October 10, 2005

Long road to redemption

Miami Herald


``I killed them over and over in my mind many, many, many times.''

That's how Abraham Joseph Thomas Jr. -- Miami husband, father, grandfather, man of God -- once dealt with the two people he says raped him at a Catholic boarding school in Louisiana. Now, after decades of soul-lacerating silence, he is opening his heart and his mouth, going public, taking his accusations to the pulpit, the police, the press. Cleansing his poisoned heart; healing his sick, woeful past.

Thomas says he wants to help others who have been raped, to let them know they're not alone, that there is hope for recovery. After all he's been through, he says, he could have, maybe should have, gone crazy. But, ``I'm still standing.''

His accused rapists, their faces seared deeply into his memory, are dead, and Thomas, at 58 an associate pastor at St. James AME Church in Liberty City, did not report the assaults to police until June, almost a half century after he says they occurred at Holy Rosary Institute in Lafayette, southwest of Baton Rouge. Lafayette police spokesman Mark Francis says that Thomas' complaint is the first his department has received about abuse at the co-ed school, which over the course of eight decades housed thousands of African-American children from elementary grades through high school. It closed, due to faltering enrollment, in 1983.

Posted by kshaw at October 10, 2005 02:16 AM