February 07, 2006

Family faces painful past



February 7, 2006

Former New York City police Officer Dick Regan was recuperating from surgery at his upstate home last April when he came across a news story about the sale of a Water Mill estate that once was a retirement home for Dominican nuns.

Within minutes, he was on the Web site of the Realtor who handled the sale, viewing pictures that brought back horrific scenes from his childhood.

A building in one photo triggered memories of the bedroom with the dark, leather couch where he says a Catholic priest molested him when he was 8 years old. "He would come sit on the couch, fondle me, kiss me on the stomach," said Regan, now 62.

Another picture showed the chapel where Regan said the same priest would prop him in a wooden pew just moments after abusing him, then ascend the altar to say Mass.

He thought back to overnight trips with the priest, when he and a sister were molested in the priest's bedroom, he said. And he thought of another sister who had been abused in separate incidents and who, like Dick, had kept it a secret from the rest of their siblings.

Over the following weeks, on the advice of an advocate for victims of priest abuse, Regan shared his traumatic story with the rest of his siblings, seeking their support and understanding.

It was only then that the enormity of what had happened to the Regans became clear: Five of the family's eight children said they had been sexually abused by the Rev. Daniel Babis, a trusted friend who had been welcomed into the Regans' Howard Beach home for much of the 1950s and '60s.

Posted by kshaw at February 7, 2006 09:29 AM