At age five, 1954, "the Bishop" (Chicago's Cardinal Stritch) stood over me and said, I had to "stop babbling" about what the priest did to me. It took me 40 years to talk about it again. Today, I babble.

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Thursday, September 17, 2009

Interview: Meet the Paraclete Servants and other true tales of pedophile priest crime activism

(Interview with Jay Nelson, author of new book -Sons of Perdition, New Mexico and the Secret History of the Catholic Sex Scandals:)

I grew up in Albuquerque, and my first encounter with anyone at the Servants of the Paraclete was in a community north of Jemez Springs when I served my first masses there as an altar boy. We were spending the summer in the mountains and being good Catholics, going to Mass and Communion while we were on vacation.

A local person was holding Masses on Sundays at his house, so rather than having to go all the way down into Jemez Springs, we’d just go there. He’d do Mass in his living room around a big table and I do recall that the priest from Jemez Springs wasn’t alone. There was somebody else from Servants of the Paracletes that was assisting. Nobody was concerned or even paid any attention, because it was knowledge among people that the guys at the Paracletes were the poor alcoholics.

Catholics have a lot of tolerance and sympathy for boozing priests because, as they say, the priest’s life is so lonely and they give up so much.


In the 1990s Jay convinced “Hard Copy” to come to Albuquerque and do a story about Servants of the Paraclete, who run a recovery center for sexually deviant priests in nearby Jemez Springs.

The way it usually is with news today, the Hard Copy crew breezed in, spent about three hours on the story, and when they didn't get anything juicy enough, these "journalists" breezed out and back home to L.A..

I asked Jay what happened when Hard Copy came to town.


Well, we tried to ambush the Paracletes. I had gotten in touch with them after the thing blew up with (Bishop) Sanchez, through media contact, and I told them about the Paracletes and told them I could show them around.

(At right, Lourdes House)

Hard Copy came out, this blond lady reporter a camera guy and a sound guy, and they only had one day. So we drove up there and tried to do this ambush thing, at Lourdes House, that's the most remote house. It’s up north of the village a little ways, and just before some hot springs, you get that sulfur smell, we called them nun farts. When I was a kid, every time we’d drive by, you know, we’d smell them, and we’d go nun farts and my mom would get all mad.

C of A: You mean they have Hot Springs at the Paraceletes Recovery Center for pedophile priests?

JN: I don't know if they have their own mineral hot springs but there are hot springs all through that canyon. They've got little dormitories, you could turn that thing into a resort very easily.

(Side note: At a small SNAP gathering Tuesday afternoon, several of us repeated out loud, it could even be a chant: “Where’s my hot springs? Where’s my recovery center?”

Jay Nelson interview continued:

The Hard Copy crew basically they were going to ask questions and do filming, and I was their scout, as it were, pointing things out. I thought the furthest place at the Paracletes would be the place to check first because that had the most notorious reputation.

The house where the guy was murdered, A priest named father Mike Mack.

(Read the chapter “Dark Shadows” in Jay’s new book Sons of Perdition to get more information on the Mike Mack murder and other crimes that we know of so far that took place on and around the Paracletes grounds in New Mexico.)

Interview Continued:

I took Hard Copy to Lourdes house, but there was nothing there but one person, who called down, so they were ready for us when we got to to the main house, about a mile back down the road.

The picture (at right) with the towers is on top of the church they built back in the day. You can see how the Paracletes presence dominates the region with that tower.

C of A: Why didn't the Paracletes just let you in to do a story?

JN: They are not into having PR, good or bad. In fact they complained through the whole scandal in New Mexico in the 1990s that nobody understands their mission, they we're totally misunderstood. The head of the order lied to my face one time so I don't know.

C of A: When did the Paracletes lie to you?

JN: I went to this seminar in Santa Fe, a spiritual seminar, and a Paracletes guy happened to be there. So I asked him about Arthur Perrault and he said, no, Perrault was never at Jemez Springs.

Well Perrault was there, it had come out in the first news article, and one of the guys in the survivors’ group I was with was a victim that Perrault actually took up to Jemez Springs. The kid wandered around on the grounds while Perrault was doing stuff. And Hoare just laughed in my face.

CofA: His name was Hoare?
JN: Yeah,
(Once again, God has a sense of humor.)

JN: So the Hard Copy crew was at the Paracletes main entrance, but they don’t trust the media. The guy just said there’s nobody available you can talk to, bye-bye-

And in a short time there was a county cop hanging out making sure we left.

The Paracletes have a special agreement with the police. If a priest got into trouble in town, the police would make a call, and the Paracletes would come and fetch them.

