First Century. She received several responses from different students and then suddenly her contacts with us stopped. I sent her an email letting her know that I didn't have a problem with her contacting people about Miyake, because I felt that there was a part of Miyake that was good and memorable for many people. Not everyone there had been subjected to his abuse and the program was a wonderful part of ASIJ's history. In my letter to her, I told her that I felt like she had stopped talking with us because of her fear of what might come out because of my previous letter to the school. I told her not to be concerned with me because I had no intention of hurting the school or anyone else. However, I must not have made it clear to her that aggrandizing him in the book would be a horribly cruel thing to do to those of us who have been quietly sitting back living with the pain and distress of our own private memories. She also did not respond to my letter. I am still truly baffled.
Based upon information I have been able to gather, the program on Miyake continued until the eruption of the volcano on July 14, 2000, despite these and possibly more accounts of students reporting to the school about his sexual abuse towards them. Several articles mention his involvement with ASIJ students and one article even states that in the year 2000, it was the 31st consecutive year that middle school students from ASIJ attended the Miyake program. Words can not even describe the horror of knowing that the school continued to support the program of a known pedophile. As more and more information begins to surface my humiliation and insecurity of my experience has diminished. However, my resolve coupled with anger and disgust has made me even more determined.
Most recently, in June of 2003, at the centennial celebration in San Francisco, I was reconnected with Michele Connor, who visited Miyake frequently during her junior high and high school years. Michele holds a very special place in my heart because when no one else could help me, not my parents, not teachers, not any others adults, she was willing to protect me from this sexual predator and because of her, his abuse against me stopped. Unfortunately, for the next person it just started.
The details of all of this are explicit. I have so much more I could share but don't feel it is necessary at this junction. I'd like to press forward to a resolution to this dilemma I feel we both are in.
Michele Connor has some suggestions as to how she feels the school should be involved in this. I also have some ideas and would like to discuss them with you. We have not yet determined the best course of actions with regard to Jack.
As I mentioned in my last letter, I have met with attorney's here to get advice from them how best to proceed in this manner. My sole desire is to make sure there are not any other students sexually abused by him. We may contact the American Embassy. The attorneys suggested the FBI and possibly the local authorities. How we go about getting him away from other children remains to be seem.
ASIJ, up to this point has failed miserably in their responsibility regarding this situation. Several administrations have had multiple opportunities to rise up and do the right thing. Unfortunately, for you and me, they chose to take the cowardly way and ignore it, hoping it would go away. But it was just a matter of time that this would hit. Those responsible for this bear the guilt of other girls who were subjected to his sexual abuse because of their lack of integrity and lack of courage to stop this when they first found out about it.
I realize the implications for the school with regard to all of this. If any students were abused after the school received multiple warnings, the school might be held responsible. If you will now take a proactive approach to this, I believe you will not only protect the school from possible litigation from others, but more importantly you would be doing the righ thing.
We are going forward. I hope you will go forward with us. I will be waiting to hear from you.
So, how does it feel to re-read the story a second time? Doesn't it just amaze you that so much information was relayed to the school and nothing was done? Does it continue to baffle you like it does me? Do you see now how insidious this kind of behavior is? This evidently is common amongst people who don't want to upset the apple cart.
As I posted previously, I have lost a lot of the communications I had because of computer crashes and theft. However, I am waiting to get some more information from Michele that she kept. So, hopefully, I can fill in the gaps. Until then, I will go forward with then information I can remember and the limited correspondence I saved in the dreaded file.
I recall corresponding with ASIJ trying to contact Jack.
They refused to provide his address.
Through several negotiations they agreed to deliver a letter personally addressed to him sent via ASIJ. That is the next communication I have.
My letter to Jack was dated November 13, 2003.
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
I was sharing with him some of the issues I have with telling my story. Some people still see me as the "victim" needing "healing". And as one who experienced this horrible reality, "healing" is definitely a necessary component of it all. However, sometimes words have a way of depicting weakness and vulnerabilities. I feel very far from weak and vulnerable. I feel very strong and convicted. Does it still hurt? Yes. Does it still cause questions? Yes. Do I still have emotions that cause me to cry? Yes. But I'm beyond the phase of "healing" and victimization. Take the words of Theo Fluery as he was hesitant to admit the abuse he faced. As Fleury writes in his book: "I could see how it would play. I would have been stigmatized forever as the kid who was molested by his coach. The victim." He didn't want to admit his abuse because of the stigma it would attach to him. I completely understand.
