Two Former Cardinal Hayes High School Students Detail Alleged Sex Abuse
By Ellyn Marks
April 26, 2012
More than two decades after graduating from Cardinal Hayes High School in the Bronx, two men claim they were sexually abused by the Dean of Discipline, Brother John Justin O'Connor.
"Two to three times a week he'd single you out in class or put you in detention, then have his way with you and terrorize you," said a now 41-year-old man who claims he was molested by Brother O'Connor for two years after he entered the high school in 1985.
Classmate Ernie Sierra, 40, said he too was abused by Brother O'Connor.
"I was afraid every day that I came to school," said Sierra. "We can no longer turn a deaf ear. There comes a time when silence is absolutely a betrayal."
Cardinal Hayes is run by the Archdiocese of New York, but many of the school's educators, including Brother O'Connor, were staffed by the religious order Irish Christian Brothers. The order which operates schools across the country declared bankruptcy last April, opening the door for victims of abuse to come forward and take legal action.
The Christian Brothers released a statement, saying in part: "The filing parameters serve as an important step in the healing and reconciliation process, creating a uniform message--as established by the bankruptcy court--that will fairly compensate credible claimants within the scope of our finite resources."
Brother O'Connor left Cardinal Hayes in 1987, and left the religious order within the past few years.
The Archdiocese of New York says it is looking into the allegations.