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151 of 155 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Clear, haunting view of an extremely hot, disturbing topic
There are few things worse than being molested as a child. One of those few things is being molested by a member of the clergy as this article proves so clearly.

As a boy, Tommy Deary was molested by a Catholic priest who early in his priesthood had his "grooming" techniques down to an art. He knew (usually) which boys would be the most easily victimized--and...
Published on July 22, 2011 by Annie B

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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Didn't Stick With Me -- And It Should Have
I read this probably back in August or September. I review nearly everything I read, but I just didn't have any enthusiasm for this one, any drive to talk about it. The good news is that it's a cheap read, and so if the topic interests you then you won't be losing much in the gamble. Perhaps it's a matter of this story being all too familiar, and so the stark recitation...
Published on December 25, 2011 by Michelle R


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151 of 155 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Clear, haunting view of an extremely hot, disturbing topic, July 22, 2011
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This review is from: A Predator Priest (Kindle Single) (Kindle Edition)
There are few things worse than being molested as a child. One of those few things is being molested by a member of the clergy as this article proves so clearly.

As a boy, Tommy Deary was molested by a Catholic priest who early in his priesthood had his "grooming" techniques down to an art. He knew (usually) which boys would be the most easily victimized--and who would be the least likely to tell. When the molestation happened to Tommy, it was a completely different era, in that the word pedophile wasn't even used and certainly wasn't heard daily. The Catholic Church clearly knew this priest had issues, as we say today, but their method of dealing with the problem priest was to send him from town to town, rather than stip him of his collar.

Tommy's suicide, though, changes everything. He never told anyone exactly what the priest did to him, though he told bits and pieces to several people over the years. Deeply troubled, Tommy committed suicide and the family believed Tommy's mental disturbances were directly due to the fact that he was molestated as a child.

One brother, in particular, took on the mission of finding the priest and was determined to get answers about what really happened between the priest and Tommy. Two of his brothers went with him. They found the priest, but not one willing to tell the truth. He, in fact, actually blamed it on the victim, as is far too often the case. Eventually, the family pursues the matter long enough and hard enough that the priest is eventually stripped of his priesthood--something he would not give up, even though he was too old and sick to perform any priestly duties.

No one can read this article without coming away feeling good that the family of the victim does have at least having some degree of satisfaction in knowing the priest was defrocked. I admire their courage and determination so much. It's just heartbreaking that Tommy himself was not still here when that happened, nor was he able to ever freely tell his story and heal.

This is a very well written article about one victim out of many--just by this one priest alone--of the Catholic Church scandals of recent years. It shows the Catholic Church's tendencies to ignore priests with sexual problems and its denial that such things happened in the Church at all.

What A Predator Priest does exceptionally well is to take all the priest scandal/molestation media hoopla and make it personal. This is one person and his family's story, yes, but it is representative of so many others, but in this one story I was able to connect with whole subject in a personal way that I hadn't been able to do before. The scandals have just been so huge, but this article boils it down to one person.

While the article does not cast outright negative aspersions on the Church, it does show its reluctance to face up to the long-standing problems among its priests. Surprisingly, I was not as outraged as I thought I would be after reading this article. The Catholic Church has suffered, but its members have suffered as well, and they need the Church to regain its inner strength and restore its reputation. Much of what happened during this man's story was in such a totally different world that I think that other denominations would've reacted the same way. It's easy to forget in this era of over-telling everything there is to talk about that it hasn't been that many years ago when there wasn't even an adequate language to describe what was actually happening back then and even less education on how to deal with it effectively.

The only thing that bothered me at all about this article is that I cannot help but wonder if this is what Tommy, who never completely told his story, would've wanted. He seemed to be a very private person in general, but that might have been because of the shame he felt. I can never know the answer, but I will continue to ask myself if this public telling of his story is what he would've wanted. I have to hope that it is.

Overall, I was riveted by this article and am glad I read it. It's very well written and flows nicely. The length is perfect for a lunch break. I hope that this family now has peace and can move forward, knowing they did they best they could do for their brother and son.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Horrendous - but necessary - reporting, July 25, 2011
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W. V. Buckley (Kansas City, MO) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: A Predator Priest (Kindle Single) (Kindle Edition)
Not being a Catholic, the controversy and anger over the issue of pedophile priests and the church officials who either shelter them or keeping moving them from one church to another has always seemed somewhat removed from me. Yes, molesting children is vile - espcially when done by an authority figure in the child's life - and it is morally reprehensible to protect pedophile under the mantle of the priesthood. But beyond that, I was content not to tell the Vatican how to run it's church as long as the church didn't try to tell me how to live my life.

