Decisions we make are influenced by a moral compass. The degree a society is able to align to the collective beliefs and perspectives of citizens is a work-in-progress exercise. No absolutes, many shades of grey. Enlightened citizens understand we must unapologetically participate in our system of governance to ensure civil society actors are sufficiently aligned to collective values. The challenge oftentimes is that issues of morality are not black and white.
For many Barbadians- dare we say the majority- the Christian Church represents the last bastion of what defines old fashion traditional values. It is place many believers seek refuge. It is a place a believer should not expect to be abused physically or emotionally. Physical and emotional abuse should be viewed through a black or white lens.
The blogmaster received several communications from a man residing in Europe who alleged he was abused by a catholic priest now deceased by the name of Aidan Dean, a Canadian who presided in Barbados during the 70s. The victim in his search to find emotional closure tried to initiate an investigation in 2017 to discover if other young men had been similarly abused in Barbados. Fr. Andy of St. Dominic’s referred him to Fr. Harcourt Blackett. The victim spoke to Fr. Harcourt on the phone, however, he reported Fr. Harcourt’ s attitude was :- “ yes some people still alive who will remember him [Aidan Dean] but don’t spoil the memories and image that these people may hold about this person. Brush, dirt, carpet”.
Emails sent to Fr. Harcourt and Charles Dominique were subsequently forwarded in 2018 to bishopaccountability.org because Fr. Harcourt ignored the cry for assistance from the victim. bishopaccountability.org is a website dedicated to victims and families of victims of abuse by the catholic church. The blogmaster can only speculate why the matter was not pursued by that entity.
I am a 61 years old man living in Northern Ireland. As a boy I spent a period of my life living near to the Dominican priory … England. At that time a friendship was formed with Fr Aidan Dean. I was lonely and vulnerable. Fr Aidan was a close family member who ate at our table at home and was held in great esteem by my parents.
Fr. Aidan gifted to me money, a Toshiba radio cassette player and other things and sexually abused me – I am still haunted by his nudity, physical encounters. his breath his lips etc. He is dead no. What happened shaped my life – kept contact with me through university and performed my marriage ceremony.Extract from an email sent by the victim to Fr. Harcourt Blackett, Charles Dominic and bishopaccountability.org.
As a result of the abuse the victim underwent a psychiatric evaluation and ongoing therapy is recommended. The client reported extensive and repeated sexual abuse by Father Aidan Dean between the ages of seventeen and nineteen. The client reported that the abuse took place in the priest’s bedroom in ‘Hawksyard Priory,’ off …. The client recalls being touched, fondled, and kissed and regularly experiencing penetrative sexual abuse by Father Aidan Dean. The client recalls the priest telling him he loved him, giving him gifts, and treating him in a way that made him feel special.Extract from the Psychiatric Evaluation Report to determine the therapeutic needs of the victim.
The blogmaster’s hope is that those with answers meet with the victim to facilitate closure to the matter. Newly installed Bishop Neil Scantlebury should move with haste to attend to the disturbing accusation. One does not expect a priest of the calibre of Monsignor Vincent Harcourt Blackett to show the level of insensitivity described by the victim. The blogmaster notes Fr. Blackett recently accepted an engagement in St. Vincent. The blogmaster also notes a communication sent by the victim to Barbados Today on Monday, 5 December 2016, 21:22 was ignored.