I know I don't want to have the label of "the victim". The problem is that when you come out and share your story, some people automatically categorize you as "the victim." Now, to be sure, I have met people whose lives have been characterized with "victimhood". I just made up that word - which I do often. But those who suffer from "victimhood" are people who always have an excuse for their circumstances or behavior. They rarely take any kind of responsibility for their actions and always are looking to someone else to blame for their problems. Maybe they have been subjected to a lot of pain, but for some reason, they are unable to get beyond that to a productive and content life. It is possible that their "victimhood" was so bad that they are unable to defend themselves and their problems. I, however, am not there with this, and as a result do not ask for any kind of pity or contempt. I can handle that myself. So, when I ask for support, I'm asking as a friend and confidant, not as a victim. What a horrible label.
My friend asked me if that meant I was no longer TH and H or totally helpless and hopeless. My reply was, "you are jumping ahead to the end of my story but, yes, I am definitely TH and H. I am totally helpless and hopeless. But not in the way most see it. I don't believe in a watered down Christianity that says, "As long as I'm doing good and helping other people, then it really doesn't matter what I or you believe." I believe that God is completely perfect and we, as Man, are not. Thus the need for a substitute. If I can't be perfect then I can't commune with God. But when God provides a way (through Christ) for me to become perfect, then I can commune with him. Not through my own actions but through his sacrifice. I am unable to accomplish his goals. Thus I am Totally Helpless and Hopeless - if not for God. Thanks be to him. Amen.
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
And the signs are unclear
And I don't know the reason why you brought me here
But just because you love me the way that you do
I'm gonna walk through the valley
If you want me to
On Wednesday, October 22, 2003 I received the following response from the ASIJ Administration:
I am deeply troubled by the shocking news in your letter. My first inkling of this matter was from a graduate from the 1970's who visited me on Tuesday, the day before your email. To have received your two separate notices within two days has certainly brought this matter to the center of my radar screen, and I intend to investigate this further. Know that this will receive serious attention from me. My first order of business will be to try to gather existing information about this matter. Since this all predates me, (I have been headmaster for two months), I will need to start from scratch with my investigation.
The fact that you have mentioned the possibility of retaining legal council causes met to measure my words. I would rather not do that, as I would like to help you to attain the healing that you seek. My inclination is to offer compassionate assistance. I would be happy to speak with you by telephone so please call me at school at..............
I don't remember - but evidently I spoke with the new headmaster sometime between October 22, 2003 and November 1, 2003.
On October 31, 2003 I had an appointment with the attorneys. Halloween. I was scared to death. I had never retained any attorney for anything. On my way to my appointment, with the dreaded file, I called my sister. One of the things I remember talking to her about was my fear that if we confronted him, Jack would commit suicide. I didn't want that on my hands. But, I also didn't want on my hands to possibility that other children were being abused by him. I remember driving down Perkins Road in Baton Rouge, arriving at the attorney's office. I went in with my 2 inch file and met with three attorneys for about an hour. After listening to my story, they proceeded to tell me that because of the International nature of the situation, they were unable to help me.
I really didn't know how to proceed.
Cause I'm not who I was
When I took my first step
And I'm clinging to the promise you're not through with me yet
So if all of these trials bring me closer to you
Then I will got through the fire
If you want me to..........................
Here is an article that may interest you.
Fleury faces a difficult journey
By John Mackinnon, Calgary HeraldOctober 10, 2009
StoryPhotos ( 1 )
Theo Fleury has a new book, titled Playing With FirePhotograph by: Calgary Herald, ArchiveInformation is light, Tom Stoppard once wrote, but if you're Theoren Fleury, bringing some facts to light has been a painful, harrowing process.
His admission in an about-to-be-released book that he suffered chronic sexual abuse at the hands of Graham James, his junior coach, comes as long-awaited confirmation of a ghastly, open secret to many people in hockey.
For Fleury, the abuse began when he was an adolescent star, playing for James in Winnipeg in the early 1980s.
Fleury also played under James in Moose Jaw, where he was a teammate of Sheldon Kennedy, another victim of abuse, and James's accuser in an infamous criminal trial at which James pleaded guilty in January 1997.
