met Fr. Nicholas Voelker for the first time in July 2002 at our parish, his first assignment out of seminary.
Nov. of 2002, he approached my husband and me about helping him prepare engaged couples for marriage. Things went
along smoothly for 3-6 months. His advances started subtly around April of 2003, I remember him telling my daughter
to tell me I was beautiful.
We talked about our faith, scripture and our mutual love of our Lord. He would
explain why as Catholics we believe what we do and he would explain scripture to us and tell us how much he loved our Lord.
His visits increased to once every couple of weeks. He always complimented
me on how I looked, he would tell me I was beautiful, that I was lovely, always commenting on my hair and clothes.
He started to say things like "I will never come in between you guys." "The minute I sense that
I would be coming in between a couple I would be out of there." I would just respond, "Oh Father you
never will." At the time I had no idea how a celibate, Catholic priest would "come in between" a married couple.
I was so naive.
He told us about a "friend", in Columbus, OH. She worked at the
Josephinum Seminary and she was "phenomenally gorgeous". (I talked with her 9/04‘, she said he kissed
her once on the lips when leaving, she said her husband said more than once, "I wonder if he is ever going to make it
as a priest." Fr. Nick told me on more than one occasion he knew he was destined to fail at the priesthood.) He
told me she "worked out all the time and had a great body." He told me she "turned his
crank". He told me so eloquently one evening told me that I "turned his crank" too, and that I "held
the key to the sacristy of his heart", "that if anything would ever happen to me he didn't know what he would do."
Sept. 03’ I started my student teaching to finish my Secondary Education Degree. I was in my last
trimester of pregnancy with our 4th baby and my husband changed his work schedule so he could stay at home with our son in
the mornings, and work every afternoon/evening so our son would only have to be at the sitters in the afternoon.
He asked us about the 5 year part between our 2nd daughter and son and we told him of our miscarriage. During
this time he would also bring up the death of my brother which would also bring me to tears and once again vulnerable to his
physical affection. I told him my brother Nick’s death wasn’t the first time I experience tragedy in my life.
In high school I lost my best friend, Liz, in a car accident. Whom my oldest daughter is named after.
He told us
about his dealing with his celibacy. He told us about his horrible childhood, his alcoholic dad, the verbal and physical
abuse, the lack of money and the lack of support from his family during his seminary. He told us he didn't have support
from his family because "they were jealous of him". (He told me on vacation that he once hurt a family member so badly
and that he knew he would be paying for it the rest of his life and in the life to come.)
He told us the
problems with the staff at our parish and the "needy parishioners" that never gave him the respect he
deserved. How they treated him "like a child". He told us about his horrible ordeals in seminary and that he
was "all alone and had no one but our Lord". He thought he was never going to get ordained, because the administration
was "after him". (When we told our other associate pastor what happened, he told us he had heard Fr.
Nick had some major issues in seminary but did not go into specifics.) Fr. Nick had sob story after
sob story. We pitied him and he knew I would be there to comfort him.
I was very emotional during
this time due to my last trimester of my pregnancy, my exhaustion from my student teaching, keeping up with 3 kids in the
evening without my husband, missing my husband tremendously and I was finally truly facing the losses in my life once and
for all. To say the least I was VULNERABLE and human!
In Oct. of 2003, we threw a surprise birthday party
for him. He said "he didn’t understand why we loved him so much." "That he never had friends like
us before." "That we were the friends that he always longed for." As I was leaving he kissed me on the
lips. I was surprised but not offended, I believed it was innocent, others were in the same room. I greet my brother
with a kiss on the lips, as well as a brother in-law, who I have known since I was 2 years. old, although I see these
family members a few times a year, not every week. I thought it was ok, we were "his refuge" from the "horrible"
parish, we were his "adopted family", as his "siblings didn’t want to have anything to do with him".
Although he did get support from his parents, he said they were "emotionally immature" and they were "work"
for him. He talked about the party for weeks, and cried "no one had ever loved him like this before" and he
would ask over and over "Why do you guys love me so much?".
He started telling Brent and I, we
were "#1 in his life, you are my family now, I don’t need my siblings, you give me everything I need, blah...blah..."
He started to kiss me every time we greeted and when he would leave. He would come late in the evening,
around 9:00 and would stay until 1:00 or 2:00 a.m. He would put his hands on my tummy to "feel the baby".
I became in his words his "spiritual spouse". His "Mary Magdalene." During Thanksgiving he was on retreat. His spiritual director on his retreat told him he could make two phone calls, one was to a "brother priest",
the other to me. He singled me out and I felt SPECIAL!
leaving vestment catalogs and catalogs with other priestly things at our home and other parishoners homes. He would
list off things like a humeral veil and a censor stand, a red cope, and then say, "Now don’t you get any ideas,
things this cost way too much." His vestments meant everything to him. When he was vested or dress up for
some occasion he would say things like, "I make this look good", and "I know I got it going on."
