Bishop Guertin President Accused

Union Leader (Manchester NH)
November 23, 2002

By J.M. HIRSCHAssociated Press WriterCONCORD -- The president of a Roman Catholic high school forced an 11-year-old boy to perform oral sex on him at a Massachusetts boarding school more than 40 years ago, according to a lawsuit filed yesterday.

Edwin Weisiger, 53, of Fairfax, Va., accuses Brother Leo Labbe, president of Bishop Guertin High School in Nashua, of molesting him in 1960 or 1961 at the now-closed Sacred Heart Academy in Andover, Mass.

In a statement Thursday, Labbe denied the allegations but said he was placing himself on administrative leave from Bishop Guertin so that the allegations could be investigated.

Calls to Labbe and his lawyer yesterday were not immediately returned.

The lawsuit names Labbe, Sacred Heart and the Brothers of the Sacred Heart, the Rhode Island-based religious order that owned the Andover school and still runs Bishop Guertin.

In the lawsuit, Weisiger says Labbe, then known as Brother Gerald, abused him in a classroom at the school as many as eight times.

"The brother directed the child how to touch him and what to do to him, including the oral sex," the lawsuit says.

At the time of the alleged abuse, Labbe was Weisiger's teacher and close friend, according to the lawsuit.

"He (Weisiger) recalls having been very fond of Brother Gerald, at least early on, and actually bought him things," the lawsuit says. "Brother Gerald became the plaintiff's mentor and primary contact for essentially all aspects of his life at Sacred Heart Academy."

According to the lawsuit, Weisiger suffers emotional and psychological problems because of the alleged abuse. His lawyer, Peter Hutchins, said the most important thing to his client is an apology.

"He just wants to meet with him face to face," Hutchins said. "He wants an apology. He doubts an apology would ever happen, but that's very important to him because he's been through a lot in life and he wants to hear it from him directly."

Labbe came to Bishop Guertin in 1991. Sacred Heart closed in 1974 due to a decline in enrollment.

Hutchins also represents six other alleged victims of Bishop Guertin teachers, all of whom have accused either Brother Guy Beaulieu or Brother Roger Argencourt. Argencourt died in September.


Any original material on these pages is copyright © 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.