Thursday, June 21, 2018

My Sexual Abuse By A Priest The Beginning: Part One

Part Two of this story can be found by clicking this link

Part One is a misnomer as sexual abuse has a beginning but never has an end. But as in most accounts, all abuse starts with grooming the victim: 

I met with Bishop LaValley in his office at 3:15 on March 8, 2018.

My reason for our meeting was to explain that when I originally reported the sexual abuse at the hand of Fr. Paul Worczak I had only described its physical/sexual aspects. At the time, then Bishop Barbarito and Monsignor Lawler never asked about emotional, mental, or spiritual abuse. I never thought to address it because the focus then was on it's physical or sexual aspects. I feel that these were considered to be more “tangible”. Furthermore, in those early days I do not believe the church really cared what emotional scars I was experiencing throughout my life because of my abuser Worczak.

I started by telling Bishop LaValley about Worczak's introduction as a new priest during a mass at Holy Family Church in February 1970. Worczak spoke about ultra- brite tooth paste and it's sex appeal and other then taboo topics that were sure to shock the adults but catch the attention of the younger parishioners. At the end of mass Worczak was standing at the church entrance doing a meet and greet with parishioners. Instead of wearing the traditional chasuble and stole, he was wearing a full length mink coat. He greeted the adults but asked us younger parishioners to stay. He then made it a point to meet us all one by one. He was very gregarious and charismatic, something we had never seen in a priest before. I was 10 years old at the time.

As time went on, small groups of us were treated to ice cream, and trips to MacDonalds and other similar outings. The grouping of kids always seemed to fluctuate. But I soon realized that he had his favorites and I was among them. He invited us up to his room which was in the newer addition towards the back of the rectory. He had 5 foot column speakers and a huge stereo amp that would blow the windows out. It was there he introduced us to artists like Janis Joplin and T. Rex We were all mesmerized by this new breed of priest. Our church took on a new life as Worczak took control.

Worczak would at times get us to ignore certain kids because they had done “something” to make him mad or violated his trust. And we were all very happy to do his bidding. I would later find out what that “something” was.

Kids were not his only followers There was a core group of adults that “loved” Fr. Paul. Among them: The XXXXX'S, BBBBBB'S, MMMMM'S, MAMAMA'S, BBBBB'S, to name a few. He loved to play tennis and downhill ski and these were the adults that he would socialize with. All of them had children about my age. {On a side note, Mr MMMMM was a long time family court judge and prominent lawyer.} {As I noted in the March 15th 2003 document to the Diocese Of Ogdensburg. It was Mrs. EMMMMM and Mrs MMMM that I was speaking to on April 5th 2002 at a restaurant when Worczaks name came up and Mrs EMMMMM told me that years ago she had told Worczak to stay away from her son. Mrs MMMMM nodded in agreement.}

Worczak would always schedule me and a few others to be “his” altar boys at weekly masses. This would continue through 1970 into 1971. He would include “us” into all sorts of kid friendly social events including the creation of a Coffee House located in the basement of Holy family Church. It had a juke box and all sorts of vending games. This appealed to the older “teen” parishioners.

Worczak could do a perfect impersonation of our Bishop Brzana. He would entertain us with his Bishop swearing and making sexual innuendos. It would have us all laughing hysterically. Warping us. Worczak disliked one of the other priests at the Parish. He would always refer to Fr. Shulkin as “Buckets”. Buckets said this or did that. One day, one of us asked him where the nick name came from. Worczak was happy to tell us...... Buckets because he is full of shit. Worczak had a cohort who was assigned to our parish, his name was Fr. Ray Wertman [now retired]. They both tormented Shulkin, to the point that he left and pursued a career elsewhere.{I phoned Wertman in 2002 to talk to him about Worczak. Wertman stated that he did not remember much from those days as he was drinking heavily. Wertman later stopped drinking and started a substance abuse treatment center CREDO}

In the fall of 1970 going into the winter and spring of 1971, Worczak “hired” me to clean his living quarters on a weekly basis. His quarters were littered with dirty cloths wadded papers etc and money, bills and coins all over the floor. The deal was, any money on the floor was mine. Sometimes I collected as much a $20 a week. {as I look back at my payment, I think I may have been baited}.

