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).