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Jul 20, 2019

In harm’s way

Co-produced with PRX Logo

The federal government is quietly expanding its use of “tender age” shelters to house infants, toddlers and other young asylum-seekers. One Phoenix facility is housing a dozen children ages 5 and under. The youngest is just 3 months old. And all of these kids are alone, without their parents. Reveal’s Aura Bogado brings us the details.

Then, we revisit a story from Alaska and the Pacific Northwest, where the Catholic Church had a problem with Jesuit priests sexually abusing children. The church’s first solution was to send the priests to remote Native villages, but there, they continued to abuse. So the church tried something else: hiding them in plain sight. This rebroadcast includes impact that has occurred since the original airing, including the resignation of high-ranking officials at Gonzaga University.

Credits

Our immigration story was reported by Aura Bogado. Produced by Michael I Schiller with help from Najib Aminy. Edited by Brett Myers. 

Our Jesuits story was reported by Emily Schwing, formerly with the Northwest News Network, and Reveal’s Michael Corey with Katharine Mieszkowski. Edited by Taki Telonidis. Engineers: Jim Briggs and Fernando Arruda. Production manager: Mwende Hinojosa with help from Najib Aminy, Kaitlin Benz and Quinn Lewis. Text story by Aaron Sankin, Narda Zacchino. 

Support for Reveal is provided by the Reva and David Logan Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, The John S. And James L. Knight Foundation, the Heising-Simons Foundation and the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation.

Transcript

Reveal transcripts are produced by a third-party transcription service and may contain errors. Please be aware that the official record for Reveal's radio stories is the audio.
Al Letson: From the Center for Investigative Reporting and PRX, this is Reveal. I'm Al Letson.

 

Al Letson: A year after the practice of family separation was supposed to have ended very young children are still be taken away from their parents after crossing the US-Mexico border. In the last few weeks, we've gotten more details about conditions inside facilities holding migrant children and adults.

 

Speaker 2: The doctors and attorneys say hundreds of young people are living under inhumane conditions at a Texas border control station.

 

Speaker 3: Federal inspectors observe serious overcrowding and prolonged detention at five locations just three weeks.

 

Speaker 4: Outbreaks of scabies, shingles, and chickenpox spreading among the hundreds of children being held in cramped cells.

 

Al Letson: Advocates who visited children at border facilities last month spoke publicly about flu quarantines, lice infestations, and babies drinking milk out of dirty bottles.

 

Speaker 5: Many of the children had not had access to a single shower or bath. They were wearing the same dirty clothing that they crossed the border with.

 

Al Letson: Customs and border protections own policies say migrant youth cannot be held at border patrol facilities for more than 72 hours. But advocates say they've spoken to kids who've been held for weeks at a time.

 

Speaker 5: Many of them had been detained for days on end, for weeks on end, some nearly a month.

 

Al Letson: So where do the kids go after they leave these places? Reveal's Aura Bogado has been investigating, and she found that there are babies, some as young as three months old, being held at shelters without their mothers. Hey, Aura.

 

Aura Bogado: Hey, Al.

 

Al Letson: Another tough one.

 

Aura Bogado: Yeah.

 

Al Letson: So you recently learned about some of these new shelters popping up to house migrant children. What do you know about them?

 

Aura Bogado: I found that the federal government is quietly expanding its use of shelters to house infants and toddlers and other very young asylum seekers. The Department of Health and Human Services has awarded grants to three new facilities to house what it calls, tender age children. We're basically talking about kids that are younger than 12, and I found that a lot of these children are really, really tender in age. For example, one of these shelters has a dozen children who are all five years old or under.

 

Al Letson: Which shelter has the 12 kids you're talking about?

 

Aura Bogado: It's called Child Crisis Arizona, and it has locations in and around Phoenix. We got a hold of records that show a dozen children started arriving there in mid-June after it got a 2.4 million dollar federal grant to house unaccompanied children through January 2022. Some of the kids who are there are babies, as young as three months old, and all of the kids are there alone, so without their mothers.

 

Al Letson: I mean, we're talking about infants here. Where are their parents?

 

Aura Bogado: That's a question I've been trying to answer, Al. It's been really hard to say for sure how they ended up there. One possibility was that maybe some of these kids came to the US with a family member, like a sibling or a grandparent. When that happens, officials sometimes separate children if they're not satisfied that that relative has legal guardianship.

 

Al Letson: But in the cases of these really young kids, like this infant who's just three months old, it's hard to imagine how that baby would've gotten to the US without their mother.

 

Aura Bogado: Right, Child Crisis Arizona wouldn't talk to me by email or phone. I made multiple requests for comment. The Office of Refugee Resettlement, meanwhile, told us that it's working on a response to our questions about how these kids ended up in the shelter without their parents or guardians. That was last week. And at the time that we're recording this, the agency still hasn't given us any information.

 

Aura Bogado: But I've been able to finally confirm that at least one of the little kids that we're talking about was indeed separated from their mom and that two more were separated from other family members. Family separation officially ended last June, but we know that kids are still being taken from their parents at the border.

