Friday, April 24, 2015

Catholic Nuns and Priests murdered and tortured children: are you listening Pope Francis? Part III. The Evidence – Investigator Papay. A five part weekly series on catholic church crimes.

Gilbert’s case is still active. His brother Bill hired a private investigator to work on the case. The evidence he uncovered was ignored by police and the district attorney.

For many years Augustine Papay Jr., a retired NYC Homicide Detective and a licensed Private Investigator in Port Jervis, New York has been investigating the death of Gilbert Bonneau. Gilbert was born December 19, 1944. He was placed at St. Colmans  Orphanage on January 30, 1948 to September 30, 1949. He and his two brothers Ernest and Daniel were re-admitted to the home on August 30th, 1950.  Gilbert died on November 28, 1953 from injuries he sustained at st. Colmans Home.

Papay said, “My findings are supported by factual findings, which are corroborated by clear and convincing evidence. Both the police investigation and my own investigation uncovered evidence of widespread abuse by nuns, and a consistent pattern of vicious physical assaults on children.”

Papay believes there was denial with cover-up of numerous abuses and at least three deaths at st. Colmans. “Children were very often beaten to within an inch of their lives. They would be kept hidden in their horrible conditions in a secret infirmary deep within the bowels of this home and left to their fate in that they either got better or didn’t get better”, said Papay. Children were very often beaten unconscious – like they beat me constantly at st. agnes and I would wake up and not know how long I was unconscious.       Papay found that these children were taken to the hospital only when they were beyond help. They were always unconscious or comatose and near death when they arrived at the hospital. Is it a coincidence that I was comatose when the nuns at st. agnes sent me to the hospital? No! The nuns’ methods were the same everywhere.

Papay found that Gilbert Bonneau was viciously assaulted by a nun with a wooden blunt instrument, and was bleeding from the head. An unidentified nun then took Gilbert to the infirmary and suffocated him with a pillow because he would not stop crying (what Bob Linde, the witness to Gilbert’s death saw – see Part II of this series). Gilbert was later removed to Albany Hospital Emergency Room in a comatose state, where he died from "asphyxia due to compression of the neck and chest" several hours later. The Death Certificate listed the cause of death as Meningitis and Cause Unknown. (There are different reports of what he died of).

Papay first believed that the Colonie, NY police department and Albany DA’s office did everything they could to rule out any wrongdoing – but he found just the opposite. Documents recorded in the Colonie Police investigation -- like the shoddy autopsy report from 1953 -- states the autopsy was performed hours before the actual time Gilbert died. Certain damning pieces of information were not taken into evidence.

Papay found conflicting information about Gilbert: the nuns said he was active and aggressive and did not get along well with others. His friends remembered him as a good friend who shared his food and tried to prevent beatings by throwing 2x4s that the nuns used as weapons on them into the bushes. Maybe he was murdered because he was defending the other children and trying to help them. 

Until 1978, Gilbert's family believed he died of natural causes, as listed on his medical records. The autopsy report mentions swelling of the brain, pneumonia, liver degeneration, collapsed lungs (that can indicate suffocation) and a bacterial infection possibly caused by meningitis. A woman, identified only as Marian Maynard phoned one of the brothers in 1978 and said she had seen Gilbert, 8 years old, beaten to death with a stick by sister Fidelia. Records provided by the nuns say that Fidelia left the children's home 3 years before the boy's death but that a girl with the last name of Maynard was at st. Colmans when Gilbert was murdered. Since then, every path the family has pursued in search for the truth has led to a dead end. The District Attorney at that time, Sol Greenburg, advised the family that he would conduct a Grand Jury investigation into Gilbert’s death. Papay said that absolutely no evidence exists to suggest that such a hearing ever took place.

A prescription slip found in Gilbert’s file said that the st. Colmans doctor saw Gilbert on Nov 28,1953 and recommended immediate medical attention and evacuation to a hospital. A former FBI handwriting analyst concluded that the prescription slip was originally dated Nov 27th and that someone had deliberately changed the seven to an eight. So Gilbert was never brought to the hospital in time to save him. This prescription slip was never even collected as evidence by the Colonie police. Mr. Papay has it under lock and key.

