Info on Alleged Priest Abuse Sought from St. Laurence Alums

By Allison Hantschel
Daily Southtown [Illinois]
December 10, 2003

More than 3,000 alumni of St. Laurence High School will get letters this week asking if they know of any abuse by the Christian Brothers who taught them.

An advocacy group for victims of sexual abuse by Roman Catholic clergy announced Tuesday it will send the letters in an effort to encourage any former student who may have been molested to contact the police.

The move by the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests was prompted by two lawsuits filed against Brother Robert Brouillette, a former teacher at the Burbank high school.

"This man molested children and he was transferred from one school to another for up to three decades before he was removed," SNAP president Barbara Blaine said during a news conference Tuesday outside the school. "We want people to know if they have information, it should be brought forward so the healing can begin."

Brouillette, who taught at the school from 1992 to 1998, was convicted of possession of child pornography and has been accused of numerous acts of abuse in Michigan and Washington, where he was assigned before coming to Illinois.

Two former St. Laurence students have sued Brouillette, alleging the priest provided them with marijuana, alcohol and pornography on school grounds in the guise of spiritual counseling.

Blaine said after Brouillette's arrest in 1998, the school sent out letters informing parents what had happened, but the letters did not go far enough in addressing victims' potential concerns, she said.

The second letter, addressed specifically to those students who were at the school during Brouillette's tenure, promises names will be kept confidential and urges anyone who has been abused to seek help.

"While the time you spent at St. Laurence was likely very positive, not all of your fellow students were so fortunate," the letter reads. "We believe Brouillette or other clerics who commit sex crimes should be prosecuted like anyone else. That can only happen, however, if people who were hurt or who have information come forward."

Mark Scott, a spokesman for St. Laurence High School, said the school sent a letter out to all students asking if they knew of any other allegations.

Brother Charles Gattone, leader of the Christian Brothers Chicago Province, said he had encouraged the school to provide counseling to any student who needed it.

"We wanted to make sure that anyone who needed help could get it," he said.

Allison Hantschel may be reached at or (708) 633-5998.

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