if…in the greenwood…

I’m in prison.
I’m a “hardened con” after eight years.
I’m a priest.
I want to stay here.
I don’t want parole.
And I’m innocent.

My savings went to legal costs.
The Cardinal took away my pension.
The social security ended at conviction
The car went to defray the cost of an expert witness.
The Church took away my livelihood.

My landlord took away my apartment.
The Cardinal took away my medical benefits.
I’m anathema at the old priests’ home.
The Cardinal won’t tell me if I am excommunicated or not so I’m unwelcome at prison mass.
To dig I am unable at 82 years of age.
As “the most hated man in Massachusetts,” “one of the ten most notorious criminals in Massachusetts history,” the “worst of the worst”—my life is in danger from the vigilantes.

I cannot stay with friends without making them targets.
The sex-offender registry all but insures retribution from neighbors.

Is it not curious that the District Attorney, now the Attorney General, found me harmless enough to go home with no prison time if I would take a plea bargain and confess to 1456 rapes, or even to two. Now ten years later I am surely less harmful.

Let me did in prison, in solidarity with the countless other innocents whose lives have been blighted or taken — the lynched, the witches, the Jews — while society consoles itself with two great fallacies: “I can tell a guilty person”…”seldom do innocents go to prison.” Modern science will disprove both.

Broken physically, socially, spiritually, religiously, vocationally, my reputation destroyed, my integrity impugned, my golden years squandered, parole would require yet another pound of flesh.

In prison I am so hated that I am kept out of sight of even the general population—protective custody. Prison within a prison.

In any case it is useless to ask for parole since one is required to admit his crime, show remorse and take the sex treatment courses. I have not even a smidgeon of remorse for heinous acts that never were.

Nearly deaf, hands shaking with familial tremors, a heart condition, rosacea, limping from nerve damage from sciatica, allergies, skin cancer, high blood pressure and cholesterol, I could not sleep under bridges as do my compadres. My thyroid and my eyes have conditions which require regular observation.