I had my baby Dec. 13 at approx. 5:00 am, he was in the hospital room before noon that day and there was
a blizzard going on. He told me, "I hope you don't mind but I consider Alex my baby too." I was at a loss
for words once again. He gave Alex a "private" baptism. He told us he expected at least $50.00 for a
baptism and $250.00 for a wedding. Looking back the baptism was just a one man show, just like all of the masses he
says. He uses the Eucharist, as a gimmick for his sideshow masses. "Look at me, Look at me, see how long I can hold up
the Eucharist during the consecration. "
a Christmas surprise party for him once again. We gave him the ceansor stand and he acted surprised, "How did you
know?" and I thought what do you mean, "How did we know?" You told us.
We spent Christmas evening together and he told us it was the best Christmas he had ever had in his life.
He would tell me on many occasions "Oh Peggy, you won’t even be able to imagine the graces that you are
going to receive from are Lord from letting a priest into your family."
The first time I heard him say Fuck was when he came over one night to see me, Brent of course was gone, he
came in his clerics, and he just sat down and his beeper went off and he blurted angrily, "Fuck!" He apologized
profusely, but after that, "Fuck" became his favorite word. I couldn't understand how this man of God would
get so angry at his flock calling and needing him.
On Valentine's Day he told us that he had a surprise for
us and that he would renew our vows on our anniversary. We told him it wasn’t necessary but he insisted and said
it would hurt him if we wouldn’t let him. Later Brent and I agreed that "renewing of the vows"
would happen only if another couple were with us. That evening he gave me a wall rosary his mom made for
us. He asked me how he looked and I told him fine. While we were seated at the table he leaned over to me and said, "I
wanted to look good for you."
The week before Ash
Wednesday 04‘. Fr. Nick, a couple women from church and I met for lunch to talk about the Ignatious spiritual exercises
that Father wanted us to do during Lent. His goal for us was to figure out what our inordinate attachments were
and detach ourselves from them. Father already had my inordinate attachment figured out he told me, it was control. I needed
to let go of the need to control. My readings of course were, "Song of Songs" and "The Dignity of Women"
by Pope John Paul II. He had read me "Song of Songs" previously and asked me if it made me feel uncomfortable,
it didn't make me feel uncomfortable but now I know that it made him feel uncomfortable and he was probably getting aroused
by reading it to me.
I thought he had been kissing these women from church also. When I found out he hadn't,
I asked him if he was sure it was "ok" that he kiss me. He told me him kissing me was "pure and chaste""
and that our relationship and love for each other was from God, the Spirit told him so."
On the flip side, he told us there was "a dark side of him that he hoped we never saw."
During lent and through these Ignacious exercises and
meditations I remembered an incident in high school I had repressed for 15 years. In high school I was sexually assaulted
by 3 boys, 2 held me down while the 3rd assaulted me.
One evening I told him of the assault and he said,
"I knew" and "I bet I know what you are thinking." I asked "What?" He said, "You are thinking
he just gives and gives and gives. I just keep continually giving myself to you." I sat there dumbfounded.
He knew of my aversion for men and asked, "if you feel this way
towards men why do you trust me, why have you allowed me to be a part of your life and family?" I answered, "Because
you are celibate and I know you would never do any thing to hurt me." His responded, "Hey I guess I am not like
other guys, I suppose the average guy by now would have tried something on you, they would have tried getting "it "
from you and I know that we could never do "it:" that would not be good, well it would be GOOD but …."
I was speechless.
It was during lent that I started purging
and going days without eating, using the excuse that it was fasting for our Lord, looking back I knew at that time I was losing
control of myself to this man.
It was also at the beginning
of lent that he told us that in order for us to help him prepare any more couples for marriage that we would have to sign
a "profession of faith". Just another part of his control.
Our conversations changed to his affection for me and his affection for me increased, we would sit on my couch Sat.
night after Sat. night and after Brent would go to bed and he would talk non-stop, stopping occasionally to give me a peck
or hug me because I "deserved it" for some reason or another. He would say things like, "See Peggy
this is ok, we can do this because I know this will not go any further because it is pure and chaste" I knew something
wasn’t right because of his constant need to talk about it.
He would say things like "If only
we would have met 10 or so years ago, maybe our vocations would be different." and "No this is your vocation, this
is where you are suppose to be here with Brent and the kids.", "Are you sure this vocation is right for you?" and
"Have you ever thought about leaving Brent? My jaw dropped to the floor, I told him, "No I never have
thought about leaving Brent." He responded, "I have never thought of leaving the priesthood either."
