Friday, May 20, 2016

Chapter 45

Wednesday, December 9, 1964

Sarah made short work of the task of looking up the ex-secretary. Her name was Dorothy Price, and she lived close to the university on Corby. I decided to try her around dinnertime, thinking she probably had taken a new job and that, as secretary, it would be a nine-to-five job rather than an odd-hours thing. 

I was right. She came to the door herself, her husband not having a nine-to-five job. She was wearing a blouse and skirt, suggesting that, yes indeed, she had taken on another office job. I introduced myself, which wasn't entirely necessary. She knew who I was, even though we hadn't had anything but the briefest encounter. I told her I wanted to ask her a few questions related to Father Fox and his death. She let me in without hesitation.

"You know, you're the first person who asked to talk to me about Father Fox," she said. "I'll be happy to tell you what I know."

"You left shortly after Father Fox died," I said. "What's the story?"

She explained that she had been thinking about leaving for a couple of weeks before. She had heard things, mainly from a couple of people with ties to Notre Dame High School in Niles. The gist was that Father Fox was molesting boys.

"Did you believe it?"

"It was gossip, as far as I could tell," she said. "But I listened. And then I got a phone call saying that Father Fox was a dirty homosexual, only he didn't say homosexual, and that he'd better watch out. And he hung up."


"Yes, he sounded young. A teenager. That's when I started to think about leaving."

"You believed him?"

"Not necessarily, but it bothered me. I was already uncomfortable with Father Fox being around. It's not that I thought the rumors were true. It's that I thought the congregation shouldn't have been taking chances like this, posting him to the minor seminary. They should have found a different job for him."

"Even if they were sure he was clean?"

"Yes. If they were sure he was good, they didn't have to toss him out of the order or give him a rotten job. Just something that wasn't around kids."

"I understand? So you decided to leave?"

"Pretty much. I was looking for another job, and then he, um, died. I couldn't think after that. I was getting all kinds of calls from detectives, lawyers, the provincial
asking for Father Grieshaber. I knew it was bad. I stayed for another week, until I couldn't take it any more. Even though I hadn't found a job, I gave notice. Father Grieshaber let me leave right away. That was a kindness."

"You told him why?"

"Yes. He look sad, told me he understood."

Interesting. Hank didn't tell me he knew why she left. "Did you tell him about the phone call from the young man?"

"Yes. He looked sad, but he did tell me that he and other officials in the congregation knew about the stories that were coming out of Niles. He said he believed it was gossip, that there were reasons for the gossip, and that the stories appeared to be spiteful."

"Anything else?" 

"He asked me if I recognized the voice on the phone."


"I told him I thought so," and then she told me.

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