When I was a child I was a victim of sexual abuse by a teacher in the school system I attended. The teacher, Joseph Magno, of Hudson, Massachusetts, taught in the school system in neighboring Maynard and was the faculty adviser of Maynard High School's radio station, WAVM. I was a member of that radio station from 1974 until 1977 when my family moved to New Hampshire. At this time he is currently awaiting trial on charges of child rape and sexual assault on a minor. The victim, a now 18 year-old male, was victimized over an extended period of time, and circumstances made it so that he reported the abuse to the Maynard Police Department.
In the investigation that both preceded and followed Magno's arrest, Maynard Police asked anyone with information to come forward and talk with them. I was one of 12 people who originally made statements about our experiences of abuse at Magno's hand. Since the original investigation almost one year ago, many others have come forward as well.
I am writing about this because of posts on another blog I follow, that of technology consultant Ken Savage of Dracut, Massachusetts, a town bordering neighboring Lowell and the New Hampshire state line. There is a long weblog dedicated solely to the Magno situation, the victims, and many people who have commented over the past year, both in support of and against the victims. At this time the post count is up to approximately 2500, over 250 pages of material written by so many people. It is a wonderful testament of not just support of those who have been victimized by this man (the vast majority of the postings have been supportive of all the victims), but it is also, without a doubt, a fine example of free speech and debate in our society.
Anyway, over the past few days there have been a large volume of posts from an individual who calls him/her self "Alumni." These posts have been impassioned unlike any I've seen; this person is venting out so much pain and anger that it's impossible for me not to feel the pain that is in the posts. What I think is most scary, at least for me, is that I've been there as a victim and I wish that I could do something more than I have done up to this point. I've given statements to the Maynard Police Department, I've been in contact with other victims, and I have gone public with my experiences, both to the Boston Globe and to the FOX affiliate in Boston. I fully expect to be subpoenaed by the prosecution to testify when the case goes to trial this coming January. But I don't feel like it is enough; I wish I could do something more, at least for this individual who is in a state of anguish like I have never seen.
I had a conversation of posts with this person (I wish I knew whether the poster is male or female; I don't) a couple of nights ago; we had a little bit of mis-understanding, due to my inability to read slowly as well as the time lag for posts, but I think we figured out that we're on the same page. At least I hope we did. One of the points he (I'll use "he" for the sake of simplicity) brought up is that he has proof that the current Superintendent of Schools in Maynard, Mark Masterson, was made aware of Magno's activities with male students approximately 18 months prior to his arrest. One of the things that I am certain of is that if this is true, then Masterson was (and still is) in violation of child welfare laws in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts by not reporting what he was made aware of. There were other things that Alumni brought up in the postings he put up; there was so much information as well as the deep feelings of anguish and anger that I could not keep track of it all. But I can say that in the way it was all written, I believe what he has said is indeed true, and he is aware of all of what has been going on since the case was opened, and likely before.
I am on a limb writing this post, I suspect, mainly because I am opening myself up further than I already have with respect to the charges against Magno, as well as my lame attempt at summarizing previously published blog content. I wouldn't be surprised if I've gotten some of this wrong. At the same time, however, I am certain that Alumni's points in his posts are true, and I think I know where he is coming from.
On the subject of anyone who abuses or molests children: I have no use for people who hurt a chile. None. In my opinion, those who hurt children are lower than the ground we walk on. I expect Joe Magno to be convicted of the crimes he is accused of, mainly because I know he committed them. Those of us who were his victims experienced the same sort of terror, the same pattern of grooming, and the same form of humiliation. He wrecked countless lives by doing the things he did to us. It is time his life is wrecked as well.
As I said before, if I am asked to testify against him in court, I will, in the time takes to snap your fingers.