 

Aura Bogado: The Florence Project, which represents unaccompanied children of all ages, even babies, in Arizona, they told me that they're providing full pro bono legal help to these kids at Child Crisis, so at least the babies have that kind of support.

 

Al Letson: So where are these children coming from?

 

Aura Bogado: According to the records we obtained, the children are from Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Ecuador and Brazil. And they're all living at Child Crisis Arizona without a parent.

 

Al Letson: What do we know about this company, Child Crisis Arizona?

 

Aura Bogado: Child Crisis Arizona is a non-profit that's been around for 42 years, and they're not only in the business of housing unaccompanied migrant children.

 

Torrie Taj: The biggest service that we provide the community is through shelter. We provide the children who are taken from their homes due to abuse or neglect shelter stay, a safe environment, and we help them ...

 

Aura Bogado: That's Torrie Taj, she's the CEO of Child Crisis Arizona. She's also one of the people at that organization that I've been trying to reach for the last week. And here, she's talking about the organization in a promotional video.

 

Torrie Taj: We also do parenting education classes for the community.

 

Speaker 8: Now, that's terrific to see what you guys are doing. But you know child crisis ...

 

Al Letson: Okay, that sounds good on the surface but how is their track record?

 

Aura Bogado: Yeah. Before the unaccompanied infants and toddlers got there this summer, Child Crisis Arizona was cited by state officials for several deficiencies. They have multiple locations in and around Phoenix and in February inspectors from the Arizona Department of Health Services found hazardous conditions at one location. Like toy shelves that could easily be tipped over. State inspectors also found unsanitary toys and chipped paint and a month before that in January state monitors found some of Child Crises Arizona's own records were incomplete. So, they were missing information about kids parents or health care providers.

 

Aura Bogado: Also, state standards require that water in the sink next the diaper changing station should be between 86 and 110 degrees. That's so, you know, employees can make sure that their hands are properly disinfected after changing a diaper. But the sink at Child Crisis in January measured just 70 degrees. And those weren't the only violations. Inspections at three Child Crisis Locations in Phoenix and Mesa over the past three years reveal 37 violations, including a lack of drinking water for children in classrooms, a missing lid on a vessel containing soiled diapers, an incomplete first aid kit and "dried yellow-orange liquid splatters on the base of one toilet."

 

Al Letson: All of that sounds really troubling for a place that has infants. I wouldn't want my child going to daycare in a place like this. You mentioned there were a few facilities that were recently contracted to house minors. What are some of the others?

 

Aura Bogado: There's one in Pennsylvania called Bethany Children's Home and it's down in the Southeastern corner of the state in a small little town called Wilmersdorf. It was awarded 3.5 million dollar grant in late April to house unaccompanied children through early 2022. And according to the records that we obtained there are 11 unaccompanied children there right now.

 

Speaker 9: So, at Bethany, it's all about the kids. It's making sure that ...

 

Aura Bogado: That's a promotional video for Bethany Children's Home recorded back in 2017.

 

Speaker 9: And we at Bethany work hard to ensure that these kids can live life and have a ...

 

Aura Bogado: Like Child Crisis Arizona they're not only in the business in housing unaccompanied migrant children, they also have a residential program for children who are victims of abuse and neglect. So, that's what's she's talking about. On their website, it says that they've been around since 1863.

 

Al Letson: So, what else do we know about Bethany Children's Home?

 

Aura Bogado: They've also had some pretty serious issues in the past. Weeks before Bethany Children's Home got a Federal grant to house unaccompanied minors it lost a wrongful death suit and a jury awarded 2.9 million dollars to the father of a kid who lived there. It's a really sad story, Al. A 16-year-old girl left the facility and walked about a mile to some train tracks where she took her own life. And a jury ruled that Bethany failed to properly supervise her. In January, Bethany Children's Home employee pleaded guilty to assault after setting up a teen to be beaten up by two others on a school bus.

 

Al Letson: And this place is still operating?

 

Aura Bogado: Yeah, and for the last two years, I found a long list of violations by Pennsylvania's Department of Human Services. There were problems with children's medication logs, an allegation of sexual abuse by a Bethany staffer wasn't immediately reported to the state as it should be, and monitors also found that a staff member improperly restrained a kid who kicked a radiator and was being verbally aggressive.

 

Al Letson: What do they have to say about the migrant kids living at their facility?

 

Aura Bogado: Bethany Children's Home requested that we submit our questions in writing. So, we did so, last week. And they still haven't responded. According to its website, it houses children ages infant to 18.

 

Al Letson: And what are the other facilities you've learned about?

 

Aura Bogado: There's one more that we learned about. It's called Bethany Christian Services. It's a different organization with a similar name, but it's not connected to the Pennsylvania facility. It's a Michigan based provider that already contracts with the Federal government to hold unaccompanied children. It reopened a facility in Modesto, California and it's a small group home that's licensed to hold 12 children, and we know that there are four minors being held there now. There's two teenage parents and two babies. One of the infants is just two weeks old and was born in the United States making the child a US citizen who's in the custody of the Federal Refugee Agency.

 

Al Letson: So, what are the legal rights of the kids in these government-contracted shelters?

