Teacher Surfaces to Fight Extradition

Associated Press
April 2, 1999

Newark, N.J. — A member of a religious order who is wanted on criminal charges in Canada and has been hiding out in New Jersey, surfaced in a Newark federal courtroom Thursday to face charges of beating children at a Newfoundland orphanage.

Brother Thomas Cuthbert Ford, 64, a member of the Congregation of Christian Brothers religious order, vanished abruptly from his 10-year job teaching math at Bergen Catholic High School in Oradell just after he was indicted in 1996 on charges that he assaulted nine children at the Mount Cashel orphanage in St. John's in the 1950s.

The charges against Ford are part of a 10-year investigation of physical and sexual abuse at the orphanage. Until yesterday, Ford, who faces extradition, was the only suspect in the case who remained out of the grasp of Canadian authorities.

U.S. Magistrate Stanley Chesler set bail at $ 500,000, although prosecutors agreed to allow Ford to go free after he immediately presented a $ 100,000 cash bond to the U.S. Marshals Service. Lawyers for Ford said the Congregation of Christian Brothers has promised to guarantee the full bail by 5 p.m. Monday.

The first reports of abuse at Mount Cashel reached Newfoundland police in 1975, but a senior investigator intervened and an the investigation was halted. Later investigations found that officials allegedly had helped cover up the allegations of physical and sexual abuse.

The case was reopened in 1989 when the Canadian federal government ordered a full investigation into the matter.

The investigation into Mount Cashel has resulted in the convictions of nine members or former members of the Christian Brothers order.


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