You ask yourself, “What does a sexual predator look like”. I will tell you one thing. They come in all shapes sizes, colors, cultures, religions, ages, even sexual preferences. So, you may ask is what you look for to protect yourself. The answer, there really is none. Just know that what ever happens, where ever it happens, how it happens. It’s NOT YOUR FAULT!
I was stalked and preyed upon by a Military Chaplain, to be exact a Roman Catholic Priest. He always had a great big smile and jumped at the chance to lend a helping hand to anyone. Seemed genuine and caring especially while I was deployed at the same base he was during 2010. I complemented his homily and from there he struck up a conversation as to how I was and what I needed while I was deployed. Where I thought this was harmless conversations, it was actually him sizing me up as to how receptive I was.
For years he used God against me. I felt horrible and guilty from the beginning. I told him that this was not right. That I felt like I was going to burn in hell from just his kiss. I didn’t want to be that woman that took a good man from the church. What I truly needed to tell myself is “Why is this man with the church in the first place!” His ability to use not only his rank in the military to access those with less rank but as a clergy. That’s like twice the wrong! In the military it was always known that the officers used their rank to subordinate soldiers. But think of someone being your boss and head of your church at the same time. He would Skype me late at night to watch me sleep at first. Then started asking me to send him photos. He then sent me a photo of him. Odd, who sends a photo of themselves if they are a priest on the beach, in a bathing suit, at sunset? Okay, yes I stared at the picture. I’m not dead! I’m gonna look. He had a great body. But what was I thinking! This is my priest for the next year! I cannot be thinking about him in that way. So back to the Skype calls. He started asking me to start sending him photos. You know “topless” and such. So, these conversations started getting really really weird. But eventually I gave in. I mean what’s the harm in sending a priest a photo so he can tell you that there is nothing wrong with you. (yeah, I don’t know why that sounded better in my head then as I just wrote this out). At this point, there was turning back. He knew I had low self esteem, that I was trapped in a foreign country, no friends, no family, ultimately alone.
After the first time he had sex with me. I couldn’t talk to him for a few days. I couldn’t even look at him. I was waiting for the clouds to collide and the reign of thunder and lightening to start falling upon me. For I was to blame for a priest to stray. (Wait, don’t believe that line! I was not to blame!!!) Why would a man who told me he was engaged before becoming a priest want to continue to have sex? I mean that’s the point why you stopped the engagement, it was to become one in the Lord. To be celibate with one’s faith, knowing that all you need is the Lord to fill your heart. My entire deployment I ended up being his toy. I was there when he needed me, fulfilling he manly needs. Even if it was just fingering me in the front of the vehicle while his assistant was in the back seat. I couldn’t even be seen speaking or hanging out with another male. He shamed me and gave me horrible stares if I strayed from him. I tried to break it off and repeatedly he guilted me back in over and over and over again. To the point I just gave in. This was my life. The woman of a military chaplain. Stuck forever in the daily mess of demonizing myself for what sins I’ve committed.
When I finally returned back to the stateside, I thought I was free! Until I opened my Skype account to see that he was sending me messages. He wanted to see me. Well, maybe this man wants to leave the priesthood. OH CRAP, what if he leaves the priesthood because of me! There is a huge guilt trip and that is something I couldn’t live with either. During this time of his still deployment and my ability to try to get back to a life. He would keep me on a short leash. I would tell him of my adventures, and even let him know when I would go on a date. That would not last long. He didn’t like me dating. He didn’t like other mens intentions. They (the other men’s) intentions were to just get some sex and return back to their happy lives. Sigh, now I wasn’t even good enough for anyone to love me. He would then Skype me to ask me to start touching myself. He would enjoy the ability to have access to me whenever he wanted. At this point, I was trapped again.
2012 and I’m still his Skype toy. But we talk, a lot. I mean, at this point I’m stuck with him so I might as well have meaningful conversations with him. WAIT, WHAT! NO, I want my freedom! I wrote him the biggest dear John letter I could think of. How guilty I feel, and that I don’t think this should have happened. That I cannot think of him anymore and that I’m done. I truly started seeing a guy, the sex sucked but he was someone who seemed safe. I’m not sure if the sex sucked because of the trauma of dealing with “Ani” or because it truly just had no flare to it. But I wanted to give him a true try. Ani (Priests nickname) was coming to my state to stay for a strong bonds symposium. He asked me to come see him. How could I refuse, I mean since I wrote down in my letter our sexual relationship was over. There was no harm in seeing him to help him out for a few days while he was in my neck of the woods. So, I picked him up at the airport, drove him downtown to where he was staying had dinner and promised I would be by in the morning to help him do some clothes shopping. I came back that next morning as promised. Brought him shopping for clothes. Felt relieved that this was going to finally work out. That the letter solidified my intentions for us and that he was respecting my wishes. Or so I thought. That evening over dinner it was discussed how he didn’t like that letter. It truly hurt his feelings. That he cared for me deeply and that he would love to have things where we could count on each other. He begged me to promise him we would still remain friends, to continue our conversations as before. Promising that not one day would go by where we would not call or text each other. He was having a hard time adjusting after the deployment and I, yes I was the only one who seemed to calm him down. (That my dear was a bait and hook).
How could I in any consciences mind deny him friendship? Who does a priest turn to when they are having a hard time? Friends, well, I knew more about him than I care to admit. So, I bit my lip and agreed to always be there for him. (Damn, I’m such a sucker) because right after I agreed to be there for him. He begged me not to leave that night. I told him it wasn’t right, that I needed to get home. He begged for me to just hold him and give him a hug and help him fall asleep. Little did I know that helping him jerk off next to me while I held him was his intentions. I’m silently crying knowing that no matter what I do, this man knows too much about me and I cannot get away.
I got married shortly afterwards. I never spoke of what happened between Ani and myself to him. I only said we got close down range and he was like a “Gag, Brother to me”. Well, the lies piled on and on. Every time he texted and called I was given privacy to talk to him. I never told Ani that I was planning on getting married. Why, you may ask, because he didn’t value me as an individual and the way he treated others while they tried to dance with me at the MWR downrange was deplorable. I couldn’t admit to my husband that I was the sex toy of a priest. How could I? My depression started sinking me fast. I had to think of ways to prevent myself from talking to Ani so much. I had to get away from him.
For 7 years from the time it started in the Iraqi dessert to the last time he kissed me in the airport in Honolulu Hawaii, 2017. This thing he had over me lasted. It wasn’t until my husband actually sent him an email letting Ani know that I was married and had been that I received an I’m appalled you betrayed my trust note. At first it hurt after awhile I could only laugh. Wait, WHAT? I betrayed your trust? The man who is of the cloth. The man who would not allow me to date. The man who would treat me as his own individual sex toy. The man who would not take “No” For an answer. Irony!
For all those years I hid the truth behind this man. I defended him, praised him even. He was nothing but a sexual predator and I’m so glad to rid him from my life. Maybe, I will be able to have a normal relationship with my spouse. Maybe I will be able to respect my church again. Maybe my faith restored in humanity. In the meantime. I write, I write what happened , I write how things came to be. I write so that others see something maybe in a relationship that they are in, where one suppresses another and gets out before they waste 7 years of their life as a sex toy. Learn to love yourself. Learn to question everything. And start to learn to trust in yourself again.