July 25, 2005

Boys Town haunts men

The Press-Enterprise

11:34 PM PDT on Sunday, July 24, 2005

By MICHAEL FISHER / The Press-Enterprise

David wrestles with memories of reverence and revulsion, love and loathing when he discusses the Catholic clergymen who mentored him and those he claims repeatedly molested him nearly 40 years ago.

Now in his 50s, the Riverside man fondly remembers the priests at Boys Town of the Desert in Banning whose compassion and guidance still resonate with him decades later. But he bristles at the thought of two religious brothers he says molested him during the two years he spent confined at the residential-care facility for troubled and wayward boys.

"I remember laying in bed at night with my blankets pulled up to my neck, waiting for Brother Thomas to come in. I mean, where do you run when he's in charge of you?" said David, who asked that his last name not be used. "I was 11 years old. I was molested by the people that were supposed to be looking out for my safety."

Amid the wave of litigation accusing Catholic leaders nationwide of shielding sexually-abusive clergy, David is among five men suing the San Diego Diocese, claiming they were molested during the 1960s by staff at the Boys Town in Banning. The now-demolished school was modeled after the storied Nebraska institution made famous in the 1938 Spencer Tracy film.

Posted by kshaw at July 25, 2005 05:39 AM