Alleged Abuse Victim Protests, Two More Contact Lawye

By Laura Sanicola
Fordham Ram
August 18, 2016

A local policeman showed support to Neal Gumpel on Thursday afternoon. Gumpel is an alleged victim of sexual clergy abuse. (Andrea Garcia/The Fordham Ram)

Two more individuals have made allegations about former Fordham Prep teacher Fernand Beck and have contacted Mitchell Garabedian, a lawyer specializing in sexual assault cases made against the Catholic Church. Their claims are currently being investigated, according to the lawyer.

Beck was accused of rape by former student Michael Meenan. Fordham Prep launched an investigation, found the claims to be credible, alerted the Fordham Prep community and announced that Beck would not be returning to the school in early August. More information can be found here.

On Thursday afternoon, a small group of protesters gathered outside of Fordham University gates passing out pamphlets to pedestrians and drivers and holding signs that said that Jesuits were unresponsive to allegations of sexual assault. The protesters included Neal Gumpel, who said he was sexually assaulted by Rev. Roy Drake in the 1970s. Robert Hoatson, a former priest and alleged victim of priest of abuse who now is co-founder and president of Road to Recovery, a New Jersey based nonprofit that assists victims of sexual abuse by priests, also attended. Gumpel was not a student at Fordham Prep.

Drake was a priest who resided for several years on Fordham’s Rose Hill campus and briefly worked as a teacher at Fordham Prep. Gumpel’s wife Helen also attended the protest. Drake had left Fordham Prep and was employed by the Maine Maritime Academy at the time of the alleged assault.

Gumpel is a former screenwriter who made his complaints against Drake public two years ago.

“When you used to Google my name two years ago, a profile of my work would come up. Now when you do it all you read about is me that a 59 year old assault victim of a priest,” Gumpel said. “It’s humiliating, but I need to be out here. I need to tell what happened.”

Gumpel said he would like a public apology from Fordham, who he said has privately apologized to him, as well as some form compensation.

“This has taken years from my life,” he said.

The protesters used to gather around once a month outside of Fordham Prep. Since the allegations made against Beck, Gumpel, Hoatson and Gumpel’s wife say they will be making more appearances.

A Fordham Prep spokesperson has been contacted for comment.








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