 

Aura Bogado: Getting access to legal help is a big issue, Al. That shelter that I just told you about that's run by Bethany Christian Services, we've confirmed that it's taken at least two and a half weeks before legal services providers had direct access to the children there.

 

Al Letson: Aren't there Federal mandates about this though?

 

Aura Bogado: Yeah, there's a law called the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act. I know it's a mouthful but it requires that vulnerable children be provided access to legal services. On its website, the Office of Refugee Resettlement states that kids must be in direct contact with these advocates and it's ultimately the responsibility of that Federal agency to provide these legal services.

 

Al Letson: And what does the Office of Refugee Resettlement have to say about this?

 

Aura Bogado: Nothing. Or at least not yet. The agency says that it's working on a response to our questions about this but I know that it's a problem at more than one shelter. For example, there's an emergency shelter about a hundred mile south of San Antonio called Carrizo Springs where more than 300 kids weren't receiving legal services for more than two weeks. I was told that many of the kids at that shelter already have court dates but that no one could get inside to provide legal services to these kids. There's a big non-profit that does this work throughout Texas. It's called the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services, better known as RAICES. I talked with their president who told me that even though his organization was offering pro bono help it wasn't being allowed into Carrizo Springs. So, they couldn't get into the shelter. We published a story about this last weekend and after that, I've learned that the government finally is allowing legal service providers into Carrizo Springs to work with the kids there this week.

 

Al Letson: So, what are the potential consequences of delaying these legal services?

 

Aura Bogado: Any delay in legal services could harm a child's ability to get immigration relief from the courts.

 

Al Letson: Is there any indication about whether or not this is something that might get better with time?

 

Aura Bogado: Not really. In fact, it may get a lot worse. We know that last month the Trump Administration ordered the Office of Refugee Resettlement to stop funding certain educational, recreational, and legal services for children in the agency's care.

 

Al Letson: Thank you so much, Aura.

 

Aura Bogado: Thanks, Al.

 

Al Letson: That's Reveal's very own Aura Bogado. That story was produced by Michael Schiller with help from Najib Aminy and it was edited by Brett Myers.

 

Al Letson: To keep up with the latest on our immigration coverage, sign up for the Kids on the Line Newsletter. It's the best way to get all the stories from Aura and the rest of Reveal's immigration team. To sign up just go to revealnews.org/newsletter. Again, that's revealnews.org/newsletter. And from there just chose Kids on the Line.

 

Al Letson: When we come back, as children they were victimized. Now, they're speaking out against their abusers.

 

Elsie Boudreau: I can forgive, you know, one perpetrator, right? But to move to an understanding that it was the institution, the Catholic Church, that operated in a way that devalued our Yupik people, indigenous people. That's unforgivable.

 

Al Letson: You're listening to Reveal.

 

Al Letson: From The Center for Investigative Reporting and PRX, this is Reveal. I'm Al Letson.

 

Al Letson: At the end of last year, we aired another story about young people in danger. Our report made headlines in the Pacific Northwest.

 

Speaker 10: We start tonight with a bombshell report about Catholic Priests accused of sexual misconduct, who were said to ...

 

Al Letson: Our show was about Jesuit priests who abused children in Native Communities in Alaska and the Northwest. Within days two high ranking priests who knew about the abuse resigned from their positions at a prominent Jesuit University.

 

Speaker 11: According to a report from The Center for Investigative Reporting at least 20 priests accused of sexual misconduct were relocated to the Cardinal ...

 

Al Letson: On our show reporter, Emily Schwing had broken the story that the church had hidden dozens of accused priests on the University campus where they were free to interact with students. Today, we're revisiting the original story with updates about what's happened since. And a note, this subject may not be appropriate for all listeners.

 

Al Letson: Emily first got onto the story when she was working at a radio station way out in Nome, Alaska, called KNOM.

 

Emily Schwing: It's a Catholic radio station and it was started by a Jesuit priest, James Poole, back in 1971. He used the station as a studio pulpit.

 

Fr. James Poole: You know it's not a disgrace to make mistakes and fall. All men and women, old and young, do just that. But after falling just to lay there and cry that is a mistake. Rise, start over, this time make it.

 

Emily Schwing: I heard about James Poole's mistakes while I was working at KNOM. But I was never given any details. A year after I left Nome I saw this social media post one day and it mentioned something about where the church was hiding him. And that kicked off my search through records about Jesuit missions in Alaska. First, I needed to learn more about the Jesuit order. So, I called this guy, Patrick Wall.

 

Patrick Wall: Yeah, to become a Jesuit it's a very rigorous process. Sometimes they're referred to as the storm troopers of the Roman Catholic Church. They answer only to the Pope and they have the most rigorous training program.

 

Al Letson: Patrick Wall knows a lot about the Catholic Church.

 

Emily Schwing: He does, and it's from first-hand experience. He used to be a Benedictine monk and an ordained priest. He's no longer with the church but he knows how to navigate his way through piles of records. Some in Latin.

 

Emily Schwing: It's really surprising to me how meticulous they are about keeping notes and dating their signatures and-

 

Patrick Wall: Yep. All you have to do is a little grunt work. That's what I'm saying this is not rocket science.

