Imagine being a devout Catholic woman who was sexually abused as a child, and who is now married and raising nine children of her own. Understandably, this woman was struggling with depression and having difficulties in her marriage. So volunteering at a church retreat with her husband seemed like a good way to celebrate their wedding anniversary while she re-charged her spiritual and emotional batteries, right? Wrong.
As reported by Kevin Koeninger from the Courthouse News Service, the anonymous woman and her husband filed a lawsuit last week against the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, the Order of St. Paul the First Hermit, the National Shrine of Our Lady of Czestochowa, and Father Marek Lacki, in the Philadelphia County Court in Bucks County, PA. The couple had met Father Lacki during the retreat at the shrine. He quickly gained their trust and then offered one-on-one spiritual counseling to the wife. When she met with him alone, Lacki allegedly sexually assaulted the woman, then smeared her face with her own menstrual blood.
When the detectives attempted to question Lacki about the rape, he claimed the matter was confidential and “under seal of confession.” For some bizarre reason (like people thinking religious figures would never do something like that, and getting raped must somehow be the woman’s fault?), the Bucks County Attorney General’s Office accepted this ridiculous explanation and did not pursue the case any further. Before the couple could make their next move, the Catholic Church apparently protected yet ANOTHER one of their possible rapists by spiriting Lacki away to his native Poland — beyond the reach of U.S. law.
The legal document (as quoted from Courthouse News Service) tells the whole story (in order to preserve the couple’s privacy, the woman is referred to only as “Jane Doe.”):
Defendant Lacki met with plaintiffs at Our Lady of Czestochowa to celebrate their wedding anniversary. Defendant Lacki encouraged plaintiffs to drink alcohol with him and to discuss any marital difficulties they were having. He was very charming and encouraged them to be open with him.
Plaintiffs trusted defendant Lacki to act in their best interests and shared their marital challenges with defendant Lacki, who was particularly interested in learning about their sex life.
Normally, such an avid interest in their sex life would likely have creeped out the soon-to-be plaintiffs. But the context probably made them feel safe and could let their guard down a little. Plus, sociopaths can be extremely charming when they want to be.
Plaintiff Jane Doe was a victim of child sex abuse and told Lacki about the abuse she suffered. He also encouraged her to talk about her feelings of depression and difficulties dealing with sex after having given birth to 9 children, and several miscarriages.
Following the retreat, Lacki insisted that plaintiff Jane Doe come to Our Lady of Czestochowa to visit him for ‘counseling.’ Plaintiff Jane Doe traveled to Our Lady of Czestochowa to obtain counseling, because she was seeking a spiritual counselor to aid her in her ongoing recovery from the sexual abuse she suffered as a child. He insisted that she come to a private room to pray and talk.
Looking back, it is obvious that Lacki had engaged Doe in a “grooming” process often employed by abusers towards their victims. An abuser grooms his potential victim by incrementally violating boundaries and seeing how the victim reacts. Victims of childhood sexual abuse often have difficulties establishing boundaries — particularly women raised with a religious belief system that discourages challenging authority and requires obedience — and abusers know how to exploit this. By drinking with the couple, encouraging them to talk about their sex life in a non-counseling/confessional setting, discovering that the woman sought a “spiritual counselor” and had been sexually abused, and then charming the woman to go into an office alone with him, Lacki engaged in typical grooming behavior.
On March 26, 2012, at Our Lady of Czestochowa, in a private room, defendant Lacki sexually abused and assaulted the plaintiff without her consent and against her will. He did so by grooming her, and then using physical, intellectual, moral, emotional and psychological force. Defendant invited plaintiff to meet with him individually and insisted plaintiff come to a private room alone, where Lacki isolated the plaintiff and began forced unsolicited sexual assault and abuse against plaintiff. Despite repeated attempts by plaintiff to ward off the assaults, it progressed to Lacki’s forcible digital rape of plaintiff after which he smeared her menstrual blood on her face.
Um … in this context, “digital rape” isn’t a weird online computer thing, it means that the priest assaulted Jane Doe with his fingers.
The lawsuit accuses Lakshi of rape, and accuses the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, the Order of St. Paul the First Hermit, and the National Shrine of Our Lady of Czestochowa of knowing about Lakshi’s “deviate sexual interests,” and having “a long history of concealing sexual abuse by clergy.” The couple are seeking punitive damages for sexual assault, vicarious liability and negligence. Their lawyers Daniel F. Monahan and Marci Hamilton portray Jane Doe as a “trusting, devout Catholic mother” who has been betrayed by the Church.
Mark Abrams and Walt Hunter from CBS Philly, Channel 3 reported this in the news.
Here is the video:
|Elisabeth Parker is a writer, Web designer, mom, political junkie, and dilettante. Come visit her at ElisabethParker.Com, “like” her on facebook, “friend” her on facebook, follow her on Twitter, or check out her Pinterest boards. For more Addicting Info articles by Elisabeth, click here.|