James was sentenced to 42 months in jail for abusing Kennedy and a second, unnamed player (not Fleury) who both played under James with the Swift Current Broncos, though not at the same time.
So, now Fleury has confirmed James's trail of abuse stretched at least from Winnipeg to Moose Jaw to Swift Current. Now, it is publicly confirmed James had at least three victims, a pattern of abuse that occurred at least throughout the '80s and into the '90s.
Now, knowing what we know about Fleury's well-documented battles with alcohol, drug addiction and other demons, it is possible to at least guess at how excruciatingly difficult it is to bring such a brutal history to light, to talk about being victimized, to publicly share your darkest secrets.
Fleury, keep in mind, refused to talk about these issues when the focus turned on him owing to revelations from that trial back in '97. He referred to this dark period only obliquely in his first biography, published that same year.
The predator counts on the victim's sense of guilt, uses those overpowering feelings of shame to manipulate the ones who are culled from teams precisely because they are vulnerable, in desperate need of direction.
Fleury acknowledges his own family support was problematic in his formative years.
His father was an alcoholic, his mother dependent on medication.
Kennedy, raised by a single mother, had no male role model at home.
Both Kennedy and Fleury, like many Canadian teenage hockey stars, were playing for junior teams hundreds of miles from home.
Any junior coach has God-like power over his teenage charges. In the hands of a predator like James, that power becomes diabolical.
Society and the justice system can be terribly unkind to victims, whether they are abused wives, rape victims or targets of molestation.
As Fleury writes in his book: "I could see how it would play. I would have been stigmatized forever as the kid who was molested by his coach. The victim."
Indeed, when Kennedy accused James, many hockey people dismissed him as a troubled player, a vindictive person, not a credible witness.
Many of those people now live with demons of their own, knowing they could have been more vigilant, knowing that Kennedy, Fleury and others were victimized on their watch.
But many influential people in the game refused to believe that James, who led Swift Current to the Memorial Cup, who had been named coach of the year, was the monster Kennedy claimed.
After all, some reasoned, why would upstanding people like Bret Hart, Joe Sakic (who played for James in Swift Current), and Fleury, as co-owners of the Calgary Hitmen, hire James to be that club's GM and head coach if he was guilty of the crimes Kennedy accused him of?
Which is where Fleury's story becomes even more complicated, more troubling.
It is one thing, given the potential social and professional cost, to want to lock those dirty secrets in a vault and get on with life.
But to be part of a group that hired James and put him in charge of yet another hockey team? That is harder to understand; hard, if not impossible to justify.
It will be interesting to see whether Fleury addresses that in his book.
Kennedy, playing for the NHL's Flames when his victimizer, James, was coaching the Hitmen, chose to open the vault and let the light in and deal with the consequences. Those consequences proved painful, indeed.
"I couldn't handle the fact that I would come out of the locker-room and see Graham with these kids," Kennedy said. "I had to do something."
Fleury, finally, has chosen to do something as well.
It is facile, perhaps, to wonder why Fleury didn't publicly support Kennedy back then, as good teammates are supposed to do.
But there has been nothing easy about the road Fleury has had to take as a result of his unfortunate involvement with Graham James.
© Copyright (c) The Calgary Herald
Monday, October 12, 2009
First thing she said that I thought was interesting was that we don't share the same culture with our children. When I asked her to clarify, she said she was observing a friend of hers who was relating to her children. The woman was born and raised in the USA, as were her children. Her observation reminded her that she never shared the same culture as her parents. Her parents were raised in the states and later moved to Japan with their profession. She reminded me that my parents also were raised in the states and so were my kids. Thus a unique phenomena, being a third culture person, not having the same culture with your parents or your children. This is quite unique.
She also commented that in order for us to feel shame we must be isolated. I thought that was an interesting observation because that was exactly how I felt this weekend. Isolated and alone and yes a lot of shame. Yes, I chose to isolate myself from others, but this is more insidious than that. Isolation for manipulation. The creep I dated in college did that very well.
One thing I realized this weekend was the difference of writing a blog and writing a book. When you are writing a book you are actually just writing for yourself, unless you share it with another person. Until you share it with another, it is still private and you can write things that you know no one else is reading. It almost gives you more license and freedom because you aren't experiencing the emotions that you do when you are writing for the world to see.