In David Margolick's Kindle Single A Predator Priest, the issue is brought front and center and presented not as something that takes a toll on the victims, the priesthood and the church. Margolick's work shows the very human toll priestly pedophilia exacts. On one side of the story is Tommy Deary, one of 13 children in a Catholic family. On the other is Fr. Bernard Bissonnette, who is inordinately fond of fishing trips with the teenage sons of his church members. On these trips (and at every opportunity) Bissonnette is fondling the boys and often moving beyound mere touching to oral and anal sex.

Despite rumors of his behavior (this was the early '60s when priests were trusted unconditionally) Bissonnette's superiors moved him from one church to another, finally moving him from Connecticutt to Arizona. Throughout it all, Bissonnette continued to molest young boys ... homing in on the most vulnerable with an almost sixth sense. One of his victims before he left Connecticutt was Tommy Deary who suffered for years as the result of molestation at the hands of Bissonnette. It took Deary years to finally admit what had happened to him. By this time the molestation has already taken a toll on Tommy's relationships, family and even at times his sanity. It ended up taking his life, too, as he connected a hose to his car's exhaust and died in his garage clutching a Bible.

To find peace and make sense of their brother's suicide, three of Tommy's brothers set out to find Bissonnette in Arizona. If they hoped to find remorse and repentence in the old priest, they were disappointed. Bissonnette remained defiant, claiming that Tommy (and presumably hundreds of others) seduced him. The victimizer attempted to play victim.

This is not an easy work to read. Neither is it a work that allows the reader to sit passively on the sidelines. But it is a work that challenges authority and holds that authority responsible for what can only be called a great evil.
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52 of 62 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars One priest, one family, decades of abuse and suffering, July 22, 2011
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This review is from: A Predator Priest (Kindle Single) (Kindle Edition)
Growing up Catholic for many boys meant becoming an altar boy, fish on Friday, confession on Saturday and mass on Sunday. Unfortunately for many of those boys it also meant falling victim to a predatory priest.

If we've been desensitized by all the attention given to the issue of sexual abuse by priests, David Margolick, succeeds in helping plant the topic back on the public agenda. "A Predator Priest" has force and impact because Margolick, a journalist who has written for "Vanity Fair" and was a reporter for the "New York Times" tells a compelling story that focuses on one priest and one family. The issue of predatory priests is abstract. Margolick tells a story that's squalid and all too real.

For a half century until he simply became worn out and in ill health, the Rev. Bernard Bissonnette, "Father Barney" molested dozens of boys in the many parishes in Connecticut and New Mexico to which the Catholic Church assigned him in order to stay ahead of the repeated allegations of sexual abuse.

One of those boys was Tommy Deary, one of 13 children of the deeply faithful Deary family of the sleepy mill town of Putnam, Conn. Described by his brothers and sisters as a trusting, vulnerable kid, Tommy at 13 was an altar boy at St. Mary's and was being repeatedly molested by Bissonnette.

A victim, Deary was tormented with guilt and shame for 30 years, his brother Teddy said, "His suffering didn't show. It's not like he had a limp. It was a pain that you couldn't see." In September 1993 at age 43, he went into his garage, hooked up a hose to his car and asphyxiated himself.

Three of his brothers set out to find a measure of justice. They succeeded in 2005 when the Vatican defrocked the old, infirm priest. The church described his offense in Latin, "Delictum contra sextum eodem sexu: sexual misconduct with someone of the same sex."

That's only the shell of this painful yet remarkable story. Margolick has researched and documented a forceful account of abuse that strains credulity and serves as an indictment of the Catholic Church, which by turning a blind eye becomes complicit in decades of abuse involving an uncounted number of victims.
[4.5 stars]
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Predator Exposed, August 24, 2011
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This review is from: A Predator Priest (Kindle Single) (Kindle Edition)
David Margolick, a long-time contributing editor at Vanity Fair and other publications such as Newsweek and Portfolio, writes a graphic and compelling account of Father Bissonnette, a priest pedophile. He followed Bissonnette's trail of abused boys from town to town as he was moved from place to place when his perfidy was discovered by the local church hierarchy, who Instead of dealing with the deed, simply sent him to another parish where he could continue his sick habit.

In A Predator Priest Margolick gives names and places and exposes how the church hierarchy tried to cover up and deny that such a problem existed. He shows how this denial and refusal to take corrective action extended from the local parishes up to the Pope himself, leaving children the unprotected victims of the priest, the one person they should be able to trust the most. It is the story specifically of Tommy Cleary who was repeatedly abused and, later in life, committed suicide as a result of the ensuing psychological damage. It is, at the same time, the story of how one man who claimed to be in the service of God ruined the lives of numbers children from Massachusetts to New Mexico.

After Tommy's death his brothers dedicated themselves to finding out the truth, making it public and taking the priest down. In the process they exposed the depth and breadth of this problem in the Catholic Church in America and the effort made to keep the "the lid on it." The response to "clean in up" by priests from the parish to the Pope has been much too slow and way too little.

