Maria Katsaris describes experiences with father

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List of questions for Maria Katsaris

  1. Has your father told you that you should worship him as an icon unto God?
  2. Does your father have a history of being under psychotherapy?
  3. Has your father told you that having sex with your mother was similar to having sex with a corpse?
  4. [Question deleted] Does your father still tried to kiss you on the lips when he sees you?
  5. Did your father kick your mother in anger?
  6. Did your father often hit you with a belt? Did you have black and blue welts as a result?
  7. Would your father often make racist and ethnic jokes?
  8. Did Tim Stoen called her father an evil bastard?
  9. Did Tim Stoen tell you that your father would try to lead a terrible vigilante group against your church?
  10. Did Tim Stoen often advise you against seeing your father?
  11. Did your father take you to bed with him? Many times?
  12. Did your father make love with his girlfriend in front of you?
  13. Did your father kiss you on the mouth? Many times? Is this a Greek custom as you understand them?
  14. Were you afraid of your father as a child?
  15. Are you afraid of your father now?
  16. When you were a child did you feel you could refuse anything your father would ask you to do?
  17. Do you fear that if you were to return to the United States your father would attempt to keep you there?
  18. Did your father, Steven A. Katsaris, sexually molest you?
  19. Did your father drink heavily and smoke marijuana?

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To: Charles Garry
Fr: Maria Katsaris
Re: Sexual experiences with Steven A. Katsaris

My father was very inconsistent in raising me. When I was very small, he was very controlling and neither he nor my mother could talk openly to me about sex or answer my questions. He was so controlling with me that I would never think of saying no to him, talking back, or arguing with him. I was too afraid of him. He was still manipulatingly controlling when I was a teenager, but began talking to me about sexual freedom. He bragged to me about smoking marijuana with his friends at Trinity School (the school in Ukiah, California, which he administrates). His friends also told me about smoking dope with them. Despite his rigidity in rearing me,  he repeatedly molested me.

My family lived in Salt Lake City, Utah (1027 S. 13th East Street), until I was about nine years old. He would often come down the hall to my room to say good night and would fondle my breasts and genitals. He did this as far back as I can remember, and I was always too terrified to say anything about it. I was frightened that he would beat me if I said anything, and the beatings were especially severe if he said I was lying about anything, and I knew he would say it was a lie. I never been able to talk to my mother, not even about common feelings, and I always thought she would take his word over mine and say I was making it up if I said anything about it.

Even when I got older, I did not say anything, because I did not think anyone would believe me. Up until I was 18, my father was a Greek Orthodox priest and the pastor of large churches in Salt Lake City and in Belmont California. He was very heavily respected by the people in his congregation and in the community. Everyone thought he was a very good father, and church and community leader. He would be the last person anyone would think of as being a child molester.

In Salt Lake City, I remember being at his church office quite a bit (Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church). Often this was after office hours or on the weekends when no one else was around. He would often sit me on his lap and fondle me. Sometimes he would have me rub his penis. He would tell me that I had better not tell anyone about it. I never did because I was afraid [missing words: “he would”] beat me, and tell everyone I was making it up. When I got somewhat older, getting beaten was doubly upsetting to me. (He used his belt on me until I was about 12 years old). Not only did they hurt, but I was ashamed to go to school after being beat, because of the black and blue marks on my legs.

In 1962, we moved to Belmont California (316 Malcom Avenue, and then later to 1028 (?) Comstock Circle). When I was about 10 years old, my mother went back to Pennsylvania to see her relative. I think her father had passed away. While she was gone, my father had me sleep in bed with him (this also happened other times when she was not around). He would hold me very close to him, fondle my genitals and make me masturbate him by rubbing his penis. He said he was just being affectionate to me and then if I was ever to mention it, it would not be wise because no one would believe me. This was when we lived on Malcom Avenue. He would also play with me at his church office in Belmont when no one was around (Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Church on Alameda de las Pulgas). Before the church was built, this temporary office was on Baldwin Ave. in San Mateo, and I remember him doing it there also. He would touch me, grabbed me when I walked by and fondle me. I was partly afraid of him and partly afraid that I would never have anyone accept me because of what he had done to me and felt like I would always be stuck with him. I was extremely ashamed and embarrassed.

My father also used to like to listen to the stereo a lot. He would lie down in the middle of the living room floor with the lights out. The stereo was at the end of the room and he would lie in front of the speakers. He would have me lie on the floor next to him, put his arm around me and then start putting his hands inside my clothes. This was when I was about eleven. (I also forgot to mention when I was younger in Salt Lake City, I can remember him giving me a bath and playing with me in the bathtub. Another time when our family had gone on a trip to the mountains to a place called Spirit Lake. My mother, brother, and sister had left our cabin and gone over to the lodge. Even though it was cold, my father made me take off my clothes, lay down on the bed with him and rubbed my genitals while he made me rub his. My mother almost caught him that time, but he heard her coming with my brother and sister, and told me to hurry and get dressed. He threatened me that if I said anything or acting funny and that I would be sorry. This was also in Utah).

When I was 11 or 12 we went on vacation to a camping resort in Yosemite called Camp Mather. He called to me to come with him, and we went back to our cabin. No one else was there. He apologized for being so hard on the when I was smaller, and caressed me as if that was supposed to make up for it or something. I was still very afraid of him to say anything.