 

Al Letson: That grunt work took Emily more than a year and a half. Church records and court documents led her to priests and people who knew them, and what she uncovered is a new chapter in the Catholic Church's continuing story of sexual abuse.

 

Al Letson: We'll hear from the accused and from the Jesuit leaders who moved them around. Along the way, Emily discovers how the church hid priests, including Father Poole, in plain sight.

 

Emily Schwing: I've only seen photos of James Poole and in all of them, he has a broad constant smile and dark-rimmed glasses. People remember him as handsome and starting KNOM was his life's dream.

 

Fr. James Poole: The radio station is a ministry and it's also an educational vehicle to try to bring across to the people ideas that will help them help themselves to move forward in what is a pretty difficult situation up here of one culture that has been overtaken and kind of swamped by another culture. So, we're in there trying to help them whole again.

 

Emily Schwing: KNOM is a cozy place. It looks like a house and it's always warm inside. Which means a lot in the winter in Nome. You can spot the station from almost anywhere in town because of a giant electric star attached to the antenna that reaches above the roof. A friend of mine who also worked there said, "If I wanted to learn the real story of James Poole I should talk to a woman named Elsie Boudreau." A few weeks later, Elsie told me she'd be happy to talk.

 

Elsie Boudreau: I knew on some level like I was waiting for you to come because there's still more of a story to tell. I don't know, I was just waiting for you. I don't know how else to say it.

 

Emily Schwing: Long before he founded KNOM, James Poole was the priest where Elsie grew up, St. Mary's. It's a tiny native village near the Yukon River. The Jesuit's built a boarding school nearby and orphanage in the early 1900s. And the church was part of everyday life for kids like Elsie.

 

Elsie Boudreau: So, you have to understand that I grew up Catholic, and I loved everything about being Catholic. I was a devout Catholic. I went to Catholic high school, Catholic college, and I grew up believing almost like I was more Catholic than I was Yupik. They had a lot of power in our village, which is true for a lot of the villages in Alaska.

 

Emily Schwing: When Elsie was a kid she'd travel to Nome in the summer to stay with her sister Florence, who's 17 years older. Elsie would babysit her niece and nephew and volunteer at KNOM.

 

Elsie Boudreau: I remember doing that show with Father Poole.

 

Emily Schwing: Like what do you remember about that?

 

Elsie Boudreau: Well, I remember being at KNOM and there was no one else in the building. It was just him and I on Saturday.

 

Florence Bush: On Saturday's [crosstalk] he was usually alone.

 

Elsie Boudreau: Alone.

 

Emily Schwing: That's Elsie's sister, Florence Bush. She also worked at the station and hosted the request show, and Elsie says for a kid like her working at KNOM was a big deal.

 

Elsie Boudreau: So, I was able to say some things on the radio which I thought was really cool. You know? But then like when songs are playing you know he would kiss me and we would kiss and stuff. So, it was kind of weird.

 

Emily Schwing: How old were you?

 

Elsie Boudreau: I don't know. 11, 12, I don't know?

 

Emily Schwing: I asked Florence if she knew anything about that?

 

Florence Bush: No. I mean I saw it. He did the same thing with me. Like he would kiss and he would try to french kiss and I would just like, "What the heck are you trying to do? You know, that's not, that's not supposed to be in there at all." And he would stop. But see I knew him since I was six years old.

 

Emily Schwing: For a long time, Elsie was too ashamed to talk about what James Poole did to her. Decades later, she filed a civil lawsuit against him and the Regional Jesuit Order. She accused him of molesting and fondling her. She couldn't press criminal charges because the statute of limitations in Alaska at the time wouldn't allow for it.

 

Speaker 17: Father, you knew it was wrong for other people to be doing the types of sexual acts that you were doing with these young women, correct?

 

Fr. James Poole: Correct.

 

Emily Schwing: Elsie's lawyer interviewed James Poole in this deposition tape from 2005.

 

Speaker 17: Why didn't you think it was wrong for you?

 

Fr. James Poole: Pure delusion.

 

Speaker 17: Okay, you've said that. What do you mean by that? Tell me how that manifested itself?

 

Fr. James Poole: I figured that short of intercourse, it was all right.

 

Speaker 17: Okay, was there a theological justification in your mind for it? Was there a secular justification? Was there some sort of process you went through where you justified it? How did that work?

 

Fr. James Poole: I thought I was bringing love into the life of other persons.

 

Speaker 17: By engaging in sexual acts with them?

 

Fr. James Poole: By being intimate.

 

Speaker 17: And what's your definition of intimacy?

 

Fr. James Poole: Everything short of intercourse.

 

Patrick Wall: He was such a scary guy.

 

Emily Schwing: This is Patrick Wall again. He's that former Catholic priest we met earlier. He was in the room when James Poole gave his deposition.

 

Patrick Wall: It was like sitting down with a major felon with a multi-felony murder thing going on. And when we all got done we were just so ... We all went and had a martini afterwards. It was just the most out of body experience.

 

Emily Schwing: Why? Why? I mean, what was scary about it?

 

Patrick Wall: He declared himself the greatest lover of the world.