This book should be read by every Catholic in existence and particularly by those who are the parents of boys. David Magolick has given you the truth and perhaps the truth can set little boys free from priest predators once and for all.

The book acts as a call to action.

It costs only 99 cents to download A Predator Priest. If you don't have a Kindle you can get FREE computer software so you can read it on your computer. It's time to know what's going on and it's time to stop allowing pedophile priests to ruin the lives of children.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Predator Priest, August 12, 2011
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This review is from: A Predator Priest (Kindle Single) (Kindle Edition)
A Predator Priest was a good read with a tragic and horrible topic. The life of one priest and the lifelong impact he had on the lives of many young boys and families. The priest should never have been able to be ordained if there were people paying close attention to Rev Bissonnette prior to his ordination. The story in this Kindle Single revolves around the life and abuse of Thomas Deary in Connecticut. The Church leadership in CT sent Bissonnette to New Mexico for healing, but instead he moved into an environment with a cultural influence that would hide his wrong doings even more deeply. i learned in the book that the movie Doubt was roughly based on Bissonnette even having the priest in the movie from Bissonnettes' home town. There are as many questions asked at the end of the book as can be considered prior to the reading of this story.

While this is not an easy read because of the topic, it is a succinct read with information about how the families were impacted by the horrors placed upon their children by abusive clergy and apathetic leadership. If you are interested in the Sexual Abuse in the Catholic Church this is a must read. If you were in New Mexico or Connecticut and Catholic, a must read.

As a small Kindle note, this is more like a short story, true, but short then a full book. The cost is .99cents. Well worth the price.

This book is recommended.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Predator Priest, August 2, 2011
This review is from: A Predator Priest (Kindle Single) (Kindle Edition)
Excellent and validates the enormous indifference I have experienced here in Michigan, Lansing Diocese. You mention a predator that was also in the above diocese: Fr. Jason Sigler who was sent to New Mexico from St. Johns the Evangelist Church, Jackson, Michigan. His victims there are still a secret.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Didn't Stick With Me -- And It Should Have, December 25, 2011
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This review is from: A Predator Priest (Kindle Single) (Kindle Edition)
I read this probably back in August or September. I review nearly everything I read, but I just didn't have any enthusiasm for this one, any drive to talk about it. The good news is that it's a cheap read, and so if the topic interests you then you won't be losing much in the gamble. Perhaps it's a matter of this story being all too familiar, and so the stark recitation of facts just doesn't seem like more than you'd get in a newspaper story. At this point, I don't need to be convinced that the Catholic Church, for all of its positive qualities, has allowed their children to be devastated while shuffling the abusers around and hiding them. Now, I want to make sense of it all.

Father Bernard Bissonnette becomes more cliche than man as he pretty much hit every stereotype as he was allowed to abuse children for decades. A family seeks to confront him about it, and the beginning of the book promises this will happen. At the end we find out that he is pretty unrepentant, but so old and sickly that he is a pitiable figure. No one gets closure. The lack of closure for the reader is nothing compared to the lack of closure for these families. However, I'm left wondering what it all means and what the future seems to hold. Where is the context and how does this fit in with the bigger picture? Since the details, tragically, follow a familiar pattern, what does this piece offer?

I've I'd read this story years ago, it perhaps would have been enough in it's current form. The tale is no longer a new one, and even as the details should be shocking they've become too familiar. What are the answers? How is the church apt to change to respond to this? We live in a time when the word "priest" is said, and people have to will themselves not to snicker -- even people who were raised Catholic. What now?
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Disturbing, August 19, 2011
This review is from: A Predator Priest (Kindle Single) (Kindle Edition)
David Margolick, an accomplished writer and contributor to such outstanding publications as Vanity Fair, Newsweek, and the New York Times places on his own shoulders the burden of telling a story about another pedophile priest and the deafening silence -- some would argue "collusion by default" -- of the Catholic church in its practice of moving problem priests to remote unknown territories only to inflict more abuse upon parishioners in uninformed communities.

The burden borne by Margolick is not his telling of the story but his doing so in a way that respects the objective distance a journalist must keep from his subject. Margolick is not shy about the details of Father Bernard Bissonnette's lifetime of abuse and the church's scandal of keeping his trespasses secret for over thirty years. The reader however is left to make the judgment for himself regarding Bissonnette's actions.

The story of Bernard Bissonnette begins in his home parish of Grosvenordale, Connecticut, where he was known even before his ordination, having spent his early years there. In retrospect, community members noted that his early tendencies were odd as he seemed more interested in very personal sexual behaviors among his peers, such as the frequency of their masturbation, rather than the typical interests of teenage boys.

