Elsie Boudreau: So you have to understand that I grew up Catholic. And I loved everything about being Catholic. I was a devout Catholic. And they had a lot of power in our village, which is true for a lot of the villages in Alaska. Emily Shwain: When Elsie was a kid, she traveled to Nome in the summer to stay with her sister in Florence, who's 17 years older. Elsie would babysit her niece and nephew, and volunteer at KNOM. Elsie Boudreau: I remember doing that show with Father Pool. Emily Shwain: Like what do you remember about that? She also worked at the station and hosted the request show.
Elsie Boudreau: So I was able to say some things on the radio, which I thought was really cool. You know? But then, like when songs are playing, you know he would kiss me and we would kiss and stuff. So it was kind of weird. Elsie Boudreau: I don't know. Emily Shwain: I asked Florence if she knew anything about that.
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Florence Bush: No. I mean, I saw it. I mean, he did the same thing with me. Like he would kiss and he would try to French kiss. And I would just like, "What the heck are you trying to do? That's not supposed to be in there, at all. And he would stop. But see, I knew him since I was six years old. Decades later she filed a civil lawsuit against him and the regional Jesuit order. She accused him of molesting and fondling her. She couldn't press criminal charges, because the statue of limitations in Alaska at the time wouldn't allow for it.
Speaker 9: Father, you knew it was wrong for other people to be doing the types of sexual acts that you were doing with this young women. Emily Shwain: Elsie's lawyer interviewed James Pool in this deposition tape from Speaker 9: Why didn't you think it was wrong for you? Speaker 9: Okay. You said that, what do you mean by that? Tell me how that manifested itself? James Pool: I figured that short of intercourse, it was all right.
I mean, was there a theological justification in your mind for it? Or was there a secular justification? Was there some sort of process that you went through where you justified it? How did that work? James Pool: I thought I was bringing love into the life of other persons. Speaker 9: And what's your definition of intimacy?
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Emily Shwain: This is Patrick Wahl again. He's that former Catholic priest we met earlier. He was in the room when James Pool gave his deposition.
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Patrick Wahl: It was like sitting down with a major felon with a multi felony murder thing going on. And when we all got done, we were just so, we all went and had a martini afterwards.
It was just the most out of body experience. Patrick Wahl: He declared himself the greatest lover of the world. Emily Shwain: Patrick left the priesthood because of stories like Elsie's. For years he said, the church used him as a fixer. They'd send him into parishes where a priest was removed because of credible accusations of sexual abuse. His assignments were mostly in the Midwest, and his job was to smooth things over with victims and families.
Patrick Wahl: Oh, when the families come in that is so painful. Emily Shwain: Your eyes are just huge like dinner plates in talking about this. Patrick Wahl: Because I go back there immediately.
I mean, I can feel being there when it happened. They've got a new younger priest who they think gets it.
Who they think that can then give them some kind of pastoral and human response. And that pain is so palpable at that point.
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It's oozing out of them. They're breaking down right in front of you. Emily Shwain: After years of being a fixer, Patrick quit the church in disgust and switched sides. Now he works for a law firm in California as an advocate for victims of clergy sex abuse. That's how he knows Elsie. And Elsie isn't Father Pool's only victim.
There are at least 20 others according to her lawyer.
James Pool never admitted to having sex with anyone. But another Alaskan native woman says he got her pregnant when she was a teenager. According to church documents and other records, Pool convinced her to have an abortion. Court documents also show he convinced his victim to accuse her own father of rape. Her father went to prison, and Pool wasn't the only Jesuit priest accused of molesting Native kids and young women in Western Alaska.
Patrick Wahl: The villages are basically isolated from months out of the year, before modern transportation.
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Those kids had nowhere to go. That's why we see a wholesale slaughter of generations by the Jesuits in Alaska. Emily Shwain: That's really strong language.
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