By Kay Ebeling
"How good is this. I’m swimming with God’s best friend at Conrad Hilton’s Castle. Definitely, a triple thrill," writes Ken.
The story of two victims of a pedophile priest in L.A. in the 1950s shows the need for lawsuits to continue to go forward in cases that invole decades old sex crimes. Father Thomas J. Sullivan apparently used the same M.O. with both boys, taking them to swim at the Conrad Hilton mansion, then sexually assaulting them in the pool and around the poolhouse. The first man, Udo, got a settlement from the Church in 2007, the second man, Ken, is waiting for a state Supreme Court action to know if he can go forward with his claim.
Ken wrote his story, got it approved by his attorney, and sent it to City of Angels. We also interviewed Udo, whose story of sex assault by the same pedophile-ephebophile priest is eerily similar.
Ken describes his Delayed Discovery: He remembered the trauma of sexual assault by Father Sullivan, at age 14 in the 1950s, after reading about the pedophile exploits of a different L.A. Jesuit priest Mark Falvey, in a San Gabriel Valley newspaper in 2008.
"Falvey’s exploits dug deep into my soul, tearing open the scars, dragging me back to face my demon, Sullivan. The two of them, Sullivan and Falvey, desecrated my Father’s grave. The past year and few months of my life have been fractured, tumultuous, dismal."
With a few degrees of separation between the two Jesuits, Thomas J. Sullivan and Mark Falvey, Ken's mind opened up and the memory came in.
Ken wrote the story of his experience, his attorney approved his story be published, so we are running it here, unedited, at City of Angels today, along with our interview with Udo Strutynski, who was able to sue and get a settlement for Sullivan's assaults on him.
Photo Below: Ken still innocent
BETRAYED BY A MAN OF GOD…
LIFE OF A CHILD, 51 YEARS AFTER
By Ken (Last name withheld)
When I met Father Sullivan on a warm day in 1958 on the school yard at Loyola High School in Los Angeles, and he asked if I’d like to swim at a friend’s house… and because my Church taught me this man was next to God… Well, I was excited, honored, thrilled. The thought that a priest, a man of God, would share his time with me, was great. Not to mention, missing some of my afternoon classes and swimming on a hot day. Double thrill.”
I’m a product of the Catholic Church… baptized, raised, schooled, confirmed, and sexually abused at fourteen by a Jesuit priest. There are some in the media and in the political arena, along with a few major contributors to the Catholic Church who have fallen into step with the Church’s new found attitude… convincing both believers and non believers that the clergy sexual abuse crisis is over.
“Ladies and gentlemen, not to worry. We have the problem well in hand. Let us now bow our heads and return to business as usual.”
For these reasons, I feel compelled to step forward.
Growing up Catholic in the forties and fifties was simple, uncomplicated. There was no confusion as to the chain of command. The Pope was the leader of the Church and with his “infallibility” plaque hanging over the Vatican fireplace, the path to Heavens’ Gate was laid out perfectly. (Infallibility -- The Pope cannot make a mistake when dealing with Church doctrine.) His cardinals and bishops were spread throughout the world directing his priests, the “grunts”, the foot soldiers… who in turn would interact with the faithful; saying Mass, changing bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ, hearing confession.
“You cannot enter the Kingdom of God if you have sin on your soul.”
Baptism eliminated original sin, the sin that every Catholic is born with. But, for the remainder of our time on this Earth, the priest, through confession, becomes the face of God, forgiving sins, leading us, the faithful, toward heaven and everlasting happiness. So, when I met Father Sullivan on a warm day in 1958 on the school yard at Loyola High School in Los Angeles, and he asked if I’d like to swim at a friend’s house… and because my Church taught me this man was next to God… Well, I was excited, honored, thrilled. The thought that a priest, a man of God, would share his time with me, was great. Not to mention, missing some of my afternoon classes and swimming on a hot day. “Double thrill.”
That same day, after a one hour car ride, Father Sullivan parked in a wooded area next to a two story house. He led me through a gate and into the side entrance of the house. If I had been chewing gum, I would’ve swallowed it.
