|Claims of Brother's Sexual Abuse Stun Cretin-derham Hall Community; Group Angered That Letter Ids Plaintiff
By Emily Gurnon
May 22, 2009
The news this week that a former Catholic brother at Cretin High School was accused of sexually abusing a teenage student has sent aftershocks throughout the school community and prompted other men as far away as California to report that they, too, were victimized by the cleric.
An anonymous plaintiff identified as John Doe 128 filed suit in Ramsey County District Court against Brother Charles Anthony "Raimond" Rose, known as "Brother Rai" to his students. He said Rose abused him at the Christian Brothers' Dunrovin Retreat Center in Marine on St. Croix in about 1970, when the boy was 15 or 16.
Trying to respond to families of current students amid news accounts, the school sent a letter about the allegation to parents. The letter named the man who filed suit but not Rose.
Reporters had not been given the man's name, nor did news reports include it.
"Mr. (name of victim) alleges that he was sexually abused by one of the Christian Brothers at the time of his enrollment here," the letter from Principal Richard Engler said. "We intend to deal responsibly and sensitively to this claim and will keep you informed of significant developments."
Bob Schwiderski, of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, angrily denounced the letter Friday.
"What (Engler) was doing was attempting to stop other (victims) from reaching out," Schwiderski said.
Engler said the alleged victim's lawyer identified him with no request for confidentiality.
As the plaintiff's attorney, Patrick Noaker said he was required to send Cretin the name of the man suing the school and its religious order, the Christian Brothers. A defendant has the right to know who is making an allegation against him.
"We are required to send them the name of the victim. This is not some new procedure," he said.
"I'm disappointed in the archdiocese, and I'm disappointed in Cretin-Derham Hall, that we are still at a place that they would do something like widely disseminate this guy's name," Noaker said.
Schwiderski delivered a letter to Archbishop John Nienstedt on Friday alleging that Engler intentionally "outed" the victim and demanding that he be punished. Dennis McGrath, spokesman for the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, said in a written statement that the principal's release of the name was "inadvertent." He added that neither Cretin High School, as it was known at the time of the alleged abuse, nor the current Cretin-Derham Hall are owned or operated by the archdiocese, though they are affiliated.
MORE ALLEGED VICTIMS STEP UP
Meanwhile, a number of calls and e-mails came in to Schwiderski, Noaker and the Pioneer Press from men who said they also suffered sexual abuse by Rose.
One former Cretin student who moved out of state several years ago said he read about Rose on Tuesday on the Pioneer Press Web site. It was a painful reminder of two incidents of abuse, the man said.
Seeing the article and the photo of Rose "hit me like a ton of bricks," he said. "I have goose bumps; it's 100 degrees in my back yard."
The man said Rose abused him in the early 1970s at Dunrovin. A few select boys were invited for a "special weekend" at a small cabin at the center after one of the school's larger retreats, he said.
"No sooner do we get there do we start drinking" and smoking pot, he said. Eventually, it was "lights off, candles on and music just cranking like kids would in a college dorm." And then: sex.
Some months later, he said, Rose invited him to a Rochester motel. The man said he went there thinking, "I'm going to prove to myself I'm not gay." The abuse happened again, he said.
Another man, Tim Caroline, of Moose Lake, said he had no affiliation with Cretin High School but was molested by Rose at the Dunrovin Retreat Center when he was in junior high.
Caroline, who agreed to be identified, was active at St. John the Evangelist Church in Little Canada in the early 1970s, he said. He was in the youth group and a choir, and he led the altar boys' association in elementary school.
"I was Joe Catholic, there's no doubt about it," he said.
Nothing happened on his first trip to Dunrovin. But soon after, Rose invited Caroline and two other boys to come back and stay for a weekend in one of the center's cabins on the river.
"We said, 'Oh, God, that'd be cool,' " Caroline recalls.
But sometime during the evening, Rose sat down next to him on the couch, put his arm around him and began touching him, Caroline said. He pushed the older man away.
"It was very uncomfortable," he said. "I'm just very glad that he stopped."
Still, Caroline said, he has struggled to process the incident. He felt guilt and confusion. He didn't talk about it with anyone at the time, lacking the words to do so.
TWO OTHER SUITS
Rose also faces a lawsuit from a former student of De La Salle High School in Minneapolis who alleged Rose abused him at the school in 1966 and 1967.
And the Christian Brothers paid $1 million to settle a California suit filed by a man who said Rose abused him while on a ski trip in 1982.
In a written statement, a spokesman for the Christian Brothers of the Midwest said Rose is 76 years old. He has not been in active ministry or had contact with minors since the order became aware of the California man's allegation in 2002, said Brother Francis Carr.
Caroline works as superintendent of the Moose Lake school district and, in that role, said he is sensitive to organizations being demonized for the deeds of their employees. But he wonders what other warnings the church might have had about Rose while he was allowed to continue his work with children.
"I don't hold any animosity against the church as an institution; they do a lot of good things," Caroline said. "But this cover-up — it was wrong."
Emily Gurnon can be reached at 651-228-5522 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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