The three documented questionable deaths at St. Colmans are Andrew Reyda 1943, Gilbert Bonneau 1953, and Mark Longale 1963. Susan Robertson, author of The Throw Away Child witnessed the severe beating of Mark Longale by sister Regina just 10 years after Gilbert’s death. Mark was also removed to the Albany hospital in a comatose state -- his cause of death is listed as appendicitis. Another boy, Andrew Reyda, died 10 years before Gilbert from pneumonia. An eyewitness saw 5 year old Andrew lying on the floor in the boys’ bathroom unconscious with what appeared to be a cranberry like material protruding from his rectum – most likely his guts beaten out. His family never found his grave -- the church had no record of the burial. Susan Robertson made numerous attempts to give a sworn statement to Albany authorities but they said that there was no evidence for further investigation. Another boy, Raymond Koenig, was seen getting his head smashed into a brick wall by the same nun who beat Mark Longale to death. He later went into the hospital for cranial surgery and died.

Papay believes that Bob Linde’s eye witness testimony is the most important in the entire investigation. Bob has tried many times to be formally interviewed and make a sworn statement but the Colonie police have to this day, denied him the opportunity and the DA at the time, Paul Cline, was not interested. The current DA, P. David Soares has repeatedly refused Gilbert’s family their written requests and continues to cite what Papay calls, “inconsistent and irrelevant conclusions from the 1995 investigation that have since been disproved”. The reason for this refusal is clear says Papay since it is known that the DA’s attorney Robert Roach regularly represents and defends accused pedophile priests for the Albany Diocese.  

Guilt of the church

Where is the justice for Gilbert, where is the justice for me and my brother Frankie, where is the justice for all the other children like Bob Linde who were maimed and murdered by the catholic church? The homicidal nuns may be dead but what about those who gave them their orders and didn't care what they did? The real criminals are the bishops, cardinals, all the way up to the pope. They are going to keep hearing about Gilbert and me and my brother and Bob and countless others whose lives were ended or ruined. They can’t get away with it anywhere there is a cell phone, camera, reporter or witness. When politicians, lawyers, judges and law enforcement do their job for the victim and not for church hierarchy with deep pockets, children will be safer. 

What happened at st. colmans, and st. agnes together with the fate of many others tortured and murdered at other catholic homes shows a pattern of abuse – the same torture, the same murder weapons. How many of these catholic concentration camps exist in the United States and all around the world?  Until the laws are changed worldwide so that catholic schools and homes can be investigated and watched and shut down, children will continue to suffer and die. Read Part IV. next week: Why investigations of murdered children go nowhere in New York (and elsewhere). 

Friday, April 17, 2015

Catholic Nuns and Priests murdered and tortured children: are you listening Pope Francis? Part II: Quest for Justice. A five part weekly series on catholic church crimes.

Bob – witness to Gilbert’s murder: “I and many others are constantly reminded of what it means to be beat half to death. To this day, I have some of the worst nightmares anyone could imagine. Just the other night, I woke up screaming, and thinking that the nun that smothered Gilbert was on top of me. The Nightmares still come, and as I get older they seem to come much more often.  Many times I wake up screaming. These nightmares about Gilbert often linger after I wake up for about a couple minutes. It's like I can't shake it out of me. My landlady wanted to evict me because of the many nights of the screaming.”

“In 1997 through 2012 I was very active working on the case. I approached Bishop Howard Hubbard, head of the Albany diocese. I have written over three hundred letters, and emails. I have received over 200 threats to stop, and 18 death threats. All because I will not rest about Gilbert's Murder. The threats had to originate from the Bishop’s friendly priests. I was getting hang ups almost daily. One sounded like it came from a detective because he quoted something almost exactly as what Colonie Police said to me. He said ‘You’re just another dysfunctional SOB that has come out of St. Colmans’. One call was from a woman who told me ‘You just don't know who you’re f--king with, do you?’—and she hung up.”

“I became very close with Gilbert Bonneau’s brother, Bill Bonneau and his brothers Pat and Danny. I try to visit them when I can and go to Gilbert’s grave. The last time I got inside the door of St. Colmans, and before I could get around, they had security throw me off the property. I have been to the lie detector twice. Both times I was shown to be truthful, but none of it is good in court. Please don't think that The Fight for Justice for Gilbert has ceased. Dear God, my Friends, please continue to pray that we get into that courtroom soon.”