I was dumbfounded, wonder where such a question would come from.
One night imparticular he was hugging
me and gave me a tight squeeze, I pulled away from him and he looked very strange and I said, "Father are you ok?"
He said yes that he was fine and then he untucked his shirt and pulled it over his shorts. He got up to leave and that was
the first time I saw a wet spot on his shorts. There were times he would come over dressed up in slacks and a nice
shirt and when he would get up to leave I could see his erection plain as day sticking out in his slacks. I was
so naïve I remember thinking, "I wonder what Father spilled on himself, if he would have asked me I would have gotten
him something to wipe it up".
I told my best friend about these wet spots on Fr.Nick ‘s
shorts and she said, "Oh gross Peggy he is cumming in his shorts." I once again in denial, say, "Oh no he couldn’t
be" and she reminded me that when a man hasn’t had "it" for a long time that it doesn’t take much.
I now believe when he was holding me and giving me those tight squeezes that what he was doing was having an orgasm.
I called him on Good Friday and left a message telling him
that I didn’t want to see him for a while and that we wouldn’t be able to make our Easter plans.
I went to Good Friday services and Fr. Nick could barely function on the alter. I thought he must be physically ill.
I called him that night and asked him if he was ok? He told me he wasn’t, he was pissed off at me and he thought I
was rude and inconsiderate. "How could you do this to me." "You hold the key to the sacristy of my
heart" After putting me on a guilt trip I caved and said he could come over on Easter.
me on the alter after the Easter Vigil mass. He had arranged a photographer take our "family" picture.
He would tell me later, "You know I am your knight in shining armor, I especially see that when I look at that picture.
I am dressed like a knight in the Lord’s army and that would make me your knight in shining armor."
He came over on Easter in his clerics. He leaned on the kitchen counter
and hugged me, he pushed on my lower back with his hand to push me into his groin. It was Easter and this priest was at
my home in his clerics, pushing his hard-on onto me.
He came over Easter Monday, six hours later he left
saying he had to make dinner plans.
Two weeks after Easter
Brent and the kids went out of town. I stayed at home with Alex. Fr.Nick came over that night. When he was
leaving we went on the front porch and he kissed me and hugged me tight, squeezing me very close to him, making a moaning
sound. He released me and then bent over as if he couldn’t catch his breath. I asked him if he was ok and he said yes
that he would be fine in a minute. Once he got his composure, he started to ask me all these strange questions like, "Do
you think I am leading you down a dark path? Do you think I am leading you astray? Do I take any of your affection away from
your husband?" "I think I am leading you to an "occasion of sin". (That damn occasion of sin again) I
was so tired I was slap happy and I just laughed at him and said, "No way Father you are crazy."
next morning I woke up thinking, he wasn’t asking those questions of me but of himself. He called me that morning and
said he had a big surprise. He came over and sat me down saying, "I can't kiss you any more because
when I kiss you I get aroused and if I continue to kiss you I know I am going to do something
To say I "lost it" would be an understatement. I cried and cried, "Father
you love me you would never do anything to hurt me." I said it over and over, and over and over he said that "yes
in fact if he continued to kiss me that he just knew he would eventually do something to me." I cried out, " I know
you wouldn’t, you said your affection was pure and chaste." I was devastated. I was livid! My heart physically
hurt, my whole body hurt. I couldn't believe this man, this priest who had told me over and over that he loved me, that he
would never hurt me was now telling me that not only was he getting aroused by me but that HE WAS GOING TO DO SOMETHING TO
He said, "Peggy, our love can withstand anything, for better or for worse, right?"
I remember being in shock about the whole situation and then he just said a portion of a marriage vow to me. The guy truly
thought I was his spouse. He left me and that was the first time that I felt suicidal. I wanted to kill myself, I hated him,
hated that I had ever met him, hated that I had let him into my home, hated that I let him in my children's lives, hated that
I had grown to loved him, hated that I had trusted him. I had never felt so betrayed in all my life.
I called my best friend, I was afraid I would do something to myself and I knew I couldn't because of baby Alex.
She came right over, she held me in her arms and rocked me, telling me that it hurt so bad because he hadn’t been honest
with me and because I loved him so much. She was right.
Nick would later joke that he never dreamed as a celibate priest he too had to practice NFP. I never thought it was funny.
Brent came home the next day and I told him everything.