I lived on Winthrop St, the same street as Holy Family Church. I used to shoot hoops outside. Worczak would always toot the horn as he drove by in his Mercedes Benz. More often than not, he would pull over to say hi and talk. Sometimes he would say, hop in and lets go get and ice cream or want to go to the movies later....? He was always adamant about me getting permission from my dad first. My dad would always say yes, after all I was going to be in the best of company.

Other than a few other trivial events, this leads up to the description of the sexual abuse I endured from Worczak that is outlined in the March 15th 2003 document to the Diocese Of Ogdensburg. Immediately after my mother went to the rectory [after she found my soiled underware]. I discovered that I was now ostracized from Worczak and the other kids [that were still in his favor]. Never understanding fully, the why? That is, until I grew older.

The gap between this and the second instance lasted approximately until the Fall of 1971, probably late September or early October. During this time, Worczak would go out of his way to shun me. Making a point to take others out to do something fun while excluding me. The others went along with this, because they [used to be we] had done it to other kids so many times. With the mentality of an 11 year old, I was distraught, confused, hurt.... No more toots of the horn as he drove by my house. His car seemed to be always filled to capacity with kids, more so than before when I still “belonged”. This happened several times during the week and more frequently on the weekends. To me, the 11 year old, this was killing me. I never felt so alone in my life. I was an emotional wreck. During this time, my mother moved out of our house and I stayed with my dad. [They would later divorce]

Then one evening in the fall of '71 I was out playing hoops and Worczak drove by. It was dusk and I could see his brake lights as he stopped the car and backed up and stopped in front of my house. Tooted the horn, rolled down the passenger window and waved for me to come see him. I leaned against the passenger door. He greeted me and seemed to be his old self again. We talked for a little bit.... then he said, you are shivering, its cold out, get in [his car]. I did, he started to say that he missed me. I can not remember exactly what he said but the implication was that I had been punished enough and it was time for me to come back to him. I started to shake and cry, he then put his arm around me and drew me close. He whispered into my ear, you know I still love you don't you? It was then he placed his lips on mine and kissed me, then again but this time his tongue entered my mouth. I froze, panicked, I then pulled away from his arm toward the passenger door. When I grabbed the door handle he became very angry and said if you open that door, you will be out of my life forever. His change in mood from comforting to rage scared me and I flung the door open and ran to the house. I could hear the car wheels squeal and the passenger door slam shut as he sped away. I would see him occasionally but I avoided him as much as he avoided me.

Most but not all of this accounting was shared with Bishop LaValley. At the time of our meeting I found it difficult to keep my thoughts in order as the recounting of these events cause me stress and anxiety. I am sharing this documentation with the Bishop via e-mail. There are other topics that I shared with him but I will include them in a separate document.


James Cummings


Unknown said...

Such a brave thing to come out with this. Awful that the Church ,which should have been a place of comfort and solace for you,and a man who was supposed to represent that,betrayed you.I hope you find some measure of peace through your disclosure and that the wrongs are redressed somehow. I am so sorry this happened to you.

Anonymous said...

Abuse is terrible no matter who committed it. Good letter from bishop. Hope it brings some healing. Topic is in news lately because the church is reaching out, not because abuse is current. Abuse present in familes, school, sports, Hollywood, politics, scouting. At least this church has been addressing it.

Anonymous said...

So sorry for what you have endured with Paul. He doesn't earn the respect of being called "Father". I've always believed priests' should be allowed marriage, but then again, when its a sick mind, nothing can change that except for repenting & asking God's forgiveness.

Elizabeth Thompson

Kathy Claflin said...