 

Emily Schwing: Patrick left the priesthood because of stories like Elsie's. For years, he says the church used him as a fixer. They'd send him into parishes after a priest was removed because of credible accusations of sexual abuse. His assignments were mostly in the Midwest and his job was to smooth things over with victims and families.

 

Patrick Wall: Oh, when the families come in that is so painful.

 

Emily Schwing: Your eyes are just huge, like dinner plates, in talking about this.

 

Patrick Wall: Because I go back there immediately. I mean I can feel being there when it happened. They've got a new younger priest who they think gets it. Who they think that can then give them some kind of pastoral and human response. And that pain is so palpable at that point. It's just oozing out of them. They're breaking down right in front of you.

 

Emily Schwing: After years of being a fixer, Patrick quit the church in disgust and switched sides. Now, he works for a law firm in California as an advocate for victims of clergy sex abuse. That's how he knows Elsie.

 

Emily Schwing: And Elsie isn't Father Poole's only victim. There are at least 20 others according to her lawyer. James Poole never admitted to having sex with anyone. But another Alaska native women says he got her pregnant when she was a teenager. According to church documents and other records, Poole convinced her to have an abortion. Court documents also show he convinced his victim to accuse her own father of rape. Her father went to prison and Poole wasn't the only Jesuit priest accused of molesting native kids and young women in Western Alaska.

 

Patrick Wall: The villages are basically isolated for months out of the year. Before modern transportation, those kids had nowhere to go. That's why we see a wholesale slaughter of generations by the Jesuit's in Alaska. [crosstalk]

 

Emily Schwing: That's really strong language, wholesale slaughter of children at the hands of the Catholic church is incredibly strong language.

 

Patrick Wall: That's what the data supports.

 

Emily Schwing: Elsie's village, St. Mary's, only has about 500 people. But between 1927 and 1998, at least 15 priests accused of sexual abuse served there. Patrick says, isolated native communities in Alaska and Indian reservations in the Northwest were used as dumping grounds for problem Jesuits. We found accused Jesuits in more than 100 of those communities.

 

Patrick Wall: In my experience, both Yupik and Athabaskanans are extremely welcoming, and that is a weakness that a perpetrator can exploit really easily because they're going to trust that person. There was no warning from the Jesuit Provincials. There was no warning from the Jesuit Bishops of Fairbanks. There was never any warning to them.

 

Emily Schwing: Some Jesuits didn't seem to view native people as fully human. I found a letter from a Jesuit leader that describes Alaskan natives as simple-minded. And another letter says, they are people not advanced enough to give impartial and true testimony. Elsie Boudreau sees the sexual abuse as part of the church's attempt to erase native culture and spirituality.

 

Elsie Boudreau: The whole premise behind the Catholic Church and their mission with native people, with indigenous people, was to strip them of their identity. And so, sexual abuse was one way. I think it's intentional when you have an institution that is aware of problem priests, perpetrator priests, and move them to places where they believe the people are less than. Where they believe the people there would not speak out. Like I can forgive, you know, one perpetrator, right? But to move to an understanding that it was the institution, the Catholic Church that operated in a way that devalued our Yupik people, indigenous people, that's unforgivable.

 

Al Letson: Elsie was the first Alaskan native victim to go public with her identity and the identity of her abuser. In 2005, she settled her lawsuit against the Jesuits for a million dollars. Emily found letters that showed church officials received complaints about James Poole's behavior at least eight years before Elsie Boudreau was even born.

 

Al Letson: When we come back, how the church responded to those complaints. Emily follows a paper trail that shows how James Poole and other accused priests were shuffled around for decades. That's next on Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting and PRX.

 

Al Letson: From The Center for Investigative Reporting and PRX, this is Reveal. I'm Al Letson.

 

Al Letson: Today, we're revisiting a story that we broke last year with updates about what's happened since. This show may not be appropriate for everyone. It's the story of Jesuit priests accused of sexual abuse and how the Catholic Church protected them. Before the break, reporter Emily Schwing introduced us to Elsie Boudreau, an Alaskan native who was abused when she was a child by a priest named James Poole. He admitted it under oath. So, Emily, what happened to James Poole?

 

Emily Schwing: Well, the short story is not much. He wasn't tried in a criminal court and he didn't have to register as a sex offender. Decades of church correspondence show very little response to concerns about his conduct while he was serving in Alaskan Native Communities.

 

Al Letson: So, it sounds like what you're saying is people in leadership knew about James Poole?

 

Emily Schwing: Yes. One of the first letters about Poole is from 1960. That's when another Jesuit priest, Segundo Llorente, raised questions about how Poole was behaving with girls at the school outside St. Mary's Village. That's where Elsie is from. Part of Llorente's job was to watch over what was happening at St. Mary's so he writes this letter to the priest in charge of finances for the Jesuit's Alaska Missions. And here's what it says, "Some people have come to the conclusion that Father Poole has a fixation on sex, an obsession. Some sort of mental aberration that makes him see sex everywhere. Some think that maybe he's projecting outwardly what's eating him inwardly."

 

Al Letson: So, is it sounds like Segundo really had James Poole pegged?