Bob’s testimony is perhaps the most important in the entire investigation. It was very difficult for Bob to talk about Gilbert’s murder.  It was even more difficult for him to talk about the abuse that he endured. He spoke to me because he wanted everyone to understand what the nuns and the church did to him. When I asked what happened to him at st. colmans he said:

“Rape, beatings that you only read about, and these days they put people in prison for those kinds of beatings. The nuns gave the most horrific beatings, knowing that if you told anyone YOU would be the liar, and we would get another [beating]. I am crippled to this day, and have a morphine pump implant, because of a certain Sister Cecelia who liked to jam a small club into my spine, and when I finally fell to the ground, she would kick any place I couldn't cover with my hands and arms. One nun hit me in the head with a brick which broke my nose, which still gives me trouble today. These are quotes when I asked Bishop Hubbard for help concerning the permanent scars, and disfigurement,” he said, "Nuns are not considered Clergy". Therefore there was no help, nor did he feel any responsibility for what Nuns did. That includes Murder. I am not thrilled to be bringing this stuff to the surface. I hope some good for all victims can come out of this.”

A brother’s memories

Ernie Bonneau, Gilbert’s brother (since deceased):  “When Gilbert’s story came out in 1995, bishop Hubbard met with two former residents of st. colman's home who witnessed the severe stick beatings of Gilbert. With this information Hubbard chose to do nothing and remain silent. The other death was Mark Longale who was also severely beaten by a nun named sister mary regina, leading to his death. Susanne Robertson who witnessed Mark’s beating (and wrote a book about it) also told Hubbard what she saw – but he again did nothing. Hubbard just walked away from little innocent Murdered children.

“In 1995 the so-called Police investigations of my little brother’s wrongful death at St. Colman's was nothing but a corrupt one. The Police turned over their investigations to the Albany County District Attorney in 1996 and the corrupt DA failed to do anything about my little brother’s death. On my little brother’s 1953 autopsy report it states he had swelling of the brain and 2 collapsed lungs and in my opinion this surely ties in with the pillow smothering.  At my expense, with a Court order, I had my little brother exhumed in 1995 for a second autopsy. There was evidence still left of collapsed lungs, which would indicate smothering, and not the meningitis that the doctors phonied up to protect the nuns.  All of the doctors’ certificates, such as the death certificate have been proven to be altered”..... Ernest, A Survivor

There was so much evidence but no one listened. Why?  See Part III. The Evidence, next week.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Catholic Nuns and Priests murdered and tortured children: are you listening Pope Francis? A five part weekly series on catholic church crimes

Frankie and George Barilla
Gilbert Bonneau
Part I.  Murdered and tortured children

Gilbert Bonneau was killed by a catholic nun – of the Sisters of The Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary at st. colmans home in Watervliet, New York. This “home” – is just 137 miles north of st. agnes in Sparkill, New York where I was smothered close to death by catholic Dominican nuns. Children died and suffered at the hands of these criminals -- like my brother who committed suicide and others who turned to drugs and alcohol to block what these devils disguised as God’s representatives did to them.

Gilbert can’t tell what happened but Bob Linde, the witness to Gilbert’s death survived and Gilbert’s brother remembers.  I survived and I remember what happened to me and my brother. Together we will expose the church and make sure that the tragic stories of the victims – dead and alive are told. Help us stop the perpetrators from torturing and murdering children – if you know about such abuse or any abuse of children by such criminals hiding behind religion – any religion -- let us know. We want justice. 

Murdering children in catholic-run homes, orphanages and convents is not a single incident -- it is a practice that nuns and priests do often and get away with. In just a small area of New York State I came close to death by smothering and my brother committed suicide, Gilbert Bonneau was beaten and smothered to death (witnessed by a severely beaten child); Mark Longale at the same home as Gilbert was beaten to death. Is it a coincidence that Gilbert and I, both born in 1944, were both smothered with a pillow by a nun? I believe that this is the method by which they killed many children because it didn't leave any marks on the victim. The nuns wanted to be sure they could blame the death on something other than themselves. No one questioned the mother superior who told police that the child died in his sleep or “fell” and hurt himself.

Gilbert’s brother Bill, his brother Ernie (now deceased) and Bob, who is still alive and the witness to Gilbert’s murder fought since 1995 to get justice for Gilbert. Bill says, “Living in an area controlled by the Catholic Church has been difficult for my late brother and now myself to get this done.” 

Gilbert’s Death: Bob the Witness

Bob is 72 years old.  Bob says, “I am still praying for some kind of Justice for Gilbert Bonneau. He was my friend.” 

