By Donald Bondick
Testimony to the Ohio State Legislature
November 22, 2005
First allow me to sincerely thank you, Mr. Chairman, and all of the Judiciary
Hearing Committee, ladies and gentlemen, distinguished colleagues, survivors
and all of your families for allowing others, including myself, to speak
before you today.
If you will, allow me to take you back in time. The year is 1969 and
it’s a gorgeous summer day. The AM radio is propped up in the window
of the back screen porch belting out some of the current top hit tunes:
“Aquarius” - Fifth Dimension
“Sugar, Sugar” - The Archies
“I Can’t Get Next To You” - Temptations
“Honky Tonk Woman” - Rolling Stones
“Build Me Up, Buttercup” - Foundations
“Dizzy” - Tommy Roe
“Hot Fun in the Summertime” - Sly & the Family Stone
“Everyday People” - Sly & the Family Stone
“Get Together” – Youngbloods
“One” - Three Dog Night
“Crystal Blue Persuasion” - Tommy James & the Shondells
“Crimson & Clover” - Tommy James & the Shondells
“I’ll Never Fall in Love Again” - Tom Jones
“Get Back” - The Beatles
“In the Ghetto” - Elvis Presley
“Hurt So Bad” - The Lettermen
“These Eyes” - The Guess Who
This was supposed to be the summer of love. This summer was going to
Donald, 13 years old, was bouncing a tennis ball against the side of
a garage playing catch by himself because his big brothers and sister
were out doing other things. But that’s ok - this was a kid who
had not only the whole yard but the world to himself. It was a time for
innocence. This was the summer of his youth. The words to the Archies’
song “Sugar, Sugar” drifted from the back screen porch. This
was the summer of his innocence. Sadly, it was to be the last.
Donald had his first crush that summer too. Her name was Kim. Kim thought
Donald was cute. She liked to go for walks. They’d hold hands, talk
and listen to each other. Donald liked holding hands with Kim - and vice
versa. Holding hands! Remember how scary and special that felt all at
the same time?
They haven’t kissed yet but maybe, just maybe, they will this summer.
The local priest gets out of the car, yells to Donald in the back and
waves as he approaches the front steps and rings the doorbell. Donald
waves back and smiles. This is the priest that helps with CYO, the local
Catholic Youth Organization at the nearby parish where he, his brother
Mike and all of his friends, play basketball. He is a priest, friend,
mentor, chaperone and Shepherd that graces this family with his presence
at numerous meals and watches the Bears football on Sundays with Donald’s
Dad, John. His name is Father Ted Feely.
Soon Donald’s Mother calls out the back door for him to come inside.
When he gets inside, his Mother and Father Ted are sharing a cup of coffee.
She tells him, “Father Ted has stopped by to see if you would be
interested in going to the Wisconsin Dells for a week?” Donald cannot
believe his ears – Wisconsin Dells?
That was like the Disneyland of the Midwest at that time. The answer
took all of a microsecond and it was a resounding “Yes!” His
mother stated that it would be okay as long as it wasn’t a financial
burden on Father Ted, who had insisted that all expenses be covered by
The next day Father Ted arrived early to pick up Donald and headed off
for the long drive to the Dells. Just before Donald left, his Mother hugged
and kissed him. She whispered in Donald’s ear, “You make sure
this lasts the whole week, be good and I love you,” slipping him
a $20 bill. She also told him to listen to Father Ted and to obey him.
He assured her that he would indeed make it last and that he would listen
to Father Ted. Obey him? When didn’t Donald or Mike obey Father?
They always did. This was the first and longest time that Donald was to
be away from his Mother. Up to this point, it was the most money he had
ever been entrusted with. Bread was twenty cents a loaf, gas was thirty
cents per gallon and a new car cost $2,000. For a family of seven, this
was an obscene amount of money.
On the five-hour ride up to the Dells, Father asked Donald lots of questions,
about his friends, brothers, school, sports and life. He also spoke to
him about entering the priesthood and what a fine priest he would make.
Donald told him he already had aspirations of becoming a priest because
his cousin, Father Russell, was a priest in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Father
Russell had spoken to Donald many times about the priesthood and had planted
that seed years ago. Father Russell was a true friend and knew Donald
would be a good leader and Shepherd.
Donald noticed Father Ted chain-smoked Camels, one right after another.
Father Ted offered him a cigarette and he refused, telling him that he
had asthma since he was two years old. Donald just rolled down the window
and let the fresh air in to help eliminate the smoke in the car. Father
Ted swore as he spoke. Donald had never heard him speak this way before.
He said swear words and even a few “God Damns” when people
cut him off on the highway. Donald knew that was the ultimate sin –
a mortal sin – taking God’s name in vain. He told Donald that
it was all right for him to swear when they were together and that it
would be “their secret.” Again, he asked Donald if he wanted
to try a smoke. He refused a second time and told Father, “No, thanks.”
