Our stories of abuse at the hands of Father James Rudisill

Jane Doe #1‚Äč

was a 12-year-old girl when Father James Rudisill molested me.  It was summer, and I was going into the 7th grade at Christ the King School in Nashville, TN.  One Saturday morning, he asked for me to go to the rectory to help fold the Sunday bulletins.  During that time, he started touching my hand and getting too close to me.  At first I thought nothing about it.  When we finished the bulletins, he said he needed to go over to the school.  No one was in the building because it was summer break.  I didn't know what he had in mind, but I just didn't want to be alone with him.  In the 1950s, it was common to hear, "Do whatever Father tells you."


We went to te gym and to the closet up on the right side of the stage.  I was frightened and froze when he got close to me.   He molested me there.


Afterwards, he started quoting scripture about a millstone around the neck and being cast into the sea.  Then he told me that he wasn't worried about me telling anyone because he would just deny it.  He said they were taught in the seminary to deny it for the good of the church.  Then he told me to leave by the side door of the school so no one would see me.  All of this was so traumatic that I dissociated any emotions from it.  I remember running home but I had no one to tell.  No one would have believed me.


A few days later he took me to St. Mary's Church in downtown Nashville to his confessor.  I didn't know what to say in confession, but the priest told me what to say.  To this day, I don't rememer what I was told to say nor do I care to remember.  He said, "When you get older, you may think about this but try and put it out of your mind."  That is the sum total of help I was given by the Catholic church.


I continued my life:  graduating from high school and nursing school, getting married and moving to another state.  Rudisill followed me in adulthood to every city where I moved.  How he found me I do not know.  I asked Bishop Edward U. Kmiec to meet with me.  He brought his Chancellor.  They didn't help me at all although the bishop did say that Rudisill did admit it was true.  At another meeting, I met with this same Chancellor and Rudisill in Nashville, confronting him about my abuse.   Even after admitting that he did it to me, Rudisill's last words to me were, "Why are you trying to ruin my reputation?"  


Bishop Kmiec did not remove him from ministry; he just let him retire some months later.  He did not report to the police.  He did not tell the faithful that he had "removed him from ministry" and "forbade him to present himself as a priest."  What good were these measures if the public did not know?


Rudisill had a good retirement and died a priest even though he admitted molesting me.  I was shocked to find out last November that Rudisill's name was on a pedophile list of the diocese.  They obviously have records of these crimes.  Why is this only being told now?


There is more but I am not able to tell it just yet.  Needless to say, I left the Catholic church years ago.  I didn't want to be part of a church that didn't care about their own people.  It has been decades but it still haunts me to this day.

Jane Doe #1    (posted 02-01-2019)