UPDATED WITH ACTION ITEM: Harvard can do better than give a platform to a “Black Mass” promoter who ridicules sex abuse victims

TAKE ACTION: After you read the post below, here is what you can do to take action.

Original post follows:

Reading the Anchoress’s excellent coverage of the “Black Mass” that is being promoted at Harvard University, I did some checking up on the man calling himself Lucien Greaves, the face of the Satanic Temple, which is behind the sick event.

It turns out that Greaves was previously known as Doug Mesner, which apparently is also a pseudonym: his real name, according to his lengthy Internet trail, appears to be Doug Misicko.

In an interview conducted last July by pornographer Shane Bugbee, a Satanist who worked closely with Misicko in developing the Satanic Temple, Greaves says he studied at Harvard and that among his main interests are debunking “false memories” of ritual child sex abuse. (Bugbee was a longtime mentor to Greaves, but has more recently written a lengthy blog entry in which he dissociates himself from his former protégé.)

More Internet searching shows Greaves, as Doug Mesner, works closely with the False Memory Syndrome Foundation, which was founded by Pamela and Peter Freyd after their adult daughter Jennifer accused her father of rape. (Remember Jennifer’s name; it comes up later.) One of the organization’s founding members, the late Ralph Underwager, gave a lengthy interview to a pro-pedophilia journal in the 1990s in which he criticized pedophiles for not being “bold enough.” Underwager said,  “Pedophiles can make the assertion that the pursuit of intimacy and love is what they choose. With boldness they can say, ‘I believe this is in fact part of God’s will.’”

To be fair, Underwager, when criticized over the interview, said his comments had been taken out of context. You can read his full interview here. Then read his own article where he speaks of how he was misinterpreted. I think it’s obvious he wasn’t misinterpreted at all.

Underwager gave expert testimony on “False Memory Syndrome” in court on behalf of many accused abusers. Here is a transcript of a “60 Minutes”-style exposé in which he was caught contradicting himself in sworn testimony. Again, he does not come off very well.

All of which is to say that, as a victim of child sexual abuse, I do not think very much of the False Memory Syndrome Foundation or its co-founder Underwager, and so likewise do not think much of Greaves’ association with it or his ridiculing people who claim to have recovered memories of child sex abuse. (Again, he has a long Internet trail, which in this case shows quite a bit of vituperation directed at child sex-abuse victims and those who support them.)

Moreover, I am not encouraged by the fact that Greaves is close with registered sex offender Adam B. Daniels, who, along with his wife, run a Satanic worship center in Oklahoma. Here is a video interview in which they talk about why they personally submitted the application for Greaves’ Satanic Temple to build a monument to Satan at the Oklahoma State Capitol. Just this week, Daniels told an Oklahoma news stations of his “conversations” with Greaves.

Look up “Adam B. Daniels” in the national sex offender registry and you will see that he was convicted of sexual battery in 2009. The rap sheet notes that he has satanic tattoos all over his body. The court ruled that he had to remain on the registry for life.

In what appears to be some sort of sick joke, the website of Daniels’ Satanic “church” features a “rape awareness” page decorated with images of flowers.

Greaves too has committed criminal sexual activity. He was photographed last year exposing himself upon the grave site of the mother of the Westboro Baptist Church founder as part of what he called a “satanic ritual,” which you can read about here. (Not linking to the photo.)

All things considered, when I read that Greaves says he intends the “Black Mass”  to be “an expression of personal independence from overwhelming cultural influences,” I have to ask, from what kind of cultural influences does he seek independence? From where I can see, by engaging in a hateful mockery of the Catholic faith, he seeks to declare independence from the teaching that human beings should be protected from all forms of harmful exploitation. He seeks to declare independence from the one institution in the world that has, for two thousand years, defended the dignity of the human person against those who would use and abuse others for their own ends. Finally, in his vituperative attacks against victims (which, from his Internet trail, are clearly personal and go far beyond “debunking” psychological theories), he declares himself independent from the Church which teaches not only that intrinsic evils exist, but that one of those intrinsic evils is rape.

I said I would return to the subject of Jennifer Freyd, whose parents founded the False Memory Syndrome Foundation to “debunk” her allegations of childhood sexual abuse. She is now Dr. Jennifer Freyd, a professor of psychology at the University of Oregon, and an internationally known expert on trauma and abuse. One of the terms she brought into the psychology vocabulary is “institutional betrayal,” which refers to “wrongdoings perpetrated by an institution upon individuals dependent on that institution, including failure to prevent or respond supportively to wrongdoings by individuals (e.g. sexual assault) committed within the context of the institution.”

Here is a website created by members of a university community who say they seek to combat “institutional betrayal” at their own school. The school is Harvard, and the name of the website is “Our Harvard Can Do Better.”

Given that the news broke just this week that Harvard is on a list of colleges being investigated by the feds for potentially mishandling sex-abuse and assault charges, I would say Harvard can do a lot better if it wants to tell abusive people that they are not welcome. It can start by pulling back the welcome mat it has offered to Lucien Greaves.

Click here for how you can take action and make your voice heard.

I am the author of My Peace I Give You: Healing Sexual Wounds with the Help of the Saints, a book of Catholic spirituality for adult victims of childhood trauma and abuse.

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