The first thing they did was have lunch upon arriving in downtown Wisconsin
Dells. It was relaxed and Father told “dirty jokes” over lunch
at the diner across the street from their hotel, the Top Hat. Donald found
this kind of strange because Father had never done this before in front
of his parents over Sunday dinners. Donald thought Father Ted was acting
like “one of the guys” when he and his buddies would go to
the local hamburger stand and tell stories and laugh the afternoon away,
while meeting other friends.
After lunch, Father Ted told Donald that he needed to take his daily nap.
He informed Donald that if he didn’t get his afternoon rest, he
would get “mean.” The priest told Donald he could explore
all of downtown if he so desired. He also informed him not to “talk
to any strangers.” Donald laughed and told Father Ted he knew all
about not talking to strangers – and running the other way. They
parted and as Donald looked down the street there were antique shops,
curio and souvenir shops, novelties and the local drug store and of course,
pinball arcades! It was the biggest, coolest arcade he had ever seen.
Father Ted had given him $40 with no instructions other than to “enjoy
himself” and return in time for dinner. Wow - $40!
John, Donald’s Dad, had prohibited him from foolishly wasting money
on anything as ignorant as pinball. Father Ted knew this to be the case
because John had expressed this to him in one of many of their Sunday
after-dinner chats. Donald walked into the arcade and gazed in awe at
all the pinball machines the same way a compulsive gambler might search
out the best slot machine at Bally’s in Vegas or Atlantic City.
He saw on every machine “three games for a quarter” and thought
to himself, “I have died and gone to pinball heaven.” Donald
quietly played pinball with other teenagers and by himself for over four
hours without so much as stopping to go to the bathroom. He thought to
himself that it was all right to talk to kids his own age - they weren’t
“strangers.” He also thought to himself that everything was
truly right in the world – his world, this world.
Four hours later and exactly $40 lighter (he knew better than to spend
any of his $20 on pinball), he walked into the Top Hat motel. He asked
the clerk which room Father Ted was in and the clerk replied, “Your
Dad is on the second floor in room 210.” Donald chuckled to himself
that Father Ted had probably told the clerk that he was his son. Why would
he do such a thing? As he approached the room the door was slightly ajar,
television blaring, and he knocked hard on the door. Father Ted yelled
for him to enter and as to why in the hell he was knocking on the door.
He walked in the room and it was a large television viewing area, small
table for eating, refrigerator, etc. Donald continued walking straight
ahead and noticed the large king-size bed and bathroom.
“Hey – Father, where am I supposed to sleep?” he asked.
Father Ted told him he was sleeping right there in the bed. Donald asked
where Father was sleeping. He pointed at the bed and stated, “Right
there.” He explained that one big bed was cheaper than two bedrooms
and Donald never gave it another thought.
The rest of the night Father Ted took Donald on amusement rides, horseback
riding, eating all the wrong things, cotton candy, Cokes, burgers and
elephant ears. They laughed and had a good time. Father Ted even convinced
Donald to try one of his Camel cigarettes but it was all right because
it was “their secret.”
The world was abuzz for Donald in this playground of the Midwest. Before
returning to the motel that night, Father Ted stopped at the liquor store
and bought a fifth of Ballentine’s scotch and a six pack of Budweiser.
Donald thought this was weird because Father didn’t like beer. He
was a drinker strictly of scotch and wine at Sunday masses. Getting back
inside the room around 10:30 P.M. he sat down and poured himself a scotch
on the rocks. He instructed Donald that the beer was all his and he could
have as many as he wanted.
Again he told him that it was “their secret.” After the third
or fourth beer, Donald stated he was going to bed and staggered right
to the bedroom, put on his pajamas and went to bed. It had been an exceptional
day being a grown up.
When Donald awoke at 2:00 A.M., it wasn’t because of an asthma attack.
Father Ted already had him in a choke hold with his left arm, was deep
inside of him and was masturbating him with his right hand. Donald fought
for his life – he fought as hard as he possibly could. But Father
Ted was stronger and just whispered in his ear, “Don’t worry
– it’ll be over soon.” Donald cried, and cried and cried
because it hurt so much. Where was Jesus now? Why would he allow this
to happen to him? And for a moment, it was as if Donald was floating high
above the bed looking down at this evil, sick embrace by this monster,
this priest, this – stranger. He heard his Mom and Dad’s voice
and Father Ted’s voice repeating, “Don’t talk to strangers,
don’t ever talk to strangers.”
After Father Ted came inside of Donald, he withdrew and whispered in his
ear, “I knew you were different than the others, I could tell.”
This was the summer of love, the summer of fun. Not anymore.