When you are writing a blog, you know that when you post it, people are reading it. As a result, for me it makes me a little more tenuous in my writing and careful about what I share.
On the other hand, when you are writing a book you can stop at anytime and no one would know. So, when the going gets tough, you can quit. Where as, at least for me, when I started this blog, I knew I couldn't quit because once I started this ball rolling, I didn't think it would be fair for my readers for me to quit. It also gives me incentive to continue. That's why it would be good if you wish to comment now. That gives me encouragement to continue and encouragement is what I need.
I'm moving into the end of October, ASIJ's response and my communications with Jack. If you want to read more, let me know.
You can friend me on facebook, write me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can comment on my posts. Let me know.
Sunday, October 11, 2009
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
I went all the way down to the bird sanctuary by road - about 2 ½ miles from the house. I then ran through the bird sanctuary on the boardwalk attempting to keep from being bitten by mosquitoes, abducted by the boogie man or grabbed by the infamous troll under the bridge. The bird sanctuary is really beautiful but sort of scary when you are alone.
The boardwalk goes around through the trees and the pond. Many migratory birds land on Dauphin Island on their way to or from where ever they are supposed to go. When I referenced the illegally cut pine tree in our yard in an earlier post, it’s because Dauphin Island is protected (we didn’t know about our own pine trees until we cut some down and received a visit from the town hall rep). Oops. I finally made it to the beach and started walking back on the shore line.
It’s amazing to me that I’m on another island so far away from Miyake recounting my story. Thank God I wasn’t robbed of my enjoyment of the water and coast. Several memories came up while I was on this long trek. As I walked down the beach I passed several people shell hunting, fishing or just enjoying the beauty of nature. The sky was blue sprinkled with white clouds. There was a breeze coming from the north stirring up the waters that were filled with pelicans patiently waiting for their breakfast.
I passed behind a house that was literally in the water. Remembering a time when my husband and kids were down here one weekend. We were walking on this same part of the beach and crossed a boardwalk that some individual had erected going to the water. My youngest son stopped on the boardwalk and proceeded to relieve himself in the ocean. He was probably around 9 years old. My husband and I had walked ahead of the kids so weren’t involved in the following altercation. This lady came out and yelled at my daughter and her then boyfriend to “get your son off of my property or I’m going to call the police.” It was really funny because she was so frustrated that this 9 year old had stood on her boardwalk and peed in the ocean. Threatening to call the police - what was she going to say - “There is a 9 year old peeing off my boardwalk, come and arrest him.” We had fun with that the rest of the walk.
The house in the water reminded me of a song I grew up with about the foolish man building his house upon the sand. The other part of that song is the wise man built his house upon the rock. The Rock is what helped get me through this morning.
I really didn’t realize this would affect me like it has. In fact I'm a little bit shocked. I thought I was well beyond this kind of emotion. I hate the word “healing” so I guess I’ll call it inconceivable grace and profound mercy. If you don’t know what I’m referencing but want to please ask me. It never ceases to amaze me how much God loves me. As I continued down the beach seeing his incredible handiwork, I thought about how although I’ve never seen the face of God - if so I would surely die!! - I continue to see the amazing creation unfolding around me. The shore line was littered with jelly fish every few feet or so. Some were really small, about 2 inches in diameter and one was so big I couldn’t believe it.
The jelly fish reminded me of a time I was at Miyake and we decided to go swimming. We went down to the pier and the water was really rough. Just about the time J ack yelled at us to stop, we jumped in, right into a swarm of Portuguese Man O War. We got out of that water as fast as we could. It is amazing that none of the kids died while at the island. There was all kinds of stuff like that going on.
I’m going to attempt to get to the end of October today and then close out until I get back to Baton Rouge. I could stay here for a week but family and work beckon.
On October 20, 2003 I received an email from another teacher.
My heart wept when I read your letter, forwarded by (the other teacher I had contacted). I had no idea that such sinful, hurtful, abusive behavior was going on. I will ask your permission to go directly to our new headmaster. He is a wonderful person, spiritual and compassionate. I feel he should be aware of the past abuses and he could gather any information you require about Mr. Moyer's involvement with ASIJ and beyond. My prayers will be for you and him. Please let me know if I may proceed and what information you would like to have. I have not spoken to Mr. Moyer for years. He owes me a lot of money, so he doesn’t want to contact me.
