Forensic
 
Report of
AQUINAS WALTER RICHARD SIPE, M.S.
In the Case of
SHEEHAN V. OBLATES OF ST. FRANCIS DE SALES, ET AL.

I Academic and Professional Background

1. My name is Aquinas Walter Richard Sipe.  I am currently involved in full-time research, writing and consultation about the sexual behaviors and practices of Roman Catholic clergy in the United States.

2. I attended Roman Catholic parish grade school, Catholic high school, college and seminaries in Minnesota and Rome, Italy.  I entered a Benedictine Monastery, St. John’s Abbey in Collegeville, Minnesota, in July 1952.  I was ordained as a priest in 1959.

3. From the time I was ordained until 1964, I was appointed a teacher and counselor at St. Boniface High School in Cold Spring, Minnesota and I ministered on weekends at various parishes in the states of Minnesota and North Dakota.

4. During the summers, I took courses towards a degree in counseling, first at St. Cloud State College (University of Minnesota at St. Cloud), and at the College of St. Thomas (St. Thomas University) in St. Paul, Minnesota.  I attended theological renewal at Lincoln College, Oxford University during the summer of 1992.

5. My superior directed that I pursue training specifically to deal with the mental health problems of priests and religious.  I received a grant sponsored by the National Institute Of Mental Health and the Danforth Foundation to train in counseling at the Menninger Foundation in Topeka, Kansas (1964-5).  Subsequent to that training, I received a two-year grant from the Seton Psychiatric Institute, a psychiatric training hospital in Baltimore, Maryland and received their Certificate as a Resident in Counseling of Religious (1965-7).  I was retained on the staff of the hospital until January of 1971, when I resigned.  During my five years at the hospital, my responsibilities included attending the daily admission/discharge conferences on all patients and I was frequently consulted on clergy sent to the hospital.  During this time, Fr. Francis Norris, OSFS, the alleged perpetrator in this case, was admitted to the hospital (March 27, 1967).  I had no special responsibility regarding him and have no specific memories of him.  All of the hospital records have since been destroyed. I was privileged to review many of past files and hospital records of priests. I preserved the anonymity and identity of all of these patients, recording only the behaviors that were necessary for my research.

6. Seton Psychiatric Institute was formerly known as the Mount Hope Retreat and served as the first state mental hospital in Maryland. It was a Roman Catholic institution administered by the Daughters of Charity. They founded it in 1845 on a land grant from the State. It was well known between 1930 and 72, as one of the primary places to evaluate, care for and confine or treat clergy and nuns with mental health and behavior problems.[1]  Priest-psychiatrist Thomas Verner Moore treated religious patients, including those who had sexual difficulties with minors, and consulted and trained therapists there from 1923 until 1947.[2]

7. Two of my main mentors on the Seton staff, Dr. Leo H. Bartemeier and Dr. Walter O. Jahrreiss; both were students and colleagues of Fr. Moore and shared with me case histories of priest-patients from 1930 onward; some were involved sexually with minors and hospitalized.  These histories formed bedrock for my ethnographic studies because they provided me with data and insight into the celibate/sexual dynamic of the American Catholic clergy culture that formerly was assumed to be predominantly sexually abstinent.

8. After my training, the hospital hired me to serve as the Director of Family Services.  I remained there in that position from 1967 until January 1971.  Concurrent with my time at Seton, I was appointed Personnel Director of St. John’s Abbey, a community of 360 men.  I also served from 1967 to 1969 as the Executive Director of St. John’s University Institute for Mental Health, a summer program involving psychiatrists, psychologists and clergymen.  Over 120 clergymen from nine countries and 60 psychoanalysts and psychiatrists participated in these programs.

9. In 1970, I applied for and was granted a dispensation from my vows as a Monk and priest and subsequently I married in a Roman Catholic ceremony.  I remain a member in good standing of the Roman Catholic Church.

10. From 1967 until 1996, I was involved in teaching in major Roman Catholic Seminaries and other Universities.  I was appointed Assistant Profession of Pastoral Counseling at St. John’s University School of Theology and served in that position from 1967 until 1970.  I lectured there occasionally from 1970 until 1996.  I served as Lecturer at the Jesuit Seminary Woodstock in Maryland, as Adjunct Associate Professor of Psychology at Loyola College in Baltimore, as Adjunct Professor of Pastoral Counseling at St. Mary’s Pontifical Seminary and University in Baltimore, and as Instructor in Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in the Department of Psychiatry where I was attached to the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychology.  I held this last position for 25 years.

