21 September 1997
I was expecting to arrive to the meeting to find one, maybe two, other people with chips on their shoulders and half-baked stories about a priest who didn't let them serve how they wanted in the church or parents who abused them and blamed it on God. My isolation within the Church was far more extensive than I had realized, however; the full reach of scandal within the priesthood was, and I'm certain still is, well beyond my understanding.
There were at least a dozen people in that room, and I was made aware that there were other meetings that happened on other days of the week. I do not know how many. My heart broke for these people, and the few stories I heard that night were horrific. But, having studied the hierarchy in this region before arriving, I knew that each of the handful of clergy being discussed all answered to one man, and had throughout the time in question. I decided to have a talk with him later.
For the time being, though, I tried to focus on the people at the meeting, and two were of special note. There was a Dr. Harris overseeing the whole thing, a licensed psychiatrist who seemed genuinely dedicated to helping the people here. The other did not introduce himself, but I recognized quickly that he was there to observe as much as I was. He seemed to take special notice of the people who were primarily angry, and I committed myself to following him. After the meeting, I grabbed a business card from Dr. Harris and slipped away somewhere quiet to watch, and caught the mystery man approaching one of his targets and inviting them to learn more about an initiative to hold the clergy accountable. Afterward, I tracked the man to a large, seemingly abandoned building on the edge of town. I could sense a massive amount of spiritual activity in the building and, deciding I wasn't yet ready to face it, I left to continue my research through another avenue.
Evidence compiled for use during the trial of Father Benedict de Monte.