He called Fr. Nick on Monday and asked him what the hell was going on. At this point I didn’t want to see
the asshole again, but Brent wanted to talk to him. Fr. Nick basically told Brent the same story that he got aroused
when he kissed me, but left out the part that he was sure he would do something to me if he continued kissing me. So I said
"What about the part about you doing something to me." At first he tried to deny it and I called him on it, I said
"You can not say that you never said it because you did say it several times. " He did finally say that he did say
those things to me but that he didn’t mean that he would actually do something to me. He assured me that he didn’t
mean it and that he had no intention of every doing anything to me. That it was all a miscommunication. BULLSHIT! Miscommunication
He told us that "everything was working well down there". He said he was surprised that
I didn’t know how he was feeling because when he kissed me, he was "surprised that I didn’t feel his heart
almost jump out of his chest." He told me "after he kissed me and he would leave it would take him 30 minutes or
more to calm down". And before he came over he felt like he was coming into battle because all he thought of was kissing
me and what it was going to do to him." My thinking was, "Boy Fr. Nick it must have sure been a bitch as you continued
it for 7 months".
I called his spiritual advisor about this situation and he told me he had told
Fr. Nick not to tell me about him getting aroused. He told Fr. Nick to "keep kissing me and continue to get aroused,
as it was just human nature but to only visit me when Brent was around." And that "When Fr. Nick says
crazy things like that ask him to clarify what he was saying." Ok.
Fr. Nick told me
during this turmoil, "If the priesthood is the crown then you are the jewels." My response was, "Father you
know just the right words to say, don’t you ?" He just laughed, he knew exactly what he was doing. I was having
a hard time dealing with this new revelation. I felt sick all the time. My hair started falling out in clumps, Brent
has had to clean out our shower drain frequently.
he told me of a priest he heard of that frequently picked up prostitutes and one evening the prostitute ended up being an
undercover cop and the priest was arrested and his problem became public. He got help and was able to go back to his same
parish and the people still loved him and forgave him. He then asked me if he were to ever get into that kind of a situation
would I still love him. On another occasion he asked me that if he ever landed in prison would I visit him and pray for him.
One evening within the next couple of weeks, he was over late at
our home once again, Brent had gone to bed and Fr.Nick was hugging me. I knew that what he was doing was not within the realms
of celibacy so I asked him, "How many other women do you hold like this?" He looked at me shocked and dismayed,
he responded, "Only you, I don’t hold any other women the way I hold you." "You are my angel. Like
the angels that held Jesus in the garden." As he was hugging me I felt his body creep further and further down onto
the couch and before I knew it he rolled me on top of him. There I was laying on top of a priest, in between his legs, with
my legs sticking out straight into mid air. I rolled myself right back off as quickly as he rolled me on and stood up. He
immediately asked me if I was ok and I told him I was. He asked me if he had crossed the boundaries, I told him he had. He
asked me if it made me feel uncomfortable, I said it had. He asked me what Brent would think if he would have come out and
seen that. I told him Brent would not have been happy. He asked me again and again if he had physically hurt me, and
when I convinced him that he hadn’t then he start apologizing profusely. By this time we were outside and he was on
his knees on my driveway begging for forgiveness and promising me that it would never ever happen again. And telling me that
he was petrified at the thought of what Brent would have done if he would have saw. He was rambling and I was in shock. I
told him I "forgave him and that I wouldn’t tell Brent", I just wanted him to leave. He immediately let out
a sigh of relief and jumped up from his knees and left. I could not believe what he just did to me. I was in a fog. I remember
crawling into bed that night feeling very dirty, anxious and uncomfortable as I lay next to my sleeping, unsuspecting husband.
I saw Fr. Nick the next day at Sunday mass, greeting people in his cassock like he was the pope, rushing
over to me to give me a hug and I shuddered. I thought these people have no idea who is in their midst. A wolf in sheep’s
clothing. I remember sitting there in church, wondering if he had made it to confession before he consecrated our Lord that
so sick and dirty. I knew I must have done something wrong to make this "holy,celibate, man of God" do something
Two weeks later he was given his new assignment in
Council Grove, KS.
He would say many times, "There is a new pope in Morris County." His move was
ironically to replace a priest that he turned in for infidelity. (The predator priest that was removed and was not
allowed to "present himself as a priest" any longer in the Wichita Diocese abused 7 families/married women that
I know of, the majority ending in divorce. I talked with 5/7 families, including one of the ex-husbands - his pain ran
so deep, it was heartbreaking to talk with him. He was only removed after his parish secretary found her 18yr
old daughter late one night in the rectory. This priest had groomed her for over a year while she was president of CYO
and waited to make his move once she was "legal" age. He was smart enough, as most predatory priests are,
to know the Catholic Church doesn't really give a damn about "adults" even when the "adults" are 18 yrs.)
I was extremely suicidal during this time. I called him a week
later and told him I didn’t want him to go on vacation with us,(a vacation we planned several months earlier) he
was in Wichita at the time and immediately came over and put Brent and I on another guilt trip. We told him he could
go on vacation.