11. I was involved in these activities and the private practice of counseling and psychotherapy until 1997 when I retired from clinical and teaching obligations.

12. I kept my education current with the demands of my profession. In 1980, I received a Master of Science in Counseling from Loyola College in Baltimore, Maryland.  I passed the National Board Examination for the National Academy of Certified Clinical Mental Health Counseling.  I was the first person to be certified by the Maryland State Board of Medical Examiners as a Psychiatrist Assistant. I passed the Board examination as a National Certified Counselor.  For the duration of my clinical practice and teaching, I maintained the required Continuing Education Credits.

13. During more than 40 years as a counselor/psychotherapist, teacher and priest, I have consulted with or treated over 3,000 clients.  Half of these individuals reported being sexually abused as a minor, most within family circumstances.  One third of that population, approximately 500 people, alleged that a Roman Catholic priest or religious sexually abused them.

14. During my career, I have been involved in a consultation, evaluation or a counseling relationship with over 400 priests.  By 1985, 69 of these priests reported being sexually involved with a minor at least once, and another 60 admitted to periodic or passing sexual attraction or contact with a minor.[3]  I have reviewed the case histories of 1,700 Roman Catholic priests and religious, including some who have abused minors and vulnerable adults.  In the course of my work since 1988, I have reviewed written complaints, histories or reports of over 2000 adults; most alleged a sexual relationship with a priest or religious, many when they were minors.

15. I conducted a 25-year ethnographic study (1960-1985) of the celibate/sexual patterns, practices and processes of Roman Catholic clergy in the United States.  The results of this study were public in 1990 under the title A Secret World: Sexuality and the Search for Celibacy.[4]  I have authored seven books on the subject, including Sex, Priests and Power: the Anatomy of a Crisis (1995) and Sex, Priests and Secret Codes: the Catholic Church’s 2000 Year Paper Trail of Sexual Abuse (2006) with Fr. Thomas Doyle, J.C.D. and Patrick Wall, LL.M.

16. I have served as a consultant and/or expert witness in over 200 cases of sexual abuse by Roman Catholic clergy in the United States and Canada, usually on behalf of plaintiffs.  I have been an expert trial witness in the states of Arkansas, California, Minnesota, and Vermont.  I have also served as an expert witness for the defendant at the sentencing hearing of a priest in the Federal Court in Des Moines, Iowa.

17. I have been a consultant to the District Attorney’s Office’s Department of Criminal Investigation of Child Abuse for Orange County and Los Angeles, California.  Deputy District Attorneys for Ventura County and San Francisco attended the latter presentations. The Deputy Attorney General for the State of California hired me to be an expert in criminal trials of priests who had allegedly abused minors. The District Attorney of Maricopa County, Arizona hired me to serve as an expert in a criminal case of a priest in that jurisdiction.  I am currently serving as a consultant to the Phoenix, Arizona Federal Public Defender’s Office and the Capital Habeas Investigator of that office.  

18. I served as a consultant to the staff of the Attorney General of Massachusetts in their preparation for the Grand Jury investigating the sexual abuse of children in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston in 2002.  I served as consultant to and witness before the Philadelphia Grand Jury investigating sexual abuse and malfeasance of priests and administration in that Archdiocese.  The National Review Board for the Protection of Children and Young People established by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops interviewed me in 2003 in conjunction with an investigation that is recorded in A Report on the Crisis in the Catholic Church in the United States. (February 27, 2004).

19. I was an expert witness and deposed in two cases of alleged sexual abuse by members of the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales.[5]

20. A complete and accurate copy of my C.V. is attached. 

II Documents Reviewed to Form My Opinion In This Case 

21: In preparation of this report, I have reviewed the following documents:

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The Amended Complaint filed in this matter;

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The transcript of the deposition of Plaintiff Jimmy Sheehan;

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The deposition of Fr. Daniel Gambet;

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All of the documents produced to date by the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales including correspondence relating to his military discharge for “emotional disability” and experience in the novitiate of another religious community (Vincentians), and from Seton Psychiatric Institute (1967) and medical report (1973) St. John Vianney (1980) and other correspondences. 