 

Emily Schwing: He did, and many more letters tell the same story. And this is where it gets more graphic. The letters say James Poole spent hours sitting in his room alone with young girls. Asking them about sex and masturbation. One letter details how he went into the girl's dormitory and moved their beds around in his own arrangement. And Segundo Llorente was writing these letters to higher-ups in the church. Eventually, the information in those letters made it to the Superior General in Rome, the man in charge of the entire Jesuit order.

 

Al Letson: Okay, so why is that such a big deal?

 

Emily Schwing: Well, it tells us that knowledge of what James Poole was doing went all the way to the top, to Rome. But there's also something truly bizarre about all of this correspondence, Al.

 

Al Letson: What's that?

 

Emily Schwing: Segundo Llorente, he was also accused of sexual abuse and so was the priest in Alaska he sent that first letter to. I found lots of cases of whistleblower letters exchanged between Jesuits who are also accused themselves.

 

Al Letson: So, then what happened to all these guys?

 

Emily Schwing: Well, these same Jesuit letters gave me a few clues. I collected at least a hundred. I found a memo from 1948 that said, "Jesuits who committed sexual acts should be removed or resign." But that's not what happened. Other letters show priests got moved from one native community to another. It's almost like the Jesuit version of a merry-go-round. After people in Elsie's village started complaining about James Poole, he was sent to an all-boys high school in Portland, Oregon. But a year after that he went right back to another far removed native community in Alaska, and this happened over and over again with Jesuit priests for decades.

 

Al Letson: And did they ever get off the merry-go-round?

 

Emily Schwing: Well, that's what I wanted to find out too. And to do that I went to a library to flip through an official Catholic Directory. It's this giant maroon book, bigger than a shoebox and a lot heavier. It lists every priest in the United States. I'd been tipped off about where James Poole might be so I turned to a page in Washington State.

 

Emily Schwing: And it says Spokane Regis Community and the address. Lists out all the names, who lives there.

 

Emily Schwing: What I discovered is that when the merry-go-round finally stopped, James Poole, wound up at a prominent Jesuit University with a well-known law school, and an even better-known basketball team. Gonzaga University in downtown Spokane, Washington. Why would the church put a priest accused of sexually abusing young women so close to students? I went back to that in 2005 deposition tape from Elsie Boudreau's civil case. Her lawyer had the same question for Father Poole.

 

Speaker 17: So, you can use facilities on the campus without problems, right?

 

Fr. James Poole: Library, yeah.

 

Speaker 17: And you can go by yourself?

 

Fr. James Poole: Yeah.

 

Speaker 17: Okay.

 

Emily Schwing: When Father Poole was sent to Gonzaga in 2004, he was supposed to be constantly supervised and chaperoned. That's according to the rules the Jesuits came up with to deal with priests accused of sexual abuse. But that constant monitoring didn't happen.

 

Speaker 17: Have you been interviewed by any students who were doing research on Alaska since you got to Regis House?

 

Fr. James Poole: Yes. One.

 

Speaker 17: And who was that?

 

Fr. James Poole: The slightest idea.

 

Speaker 17: Okay. A man or a woman?

 

Fr. James Poole: Woman.

 

Speaker 17: And she is a student at Gonzaga?

 

Fr. James Poole: Yes.

 

Speaker 17: Okay. And who was present when she interviewed you?

 

Fr. James Poole: Nobody. It was in the front living room.

 

Emily Schwing: I started taking a closer look at this house where Father Poole was living. It's called the Cardinal Bea House, also known as the Regis Community. It's a home for retired priests. I went back to what I found in the Official Catholic Directory and cross-referenced it with lists of predator priests from a National database. Father Poole wasn't the only one who lived at this house. 19 other priests accused of sexual abuse lived there going back as far as 1986. Most of them had previously worked in native communities.

 

Al Letson: Okay, so what you're saying is 20 priests were moved away and stashed at this retirement community with other Jesuits and it's in the middle of a college campus?

 

Emily Schwing: Yeah. And so, as I kept digging I started to notice a pattern. After these Jesuits got too old for the church to shuffle them around, they'd send them to live out their days at this retirement home. And their final assignment? Praying for the church and society.

 

Al Letson: Earlier you said that Jesuits had a rule in place that these priests were supposed to be under constant supervision. Father Poole wasn't. But what about the others?

 

Emily Schwing: Yeah, they weren't either. I found a police report from 2009 that says, residents at this home didn't have to sign in or out. In that same year, students profiled the house as part of a class project and they interviewed another Jesuit, James Jacobson. In both legal documents and a deposition, Jacobson admits to using church funds to solicit sex from prostitutes in Alaska in the 1970s and '80s. And DNA testing shows he fathered children with several Alaska native women.

 

Al Letson: So, the Jesuits knew about these priests but what about Gonzaga University? What did they know?

 

Emily Schwing: So, that is the million-dollar question. Last Fall I tried to ask Gonzaga's President, Thayne McCulloh, but he turned down my request for an interview three times. Instead, Gonzaga spokesmen pointed me to a memo McCulloh sent to faculty and staff last October. It says, "We must continuously work at educating ourselves and each other about the various expressions of bias, harassment, and abuse and hold those who are found to have violated our commitments accountable. Both the Jesuit order and Gonzaga have argued that the homes not on campus. The property is owned by the Jesuits, not the university. And Gonzaga doesn't make decisions about who lives there. But it's on the official campus map and it's listed in the campus directory.

