Calvert Hall Rebuffs Call to Oust Principal

By Jennifer Przydzial
Northeast Reporter [Towson MD]
September 15, 2005

Calvert Hall College High School officials are standing behind Principal Louis Heidrick in the face of a call for his dismissal.

A group of former students who allege they were abused by former teachers of the school is asking the school to remove Heidrick from his position.

"We have full confidence in Lou Heidrick," said Brother Benedict Oliver, president of Calvert Hall. "It is impossible to believe that a situation like Kurt Gladsky described occurred."

Gladsky, a 1971 graduate of Calvert Hall, alleges he was sexually abused at the school by Brother Xavier Langan in 1967. He said that during one of the alleged abuse incidents, which occurred in a locked classroom, Heidrick walked in.

"My major beef is that they knew this was going on," said Gladsky, who came forward with his own allegations in 2002.

The demand for Heidrick's ouster came last week as the former students held signs reading, "Heidrick must go" and "Compensate victims now" in front of the school.

The demonstrations, which were held Sept. 6 through 9, greeted students and parents during the first week of school. The former students were also joined by alleged abuse victims from Boys' Latin School of Maryland, a private, nonsectarian K-12 academy on Lake Avenue in Baltimore County, and St. Veronica's Head Start Center in Cherry Hill.

Under Maryland law, child abuse victims, including of sex abuse, may not seek damages after they reach age 21. Since the statute of limitations prohibits any legal action on his part, Gladsky said he will continue to try to raise public awareness of alleged sex abuse in schools in the hope that others who have been silent will come forward.

Oliver said Heidrick has no recollection of the event Gladsky described.

Oliver, who took over as president of Calvert Hall on July 1, said that anytime an alleged abuse incident was reported, the proper authorities were notified, and the staff member was immediately removed from the school.

Langan, who taught religion and business, died in 1984.

Allegations of abuse also have been leveled at Father Laurence Brett and Father Jerome Toohey.

Brett, a religion teacher, was last seen in the Caribbean in 2002. Toohey, a former chaplain at the school, has a Nov. 8 court date in the alleged sexual abuse of a former Calvert Hall student.

Gladsky said the Greater Baltimore Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, a local support group, knows of 53 former Calvert Hall students who allege that they were abused by former teachers at the school.

Oliver said a file folder the school keeps with reports of alleged sexual abuse lists only six students, most of whom accuse Brett, he said.

"He (Gladsky) throws out all kinds of numbers," Oliver said.

The bulk of the large file contains correspondence sent by Gladsky to the school, Oliver said.

Several of the former students at the demonstration Sept. 7 said payments by the Archdiocese of Baltimore for their counseling don't go far enough and that an additional cash settlement should be made.

Oliver said Gladsky made the demand in a conversation he had with Gladsky last month.

Oliver said he told Gladsky the archdiocese would continue paying for all past, present and future counseling services, but that Gladsky refused the offer as insufficient.

"He (Gladsky) said, 'Make me an offer, and I will stop the demonstrations,'" Oliver said.

Asked by a reporter whether his group wanted a specific amount of money, Gladsky would not give a direct answer.


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