Inside was a large room with a twenty foot ceiling filled with stuffed couches and chairs with flowering prints, and a grand piano in one corner. The front was a floor to ceiling glass wall with a glass door in the middle that overlooked the pool. Beyond were trees and a view to part of a… “Castle”. Father Sullivan answered my question before I could ask.
Hilton, at right, around the 1950s, from Google Images
Ken's story, continued:
How good is this. I’m swimming with God’s best friend at Conrad Hilton’s Castle. Definitely, a “triple thrill.”
In my mind I’ve tortured over an explanation of what happened next. Laying on the deck next to the pool and Father Sullivan… his hands on my back moving down under my swimsuit, fondling me… Feeling confused, panicked, helpless, praying that no one was watching. Yeah, I did pray. Habit, I guess. Breathing was almost impossible.
I walked into the Hilton pool house looking at life in color and left looking at it in black and white.
There were two more trips to the Hilton house that I can remember, all with the same result. Why I went back to the Hilton house with Father Sullivan is a question that I’ve asked a thousand times. I do not have an answer.
There wasn’t a scandal. There wasn’t a police report. I didn’t run home to tell mom and dad. I didn’t tell my friends. Losing my virginity to a f---ing guy in a skirt did not seem to be ideal breakfast conversation at home, or on the school yard, “Guess what happened to me?” Telling anyone was not an option. Who would believe me. Who could possibly understand. After all, this was a man of God. No. I immediately buried it. Pushed it so deep inside that I would never find it. I would never have to see it again. It will disappear.
Fifty plus years later, an article appeared in the newspaper about a Jesuit named Falvey, who molested children while serving at Blessed Sacrament Church in Hollywood. Blessed Sacrament was a special place for me.
City of Angels: That's Jesuit perpetrator Mark A. Falvey from L.A., not his brother, the other pedophile Jesuit, Arthur Falvey of Sacramento.
It was there at Blessed Sacrament Church that I attended Father-Son Mass with my Father and afterward we went to the Moulin Rouge to be entertained by a host of Hollywood’s best. My Father’s face… the smile, the laughter is indelibly etched into my heart. Falvey’s exploits dug deep into my soul, tearing open the scars, dragging me back to face my demon, Sullivan. The two of them, Sullivan and Falvey, desecrated my Father’s grave.
The past year and few months of my life have been fractured, tumultuous, dismal.
My emotional state as of now is a roller coaster… the top being depression and the low chaotic.
A constant is fear.
Small every day incidents quickly accelerate, in my mind, to the extreme with tragic results. My life has been a series of races that I’ve never finished. When asked the question, “Can you do this?” My immediate response is, “Yes I can.”… and in the same breath, “No I can’t.” I have sabotaged every possible success. I have sabotaged every meaningful relationship with the possible exception of one… And my past, my sexual abuse, could even finish even that one for me.
Udo’s experience with Jesuit Fr. Thomas Sullivan at the Conrad Hilton mansion:
Udo: After my settlement was finalized, one of the attorneys called me and said, hey somebody just surfaced and he was molested by your perp. In fact he was molested while you were still in high school. This victim might be the one Sullivan took up with, the one who distracted him, when he stopped paying attention to you.
She said, would you be willing to meet with him, I said, sure of course. And Ken is a really good guy I like him so, you know, anyway that was the amazing thing.
She said, you know he was also taken to the Hilton estate and molested.
CofA: You went there too?
Udo: Yeah, I didn't have a car. I lived next door to the high school. Sullivan would come by and pick me up and one day he just said, we're going to go to a much nicer swimming pool. He used to like to, you know, that was his excuse. It’s awfully hot I’d like to take you swimming.
CofA: You went with Sullivan to the Hilton estate?
Udo: I got there before Ken did. It was 1956. We went through these gates that said Belair, you know, you've probably driven it’s the entry way right off Sunset Boulevard, up into that closed community
The first time I went there, we drove past a tall skinny bald headed man washing a car in the driveway, and Sullivan said, hello, John, and he said, oh hello, Father. And he said go ahead and use the pool help yourself, that was it. That was Mr. Hilton’s chauffeur.
I thought, wow Hilton, and said, oh, that's the same name as all those hotels. So they're his hotels.
