I entered Novitiate of the Legion of Christ in 1986 and Fr William Izquierdo was my novice instructor. Hearing of the charges of sexual misconduct against him have provoked dozens of memories of my experience with him in Cheshire. Thankfully I was never knew of any of this while I was there, and was never a victim of that kind of abuse. But that doesn't mean I have all fond memories of the man.
Anyone who was one of his novices can attest to how he treated us. How many times were you told, "You are stupid, brother." His favorite for me (and others) was, "You're lazy, brother, 'flojo'." I worked a full-time job lugging coke cans before I entered the legion, and I loved the heavy work. The jobs I was given in the novitiate I always sought to do well, not to gain the praise of my superiors, but because I am a perfectionist. But being called lazy and stupid time and again was his way of breaking you down.
It all came down to public humiliation. How do you justify that in a Congregation that preaches Christian charity as its charism?
I can't remember if I told this story before, but if I did, it's worth telling again.
One day we were practicing in the band in the dining room in Cheshire on a work day when Fr William came in making his rounds. I don't remember what I said or what he said, or even if I said anything at all, but at one point he jabbed me in the temples with the knuckles of his index fingers. I was furious. I'm sure the other brothers could see it in my face. But I held my tongue. Fr William just giggled and walked away.
I wasn't the only victim of public humiliation. There were many others, if not all. Even the hand-picked special few, the pretty boys he surrounded himself with were humiliated. Maybe more than others. Makes me wonder what kind of treatment they were given behind closed doors to make them so submissive to him.