Home » Abuse » He Didn’t Pay! Burn Her!

He Didn’t Pay! Burn Her!

Apologies if this doesn’t flow together very well.  Even after all these years, I have difficulty writing about it.

I was in fifth grade.  It was wintertime. Snow had fallen that day and I was off from school.  Cathy 5th Grade Pic

As I mentioned in the last post one of my child abusers was a well-known Fundamentalist leader of his day. Let’s call him *Luke.   *Luke paid Cleo to abuse me.

However there were many of times *Luke brought others with him.   Especially during conferences.

This particular time was at the farm.  The only two were *Luke   and another fundamentalist Christian leader named “John.  I had never seen *John before.

*Luke had a particular ritual.  *Luke tell me God made me special.  When I was little *Luke told me God had made me special and told me I was made to be *Luke’s concubine.  I didn’t know what a concubine was.  I thought it was another word for princess.  *Luke used to give me treats such as chocolate or ice cream.

*Luke would then rape me.

After *Luke was finished, if others were present, it was their turn.  On this particular occasion *John watched and pleasures himself while *Luke raped me.  *John never touched me that I can recall.

However afterward a mammoth argument took place between *John and Cleo because *John refused to pay Cleo for time with me. It mattered not to Cleo whether *John abused me, he still owed the fee. I remember being terrified and wanting to hide but there wasn’t anyway to get away.

I cannot recall if *John paid the fee or he didn’t, but Cleo was extremely angry with me for ‘not pleasing’ *John.  She and Lou threw me in the basement.  I had become used to sleeping down there when Cleo became enraged.  I had fallen asleep on the floor of the basement.  I was awakened in immense pain. I was wet.  Cleo was standing over me holding a large empty pot.  I remember looking down at my right arm and legs, confused about why my skin was melting.

I was screaming and Lou came running.  Now Cleo and Lou were arguing.  Lou picked me up and took me upstairs to the tub.  He took off my clothes and tried to put my in a tub of cold water.  At that point, I’m told I lost consciousness because of the pain.

Next I remember lying on the green couch in the sitting room.  I looked down at my body the first thing I saw was a blister covering the entire inner part of my left thigh from my groin to my knee.  The front of my right thigh was one open wound.  As was my right forearm, most of my chest and abdomen.  I even had the same open and seeping wounds on both of my feet.


Cleo was sitting there ripping bed sheets into strips.


After Cleo had the number of strips she needed she coated the strips with Bag Balm and applied her “bandages” to my wounds.  When Cleo determined the “bandages” needed to be changed she would tear them off quickly.  Causing intense pain which she appeared to enjoy.

Bag Balm

There was a lot of fighting between Lou and Cleo.  Lou said repeatedly he didn’t sign up for murder.

After a few rounds of Cleo’s “bandage” changes things my memory is very fuzzy.  All I remember was this woman who was a nurse who was always kind to me leaning over me, asking if I could hear her, telling me to open my eyes.  I remember the nurse saying I was going to the hospital.  All I remember was hearing the siren, that seemed to be a long way in the distance and feeling extremely cold.  Then a bright light surrounded by a level of peace I’ve never experienced before or since that time.   I remember regaining consciousness in the Hospital.  I think it was the Emergency Room.  I could hear Cleo and what I thought was a doctor arguing with Cleo about what happened to me.  Cleo told the doctor I had tripped over a cat and scalded myself.  She blamed her “bandages” as advice from the nurse who had called the ambulance.

The next thing I remember was being in an isolation room as a pediatric burn patient.  At first, Cleo was allowed in to see me.  She told me that I had better tell everyone I had tripped over a cat and burned myself or she would kill me.  It wasn’t too long after this, Cleo nor Lou weren’t allowed to visit me.

I know at some point the pastor and his wife from the Christian School came to the burn unit.  I had sustained 2nd and 3rd degree burns over 61% of my body.  I was nude on a special bed for burn patients with a bed cradle that kept the linens off of my wounds.  I was in and out of consciousness but I remember the pastor pulling back the sheet.  I remember being embarrassed because I didn’t have any clothes on.  I don’t know if I said it out loud or if I was too weak to actually verbalize it, but I remember thinking “oh please don’t uncover me.”

I went through months of painful burn treatments which included several surgical debridements, hydrotherapy. skin grafts, dressing changes, etc.

After I was released from the hospital I was taken to live at the pastors home who had visited me in the hospital.  A few days later I was back at the farm with Cleo.

I kept telling the story for many years that I had burned myself by tripping over a cat.  I was terrified at the time and believed Cleo would indeed murder me unless I said what she told me.  I’ve told people over the years the truth.

One thing you can be sure of, I never forgot what *John looked like.  A few years later I lost it when I found out he too was another well-known fundamentalist leader.

I’m now stating it publicly, Cleo threw boiling water on me in my sleep because she blamed me, a fifth grade child, because a ‘customer’ didn’t pay her fee.


Would you please be so kind and sign the following petition asking all professing Christians to better address the subject of sexual abuse?

A Public Statement Concerning Sexual Abuse in the Church of Jesus Christ by Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment (G.R.A.C.E.)


Psalm 56-8

*Not their real names


23 thoughts on “He Didn’t Pay! Burn Her!

  1. I’ve been reading your blog. I am so sorry for the atrocities which you have suffered. Especially at the hands of whom you have suffered. It does not matter who these men are, they should be punished. Thank you for sharing. I think many times we think abuse is “over there” instead of right under our own noses and in our own Christian circles. We try to ignore what we don’t want to acknowledge.

  2. Dear Cathy,

    You told me this story, but reading it makes the horror more intense. Your story makes this grown man cry. I’m angry for you.

    May those still living bear the full weight of the criminal justice system as a result of their crimes against you.

  3. Oh dear Cathy! I am speechless…there are no words to tell you how I feel after reading this. I love you so much – have so much respect for you! Keep speaking the truth…

  4. Oh, Cathy…

    I can’t begin to find words to express my horror & grief for what was done to you.

    And for what it’s worth, I wish you would name the Fundamentalist monsters who did this to you. I’d love to see some sort of justice done for you.

      • I don’t mean to sound heartless. I say this out of love. PLEASE check the statute of limitations for pressing criminal charges for this type of horrific crime. I have seen at least a dozen women lose their chance for justice. Just when they feel strong and safe enough to file charges, they are re victimized by the statutes of limitations. Also, as soon as you are strong enough, consider their future victims that you could prevent. Sorry. But I JUST went through this with a friend. She THREW UP, walked into the authorities to make her statement and was re-victimized by the SOL.

        I’m so sorry if I have upset you, but I HAD to say it. I hope you find true love and peace.

  5. This account left me reeling. To think that someone could do such a thing to a child! That you suffered such abuse elicits such a feeling of horror that I genuinely have no words. Knowing that religious leaders were sexually abusing you as a child and are not in jail….angry beyond words. So sorry you had to endure such abuse, Cathy. This just breaks my heart to read.

  6. Cathy, your bravery in speaking out is astounding. I applaud you for you voice. You are one strong woman. Thank you for having the tenacity to tell. Also, I want you to know that I cry for the little girl that was you, and for the tears you have held inside for so long.

  7. I just found your blog. Though I don’t know you, I am sending deep, heartfelt love for the little girl who suffered alone. I can’t help but believe that when we share our stories of suffering, we have a new opportunity to be held and loved by many who now hear us and care. May all good things be yours as you share, heal, and help others to do the same.


Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s