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  School Reveals Priest Accused of Molestation
Transferred: Catholic Teacher No Longer Is Working with Children

By Gayle White
Atlanta Journal and Constitution
May 19, 1995

Officials of the Marist School, one of metro Atlanta's top private academies, disclosed in a letter to parents and alumni this week that a priest had been removed from teaching two years ago after being accused of molesting a student in 1989.

The priest, the Rev. Philip Gage, was transferred to the Washington, D.C., headquarters of his religious order and has not been reassigned, according to Marist headmaster Michael F. Maher. Gage is no longer working with children. Gage and the head of the order, the Rev. William Rowland, did not return phone calls Thursday.

According to a statement issued by Maher and other school officials, a 21-year-old Marist graduate and his family reported in August 1993 that Gage had fondled the graduate when he was a 17-year-old student at the school. At the time of the report, the family requested that the charges be kept confidential.

"The victim eventually decided that the school should disclose the case, specifically the priest's role in it," the statement said. "The graduate and his family continue to desire anonymity, a request which we will honor."

Gage admitted to improper conduct but said the victim had been over 18 and not a Marist student at the time, officials said.

While investigating charges against the priest, officials learned of a possible second case involving Gage and an 18-year-old graduate, according to the letter sent to 7,000 parents, alumni and supporters of the school.

"Father Gage has denied any improper conduct with respect to this second individual," the letter said.

No legal action has been filed against the school or the priest, and none is anticipated, Maher said Thursday.

Maher informed 120 faculty and staff members of the allegations against Gage on Wednesday.

Psychologists will be available to students, faculty and staff who need counseling, according to the letter.

Marist is a private co-educational Roman Catholic college preparatory school in northeast Atlanta with an enrollment of 1,018.

 
 

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