 

Al Letson: So, Emily, you're saying these priests who've been accused of raping and abusing kids and young women were sent to live on a college campus surrounded by young people?

 

Emily Schwing: That is exactly what I am telling you, Al. They went to basketball games. They used the library. And they had healthcare services at the Cardinal Bea House. Now, I should say that I haven't found evidence that the accused priests offended or abused anyone after they moved into the home.

 

Emily Schwing: Still, I wanted to check it out. So, I went there one day with Reveal's data editor, Michael Corey. He had been helping me dig into those records I mentioned.

 

Emily Schwing: Ring the bell.

 

Micheal Corey: Yep, there we go.

 

Emily Schwing: As we wait, a steady stream of students walks right in front of this building. It's pretty nondescript. Red bricks, square windows, and it's not really a house. It's more like a small office building.

 

Emily Schwing: Ring the bell, again.

 

Micheal Corey: Okay.

 

Emily Schwing: Finally, two priests, Father Max Oliva and Father Jim [Torence] answer the door.

 

Fr. Max Oliva: Come on in. I'll take your ...

 

Emily Schwing: Okay.

 

Emily Schwing: Mike and are met with a warm welcome.

 

Fr. J Torrence: Would you like a cup of coffee-

 

Micheal Corey: Oh, no.

 

Fr. J Torrence: ... or something like that?

 

Emily Schwing: I'm fine. Thank you for the offer though.

 

Fr. Max Oliva: This way.

 

Emily Schwing: Inside a long hallway gives way to an expansive living room. The same one where James Poole said he was interviewed by a female Gonzaga University student. Father's Oliva and Torrence invite Michael and me to sit on a well-worn couch and easy chairs with floral upholstery. Another Jesuit, Father Frank Case, seems curious. So, he joins the conversation. At first only for a moment but he stays standing for more than an hour. Michael asks Father Case about the alleged abusers who lived here over the years.

 

Micheal Corey: Do you have an opinion as to why these things happened in the church or in the order?

 

Fr. Frank Case: One of the scandal was that people were covering up the abuse.

 

Emily Schwing: Wait. Who, which people do you mean?

 

Fr. Frank Case: The people in charge.

 

Micheal Corey: Like the Bishops?

 

Fr. Frank Case: The Bishops. And one of the reasons I think for that is that you know they would if a guy was having trouble, sexual addiction or like alcohol addiction or anything. They'd send them off to one of these rehab programs. And then they would come back with a Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval from some psychologist saying that he's ready to be reassigned to ministry. You know, the Bishops are not psychological experts.

 

Emily Schwing: Still to be a Jesuit is to join a brotherhood.

 

Fr. Frank Case: One of the things I do, I want to reach out to the perpetrator, to the person, and say, "You're still our brother and we want to support you as a brother Jesuit for as long as we can." You know, they know they're, they've done wrong. So, you don't have to preach at, preach at them.

 

Emily Schwing: Father Oliva chimes in.

 

Fr. Max Oliva: I think we also, you know, would pray for the victims.

 

Fr. Frank Case: Yeah, we do that.

 

Fr. Max Oliva: Yeah.

 

Fr. Frank Case: It's necessary, yeah.

 

Fr. Max Oliva: Whoever they are. Yeah.

 

Emily Schwing: Mm-hmm (affirmative). I'm glad you mentioned that. I was going to ask you like do you think that they get the same kind of support that a Jesuit, like you said, like your, you know, they're still your brother would get?

 

Fr. Frank Case: I don't know, because that depends on their own families. Usually the Provincial will make contact with them and try to be supportive, and get them psychological help if as needed.

 

Emily Schwing: Father Case told us he knew James Poole, the priest who molested Elsie Boudreau. He also told us he used to the Provincial here. He was in charge of the Jesuits in Alaska, in the Northwest. What he didn't tell us is that while he was Provincial in 1989, he wrote a letter endorsing James Poole. Case called him a Jesuit priest in very good standing. This was right after Poole left Alaska because too many accusations had piled up.

 

Emily Schwing: A Gonzaga spokesperson told us, "Case didn't know about the accusations against Poole when he wrote that letter." After that meeting with Father Case, I found out he'd served in high ranking roles for the Jesuit order in Rome. When we talked he was also the vice president of Gonzaga University and he sat the bench as the Chaplin of the Bulldogs, Gonzaga's beloved basketball team. After our story aired, he and another high ranking Jesuit official at Gonzaga, Father Patrick Lee, resigned.

 

Emily Schwing: And that's not all that happened.

 

Speaker 22: Parents, students, and alumni, as you can imagine at Gonzaga University reeling this morning after these allegations were made public and Travis is here. You went to Gonzaga University.

 

Travis: Yeah.

 

Speaker 22: These predator priests were allowed to retire in luxury, in comfort, right on campus alongside you know all the students.

