Student Goes Public after Alleged Abuse by St. Francis Spanish Teacher
By Narmeen Choudhury
September 26, 2013
FRESH MEADOWS (PIX11) - In a lawsuit claiming negligent supervision, Felicia Mooradian, said the administration at Saint Francis Prep failed to protect her and she wants to make sure they don’t fail others. In a lengthy complaint against St. Francis Prep in Queens a young woman, identified initially as simply Jane Doe, is now stepping out of the shadows. Felicia Mooradian, now in her 20′sj, said she will never forget what happened to her during her time at Saint Francis Prep in Fresh Meadows Queens.
Mooradian said what started out as favoritism and merely extra attention in the spring of 2006 from her high school Spanish teacher, Brother Ben O’Reilly, ended with a scared teenager forced to confront a man she said sexually harassed her .
“He kept inviting me to come back to his classroom during lunch periods and I was really feeling funny about that. Too many lingering glances. Too many shoulder squeezes. Too much with the neck rubbing,” said Mooradian.
And it didn’t just end there. Mooradian alleged Brother Ben, a trusted, fun loving member of the St Francis staff, made a number of inappropriate comments before the young teen had had enough.
“The first comment that really struck me was when he said you can be on a diet but you can still look at the menu. Another time he said to me you know Felicia my goal in life is to give you pleasure,” said Mooradian.
Mooradian said she and eventually other young girls went to school administrators, namely Brother Leonard Conway, who is now President at St. Francis Prep. At the urging of her own parents, Brother Ben, was eventually relieved of his duties as a teacher, but not before Mooradian said she was harassed and bullied by peers. Distressed, Mooradian said the experience led to alcoholism, severe anxiety and depression.
An attorney representing Saint Francis Prep said Brother Ben no longer teaches at the school, but won’t go into further detail about his whereabouts or if there were other complaints filed against him. As for this lawsuit, the school is seeking to get it dismissed, in part because they say the statute of limitations has run out.