[Webmaster's Note: The following email was sent to SJU student Raj Chaphalkar by webmaster Pat Marker on September 11, 2006. It was a response to a letter that Mr. Chaphalkar submitted to the editor of The Record on September 10, 2006. Mr. Chaphalkar also sent the letter to Rev. William Skudlarek, Abbot John Klassen and Michael Hemmesch, SJU Director of Media Relations.
Rev. William Skudlarek responded to Mr. Chaphalkar with the following:
"After speaking with Abbot John this morning, I called Raj to suggest that he consider eliminating the sentence in which he says that Pat Marker has posted confidential documents from the External Review Board on his site."
Rev. William Skudlarek did not attempt to correct the other inaccuracies contained within Raj Chaphalkar's letter. Pat Marker did (see below).
Mr. Chaphalkar resubmitted his letter and it was published [ View ] on September 18, 2006.
[End Webmaster's Note]
Marker’s Letter to Chaphalkar
September 11, 2006
I respect and appreciate your loyalty. I graduated from the Prep School and would love to be proud of that fact. I visited the campus each month for three years and wanted to purchase a SJU sweatshirt on many occasions. I settled for bread instead. Someday, I may get to a point where I can be proud of what the community stands for and actually purchase the sweatshirt. I am not giving up.
… Your claim that I have published confidential board-generated documents is incorrect. If you have a specific document in mind, let me know. If you research the old Abuse Disclosure Project web site (created before I joined the board) you’ll see many of the same documents. In fact, several of the old documents have not yet been included in the updated site.
… The List includes monk and non-monk personnel, is not confined to sexual misconduct and should not be considered comprehensive.
… I believe that if openness did originate from the Abbey, there would be no web site. I take that back… victims still need to feel validated. There would be a web site but FAR fewer articles. The articles are a reflection of the community’s decision to be secretive. With regard to openness, the community has failed. As new victims come forward and new members of the community (monk & lay) are named, this will become more clear. While I felt that the abbot attacked me on this point in the article, you will not have to wait long to see that my version is correct.
… The entire community is not being vilified. Just those who foster secrecy and allow the deception to continue.
Here is an example… I received this note via the web site today (Sunday):
> I do not know the conditions of the restrictions that were given to Fr. Mike Bik by St. John’s, however I can assure you that Mike Bik attended every home football game at St. John’s Prep during the fall of 2005. He also sold basketball tickets at Saint John’s Prep home games during the 2005-2006 school year. Bik also worked in the concession stand just this past Spring, 2006, at a track meet sponsored by St. John’s Prep.
This is a man on restriction?
… Based on the response that I have received from victims, I believe that I am doing the right thing. I have a phone call tomorrow afternoon with a victim of abuse at the hands of a still unnamed member of the community. Because of the web site, they finally had the strength to come forward. You may never hear the sense of relief in a victim’s voice but I can tell you that it is priceless. It is worth fighting for. Unfortunately, I can tell you that the public has been misled regarding this member. It is disappointing, to say the least.
… There is nothing wicked in my approach. I am fighting for full disclosure and for the rights and lives (in some cases, yes) of victims of abuse and harassment. I’d rather be doing many other things. It’s a tough position to be in. However, as long as I hear the voices of other victims, and until I feel that the community is making an effort to fully disclose, I will remain committed to the effort of full disclosure.
I’d ask you to take a step back and consider all of the facts. Ask the tough questions internally. The abbot and others in power have the ability to do the right thing. As a student member of the community, you should demand full disclosure and real change. You deserve to be proud of your sweatshirt.
I’m sure that there are others who share your view and may not understand the facts. With your permission, I’d like to add your letter (with your name) to the documents on the web site. Without your permission to include your name, I will include the letter and my clarifying response.
Thank you for taking the time to share your opinion. I appreciate the communication. We need more of it.
If you have more questions, I am willing to continue the conversation.