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SNAP of Tennessee

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests - Tennessee 

Cabin Correction

June 30, 2005

Cabin Correction
Setting the record straight: Camp Marymount officials say so-called "rape cabin" no longer exists

By John Spragens

The cabin where David Brown described being raped (see the Scene's cover story, "Rape of Faith") didn't exist at the time that he says the abuse happened in 1961. According to two people with longstanding ties to Camp Marymount, the cabin Brown visited with the Scene wasn't built until 1967, so it is impossible that Brown could have visited the exact piece of plywood upon which he was abused.

In the intervening 45 years since Brown's experience, dilapidated buildings have been replaced by newer structures. In 1961, there were three cabins and a lodge in what was known as Senior Camp, according to two letters provided to the Scene by Marymount director Tommy Hagey. Based on information in the letters from former campers and counselors, it appears that, as described in the Scene's cover story, Brown was recalling an old lodge building that was demolished around 1980.

The Scene failed to confirm Brown's recollection with Marymount officials, who contacted the paper to point out that not only has the cabin been destroyed but that the alleged abuse did not happen when camp was in session and was not committed by an agent of the camp, which exists for the benefit of children.

"Camp Marymount was distressed to learn of the allegations in this week's Nashville Scene cover story and abhors the idea of sexual abuse," said Eric Dahlhauser, chairman of the board at Marymount, in a statement provided to the Scene . "Our camp has very strong policies in place to protect the children in our care. The allegations regarding the incident in 1961 are horrific, and Camp Marymount takes very seriously the inference of abuse of any nature on our property or elsewhere."

For his part, Brown concedes his memory is blurry and says that he told his son Jeff that he recalled the cabin sitting farther back than the one he entered recently with the Scene. "I've been there twice in 44 years," Brown says, "and I blocked it out of my memory for a long time, so it's hard to remember all the details. But as far as Camp Marymount and what happened to me up there, there's no doubt about that. If the cabin's gone now, that's great, but that doesn't mean it never happened."