We went on vacation and everything was tense
but uneventful until the last day. He asked me strange things like "Would I pray for him if he ever had to go to
"priest camp" The last day, I woke up and went into the living room Fr. Nick was sitting in a chair and Brent
was gone with the girls to fill up the jet ski. I was sitting on the floor talking to him and he pulled me up to him and kissed
me and pulled me on top of him, once again. I jumped off and a second later Brent walked in the door. I kept
my mouth shut. I didn't want a confrontation in front of our children.
We went boating the rest
of the day. When we got back to the condo, Brent went to take the boat back to the rental shop and I went to the condo to
put our baby down for a nap. Fr. Nick followed me into the condo, once inside, he immediately pulled me to him.
I could feel his erection poking me in my stomach, he started kissing me and rubbing himself on me. I pushed him away
and asked, "How can you do this to me?" He told me he knew he was" taking us both to hell". He asked
me if I had ever thought about "turning him in?" and asked me "why I hadn’t yet?"
told me that he "didn’t blame himself and he didn’t blame me, he blamed both of us". I sat there dumbfounded
at his audacity. Where did I hold the blame ? For being a woman, for not slapping the shit out of him when this all started.
Nothing was ever his fault, with offenders nothing is ever their fault.
He told me he imagined my love for
him was "similar to the love from a spouse." I told him he should never talk to a woman the way he talked
to me. He said "I am not trying to be romantic, this is just how I feel." "No woman has ever loved me
the way you love me except for maybe my mom and Mary." "I just look at you, I just touch you and I get excited."
My jaw hit the floor.
He continued, "I remember the first time you held my hand" "It
was on the way to the restaurant from my birthday party and you held my hand that was the first time I got aroused with you."
I thought "You Bastard, I hold your hand only to comfort you because you had been crying because my little
girls sang you "Happy Birthday" and you cried,"Oh boohoo that was the sweetest thing anyone has ever done for
me oh boohoo, " So I hold your hand for comfort, I am 8 months pregnant and you get aroused!" Brent returned
and Fr. Nick was despairing the rest of the night.
He told me the next morning he wouldn’t be
able to see me for a long time, until he got himself together, he told me that he felt like he might have to go to "priest
camp" and that he was going to find a therapist. I hated the thought of not being able to see him, even after all
the shit he did to me. He had filled up so much of the time in my life. As my therapist put it, "He was like a
part-time job." Like a shitty part-time job. He gave me a blessing and was gone by 9:30 that morning.
I would later find out that when I would be out of the room he would flip Brent off. The comments he made about
Brent and now knowing about the flipping off, he didn’t care for Brent and ultimately saw Brent as an obstacle to what
he wanted which was ME. The 5 days of vacation, he never paid a dime for anything. He was a user, a scrounge, a
mooch, a thief of my soul. I would be gone from this life by now if not for my husband and children. I am forever changed.
It only took me a week for the light bulb to go off and start
seeing clearly what this so called priest had actually done to me and I told my husband. The next day we went to see our
associate pastor, it was either go see our associate pastor for a voice of reason or Brent go see Fr.Nick in
Council Grove and the results of that only would have landed Brent in jail.
Our associate pastor said
" Fr. Nick is dangerous and needs to be sent away" and that he was going to have to tell the Chancery.
He said he "was not suggesting that we sue but that we could, what Fr.Nick had done was illegal."
Nick told me on a few occasions that he hurt a girl in high school very deeply and that he will never forget what he did to
her and that he knew he would be paying for it in the next life. I never asked what it was that he did to her but now it makes
me think that it was something sexual.
It was a month later
that I and a girlfriend went to Council Grove KS. I wanted an apology, I wanted answers to why he screwed up my life and my
family. He apologized but with no emotion. He said he was just sure we were going to "sue the church and that if we did
he would take off his collar and not be a priest any more." It was at this time that he called our associate pastor a
"fucking snake" for not coming to him first instead of going to the chancery. He continued, he "wished
he never would have gotten assigned to St. Elizabeths, with "psycho Billinger," that he "didn’t want
to sound arrogant or anything but they should have made him a pastor right out of seminary."
him a few days later to see if he would give me a sincere apology. On the phone he was hateful, he said "I don’t
want to hear anymore from you, from St. Elizabeth's, from the chancery how I have hurt you, hurt Brent, hurt your family.
Don’t you know how that makes ME feel, don’t you see where I am coming from. Peggy they made me sound like a sexual
predator." Once again with no emotion, "I am sorry I hurt you, hurt Brent hurt your children, hurt your faith,
hurt your belief in the vow of celibacy and I am sorry". He told me that if I ever came to Council Grove again that he
would call the police.
