A woman who is suing the Catholic diocese in Kamloops told a Vancouver courtroom about a series of sexual assaults she claims she suffered at the hands of a priest more than 40 years ago.
Rosemary Anderson, who was 26 years old at the time of the alleged incidents and is now 70, testified in Vancouver on Tuesday how she was distraught at the death of her father when she took a teaching post at Our Lady of Perpetual Help school in North Kamloops in September 1976.
She told B.C. Supreme Court Justice David Crossin that she was fine with her teaching job, but outside school was feeling “terrible” loss and grief and sought out spiritual guidance from Father Erlindo Molon.
Anderson, who earlier wept in court when she described holding her father in her arms as he died in July 1976, said she was crying as she spoke to Molon. The priest put a hand on her shoulder, which she felt was fine, and then put a hand on her knee, which she questioned at first, she said.
When she had finished talking, she got up to leave and Molon got up and walked with her, which was fine at first as she thought he was escorting her to the door, she said.
“He got up in front of me and he embraced me and he began kissing me and he stuck his ugly tongue in my mouth,” Anderson said. “I hated it. I prayed for God to stop him … that’s all I could do.”
The priest then placed his hands on her and took her by hand into the bedroom of the rectory where he lived, she said.
“Then I don’t remember much until the next morning,” Anderson said.
Under questioning from her lawyer, Sandra Kovacs, Anderson said when she woke up the next morning in the priest’s bed, she told Molon what they had done was wrong, since he was a priest and he had violated his vows of celibacy.
When Anderson started to describe what Molon said in response, John Hogg, lawyer for the diocese of Kamloops, stood up and objected that what she was about to say was hearsay evidence and impermissible.
But after hearing from Kovacs that what Molon said in response was not being tendered for the truth of its contents, but merely to explain the narrative of Anderson’s story, the judge allowed the statement.
Anderson said Molon, who is from the Philippines, told her he had two uncles in the Philippines who both had mistresses, so that what had happened between them was permissible.
She said Molon sexually assaulted her two to three times a week over a period of months, for a total of between 70 and 100 times.
“I felt like I was a mannequin for him to satisfy himself. There was nothing about it that made me feel good," Anderson said.
At one point, Molon issued a threat that she understood to mean that if she spoke out about what was going on between them, he would kill himself, she said.
Anderson said she went to confession many times with another priest and described what had happened with Molon, and eventually went to Bishop Adam Exner after Molon suggested they marry one another.
When she went to see Exner, who later became archbishop of Vancouver, he asked her if she was having an affair with another priest, Anderson said.
After explaining that she was involved with Molon and telling Exner that Molon wanted to marry her, Exner told her marriage was out of the question.
“He told me I should not marry him, which was a great relief to me," Anderson said. "I didn’t want to marry him.”
Molon, who is 88 years old, suffers from dementia and lives in a care home in Ontario, has denied the allegations, but is not part of the lawsuit.