Motion Alleges More Victims
Filing in Civil Case Comes Two Days before Criminal Arraignment of Former McGill-Toolen Teacher
By Gary McElroy
Mobile Register [Mobile AL]
October 2, 2003
Nicholas Paul "Brother Vic" Bendillo's alleged sexual abuse of students under his guidance at Mobile's Catholic high school goes back to at least 1963, according to a civil motion filed Tuesday in Mobile Coun ty Circuit Court.
The motion presented to Circuit Judge John Lockett asks him to issue a protective order, prohibiting the public disclosure of the identities of several more alleged victims should they come forward.
Ashly Butler, 23, of Mobile, and Gregory Goodwin, 24, of San Diego County, Calif., who last month joined Butler in a civil lawsuit against Bendillo, allege that Bendillo physically and sexually abused them while they were students at McGill-Toolen High School.
In addition to Bendillo, the Archdiocese of Mobile and the Brothers of the Sacred Heart, a New Orleans-based Catholic order of male educators, are named as defendants.
Bendillo, 74, was associated with McGill-Toolen from 1959 to 1998. Butler and Goodwin claim he abused them in the early 1990s.
In part, the lawsuit argues that the institution knew or should have known of Bendillo's alleged actions.
In late September, the archdiocese filed a motion before Lockett, asking the judge to dismiss the case, suggesting the suit's allegations of "fraudulent concealment" were not specific enough.
"Although Butler vaguely alleges the defendants knew that Brother Victor had been 'accused' of inappropriate behavior or misconduct prior to Butler's attendance at MT, Butler fails to allege who, when and what was allegedly known and by whom prior to Butler's attendance," lawyers for the archdiocese wrote.
In Tuesday's filing, the plaintiffs' attorney, Mark Wolfe, wrote that, "specifically," his office has been "contacted by eight other victims of abuse by Nicholas Paul Bendillo. Several of the victims have asserted that they were victimized by Bendillo in the 1960s.
"One victim asserts abuse as early as 1963, and another asserts abuse in 1965," Wolfe continued. "Several have asserted abuse in the'70s and some in the'80s."
While only one of the eight alleged victims has claimed the institutions in question were notified of Bendillo's behavior, "the fact that these assertions have been made provides credible support to the plaintiffs' allegation of concealment," Wolfe wrote.
Wolfe told Lockett that he would like to present affidavits or sworn statements from the alleged victims "as evidence in support" of the premise that the archdiocese concealed Bendillo's acts from future victims.
But "most of the victims ... would like to avoid any publicity about this situation if possible," Wolfe said in the motion.
A protective order, he said, would allow them to provide sworn testimony while protecting their privacy.
Meanwhile, Bendillo was scheduled to appear today at 9 a.m. before Presiding Circuit Judge Robert Kendall for an arraignment on criminal charges -- two counts of enticing a child for immoral purposes and two counts of second-degree sex abuse.
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