Thank you for contacting me. I have been mulling over for several weeks now how I would like to approach the new headmaster. Although I did not meet him at the reunion I heard about his qualifications and his seemingly kind demeanor from a friend. I would prefer to contact him myself and would appreciate any support I can get from you in doing so. I will copy you on my letter to him.
There are many things I have yet to discover and or uncover regarding this entire situation. You may be able to fill in some gaps for me and in addition help me identify other people who are suffering from the life long abuse I have experienced.
I’d like to ask you some specific questions and would appreciate it if you would let me know if that is okay. Knowing how hard it is to think about these things, I do not automatically assume that you would be forthcoming in your memories or facts about certain things.
Please allow me to give you an update on the current situation. This is information that I have garnered since I emailed the other teacher. I have three or possibly more eye witnesses to my sexual abuse by this man. This was something I was unaware of until this past Monday. It was excruciatingly difficult to read the account of his abuse against me observed by others. However, it does provide hard evidence against him and not just my word. I have also received more information about his meanderings concerning Japanese men and his attempt to provide young American girls for some local Japanese business men. I will account that in more detail at a later time.
Back to current time - Sunday, October 11, 2009 - Dauphin Island. I just spoke to my sister and broke down and sobbed. I didn’t realize I still had this much emotion in me about this. Feelings of being completely alone, shame, intense sorrow, and despair don’t even describe what I’m feeling. I’m scared and lonely. Wishing all of this would go away - wishing I never had to experience this - wishing, just wishing for peace. What is peace? Peace to me is the knowledge of being protected from evil - knowing there is something or someone there protecting me.
I’m done for now.
“Police still don’t want to deal with rape cases and prosecutors aren’t keen to go ahead with them because neither think rape is that serious a crime.” Lawyer Yukiko Tsunoda, criticizing Japan’s lax laws on rape
So if I’m reading this correctly, ASIJ knew at least as early as 1977 - possibly before but at least by then. They again received a formal letter in the early 1980’s. And they did nothing? I’m really baffled and confused by this. They allowed the reunion committee to send out “favorite teacher” nominations and didn’t think something might happen with that? Again, at least a third confirmation. But still they let students go to his farm? Then they didn’t attempt to do anything about the request in 2000 until I sent them a formal, registered letter. Then they chose not to communicate with me? Do I sense a pattern here? [Editors note: In 2015 we found out that the school was first informed in 1968.]
So, to answer my previous emailer, NO, I’m not worried about the implication my blog has on the school. How can I? You are right to say that the administration now isn’t the same as it was then. You are right that this could possibly hurt the school - I doubt it will. ASIJ is an excellent school and I wouldn’t hesitate to put my children in it right now. But previous administrations, particularly those in the 1970’s, 1980’s and 1990’s really should have to answer to this.
I found two interesting things in the “dreaded” file . Now, I really know why I labeled it the “dreaded” file.
One is an article from the “Big 6 at the American School in Japan”, dated Winter 2000. “The highlight of seventh grade science is a week -long springtime study trip to the island of Miyake, Japan. The island of Miyake, or Miyake-jima, is located in the Sea of Japan 200 miles south of Tokyo. Twenty-eight students at a time, plus five teachers, experience the natural wonders of Miyake each week until all 110 seventh grade students have had a chance to see Miyake. Miyake is an active volcano and the home of a world renowned marine biology study center (and resident marine biologist-guru, Jack Moyer, listed in the 1999 Marquis’ Who’s Who in the World). Before our student scientists embark on this journey, they conduct several weeks of research throughout the year on the local land forms and sea life, as well as the many colorful birds of the island. This year will be the 31st consecutive year that ASIJ Middle School students have studied the delicate ecosystem on Miyake. “