The church would later speculate that had they known of some of the things he was reputed to have done, Bissonnette would never have been ordained in the first place. This hindsight however fell far short of being a satisfying response to the men and the families victimized by Bissonnette's crimes.

The story centers on one particular victim and his family. Tommy Deary was one of many children in the Deary family, an athlete and an altar boy, who belonged to a prominent Catholic family in nearby Putnam. Deary was devoted to his faith, the church, and to his priest. Like many victims of sexual abuse, Tommy Deary would not turn against the perpetrator, Bissonnette, who had explained to Deary that God was pleased with his sexual actions. Bissonnette, many years later, explained to Deary's family that he had done nothing wrong and that he had only helped Tommy to become a man.

After a troubled marriage, numerous cycles of depression, and finally revelation to his family, Tommy Deary took his own life by connecting a hose from his car's exhaust into the back seat of his idling car where he waited to die with the Bible on his lap. He was found dead a couple of days later by one of his sisters.

Tommy's younger brother, Gene Michael Deary, found Bissonnette in a remote town in Southern New Mexico. He and two of his brothers traveled to the state to confront the retired priest who was then in failing health after his lifelong abuse of alcohol and his diabetes. Bissonnette explained to the Deary brothers only that the family's accusations had ruined his life as a priest, and he showed no remorse nor an admission of his guilt.

This Kindle Short is said to be 54 pages in book page length. Margolick manages to keep the scope of his story on Bissonnette and Deary, and it is covered well. He is successful in engaging the reader from the outset and maintaining a high level of interest throughout the book. This is a story which needed to be told, and it is told well.

Article first published as Kindle Short Review: A Predator Priest by David Margolick on Blogcritics.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sometimes justice comes too late..., July 23, 2011
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This review is from: A Predator Priest (Kindle Single) (Kindle Edition)
Sometimes justice comes too late... but then again better late than never. I might be sounding like my grandmother, but those old phrases have proven to be so true over and over again as one treks through life and we begin repeating them. For Tommy Deary justice did not seem timely. He might still be with us if the cowardly Diocese of Norwich had done what they should have done when Bissonette was first found to be a deviate.

"Pedophile" might not have been a common term in those days, but everyone knew what it was when a child was victimized by a sick individual that preyed on them. It's puzzling to me even today when I question why I still attend a Catholic church after growing up in one that did nothing to protect defenseless children from someone as disgusting as Bissonette. I find it difficult to even type his name... nevermind putting it in quotes. I once lived in one of his parishes... but was not affected as traumatically as some of the boys were. Being females, my girl classmates and I had to sit through his so-called religion classes that were frequently laced with sexual comments and embarassing written tests he gave us. The dreaded classes felt more like confessionals as he questioned our thoughts and deeds as pubescent teens. This was a sick man, and nothing was done about it until very late. It happened because a family lost a son and brother, and were compelled to get this creep away from more children.

Rest in peace Tommy Deary, and hail to the bravery of your brothers for soldiering on to find justice for you. Another hats off to David Margolick for having the fortitude and tenacity to bring the truth out into the open to assist all those "small town" trusting individuals that have held this nasty secret so near to them for so long. It's okay to tell it all; it's okay to let the truth be known. You are saving lives and soothing the souls of all those troubled young boys that probably are still secretly wondering if it's something they did wrong.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Evil Wolf Dressed in Sheep's Clothes, August 7, 2011
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This review is from: A Predator Priest (Kindle Single) (Kindle Edition)
As a middle-aged, lifelong Catholic, it is so disturbing to read about the abhorrent way the Church systematically covered up this pervasive issue for multiple decades. "A Predator Priest" details the story of one of these devils disguised as a priest, Bernard Bissonette, and the tragic impact he had on one Connecticut family, the Deary's, and other communities he was transferred to "serve". Margolick's story illustrates the utter failure of an institution to protect those it is intended to serve. Not only did the Church turn a blind eye to the abuse of children taking place by priests, it was complicitous by simply shuffling these rotten people to other locations so they could continue their vile and disgraceful behavior. The Deary's story and the actions of individuals like Bishop Reilly illustrate this all too clearly (and disappointingly). All this is captured in an objective and harrowing way that will leave any reader, particularly Catholic ones frustrated and angry to the point of questioning their faith in their Church.

While Bissonette is a reprehensible person, the most disturbing thing this book documents is the Church leadership, the Diocese, Bishops and Archbishops, who willfully ignore the pleas of their flock and the incontrovertible evidence of evil in their midst. They made the victims feel as if they were in the wrong, willfully covering up this issue rather than confronting it head on and defrocking the monsters in their midst. This is a disturbing, frustrating and tragic topic, but Margolick does the topic justice so we won't forget and can prevent such institutional failure from ever taking place again -- and we can put people like Bissonette where they belond, behind bars.
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