We never went inside the mansion, but the pool was I think Olympic sized and to the cliff edge. You could overlook a cliff overlooking Los Angeles at the edge of the pool, and that size of the pool.
Then there was a pool house that was about five times larger than the little apartment I lived in with my mom. And we went in there to change and of course there was a lot of rattan furniture with tall, you know, lamps and stuff.
And there was a bar and of course he immediately went to the bar.
CofA: Did he give you alcohol to drink?
Udo: Oh yeah, oh yeah. And he said there’s trunks around here there’s guests all the time.
I had to do his back with suntan lotion and I was just totally blown away by the size of the pool house.
On summer days, he’d pick me up close to noon we’d get there a half hour later. First we’d change and we’d drink and put on suntan cream. Then go in the pool, swim around. He’d like to get on top of one of these floats and languish.
When we came out, he’d go, well, it’s time to - he would say things like, well, I shouldn’t take you back home until I’ve gotten you some dinner.
It was when you’d get cleaned off and were drying off, as I was doing that, he’d bother me. And that would prolong everything by at least an hour or so. He’d always say things like, I don't want to try anything, I just want to look at you and see, are you okay.
He was so transparent it was so lame.
CofA: How old were you?
Udo: The first time, 15 when he first molested me. It hand’t past my 16th birthday
My first year at Loyola High School I just knew him from walking around campus. He didn't contact me until the summer between my freshman and sophomore year, that's when he started.
I didn't see anybody from the Hilton mansion except the chauffeur, never when we were there did we encounter anyone either the Hiltons or their staff. As far as I remember.
More of Ken's story:
U.S. Congress declares Catholic Schools Week. I’m curious, did these elected officials take the time to read the John Jay Report?
Ken's Story continues:
In late January, 37 members of the United States House of Representatives joined together to sponsor House Resolution #39. It “expresses support for the goals of Catholic Schools Week (January 25-31, 2009), an event cosponsored by the National Catholic Education Association and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and established to recognize the vital contributions of America’s thousands of Catholic elementary and secondary schools.”
I’m curious to know if these elected officials had taken the time to examine the John Jay Report commissioned by these very same Bishops. If not, here are some facts they might consider before recommending a Catholic education for our children.
The time line used for the report… 1950 - 2002. In this 52 year span, 4392 unnamed priests were accused of child sexual abuse. Credit each accused priest with 5 children, which is a low number, and the total is 21,960 children sexually abused numerous times. Divide both 21,960 and 4392 by 52 years, and the totals are 422.31 children sexually abused by 84.46 Catholic priests numerous times every year.
I wonder if these elected officials added a disclaimer, stating that in case children were sexually abused at a Catholic School based upon their recommendation that these elected officials cannot be held responsible.
“Let us now bow our heads and return to business as usual.”
Some in the media are more than pleased to keep us informed of the daily activities of the Catholic Church… the leadership change in New York, Pope’s trip to Africa, Shroud of Turin, President Obama speaking at Notre Dame, women being considered for the Swiss Guard… and yet, they ignore the children who were raped and sodomized by the Catholic Church, by their priests disguised as the face of God.
Do your job. Meet with the victims… Listen to their story. Do the research.
Who would believe me. Who could possibly understand. After all, this was a man of God.
Learn about Father John L. Geoghan, accused of molesting 130 children… And Father Donald McGuire, a Jesuit, “father confessor” to Mother Theresa, accused of molesting dozens… And arguably the poster boy of clergy sexual abuse, Father Paul R. Shanley, with dozens of complaints and many settlements, who endorsed sexual relations between men and boys. His superior, Cardinal Bernard Law, and his two deputies ignored for over a decade, the allegations of sexual abuse against Shanley. And where is Cardinal Law today? He sits at the right hand of the Pope. “Well done, Bernard.”
“Let us now bow our heads and return to business as usual.”
The Hilton name and it’s high profile makes it difficult for those of us who were victimized by Father Sullivan at Conrad Hilton’s pool house. It serves as a constant reminder.
