Men of the cloth. Men of God. Priests are supposed to help children grow, not take advantage of them.
But one local priest did just that. Leaving a broken boy behind.
A boy that didn’t even remember his own abuse until almost 30 years later.
“I started daydreaming about my two daughters and my son following my coffin down the aisle at my funeral,” sad a tearful Chris Templeton.
That was the lowest point in Chris Templeton’s life, and the moment that his life changed forever.
“I started crying. I got real emotional,” remembers Chris. “So i went inside and told my wife you have to call mom and dad. She said why? I said because I’m going to kill myself tomorrow.”
His family sent Chris to a mental hospital in Florida where a trauma class opened his eyes, and mind to a horrific past.
“A girl, she was about 22, started sharing her story about how she was molested and raped by her step brother.” remembers Templeton. “While she was telling her story, near the end of her story, everything hit me like a lightning bolt. I just started pouring sweat. I started screaming going into an outrage in a group of people and they had to restrain me.”
What Chris did was remember.
8th grade at St James with a priest named Wayland Brown.
“Right away, a vivid memory of me being raped by this man, by Father Wayland Brown,” said Chris, sobbing.
Chris says he now remembers Father Brown riding around in a big truck, watching the kids play football. He’d take them for soda and candy. He’d befriend them. Then he’d take advantage of their youth and take away their innocence.
“(I remember) Him raping me in the rectory,”
“These were the flashbacks I was having, of him raping me in my parent’s home.”
Including one very vivid memory, just after he had broken his leg.
“He walked in and told my mother I’ll sit with Chris while you get the girls. and he raped me right on my mom and dad’s couch. I can still see the fibers of the couch pressed up in my face. I can still feel it like it was yesterday. I can still see the yellow and brown carpet in my mom and dad’s house. My mom and dad came back to the house. I had to jump up with my crutches and clean myself up.”
Cleaning up the mess, cleaning his mind of any recollection, any pain for 28 years after.
“The first time he touched me or raped me I blocked it out right then,” Chris snaps his fingers. “I mean that was it. My life stopped right then. And there was nothing i could do.”
“I don’t remember many of my high school years, bits and pieces maybe,” said Chris. “Or any of my college years. I’ve gone back to Athens and I couldn’t take you back to places i used to live.”
Chris remembers more every day now. A total of 56 times Father brown molested him, all during 8th grade, and more painful memories come every day.
“You question yourself, why haven’t i been able to tell anybody, why did i not fight him off I was a big kid, i was a strong kid. Why me? Did i give him any reason to make him think i wanted him to do that.”
Questions he still hasn’t answered.
Questions which led him to a lawyer and to filing a lawsuit against the Catholic Diocese of Savannah. Led him to a deposition hearing where he faced his rapist for the first time in 28 years.
“I just stared at him with a stare in his eyes while he laughed, mocked and showed no remorse for what he did to me or all the other children.”
“He was asked weren’t you the camp director at Camp Villa Marie for three straight summers for the children?” Chris remembers from that deposition.
“He said adolescents, you know I told you i like adolescents.”
“When he was asked specific questions about the gory details that he did to me” said Chris. “He would cross his legs and sit back and say I plead the fifth on that and he’d wink.”
Chris Templeton settled that case with the church for more than $4 million.
Money that Chris isn’t putting in the bank, but putting toward fighting back.”
“He (Brown) took my childhood from me, he took a lot of years away from my family. I would ask him why how could he hurt me. I trusted him.”
“Today if i could look him in the eyes I’d look at him and tell him you didn’t win. You hurt me, and you damaged me but you didn’t destroy me. now its my turn. I’m going to do everything in my power and every dime I got so you won’t hurt another soul and you go back to prison where you belong and you can face the devil when you are gone.”
Father Wayland Brown spent five years in prison in a plea deal, and admitted to molesting two boys in Maryland.
He has never been charged in Georgia, and the statute of limitations in Chris’ case has run out.
Templeton hopes to file charges against brown in South Carolina where he says he was raped multiple times, and where there is no statute of limitations on abuse.
If you or someone you love has been abused, you can contact the Rape Crisis Center at (912)233-3000.
You can also reach out to SNAP, the Survivors Network for those Abused by Priests.
You can contact Michael Corbett at (508)207-7418 or (508)207-7418 or Savannah@SNAPnetwork.org or Barbara Dorris of SNAP at (314)503-0003 and bdorris@SNAPnetwork.org
You can also log on to www.snapnetwork.org.