My father has always kissed me on the lips when he greets me. We are Greek by nationality, and Greeks are more demonstrative in some ways, but his kissing me on the lips was not something Greek people would do. [He] Even would do this in front of my friends and anyone else who happened to be around. Like this was the way a father usually kisses his daughter. When I got older and objected, he would say I had some kind of problem and was not relaxed enough. I felt so weird because of what my father had done to me, it seemed like I was stuck with him. I always wanted to tell my mother, but never did, because I did not expect her to believe me. No one would ever dreamed that my father was that kind of person. When I was a senior in high school, my parents got a divorce. My father told me that having sex with my mother was like having sex with a corpse.

When my parents first separated, I stayed with my mother, but I felt too ashamed to be around her because of what I had done. Finally I left and went to Redwood Valley to stay with my father. I did this partly because I felt that no one else would have me, and partly because he lived out in the country and I thought I could get away from people more. He bought a 2 bedroom house at 1040 (?) Road M, on the corner of West Road. He was drinking at the time, not just socially but often and quite a bit. He was having an affair with a woman by the name of Anne Tomaja, who he later married, after she had lived with him awhile. They would often have big make-out sessions in the living room while I was there. They did not care if I was sitting right there across from them. He would put his hand down her blouse and feel her breasts and down her pants and finger her, and they would giggle and carry on. This is when he would talk about sexual freedom and that I should relax more sexually. They would make a big thing about sex, not being discreet at all, what would make out in the living room and then go into the bedroom and make a big racket. The more he drank, the more he would show off sexually with this woman.

My father also had a friend who worked as a psychologist at Trinity School and they would both talk about sex a lot when I was around. His name was Bob Eaton. He would brag about his daughter who was about the same age as myself, having sex all the time. Then they said I should have boyfriends and get some experience. If I ignore them or did not discuss it with them, they would say I had a problem and had hang-ups. This is when my father started to go a little further with me. He would get drunk and then go into a big psychological analysis about my being too uptight, and that I would never go out with boys unless I learned to relax with him. He would get really drunk and on one occasion he pushed me down and had sex with me. I felt very claustrophobic, like I was being smothered. This was at his house in River Valley, in his bedroom. It was horrible and I cannot stand to think about it. It seemed like it would never be over. He had a waterbed and I thought I was going to suffocate. Another time, he tried again but I got away from him. He would the next day say something about the fact he was really drunk and hoped he had not said anything to offend me, and that he could not remember anything about the night before.

About this time my father was going to a psychotherapist, and told me he was very depressed and suicidal. He said he needed me and that if I ever did anything to hurt him he would kill himself. He has always tried to work on my guilt. When I was a child he was often ill. He had some kind of enzyme problem that the doctor did not [know] how to treat. He also had ulcers when I was a teenager. I was terrified that it would be my fault if he killed himself or if he died, and it was me that upset him and made him more ill. Also, when I told him I was not returning from Guyana last fall, he claimed he was very ill, and about to have surgery. He implied that he was dying of cancer.

The conflict of all this finally became too much for me. I been alienated when I was young and he had played with me sexually, but when I was about 16 to 19 years old, I withdrew almost totally. I always knew that other people my own age would never accept me if they knew. I became very depressed and noncommunicative. I would curl up in [a] fetal position in my room and wouldn’t talk. Even if someone asked me a question, like what time it was, I would hold up a number of fingers to indicate the time, without having to speak. I rarely spoke to anyone and barely ate anything. I could barely handle school. I could get by in most classes, but emotionally I could not handle it. I felt I would prefer to commit suicide than to turn in a paper. I was frightened that I was weird. My father took me to a therapist, but all I could do was cry and I couldn’t talk to him. His name was Jerry Smith, and his office was on Alameda de las Pulgas in Belmont. I felt that if I told him what was happening he would talk to my dad and tell him what I said. I knew he would deny it and was afraid he might put me in an institution. He once told me in great detail about one young girl whose father had to commit her to a mental hospital because she could not keep reality separate from fantasy and she was always making things up. After I went to that therapist I was under therapy with a psychologist by the name of Murray Bilmes in San Mateo. He also worked at Peninsula Hospital. I never was able to tell him about the situation either. I know my father has been under psychotherapy himself for several years. I do not remember the names of the therapists he was going to. One psychiatrist has passed away, whose name was Charlie Parmalee. There was a doctor at St. Mary’s Hospital in San Francisco he was going to but I cannot remember the name. After my parents were divorced my father used to talk and confide in me like I was his therapist. He would talk to me for hours and say he needed me. I think I may have forgotten to mention that shortly after my parents were divorced, my father also left the priesthood and at that time took the job as director of Trinity School in Ukiah. He has training as a clinical psychologist (so he has told me). He is well respected and has the ability to convince people of what he is saying. He comes off very rational and concerned. This is also why I never told anyone. I knew it was his word against mine, and knew also that he would be believed before me. I have also felt a tremendous amount of guilt and embarrassment over it. When I was older I also felt if I did tell anyone, I would be considered weird and that people would hold it against me. It is very humiliating. And when I was younger he so controlled me like I said earlier, I would never dream of crossing him. It was not until I came to PT I felt I could trust some people after awhile that I ever told anyone. I felt that no one would hold it against me, and that they would still be accepting of me. I was almost completely withdrawn when I first came and barely communicating with anyone.

[Handwritten addendum: “I hope I have included everything you need. If there is something I left out please let me know. Maria”]

Originally posted on August 14th, 2022.

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