Bishop Christian to Be Deposed in Sex Abuse Suit

By Katharine McQuaid
Union Leader [Manchester NH]
Downloaded July 9, 2003

A Manchester attorney plans to depose the city's Catholic Auxiliary Bishop Francis Christian as part of a class-action lawsuit against Bishop Guertin High School and the Brothers of the Sacred Heart religious order.

In last month's deposition of Brother Roland Ouellette, the former regional head of the Sacred Heart order explains how Christian advised him against making public sexual abuse allegations against one of the school's teachers. A 1995 memo written by Ouellette also talks of Christian's involvement in the issue.

Attorney Peter Hutchins represents 16 former Bishop Guertin students who say they were abused by teachers at the school. He said he wants to know why Ouellette sought Christian's advice in a Bishop Guertin matter when the Brothers of the Sacred Heart are independent of the Catholic Diocese of Manchester.

"What the heck is Monsignor Christian doing offering this type of advice to the school and the order and why is this guy blindly following it?" Hutchins said.

Yesterday, diocese representative Diane Murphy Quinlan said she could not comment on Ouellette's deposition, which was made public Monday, because she had not seen it and because Hutchins' suit does not include the diocese. She didn't know details of Christian's pending deposition.

Hutchins predicted the deposition will happen within the next month and a half.

In his record of events, Ouellette said he sought Christian's advice in 1995 when parents of a former student came forward to say that Brother Guy Beaulieu, a former Bishop Guertin teacher, had molested their son in 1977. Ouellette said Beaulieu admitted to the abuse.

The parents had also taken the matter up with the diocese, Hutchins explained.

The parents did not ask the school for money, but had a list of other demands. Ouellette's memo said they asked that a letter of apology be sent to their son, a letter telling of Beaulieu's abuse be sent to all students who attended Bishop Guertin at the time, and that the brothers hold a mass to pray for the victims.

In his deposition, Ouellette said he did not write a letter to former students because Christian had advised him not to. His memo about the events said Christian told him the family's "request for going public will be too much for the school and the diocese . . . Br. Guy needs protection and we need to safeguard his basic right to be innocent until proven guilty."


Any original material on these pages is copyright © 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.