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A 21st Century System for Evaluating Veterans for Disability Benefits, McGeary, Ford, McCutchen, Barnes, Edts. Prepublication, Uncorrected Proof, 2001.

III Treatment Centers Established for Distinct Purposes

22. Alcohol treatment centers established exclusively to treat clergy were functioning as early as 1956 (Guest House).  The directors of these centers soon became aware that sexual problems, including pedophilia/ephebophillia, were not manageable in their facilities and as a result do not currently admit priests so afflicted to their institutions.

23. Already in 1960 members of the community urged that Norris be sent to Seton for treatment. Father Norris’ troubles began before his hospitalization at Seton in 1967, according to a 1965 letter to his Superior, and seem to have exceed drinking alcohol; he refers to “the wrong I did” that makes him “sick” and expresses the hope that it “will not be held against me and follow me wherever I go.” (OBL-0097.)

IV Opinions

24.  Seton Hospital is a general psychiatric hospital  and was never a center for the care of alcoholism as a primary diagnosis. Although drinking was a consistent problem for Father Norris, it was not his major impairment. Emotional difficulty was and remained his chronic impairment.  His behavior became problematic when he was drinking according to medical records.  The discharge summary from his 1973 hospitalization said, “He has never previously been hospitalized for his alcoholism.” (OBL-011.)  Thus, any hospitalizations prior to 1973, including his time at Seton in 1967 and the recommendation for treatment at Seton in 1960 were not for alcoholism.

25. The Oblates were well informed about the problems of homosexual behavior by priests.

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The Oblates established and ran the Missionhurst Retreat Center in Arlington, Virginia which was described as “the site of a spiritual and psychiatric ministry conducted by the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales for priests and male religious who experience adverse homosexuality.”

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The Oblates have been aware of community members who were sexually active with minors, mostly boys.

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Fr. John Harvey, OSFS, has been active for years in dealing with homosexual priests in his own Order and others and is respected by Roman Catholic bishops as an expert on the subject of  homosexuality. He published a book on this topic in 1987.

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The Oblates had a pattern of reassigning priests to teaching positions even after allegations of abuse had been made.

26. The Oblates had to know of Norris’ sexual proclivities and personality problems during his novitiate training because of the required manifestation of conscience.  Records from his training period are missing from the file, as are records from the time he spent in Wilmington, Delaware from 1961 until 1965.  This was the time period during which Mr.Sheehan was abused by Norris.

27. My opinion is given within a reasonable degree of professional certainty.

REVIEWED NOVEMBER 15, 2009

[1] Walter O. Jayrreiss, History of Mount Hope Retreat: The Growth of a Mental Hospital in Maryland. 1840-1940. Baltimore: Thomsen-Ellis-Hutton Co.

[2] Thomas Verner Moore: Psychiatrist, Educator and Monk.  Benedict Neenan, O.S.B.,

Paulist Press, New York: 2000.  Moore was especially interested in the welfare of children and the mental health of priests.  He worked during the 1920s and 1930s to get the Catholic University of America to establish a hospital for clergy on the university grounds; the idea never matured beyond the planning stages.

[3] According to the Diagnostic ad Statistical Manual of  Mental Disorders (DSM IV) some of these priests could qualify for a diagnosis of pedophilia or ephebophilia, but they did not show predatory signs of behavior.

[4] That study concluded six percent (6%) of priests involved themselves sexually with minors. A survey of church documents conducted by the John-Jay School of Criminal Justice at the request of the U.S. bishops recorded that six and one-half percent (6 %) of priests ordained between 1960 and 1984 were reported to have abused minors.

[5] Fr. James F. Rapp, OSFS, a member of the Toldeo-Detroit Province, was convicted in Oklahoma of sexually abusing two minor boys and sentenced to 40 years in prison where he is currently living.  There were allegations of abuse of minor boys in Utah and later at Judge Memorial Catholic High School in Michigan before Rapp was assigned to a parish in Duncan, Oklahoma.  Also, Fr. Robert M. Rutlege, OSFS, a member of the Wilmington-Philadelphia Province and a teacher at Bishop Ireton High School from 1994-1996 was alleged to have engaged in sexual misbehavior by a student.  According to my record, the claim was settled and Rutledge is currently “in residence” at St. John Nuemann Catholic Community in Reston, Virginia.  I am also aware that between seven and nine other alleged Oblate sexual abusers reside at a retirement home in Childs, Maryland.

 

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