The asshole was caught, he was scared and was grasping at straws to weasel his
way out of this one. Well the "calling the police" line didn’t work on me as far as intimidation goes, it
just pissed me off all the more.
Brent and I tried to forget
but we fought a lot over the next couple of weeks and I finally set up an appt. with a marriage counselor at Catholic Charities.
She also said "he was dangerous and that he was a sexual predator" and that she would have to tell the chancery
everything I told her. So much for the federal privacy act. Needless to say never saw her again, although I though
it was interesting she wrote me a letter asking me to come back to her for counseling.
When I got home I
got on the net and found that I was not alone, that there are thousands of other women just like me out there, nuns, many
married women just like me, singles. I found one statistic that says priest are 4 times as likely to have a sexual relationship
with a woman than with a minor. For some reason I did find comfort in that statistic but knowing I wasn’t alone, comfort
that they were messing with more women than boys but ultimately I just felt nauseated.
It was very
hard for me to eat and actually keep it down. The Weds. before we met with our pastor for the first time, I was ready to go
on from this life, but I knew that I couldn’t right then because my two little boys were at home with me,
I called Brent and he came home from work and stayed with me the rest of the day, as I told him that I wanted to end all the
pain that I was feeling, he knew that if he left me I would find a way to hurt myself. Many more days like that were to follow.
As the weeks went on I continued to remember more and more and it just keeped getting clearer. We went to
our pastor trying to find comfort and help and we didn‘t have the money for counseling and we sure as hell wouldn‘t
be in this mess if it wasn‘t for this wacko priest that I see now forced his way into our home, he targeted us, groomed
us and stole everything he could get his hands on.
We don't attend mass anymore. I don’t feel
comfortable in my own parish church where I have been a member for 20 years. For a long time my prayer was to
have the peace back that I felt for so many years in that magnificent church that me, my parents, my siblings help build.
Today my prayer to my Creator everyday is to keep my children safe.
I got a PFA (Protection From Abuse Order) on Fr. Nicholas Voelker. The PFA prevented him from coming near
me and my family but also prevented him from going on the property of St. Elizabeths, where my daughters went to school. When
the judge was signing the temp. order he said he "didn't know if he should be doing this." When I asked, "Why,
are you Catholic?" He stated, "No, but my judgeship is an elected position." I knew then
I was up against a powerful organization, the RCC.
My 7 yr. old daughter told me she saw everything
that happened on vacation and she was devastated , she had been holding it in for 2 months. She said, "Mom
when I saw Father kiss you that was inappropriate wasn’t it?" and I said "Yes" She said "I always
knew he liked you more than a friend." I said "How did you know?" and she said "Because of the way he
would smile at you after he kissed you." I wanted to vomit.
line this guy is a sexual predator and a con-artist. This so called priest is so immature in all facets of life there is no
way he will be able to function as a worthwhile priest. There is no question in my mind this guy is going to continue
in this same pattern and more families are going to be hurt if not ripped apart, this guy is a liability just waiting to happen.
If he is not stopped now, I am convinced the chancery will hear about this guy in the near future and next time, they may
not be dealing with a rub they may be dealing with rape.
day after Fr.Nick got served with the PFA, the diococean attorney called us. His name is Karl Hesse. He told me what I was
alleging was criminal and I agreed with him. He asked me if I had gone to the DA and I told him that I had not, that I was
taking one step at a time. I gave him details of what Nick did to me and he told me that he believed me. The next day, Fr.
Paul Coakley called and told us that Msgr. Hemberger was on vacation but that he would inform him of this situation as soon
as Msgr. got back into town. Fr. Coakley apologized for not having called sooner but he was "too busy packing".
It had been over a month since Coakley had been notified of the assault before he called us. Coakley is now the bishop
in Salina, Kansas.
I have found only the slimiest advance in the heirarchy of the RCC.
2004. our attorney's, Mike Hepperly from Wichita, KS and Denis Ventriglia from Wilmington, NC., my husband and myself met
with diocesean attorney, Karl Hesse and Msgr. Hemberger, diocesan administrator of the Wichita Diocese. I asked that
Fr. Nick be sent away for treatment. A week later there was an announcement in the diocesan weekly newspaper that "Fr.
Nicholas Voelker was on a leave of absence for medical reasons." Which wasn't too far from the truth - he was/is
sick but the diocese was not being completely honest with their "flock".
I finally had a bit of
relief knowing that he was not hurting anyone else at the moment. I was told by our pastor that Fr. Nick was in an intensive
treatment facility when actually the Wichita Diocese moved him to St. Ambrose Parish in the St. Louis Archdiocese. Dec.