Jim Having known about this horrific experience (You told me when I was on fb) knew the circumstances, did nothing to stop the shivers on my arms nor the lump in my throat
I am truly sorry that you endured that disgusting behavior You are a respected MAN and a very courageous MAN!!!(have fun at the reunion)

Anonymous said...

James, yesterday, I read your post. I wanted to comment on it, then, but I had all kinds of reasons to remain silent. I woke up, today, ashamed of myself and angry. Between yesterday and today, I realized that the reasons that kept me silent, yesterday, were the same reasons why so many people remained silent for decades while children were abused and the Catholic Church covered it up. The naivete, fear, and silence of everyone enabled the abuse and cover up. It's survivors like you who are exposing the truth, today. Thank you for your courage. I am deeply sorry about what happened to you, and I wish you well-being, peace, and justice in your journey.

Anonymous said...

Jim, I am sorry that this happened to you. Waves of nauseating anger came over me as I began reading this article. I couldn't begin to comprehend the emotional scarring left behind for this individual. Then I saw your name signed at the end. It literally made me want to cry. A form letter, a half ass apology or even monetary compensation isn't enough retribution for the pain that you have had to endure. Just know that you have made a positive impact on others by coming forward and always through your humble acts of kindness. Your humanity has, (probably without knowing it) changed the direction of the lives of those fortunate to know you. My sincere prayers for inner peace, healing and compassion shown by others in your life.

mpultorak said...

Jim ... I am so sorry this happened to you, and it took more than a fair sharevof courage to relate this to Bishop LaValley. You deserve much respect for your strength through all of this.

Mark Pultorak

Anonymous said...

Anonymous June 23 at 12:44 PM wrote, "Topic in news lately because the church is reaching out, not because abuse is current."

I wonder if Anonymous understands why the Diocese of Ogdensburg is reaching out, now, when it has been cold and cruel for decades? It is reaching out, now, because it is threatened by the imminent passage of the Child Victims Act. The Diocese intends to compensate victims at a fraction of what victims could win in suits brought once the Act is passed. Does that sound like "reaching out" or does it sound like the manipulation and exploitation of victims for the purpose of protecting Diocesan assets and the anonymity of offending priests?

Anonymous' assertion that there is no recent or current abuse is altogether incorrect. In the past days, weeks, and months, a number of offending priests across the country have been identified as recent abusers.

Anonymous said...

Why has this taken so long to resolve. I suffered a similar incident overseas from a Catholic priest. He was our sex education instructor. I tried to tell my parents but they didn't believe me.

Anonymous said...

Jimmy, Your a great person and I truly feel sorry for what you went through.
I to the point being Catholic mean nothing to me because there is a large amount of Perversion and BS. GOD is GOD and you don't have to be Catholic to believe. The church double talks itself... I can't stand it anymore... Your mom was my church school teacher

eastlake said...

I am sooo sorry for what you went through with this priest. It angers me that many priests have sexually abused kids in the name of Christianity. The priest who abused you blatantly sinned and used his priesthood to get your trust and your family's trust. I commend you for coming forth. I know firsthand what sexual abuse is and you never "get over it", but I pray that somehow you receive some sort of healing from speaking out. It took courage. God would never condone what this priest did. In no way does this represent Christianity. What the priest did to you does represent Satan though. And those who protect the abuser are just as bad.

Anonymous said...

So sorry for what Mr. Worczac put you through.(I will NOT call him "Father".) He came to my small town church in the 90's, I now wonder how many local boys here endured the same torture. It sickens me also that this man baptized my son. Sending prayers to you. I have said for years that the Catholic Church should allow priests to marry, as I think this awful situation would be much less.

Unknown said...

I knew Paul in the mid to late 70's, during those 3 years he was assigned the village I lived in he was a bitter, nasty, man, full of rage, unfortunately I worked next door to the rectory, if someone stepped on his lawn, or took a shortcut through the church parking he would get violently angry, I have seen him chase someone.