I write in response to Paul Garcia’s letter in which he admonishes me about the Br. Thomas Trager matter. First of all, Mr. Garcia referred me to the Ten Commandments; in particular, the eighth or ninth depending on the religion one practices. I assume he meant the commandment about “not bearing false witness against thy neighbor.” Mr. Garcia doesn’t believe Brother Thomas did anything untoward in his fifty years of service to the Church and thirty years of service to the Rockaway community. Yet, the New York Police Department, after an investigation into allegations of sexual abuse against Br. Thomas, arrested him and charged him with multiple counts. Perhaps Mr. Garcia is not aware of the fact that abusers often develop stellar reputations among the communities they serve in order to have access to the people they wish to abuse.
Recall that the late Fr. Bruce Ritter was viewed as a “saint” by many when he ran Covenant House in Manhattan. People showered him with praise, attention, and money. Fr. Bruce Ritter and, perhaps, Br. Tom Trager, gained the trust of the communities they served while at the same time insulating themselves from accountability and scrutiny, creating “kingdoms,” if you will. The result: the communities were duped, kids were abused, and the Paul Garcias of the world can’t bring themselves to think otherwise. Could Mr. Garcia be accused of breaking the first commandment; “thou shalt worship God and God alone?”
REV. ROBERT HOATSON, PHD