'05 I talked with Fr. Vincent P. Bommarito the pastor at St. Ambrose. Fr. Bommarito told me that he was told by the
Archdiocese that Fr. Nick was "a priest in good standing". When in fact Fr. Nick had a PFA (Protection From
Abuse Order) on him in Sedgwick County, KS.. Fr. Bommarito continued to tell me his understanding as well as the parishoners
was that Fr. Nick was taking classes at St. Louis University. When asked if Fr. Nick had much contact with the parishoners,
Fr. Bommarito told me, "Fr. Nick said mass on a daily basis, went out to dinner with parishoners on several occasions
and asked a woman parishoner to make baptisamal bibs for the newly baptised at St. Rose of Lima when he returned."
April of 05, our pastor, Brent and I met with the newly appointed Bishop of Wichita, Michael O. Jackels. I
was 7 months pregnant with our 5th baby. The 2 1/2 hr. meeting went something like this - Jackels "If he really
did this to your wife, why didn't you punch him? That is what I would have done." "I can't give you
money for additional therapy, for all I know you'll run off to Las Vegas." "He is sexually immature."
"You broke your marriage vows." "I know a lot of priests that could counsel you." "He's a man,
he sinned, that is what we have confession for." Jackels went on and on and on with more of the same for 2 1/2
long hours. The only other person I knew of that liked to hear himself talk as much as Jackels was Fr. Nicholas Voelker.
The final straw for me was when Jackels said, "If you write down an itemized list of exactly what you think you need,
I would consider it out of charity." I got up and walked out. I had enough. The meeting was just
another kick in the teeth by the "one true faith".
At 3:00 a.m the next morning I started having contractions. They
continued for a few hours. I was so scared that I was going to loose our baby. I hurt all over, my abdomen hurt
like never before. Brent and I didn't sleep all night. Our pastor called us at 7:30 that morning to see if we
were ok, telling us he was up all night praying for us.
It didn't take much thought for Brent and I to come to
the conclusion that we were done. Done. We were not going to write down an itemization for "The Jackel".
Done. Our baby's life was not worth it. They could have their church, their money, their narcassistic tendencies,
their predator priests that get their jollies off by raping and molesting women and children, and their self-righteous,
pedephile harboring BITCHOPS!
Done. Our children never went back to their Catholic school.
With 6 weeks to go in the school year, we pulled them out and enrolled them in public school. With 2 weeks to go
until my daughter's first communion, I never wanted to step foot in a Catholic Church again. Done.
did go through with the First Communion but my 5th and last baby was never and will never be baptized in the RCC or any other
organized religion. I baptized her myself. That is good enough.
Two weeks after we met with "The
Jackel", our attorney called us with a settlement offer from the diocese. Totally out of left field. The
only explanation I can come up with for the settlement is in between the time we met with "The Jackel" and the offer,
Jackels met Fr. Nick for the first time. A person doesn't have to spend a whole lot of time with Fr. Nick to realize
that he is a different ball of wax. HE IS A FREAK, to put it mildly. Jackels saw it and realized that he needed
to settle, if this went to trial and they put Voelker on the stand, they would have been toast.
signed the settlement papers and a month later Fr. Nicholas Voelker was back in his parish, St. Rose of Lima in Council
Grove, KS. Shortly following, Fr. Nick was promoted to pastor. Congrats!
Bishop o'Jackels was so proud
of Fr. Nick for rubbing his dick on a women instead of a little boy that Bishop Jackels celebrated "Priesthood Sunday"
with Fr. Nick and put a picture of themselves in the weekly Catholic newspaper in the Wichita Diocese.
was the final straw. I could no longer stay silent. Dec. 6th, 2005, St. Nicholas Day, I held a press conference
outside the Chancery in Wichita, KS. with the help of Janet Patterson and David Clohessey of SNAP. At the same time
David was holding a press conference at the St. Ambrose Parish in St. Louis. I had to warn others. The media was
phenomenal! My story went all over the United States from Philadelphia, PA to Florida to Denver etc....
got my life back that day. I did what had been eating me alive for 1 1/2 years - my voice was heard and I warned others
that there was a predator in the midst of the Diocese of Wichita, KS. I will forever be indebted to David Clohessey,
without him the press conference would not have been possible. Thank you, David.
The diocesan response was
not surprising. "It was consensual", the same thing I heard all during the settlement talks.
did throw me a curve ball was Sedgwick County District Attorney, Nola Foulston reaction to my police report. Two weeks
after my press conference, Nola Foulston had her own press conference stating that "after a full investigation, no criminal
charges would be filed." I was speechless. I never gave Det. Wiswell a statement about the case, I never
talked with the Nola Foulston or any one from her office. How is that a "full investigation" when the only
info you are going on is from one side, the Wichita Diocese. Interestingly enough, before Nola Foulston became district
attorney of Sedgwick County, KS, she was an attorney for the Foulston/Seifkin Law Firm, who represents none other than the
Wichita Catholic Diocese. Small world, uhmmmmmmmmm.
