C. Michael Coode
415 Chesterfield AV
Nashville, TN 37212
Paul W. St. Charles
122 Tallwood Drive
Nashville, TN 37211
It has been many, many years since our days at Fr. Ryan and Saint Bernard, and we havent spoken in probably 30 years. But suffice it to say, we have been acquainted for a very long time.
As you may know, I am a survivor of sexual abuse by clergy. I have been working with survivors of sexual abuse for quite some time, and through my research and associations, many, many names of priest abusers have been circulated. Sadly, your name has come up numerous times, and according to my information, it has led to your being defrocked. I personally know at least one of your victims. Words can hardly describe this persons state of mind. Even after all these years, this person is highly distressed, suicidal, and struggling to function in society. This persons life, like so many survivors, is centered on the abuse. And like so many other victims, this person is reluctant to go public with the story, fearing adverse repercussions.
There is no way you can understand how it affected me when I realized you were a perpetrator. To have grown up with you, to have appreciated your wonderful sense of humor, your humility, your sincerity, and your faith made me so proud to know you, and so proud of my Church. Knowing what your victims endured physically, mentally and emotionally, and what they continue to experience, physically affects me, as I write this letter with a knot in my stomach and tears in my eyes. And it makes me profoundly sad for my survivors and for you, Paul Wiley St.Charles.
It has come to my attention that you continue to deny that you are an abuser to anyone who will listen. This is simply not acceptable to me, and I insist that you stop this destructive behavior. We have been victimized enough, and when you deny this, it only victimizes us once more. Obviously, it is not good for you, either, because it seems like admitting the truth and seeking forgiveness is the least you can do for yourself, your Church and your victims.
There are many people out there who wish to deny these things happened, and your denial only provides them fuel to argue that we survivors are all less than truthful. This is so hurtful to us, not to be believed, and to be accused of only seeking financial gain or attention. Also, it makes those who believe us wonder what the truth is, and the good organizations they belong to, such as Voice of the Faithful, are dismissed as fringe groups and malcontents.
I beg you, if you have any sense of decency, please stop your denial. If you have any pride, admit your faults, and if you have any compassion, please consider your victims, their feelings and their immortal souls.
And may God bless you,
C. Michael Coode
cc: Sr. Judith Coode, RSM, Ms. Barbara Frazier, Rev. Phillip Breen, Rev David Choby, J. Terry Steib, DD, Gabriel Montalvo, JCD, Voice of the Faithful-Nashville, LINKUP, SNAP.