My Open Letter to Jeffrey Docking and Adrian College #metoo

November 3, 2017

To:       Dr. Jeffrey Docking, President Adrian College @JeffreyDocking, @AdrianCollege

cc:        Ms. Bridgette Winslow, Assistant Dean of Academic Affairs, Title IX Coordinator

Dr. Seth Knox, President, Adrian College Association of Professors

The dam has broken: You can no longer blame a fifteen-year-old victim for the fact that one of your professors, Thomas Hodgman, preyed on me, sexually abused me, and lied about it—all while he was my high school teacher.

The blame is not mine to bear. It is his and it is yours – for condoning the molestation of children.

It is time for you to remove admitted sexual predator Thomas Hodgman from his employment at Adrian College.

I came forward in 2003 and filed a lawsuit against Thomas Hodgman, the Diocese of Orange, CA, and Mater Dei High School, where Hodgman—my high school choir teacher from 1986-1988—admitted to sexually abusing me and at least one other high school girl.

That lawsuit settled in 2005. As a part of that settlement, I received more than 200 pages of secret documents showing that Hodgman admitted to preying on me and at least one other girl. He knew he got me pregnant. He had been informed he gave me a sexually transmitted disease.

He used his high school choirs to gain access to vulnerable young girls and sexually abuse them.

In 2004, I visited Adrian to alert your predecessor, Stanley Caine. I had Hodgman’s signed confession. Caine told me that it was just “sour grapes” on my part. He blamed the abuse on me.

For the 13 years since then, I have attempted to alert students, parents, and the public about what Hodgman has done. I have posted the once-secret documents online. I have contacted your office numerous times. What have you done?

With the recent scandals involving Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, and other powerful men in media and Hollywood, the dam is breaking.

You can no longer turn a blind eye to what Hodgman did and say, “Times were different.” They weren’t.

You can’t blame the victim for a school that covered up abuse. You can no longer blame a 15-year old victim for that fact that her teacher groomed and sexually abused her and at least one of her friends.

Just because a man is talented and affable does not mean that he can assault, molest, sexually abuse, harass, or engage in criminal behavior with children in his care.

The time for victim-shaming is over. You can no longer cover-up Thomas Hodgman’s past. You must act.

Joelle Casteix

#metoo

 

20 thoughts on “My Open Letter to Jeffrey Docking and Adrian College #metoo

  1. May your heart be healed in knowing that you most likely saved at least one child from enduring such tragedy. Such strength and determination you display. Prayers and positive energy sent to you to help you heal.

  2. In my opinion, Docking is not concerned about student safety at Adrian College. His m.o. is to quietly cover up problematic situations, sweep them under the rug, and hope they go away. A couple years ago, a small group of football players recruited out of Florida (?) were assaulting (raping and beating) other students and damaging and generally raising hell with businesses in Adrian (e.g., broken windows on Wilson’s Barber Shop, etc.) General thuggery. They were quietly given one-way tickets home, but never prosecuted.

    In another situation, he was made aware of safety issues with the college-owned and operated vehicle fleet, with included the smaller buses. They were not being properly repaired and the drivers were not being properly vetted or drug tested. Instead of making policies or changes to correct the situation and insure safe vehicles, he “arranged” to have the most vocal driver leave employment with A.C.

    Now this situation. Will he correct it? My experience is that he won’t.

  3. I am an AC alum. I am not familiar with Thomas Hodgman. Interestingly, I just saw another article somewhere today regarding a court hearing coming up where Mr. Hodgman is trying to keep the civil case file closed since he was never convicted of committing a crime. In the article, AC stated it is standing behind Mr. Hodgman, that he was (and continues to be) open and honest about his past history — which I am also assuming is regarding this incident. The response made it sound like Mr. Hodgman had never admitted any guilt and that there was a financial payment made by the Diocese with no one admitting any guilt or wrongdoing. As an alum and a sex abuse survivor, I am willing to hold the college’s feet to the fire but as someone who has worked for over 20 years as a paralegal, I do have some questions related to the “200 pages of secret documents” you reference you received as a result of the 2005 settlement. I am curious as to how those 200 pages of secret documents came to you? In addition, if there was a “signed confession” why was that not given to the police to assist with a criminal prosecution? Was there a statute of limitations issue? While you haven’t detailed the entire settlement, there is generally a very solid “non-disclosure agreement” in these types of settlements. How is it you have been able to post these online seemingly without repercussion?
    Like Objective Reader above, I am not trying to attack you. I want to make sure I understand all of the facts before writing a letter to the President of Adrian College demanding the removal of a man who, on the face of things, appears to be a child molesting sexual predator.