Donald immediately got out of bed when Father Ted relaxed his death grip
on him and ran to the bathroom barely making it. A flood of feces, blood
and semen rushed out of him. He thought, “Oh my God – I’m
dying.” He then turned, dropped to his knees and vomited, choking
on some of it. He knew for sure he was dying.
Donald washed himself with soap and a washcloth and exited the bathroom.
He went straight to the living room and lay on the couch not understanding
what had just happened. Father Ted never asked if he was all right. He
just went back to sleep in his big, comfortable bed. Donald knew he was
far from being “all right.”
The next morning Donald was in the shower and rivulets of bright red blood
were running down his leg, spinning down the drain. Father Ted opened
the bathroom door. “Hey, do you need any help in there?” he
asked. Donald looked up from shampooing his hair and saw a naked man –
correction – a naked erect man through the clear shower curtain,
standing in the doorway masturbating. He yelled, “Get the hell out
of here before I kill you!!” Father Ted replied, “Ok, Ok,
I’m sorry – I’ll leave you alone.” But he didn’t.
Father Ted continued stroking his erection in the doorway while watching
Donald shower. When he was finished he moaned, wiped himself, exited the
doorway and closed the door. Donald thought to himself, “My God,
my God – please don’t leave me. Protect me – please.”
Nothing was spoken between the two and there was a dead silence between
them. At breakfast, Donald ordered eggs, bacon, toast and juice. Father
Ted ordered oatmeal. Donald asked Father Ted why he didn’t order
eggs. Father told him, “The egg whites remind me of cum.”
Donald thought to himself, “Oh my God – that’s what
must have come out of me last night.” Egg whites, semen, ejaculate
sperm or as Father had eloquently put it, “cum.” Donald really
hated this person sitting across from him. He was evil. He was a monster.
After breakfast, Father Ted told Donald he was tired and was going back
to the motel to rest. He then gave Donald $100. A hundred-dollar bill
- something he had never held before that moment. He told him to stop
back to the motel just before evening dinner and unleashed him on the
Wisconsin Dells once again.
Donald walked around the Dells and felt different from everyone else.
He felt independent and alone all at the same time. He asked himself who
could he call, who could he tell what happened less than eight hours ago
alone in that room with the monster? The answer was nobody. He didn’t
want anyone to know that this priest, this monster with his huge dick,
had raped him. Had in a sense - screwed him. Donald just knew that he
had to stay far away from Father Ted the entire week. Donald went to the
arcade and played pinball all day long. He gave money to other kids. He
didn’t want this money. Because it was his money. The monster’s
The second night Donald stayed on the couch and refused to go in to the
bedroom.He drank coffee and fought to stay awake to protect himself. He
held a shoe in his hand just in case the monster came back. Donald eventually
fell asleep with his head on the armrest and awoke to a creaking sound.
It was the monster coming at him in the dark, naked with his huge, erect
penis just inches from his face.
Donald bolted upright and yelled, “Get the hell away from me or
I’ll kill you!!!” And you want to know something? He meant
every word. Father Ted stated he was just “checking on him”
and retreated back to his bedroom. Donald told himself that he must stay
awake tonight and every night.
The next morning, another $100, another set of instructions when to return.
This went on for five days until the return back to Rockford, Illinois.
Rockford seemed so far away. Father Ted told Donald that what happened
between them was their secret and that if he told his parents anything
– it would destroy them.
He also told Donald that it would destroy his family as he knew it to
be. He also told him nobody would believe his story because everybody
loved Father Ted, their local Shepherd.
Upon returning home, Donald’s Mother, Hilda, asked him if he had
behaved himself and had a good time. He smiled and assured her he had
indeed. It was good to be home away from the monster. Father Ted was gone
for the moment but Donald was never, ever safe again.
Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, how would you feel if someone you
trusted one hundred percent and unconditionally, came in to your home
and brutally raped and choked your son, daughter or grandchild and changed
the course of their life forever?
There has to be some recourse by which all survivors of sexual abuse can
seek justice. I pray you will search deep in your hearts, your souls and
make a just and fair decision on Ohio SB - 17 and pass it in its entirety.
Donald, the teenage boy and inner child, thanks all of you and Donald’s
wife Lorrie, who couldn’t make this journey – my wife, my
partner, my soul mate and my best friend - thanks you from the bottom
of her heart for listening to this story. The story from the summer of
Respectfully submitted today on behalf of the following:
Lorrie and our beautiful son, Joe Bondick; Hilda Bondick; my sister Ann
Field; my brothers John, Mike (who was also attacked by Fr. Ted Feely),
and Tony; and for my Father, John Stanley “Brown Eyes” Bondick,
who never knew of my abuse and died in my arms on June 22, 1997.