The next is an excerpt from the book written for and distributed during the centennial celebration in San Fran. Pages 180 and 181. “Meanwhile, Mr. Moyer expanded his program to include even more weekend trips for junior high students and was happy to take along (name of person), who recently emailed, “One of my first weekends in Japan was a trip to a small fishing village with one of Mr. Moyer’s groups. The photographs and memories of that trip remain treasures. I think all those trips that we organized for the students are probably more valuable than most of our class work.” Jack also enlarged a summer program for high school students to live on Miyake Island and teach English. As he was quoted in the Hanabi, “The program gives students a view of typical Japanese life and how Japan looks with a minimum of Western influence.” Then on page 225 - “Relationships between teachers and students seemed to thrive, particularly when the curriculum included off-campus adventures.” Page 226 - “(Name of another teacher) who taught science from 1968-1974, was one of the earliest supporters of what came to be known as Jack Moyer's Miyake Program. This program, arranged for seventh graders, consisted of a week-long stay on Miyake Island to study the flora and fauna of the area and to encounter local people. It made great use of Jack's own property on the island and his long association with the inhabitants there………. One student remembers her seventh grade year clearly: Mr. Moyer was my favorite teacher ever. I liked science because of him. I stuck with science all through high school. In college I thought I’d be a marine biologist until I realized science wasn’t for me. I fell in love with Mr. Moyer's enthusiasm. He was so excited about marine biology. A few of us went to Miyake with him five or six times on weekends, over the next two years. He had us scuba diving and following particular fish. We’d follow them and write down what they did, and which fish they interacted with. Mr. Moyer treated us like adults. “
The book goes on to say on page 227 - “Clearly the school had rich experiences and a fair amount of freedom to offer students. But two concerns continued to cause ASIJ and parents to clamp down rules, even into the seventies. (Editors note: you would think maybe here reference would be made to protecting the students who were being molested by Mr. Moyer. But no, read on.) One was the physical appearance of the student body, which the school felt was bad for business. A group of parents went so far as to discuss the idea of school uniforms with people at the Isetan Department store. Some faculty and staff may remember seeing designs of red and blue outfits, complete with bell bottom slacks for the boys and short skirts and vests for the girls, being trotted out at a PTA meeting.”
I don’t know what the second concern was because it’s on the next page and I don’t have a copy of the book. This book was published after Mrs. Downs (former headmaster Mr. Downs' wife) sent out an email requesting memories to be sent to her. I wrote her and told her that I understood that if she wanted to write about good memories of Miyake to please do so, that I wouldn’t taint any other person’s memories of that, however, she needed to be aware of the other side of the story. The emails stopped circulating and I never heard from her again, until after everything came out in the open in 2003. She wrote me then and asked me to share with her this story I am now sharing with you. I told her that I couldn’t do that. Maybe she’s reading my blog.
I’m going through the emails that started rolling in during the month of October ‘03. As they began coming in, my husband was seeking help from an attorney friend of ours who put me in touch with the attorneys who represented the men who were molested by the priests in the Catholic Church. As many of you may already know, Baton Rouge and Louisiana as a state is predominantly Catholic in faith. The group of attorneys who handled some of the cases of the priests were from Baton Rouge. I scheduled an appointment with them on October 31, 2003.
In the meantime, my oldest sister also began corresponding with different people from her grade. She graduated in 1970. She received a response from several people.
One person who spent some time at Miyake later after high school doing some research replied that he had come on to her so strong that even after she returned to the states he continued calling her. She replied, “I guess there is residual guilt about the fact that I did not do anything pro-active at the time to reveal at least what I suspected about what I had come to believe happened to other, younger girls - so that is why your e-mail spawned so much emotion for me. When I said something to my sister about the fact that he must be about 80 now, she reminded me of a situation that our family knows of that involved a 78 year old man, so age doesn’t’ mean much when it comes to a person like this. What I don’t understand is how no one in some authority - even another teacher at ASIJ - didn’t know what was going on and report it. Or - even more frightening - is that it was known and pushed under the carpet.”
One person who was not one of his direct subjects wrote to Michele. “I do remember that I couldn’t stand the way he touched me. I also remember his anger, but never knew where it came from. Now it all seems to make sense. I remember him getting very angry with one girl, and she was so scared that she asked us to get in the car with her. Jack drove like a madman, and when he confronted her, he said, “What do you want me to do, make love to you?” I remember being very horrified. Also, he told me a story once about a teacher on Miyake who fiddled with a young girl, got caught and in a lot of trouble. I remember thinking that he was talking about himself. Now I know. He also told me how he made love to one girl. I think she was 18. At the age of 12, I thought that was very grown up. Also, felt sick that he had told me. What a sicko.”
