Groups Accept School's Apology

By Jennifer Przydzial
North East Reporter [Maryland]
November 18, 2004

A day before the Nov. 7 open house at Calvert Hall College High School, the Christian Brothers, the order which founded and runs the school, released a statement of apology for how the alleged sexual abuse by the Rev. Brett Laurence, a former teacher at the school, against students more than 30 years ago was handled.

"We can put this behind us and move on," said one alleged victim.

It is the policy of the Northeast Reporter to not identify victims of sexual abuse without their permission.

Last November, members of Abused by Calvert Hall Educators (ACHE) and Greater Baltimore Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (GBSNAP) demonstrated outside the school during its open house for prospective students.

The demonstration was to call attention to alleged incidents of sexual abuse at Calvert Hall in 1973 and to ask the school to apologize for covering up the dismissal of the alleged abuser and to seek out and help other victims.

The groups canceled their plans to do the same at Calvert Hall's Open House this year.

Laurence taught at the school from 1969 to 1973. He was dismissed in 1973 when a student, not the victim who spoke with the Northeast Reporter, reported the alleged abuse.

Calvert Hall officials say they knew of no other victims at the time.

The alleged victim who did speak with the Northeast Reporter said that students were told Laurence was leaving to take care of a sick aunt when he was dismissed in 1973.

"They chose to lie and bury it," the alleged victim said.

On Nov. 6, the Christian Brothers released a statement to the victims of Laurence.

"We sincerely regret that responsible parties at Calvert Hall at the time of the abuse of students by Father Brett came to light failed to more actively seek other possible victims of Father Brett to afford them the opportunity for counseling and healing at the time," said the statement by Brother Robert Schieler, a Christian Brother Provincialate.

"We equally regret that the reason for Father Brett's dismissal by the administration was not announced at the time he left the school," the statement continued.

"Both of these failures are inconsistent with the procedures later adopted by the Brothers and the school in the early '90s to deal with reports of student abuse."

Schieler did not return phone calls asking for further comment.

No charges are pending against Laurence in Baltimore County. Last year, the Maryland Court of Appeals imposed a one-year statute of limitations for sexual abuse that occurred between 1967 and 1991.

The alleged victim said that the victims would have liked a stronger statement.

"It has been an arduous battle to this point," said the alleged victim. "I am glad to get a physical break from this."


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