Conrad Hilton had a close personal relationship with Father Sullivan, one that lasted for thirty plus years until Hilton’s death in 1979. During that time Sullivan was employed as a speech writer for Hilton, was “father confessor ” to the Hilton family, and traveled extensively with him. Sullivan held pool parties at the Hilton estate for Jesuits and Jesuit “wannabe’s”. Father Sullivan brought unsuspecting children, alone, one-on-one, to Conrad Hilton’s house, and under the ruse of an afternoon swim, sexually abused them there.
Father Sullivan, who was designated by Conrad Hilton to assist in distributing Conrad Hilton’s fortune after his death, donated in its entirety to the Conrad Hilton Foundation/ Catholic Church/ Jesuits.
I wrote a letter to Barron Hilton, Conrad’s son, detailing my abuse by Father Sullivan, asking him to remove his financial and any other support from the Jesuits.
Barron Hilton responded… “While I sincerely empathize with your situation, I cannot concur with your suggestion that the Conrad Hilton Foundation withdraw its financial and other support from the Society of Jesus or Loyola Marymount University. Both have contributed immensely to the teachings of the Church and education in general. Under these circumstances, I have nothing but the highest respect for the Jesuit teaching priests and nuns in these institutions, and feel a moral commitment to continue to support them financially.”
Mr. Hilton, do you not have a moral obligation to the safety of those children you are educating? Sexual abuse is not in the curriculum. Being truthful and moral, with a strong sense of justice is.
Two months after receiving my letter Barron Hilton donated 97% of his 2.3 billion dollar fortune to the Conrad Hilton Foundation/ Catholic Church/ Jesuits.
“Ladies and gentlemen, not to worry. We have the problem well in hand. Let us now bow our heads and return to business as usual.”
(Ken asked me not to publish his last name or current pictures:)
More of Udo's story:
Udo: In my case the Jesuits did not claim no guilt. In my settlement the Jesuits said it was for injuries resulting from the child abuse.
When I met with the provincial and his lawyer, I said, I wouldn't have believed the story of these assaults if it hadn't happened to me. If a guy sitting next to me had said, do you know Father Sullivan, he came over to my house on Sunday and he got me in the backroom and grabbed my crotch, I would have looked at him and said, you're out of your f---ing mind. I wouldn't have believed it.
CofA: Did you ever try to tell anybody?
Udo: I had the counselor from my sophomore class call me in and say ‘I can tell if someone is troubled, if there’s problem with grades or discipline, but I want to make sure how are you.’ I said, fine.
Then he said, well I also understand that Father Sullivan has taken an interest in you, that would mean he has a high opinion of you which is great.
And I said, well since you bring it up, I said, Fr. Sullivan has peculiar interests.
The counselor said, ‘Oh god bless, I just don't know what happens to the time and he said suddenly, you know, you're welcome to see me any time, if you have any problems, that's why I'm here for.’
But I saw that as soon as I was going to say something about Father Sullivan, the provincial was not willing and that was the message I got.
And later I got a message from somebody else, if you should decide to file a complaint or something, just remember your mother is barely making enough money to put you through the school. There are plenty of people who would say you're mentally disturbed and you would have to leave, go to an inferior school, and it would be on your record that you were dismissed for having a disturbance.
This was my Junior year in high school.
End of interview, end of stories from Ken and Udo.
Delayed discovery of a repressed sex crime is not an easy thing to go through, as Ken writes: "Small every day incidents quickly accelerate, in my mind, to the extreme with tragic results. My life has been a series of races that I’ve never finished."
And I have to interject here, as I have for years been saying a working title for my life story is:
"Living Faster Than the Speed of Life"
Because being in a state of PTSD since age 5, I have been speeding and rushing and panting for more than 55 years. You can't fake these symptoms, we can't all have them in different cities at different times in the same way without it being real.
Udo filed suit in the one-year window in 2003 and received a settlement in 2007. The second man, Ken, says he discovered in 2008 that the main cause of his adult problems was sex assaults by Sullivan in the same era as Udo. Ken waits now for a decision from the State Supreme Court on Quarry, to know if he can go forward with his claim against the Catholic Church or not.
The Quarry decision, to confirm not deplublish, by the state Supreme Court in coming months would allow more lawsuits from decades old child sex crimes againts corporate entities, where a corporate entity has been negligent and allowed the crimes to take place.
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