    1. I got the documents as a part of my 2005 settlement with the Diocese of Orange and Mater Dei High School. ANd let’s be clear: Hodgman has not been open about his history.

      Hodgman tried to keep the documents secret and filed the paperwork to do so. But because of an accident, a lawfirm gave a copy of the documents to the Orange County register, who refused to give them back. A court hearing the next day determined that the “bell could not be unrung.” Because of that, there is no NDA.

      You can read the Register article here: http://www.bishop-accountability.org/news3/2005_05_19_Saavedra_SealedRecords_John_Ruhl_1.htm

      Finally, I only had until age 19 to file criminal charges in my case. At age 19, I was still an emotional mess from the abuse.

  4. I think it’s disgusting that he’s allowed to work around kid’s.. I don’t understand that.. So sorry for all that you’ve been through.

  5. Hello, I had a few questions. I am so sorry for what happened to you when you were a child and the pain that it continues to cause you. This man is scum and I agree that I would not want him as a teacher knowing what I know.

    However, a settlement was reached, the case is closed. Why continue? At this point, by law, he has paid for his crime. I can’t say I wouldn’t want to destroy this man’s life if I were in the situation, but it seems more damaging to you than anything else. I guess what I am curious about is if you are going to follow this man and this tragedy in your life around or actually get the help you deserve.

    Ruining his reputation every time he gets a new job is satisfying for a while, but revenge is a hard drug to handle.

    1. After doing a little more research and seeing your comments on various sites, my questions have been answered and clarified. I meant no personal attack in my original comment, I just missed part of the story. I took this message as a way to find peace with the situation, but you genuinely are trying to make people aware of an evil man and I have so much respect for you for that alone. I hope you one day are content enough with the situation where you do find peace and justice.

    2. The issue is simple: what Hodgman did to Joelle and at least one other student, puts others at significant risk.

      The very nature of child molesters is that they don’t just stop. They have to be stopped.

      And, to clarify he paid for nothing. Hodgman merely moved across the country and started a new life.

      The question remains: did he stop his secret life of preying upon and raping kids?

      We don’t know.

      The other question is why is Adrian College allowing a rapist to work for them when they know the facts?

      Worse still, why are they telling no one?

    3. My question to you is would you want him to work with your child? Its not revenge its letting other parents know what a sick $#%$ he is. I dont understand people even making that comment he has not paid for what hes done because her scares are life long and so should his be. Shun his ass.

  6. I just read on the AC Choir Facebook page that another instructor took over full time last fall? So is he still there or no? I was in his choir 2002-2004.

  7. Why is no one doing anything to help this survivor?
    It seems that (void of fraud and forgery) all of the documentation is in order to probe her claims. Why had the school allowed this sexual predator to retain his position? Why are as a community not lending our voices?

    I would like to volunteer mine.

    Joelle, If you can see this please reach out to me. I would like to help if I can!
    https://www.facebook.com/redlightinitiativeLC/

    1. Yes, my case settled in civil court and all of these documents are court documents submitted by Mater Dei High School and the Diocese of Orange. A simple Google search on me will also show that I have proven my allegations time and time again.

      1. Tragically, the same Diocese of Orange employees that covered up your abuses, covered up many other types of abuse, and remained gainfully employed by the Diocese of Orange without any type of accountability. If Orange County District Attorney Rackauckas had done his job in accordance with mandated reporting laws, the Diocese of Orange ENABLERS would have been criminally charged and children would be safe in Diocese of Orange schools. There is no excuse for what has occurred in Orange County, California, and many other parts of the country. Thank you for all you do!

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