“Once he took a group of us to dinner with the owner of the ship company. We had to sit on either side of this shipping tycoon as we spoke Japanese.” She goes on to describe how this shipping tycoon had come on to her and asserted himself on her in the bathroom. She was able to fend him off and went back to sit down, this time with the only boy there. Jack kept insisting that she sit next to the tycoon. On the way back from the dinner she told Jack what happened and he replied, “We had to understand how men were and that they had needs. We were so angry that we made him stop the car and got out.”
“Yes, everyone knew it was going on.”
“We all looked up to Jack, the only adult in the world who made us feel important, who played music for us, who sang to us, who took thousands of picture of us, told jokes and made us laugh, teaching us to dive and to take part in important adult biological research. He taught us fish names and stuff about the ocean. We felt so adult, so knowledgeable. To this day I can name ocean currents other people can’t. Sometimes Jack would confide in me, like an adult, and tell me people were telling nasty rumors about him, and I would always comfort him. I was never sure exactly what he was referring to, but, comforting him seemed to be my job, and I took it seriously. He was, after all, saving my life. Maybe that’s what kept us so quiet.”
“I also remember that when I was in the 7th grade, we would all go hang out in Jack’s office between classes. He told us we had to stop coming as the other teachers were jealous of his relationship with kids. So we didn’t go for a while. One of the girls in our year - a new girl from the US - was very unhappy. We talked to her and found out that she was trying to commit suicide by taking a load of aspirin. We didn’t know what to do and told Jack. He did the appropriate thing by telling the appropriate people, got an ambulance, etc. After that he felt as though he vindicated himself with the other teachers and we were allowed to go back and sit with him again.”
On October 16, 2003 I received this from Michele.
This is going to be a tough email for you to read. I didn’t know whether to send it to you or not, but then it occurred to me that you probably have to be prepared to hear unpleasant stuff. What we are doing is not pretty and this is just the beginning. The good thing about this email, is that, according to the writer, you had at least three witnesses. I think this is very important, and your lawyer will probably think so too. This person is lining up some lawyers for me in Tokyo. Just remember, it may get tougher, but we are all behind you. I feel so awful, I wonder if I was there and this was just another thing I blocked out. I most probably was and most probably did. Michele
Following email to Michele:
Of course I remember you! We spent many a day in Miyake together, how could I ever forget you. I have been brought up to speed about Janet Calcote et al. The Mr. Moyer Pedophilia has finally been brought out into the open and we can talk about it. Times have changed. We were saying how pedophilia wasn’t in the news in our day, we were hardly aware that it existed. And could we put a definition on Mr. Moyer's bizarre behavior? He was our teacher and our friend and we put our trust in him, we would never think in our wildest dreams that he would abuse that trust in such a horrific way.
My memory is hazy but there are certain incidents I recall with such clarity.
Editors note: I can’t write exactly what she wrote in the email because it is too explicit, however, I will attempt to summarize it. (So far, this has been the most difficult thing to re-read and now write.0
Several people walked in on Mr. Moyer putting ointment on me for a rash I had. Very embarrassing. I don’t remember them walking in - can’t imagine why. She goes on the write, “When we burst in the door, he had this look on his face, one of surprise, guilt and oops I-got-my-hand-caught-in-the-cookie-jar look. We all sputtered, what are you doing? We were in shock! He got angry and told us to leave and shut the door. We wanted to believe him, we needed to believe him and yet what a strange thing to do. Another time, again, early high school, we were all there, 14 girls and Mr. Moyer the Pedophile. It was hot, it was summer and Mr. Moyer slept in the middle and all us girls had our futons around him. I’m sure none of us slept with blankets. I’m sure all of us had legs, thighs and God knows what else exposed during those hot summer nights. I woke up in the middle of the night once and sat up, deciding whether to go to the bathroom or not. I saw Mr. Moyer with his hand groping up and down one of the girls legs. I don’t know whose it was. I don’t know whether she was awake or not, or whether she knew or not. I gasped, he heard the noise and looked in my direction, again, with the deer-in-the-headlights look. We didn’t exchange a single word. I lay back down and thanked my lucky stars my futon was on the exterior. At that age, we didn’t have the maturity to handle the situation, the reality, or the emotion. I’m sure if I think further I can think of more. But like the rest of us, I’m sure we all have tried to bury or suppress the visuals after all these years. Just too gross."