The Hard Copy crew left because they didn't have enough material. We went and did a little interview with me and they left.

(Ah, the diligence of mainstream media determined to dig up a sound bite and go home.)

JN: I had been out at the Paracletes property about a week or two before that. I was off on my own in the hills trying to get an overview from above of the layout, because I thought there might be some hidden dormitories, or facilities, I was trying to get a view from the top of the cliffs.

Nowadays I can go to Google and see there’s nothing back there.

C of A: There could be something underground.

JN: There are some interesting places today above Jemez Springs, resorts that look very expensive, they have lots of antenna and stuff but who knows what that's all about -

So after walking all afternoon most of the night, these guys came roaring by down the road, they saw me, they’d been drinking, a car full of Native Americans, I don't know, cruising around in a pickup truck. I climbed in the back and they took me down the hill careening around the curves. It was the best part of that trip.

C of A: Can you tell more of your own story? Can you describe the recovered memory experience as you had it?

JN: It wasn’t a one afternoon thing. All I got that first day was sort of this weird, you know, knowledge that something had happened up there in the attic, and I couldn't even deal with it at that time because I was getting ready to do my very first Easter Mass as a priest.

I had rented this park and arranged for them not to turn on the sprinklers. Then the water came on anyway in the middle of the Gospel, came full up and got everyone drenched.

The two reasons why I believe the stuff I remembered is real is not just the weird images and thoughts that would come out of freaking nowhere, but the emotional outburst. T here is always an intense quantity of feeling with all this stuff and one thing that most survivors have, that are dealing with recovered memory, it’s called body memories.

C of A: (Body memories!)

JN: That's when your body just clenches up and, you know, it’s, you know, it just hurts. And you may wind up in a fetal position on the floor for a couple hours or whatever when it comes.

(God, do I know about that!)

JN: And the reason I continued to believe the memory, no matter how weird it got, is I got to a point where it was just finished. I get flashes even today. I’ll think of something and go oh that's what that meant.

But if I was conflating this memory in my mind, I think it would continue. I think a priest and I would be having adventures - new made up memories going on and on. This one just stopped when it was finished.

Somewhere out there somebody did an international survey of ritual abuse people. SMART covered it. I participated in it and lots of people did from all over and they finally did publish the results and there’s some serious patterns.

One of the things a friend of mine said in this one support group was, “Validation sucks.” It’s good to know what happened, but when you do find out, it destroys your world. It pretty much destroys your world.

C of A: Is the perpetrator priest who got to you, Wilkinson, still alive?

JN: No, he died in 1980 something or other. I pissed on his grave.

C of A: You pissed on his grave?!

JN: I did, I pissed on his grave. I called up his brother to find out where Wilkinson was buried. He said it was in this little town near Soledad in California. They've got the scariest Virgin Mary I’ve ever seen in that church, holy crap. She’s dressed like a Spanish widow and has seven swords stuck in her heart to begin with.

So I went out to the cemetery, found his grave and I pissed on it.


C of A: I want to hear more about your New Mexico roots, how you ended up interacting with the perpetrator who got to you, Thomas P. Wilkinson?

JN: He was a guy at my parish in Albuquerque He got assigned to a church way down in the hills for a while but he was also showing up at Our Lady Of Fatimah, our parish, regularly and I think he was in a guest room there. That was one of the reasons why I got a miserable settlement, was because the times I said he was abusing me, he was not actually stationed there and we couldn't find any other witnesses.

Then oddly enough the week after I signed the settlement papers, I got a letter from a person who had grown up in Espaniola where the parish was. The letter said a friend there had just told her a story that she was advised to stay away from Wilkinson, when he came for Thanksgiving, because he’s a pedophile

There’s another thing. Part of the settlement was I got hold of his personnel file and when I went through it very carefully, you could see things were missing. I was able to document the way things are arranged out of order, that it had been gone through at least two times and weeded.

In his file stuff was missing.

There was a letter to the FBI before he got ordained, asking this vague question if the detectives had any information about what they’d discussed previously. The FBI replied dated the next day so it must have been hand delivered in their offices in L.A., a reply saying no we don't and if we did we wouldn't tell you, as we wouldn't give out that kind of information. I have no idea what that was about. I called the FBI and never found out anything.

I saved every bit of the documents I got from the lawsuit. It shows all the freaking tricks they play.

Jay Nelson was the equivalent of a Monsignor in the Apostolic Church of Antioch, up to August 2008, when he officially resigned, in part to write and publish his new book: Sons of Perdition.

by Jay Nelson is available for sale
at Amazon click here

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