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Catholic School in N.H. Denies Knowledge of Abuse by Teacher

Providence Journal-Bulletin
January 5, 2003

Concord NH (AP) - Officials at a Roman Catholic high school in Nashua have denied accusations that they knew a teacher admitted molesting a boy, but did nothing to discipline or monitor him.

"Nothing of the sort has been established," lawyers for Bishop Guertin High School said in a court motion filed last week.

Brother Guy Beaulieu has been accused of molesting students for decades, including many at Bishop Guertin, which is owned by the Brothers of the Sacred Heart, a Pascoag, R.I.-based religious order.

"The school and the order bitterly contest the allegation that they had prior knowledge of Beaulieu's sexual misconduct," the lawyer for the school wrote.

Another priest, Brother Roger G. Argencourt, was accused last April of molesting a teenage student at Bishop Guertin High School. Brother Argencourt, 64, died suddenly in September at the Brothers of the Sacred Heart Provincial House in Pascoag.

The lawsuit was filed against Argencourt by Jeffrey Linton, of Afton, Va. Argencourt, formerly head of the social studies department at Bishop Guertin, was the school's student-activities director when the allegations arose in January. He left at that time.

While being questioned for a lawsuit last month, Beaulieu said he told Brother Leo Labbe, the former president of Bishop Guertin, in 1970, that he had sexually molested a boy that year.

Labbe omitted the incident when asked under oath recently to list sexual abuse complaints that involved Beaulieu, according to a motion filed Dec. 24 by Peter Hutchins, a lawyer for one of Beaulieu's alleged victims.

According to transcripts of Beaulieu's questioning, the teacher said he told Labbe about the abuse while they were assigned to the Sacred Heart Prep School in Pascoag. Labbe was assistant headmaster. "He asked me if I did [it], and I said, 'Yes,'" Beaulieu said.

Beaulieu also said he later discussed the incident with Brother Ronald Dupuis, who was the provincial superior for the Brothers of Sacred Heart, which also owned Sacred Heart.

"The school and the order look forward to proving that they had no reason to suspect Beaulieu of sexual misconduct in the 1970s," the school's lawyers wrote.

Hutchins said he was surprised by the school's response.

"I find it simply amazing that the school and the order claim that they 'bitterly' deny prior knowledge of Guy's behavior," he said. "Guy has no motive to lie or fabricate this stuff at this point."

Hutchins said he will question Labbe, Dupuis and other school officials later this month.

In the deposition, Beaulieu said he molested 15 to 20 Bishop Guertin students and approached 50 to 75 others but sensed they didn't want to go forward.

Hutchins's client, Kevin Dandley, is suing the school, Beaulieu, Labbe, Dupuis and the Brothers of the Sacred Heart. He claims conduct by Labbe and Dupuis constituted negligence and a conspiracy to conceal the abuse.




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