 

Emily Schwing: The Gonzaga University President's response to our story was contradictory. Thayne McCulloh sent a memo to faculty and staff calling our findings, "A revelation." But he also said, "He found out about the priests we discovered at Cardinal Bea House sometime between 2011 and 2016." Then this Spring, McCulloh announced the formation of a commission on "the clergy abuse crisis in our own institutional experience of it." I've asked Gonzaga several times for more information. But they haven't responded with details.

 

Emily Schwing: Our reporting made clear that abusive Jesuits got off easy, even priests who admitted under oath to sexual abuse. But I wanted to find out how Jesuit higher-ups treated survivors like Elsie Boudreau after she decided to speak up about what happened to her.

 

Elsie Boudreau: We were like the sheep and they're the shepherd, and they're not responding to their flock in a responsible way. I became like a liability to them.

 

Emily Schwing: She wrote a letter to the Bishop in Alaska more than 20 years after James Poole abused her. She says the Bishop invited her to a meeting.

 

Elsie Boudreau: It took like an hour and a half to even get him to understand what it was like for me to come forward. Not to be a victim, but what it was like for me to come forward. He didn't get it, and it became very clear to me that he did not care about what happened to me. He didn't understand the effects of the abuse. He didn't acknowledge that little girl that was hurt and say, "I'm sorry this happened to you. What can I do?"

 

Emily Schwing: We don't know of any accused priests that live at Cardinal Bea House anymore. Some were moved again, this time to a retirement home in California, that has more services for the elderly. As for the rest of them ...

 

Micheal Corey: I found James Poole. He's on the wall.

 

Emily Schwing: He is. Yeah, you're right. There he is.

 

Emily Schwing: Mike and I stand in the middle of a Jesuit cemetery on a hillside about 20 minutes outside Spokane. It's a patch of grass, dotted by a simple white marble headstones, and a wall filled with urns. James Poole is buried here, and he's surrounded by his Jesuit brothers.

 

Emily Schwing: I'm just going to look here. [inaudible] assignments, Gonzaga priest assignments. Here we go. I pull out my phone to find our list of priests. In our research, Mike and I found 92 accused Jesuits who worked in the Oregon Province.

 

Emily Schwing: John P. Leary.

 

Micheal Corey: Who was he again?

 

Emily Schwing: Former President of Gonzaga.

 

Emily Schwing: McNeil, he's on our list, Bernard F. McNeil. Coughlin. Doyle, Dominic Doyle. He was not a good dude. Francis Duffy. Yeah, it's interesting when you look you can see it on the list but then you start walking through the cemetery and they all sort of become-

 

Micheal Corey: Yeah, because it's like they're all here.

 

Emily Schwing: ... the same, yeah, they're all here.

 

Emily Schwing: Mike and I figured out that 55 of the nearly 650 Jesuits buried here were accused of sexual abuse. That's 8%. Like you could spend all day here being like, "Check, check, check."

 

Emily Schwing: After James Poole was sent to Gonzaga, he was assigned a job reserved for priests who get in serious trouble, tending the cemetery. This very cemetery. And it's a lonely spot. Almost silent except around noon when you can hear the sound of children playing. So, if you go through that iron gate and you just go down that road behind the trees there, I mean you can see the top of the school through the trees. That's it. I mean, that's a K through 12 school. And you can walk right up to it.

 

Emily Schwing: And that's exactly what Mike and I decide to do. There's a woman in a full habit watching these kids play soccer. And they're all in their plaid skirts and navy blue sweaters.

 

Micheal Corey: And it's like a beautiful fall day.

 

Emily Schwing: And the little boys have little sweater vests on. Recess. The best class of the day.

 

Al Letson: The Jesuits buried in that cemetery were accused of abusing hundreds of native children. Emily and Mike found that 80% of accused Jesuits in Alaska and the Northwest worked in Native American communities at some point in their careers.

 

Al Letson: Thanks to Emily Schwing and the NW News Network for this story. If you'd like to see some of the church's secret letters that show how leadership covered up sexual abuse by Jesuits go to our website, revealnews.org.

 

Al Letson: Our lead producer for this week's show is Katharine Mieszkowski. Taki Telonidis edited the show. Thanks to Reveal's Michael Corey, Quinn Lewis, and Narda Zacchino and to [Erin Jenkins 00:48:54], Sadie Babits, Phyllis Fletcher and the NW News Network. Thanks also to BishopAccountability.org.

 

Al Letson: Our production manager is Mwende Hinojosa. Original score and sound design by the dynamic duo, J-Breezy, Mr. Jim Briggs and Fernando, my man-yo, Arruda. Got help this week from Kaitlin Benz and Najib Aminy. Our CEO is Christa Scharfenberg. Matt Thomspon is our editor-in-chief. Our executive producer is Kevin Sullivan. Our theme music is by Camerado-Lightening.

 

Al Letson: Support for Reveal is provided by the Reva and David Logan Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Jonathan Logan Family Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the Heising-Simons Foundation and The Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation. Reveal is a co-production of The Center for Investigative Reporting and PRX.

 

Al Letson: I'm Al Letson and remember there is always more to the story.

 

Speaker 25: From PRX.