Bob: “At age fifty-six I got a computer as a gift. I was disabled, couldn't work, and I was all alone. I learned how to use it and found that I could post messages about what I had wanted to say for fifty years – that I witnessed Gilbert’s death. The message I posted asking for information was answered two years later by Ernie Bonneau, one of Gilbert’s brothers. I couldn't believe it! His brothers had launched a very large campaign in and around Albany, New York, including exhuming Gilbert’s body to find out how he really died, before they ever got to know him as a brother. There was a sham of an investigation into Gilbert’s death but it went nowhere. I couldn’t believe that nothing was done about Gilbert’s death. There were two more deaths by “natural causes” after Gilbert. I wanted to help.”

What Bob Saw

“My memories of St. Colmans will always be fresh in my mind.  Realizing the penalty for perjury I swear what I saw from 10 feet away is true.  At age 8 Gilbert did not die of natural causes. Gilbert was beaten so bad that he had to be in the infirmary; his pain was so bad that he could not stop screaming in pain.  I was in that infirmary after one of my beatings -- the only other child there. A row of four iron beds were immediately to the right of the door. I was in the fourth bed up against the wall. I knew not to scream.  Gilbert Bonneau was in the first bed just inside the door -- he couldn't stop screaming, he was beaten so bad in the playroom that he had blood all over his face, and shirt, and arms. I watched as a nun came in, determined to put a stop to Gilbert’s screaming, one way or another. She went into a state of rage -- shouting at Gilbert to shut up.  She saw me watching her and told me to face the wall, if I knew what was good for me.

But I was determined to see what was going on, so I took a peek, and I saw what ended Gilbert’s screaming forever:  She pulled a pillow from underneath Gilbert’s head and forced it over his face -- pressing with all her strength to suffocate Gilbert into a state of unconsciousness. I quickly turned back to the wall. I was so scared; I peed in my bed (which got me another, but lighter whipping). A few days later I was at Gilbert’s funeral.”

“Remember: No little boy that is eight years old dies of "Natural Causes", as was stated by Albany Catholic Diocese. The beating was witnessed, and the MURDER was witnessed -- but they all got away with murder. If you said anything in those days, you would end up the same way. This failure at justice stinks to high heaven, which I don't think many of the nuns that I knew were going to make that trip.”

“Those nuns struck fear in all of the kids, and that's how they controlled us. Beatings were an exhibition, except when they resulted in fractures, and of course deaths. Remember that those nuns were young themselves, and given all that power, they abused it, and us. Gilbert was so afraid, and hurt, that he wet the bed, and that always resulted in beatings. When we tried to hide his wet sheets, Katherine Fredette, a worker who grew up at Colmans punched us around, and then Sister Cecelia would have a go at us. Fredette was mean -- she hung me by my ankles down a three story laundry chute, threatening to drop me – I saw her hang a soiled pair of underwear over a boy’s face, and rubbed it in, in front of everyone.” 

Bob said: “Remember that the abuse not only came from the nuns. Gilbert and I were both altar boys, and the regular priest was father Flynn who sexually abused both Gilbert and me. Sometimes it would be before mass, and sometimes after. [me and my brother Frankie were raped by a priest – another coincidence?] So much pain came from that place [Colmans] that many of us have been affected by it our entire lives. What gives the bishops and cardinals, the right to deal with a pedophile within their own ranks? This is a felony, and must be turned over to the district attorney for indictment. It is like a bunch of murderers bonded together, and when one kills someone, they don’t call the police, they deal with it internally. How can we get this obvious miscarriage of justice straightened out? It is a crime!”

“Our suffering from the beatings still bothers us, but Gilbert's suffering, KILLED HIM. He was my Friend. We slept next to each other in the main dorm. Please don't ever forget this little eight year old boy who always shared a slice of old toast with me when he got it, and I shared with him when I could get it. He went into St. Colmans as a little boy who
needed care, and he came out in a little white pine coffin with his altar boy gown on, dead.”

The quest for justice for Gilbert, for me and my brother Frankie and for all the countless numbers of children murdered, raped and tortured by clergy and nuns will not stop. We can’t bring back the dead children or take away the pain of those who lived but we can tell the world who did it and make it a safer place for children. Part II of this series of weekly posts shows the courage and determination of those who want justice done.