January 2006, Ron and Sheryl Nutt owners of KCTU,
Channel 5, Television Station in Wichita KS invited Janet Patterson, Judy Schaben, Nancy Jackson and myself to appear
on their nightly call-in show "The River City Forum". The show was a huge success and a monthly slot for exposing
abuse and educating the public resulted in "Educating To End Abuse". I cannot thank Ron and Sheryl enough
for bringing a voice to those who fear speaking out and hope to those who struggle to get through every day. It
is vital that victims know that people care... and Ron and Sheryl Nutt care along with many other great people in Kansas.
Which brings me to HB2261 and all the great legislators in Kansas who have supported me in this fight to get HB2261
passed into law which would add clergy to the list of professionals on the fiduciary duty laws. For the past two legislative
sessions, Rep. Nile Dillmore has sponsored the bill and this past session of 2007 introduced it to the Federal and State Affairs
Committee. As time goes on the word spreads of the importance this bill would be to vulnerable adults who
are victimized by clergy in counseling situations where the power differential is so great that there could never be "consensual"
sexual relations. The crime is an abuse of power and victims must find justice in the court systems. There are
17 states that have clergy on their fiduciary duty laws. Kansas will be the 18th. Rep. Dillmore has been a tremendous
support. He assures me that so long as he is in the position to continue to introduce the bill, he will do so.
He has my undying gratitude and with his willingness and my determination I know we will succeed in getting HB2261 passed
and onto the law books here in this great state of Kansas.
I want to end my story by thanking the people that helped
me get my life back through this traumatic journey. First and foremost my loving husband, Brent. You are the epidemy
of a soldier in God's army and I am glad I have you by my side. My beautiful children, Liz, Maddi, Nick, Alex and Kara.
You five amazing children are the light of my life, the rays of my sun, the reason I get out of bed every morning to
see my gifts from God. My mother-in-law and father-in-law, Deanie and Larry Warren, for loving and supporting me
when my own parents would not and for taking care of my babies when I couldn't. Dee Miller, the first survivor/advocate I
contacted. Dee validated my fears when everything frightened me and reassured me that what I was feeling wasn't crazy
but that what Voelker did to me was crazy and that he was a predator. Denis Ventriglia, who was not only my
attorney but my therapist and friend. No matter how out of sorts I was feeling when I would call, he always got me laughing
and I will always be grateful that my family is not "drinking the kool-aid" anymore. Janet Patterson, the
strongest women I know. She was always with me when I thought I would not make it through one more day. My
cousin, Julie, who when I first told her my story, she would finish my sentences. When I asked her how she
knew what I was going to say, she replied, "I work with them (sexual predators) everyday." She is a probation officer. My
therapist, Dr.Molly Allen, for reconditioning my 33 year old brainwashed head into the positive thinking that my Creator would
not send me to the burning pits of hell for not going to Sunday Mass, amongst other ridiculous things, her patience is
endless. Ron and Sheryl Nutt who have never been touched personally by clergy sexual abuse but understand by some higher
power the importance of getting the message out of hope to victims and survivors. Kansas State Representative Nile Dillmore,
who believes not only in justice for victims but believes in fighting to make Kansas a safer place to live so that others
might not have to go through such trauma. The countless other survivors, my brothers and sisters in this fight for justice,
you know who you are from California to New Jersey, from Texas to Michigan. As perfect strangers you have given me overwhelming love
and support because of our common tragedy of being betrayed by clergy. And finally thank you to my Creator, I feel as
though I don't know much about you after being lied to for 33 years by the RCC but I do know you exist and that I wouldn't
be alive today without you and my precious Kara. By giving her to me I had to take care of myself and you knew I would.
Babies, children, and the vulnerable have always held a special place in my heart. From volunteering for Special
Olympic, to giving time to the hungry at the Lord's Diner and at the food pantry at Emergency Services, to teaching bible
school to God's little ones at my old parish, to my love of teaching, my passion has grown into something I never would have
dreamed - fighting the RCC for accountability and justice for the babies, children and vulnerable adults who have been victimized
by these so called "celibate men of God."
I along with Janet Patterson are planning a
second conference April 13-14 in Wichita, KS. It will be just the second of many more in the future. Janet coined
the conference Hope in the Heartland. It is HOPE that I will strive to give to victims/survivors through out
the conferences and all the other avenues that I will utilize to get the word out that Educating truly can End Abuse.
Peggy J. Warren