Why 'Prep' News?

Tri-Town Transcript [Danvers MA]
January 8, 2004

This week we've included a story about sexual allegations levied against an Xaverian Brother at St. John's Preparatory School in Danvers and the brother's subsequent resignation. Brother George Donnelly has admitted to two incidents of "sexual misconduct" with a former student, according to Prep Headmaster Albert Shannon.

Some readers may wonder why a story about a disturbing occurrence at a private school in Danvers would find it's way into the pages of a newspaper covering the communities of Boxford, Middleton and Topsfield.

To that question, we offer two answers.

First, there are several Tri-Town students - all male of course; the school is not co-ed - who attend St. John's Prep. Many are the sons of fathers who attended "the Prep" themselves. While the vast majority of Tri-Town students attend Masconomet High School, there are enough matriculated at St. John's to warrant interest in the story that broke publicly last week.

Second, any story involving sexual impropriety toward children can and should be heeded by parents and brought out into the open. Such stories, kept quietly hidden in the dark, only fester and become more sordid under cover of silence. Any news of sexual abuse of children is tragic; yet such news presents parents with a "teachable moment" in which they can arm their children with knowledge and prevention techniques.

"What would you do if this happened to you?" is a question we hope will be asked of young people by their parents in homes throughout Boxford, Middleton and Topsfield as news reports of the incidents at St. John's Prep are discussed.


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