Former Catholic School Counselor Gets Maximum for Sex Abuse
April 9, 2004
A former Roman Catholic high school counselor was sentenced Thursday to the maximum six years in prison for molesting a 14-year-old student in 1991 and then was released from jail on an appeal bond.
Nicholas Paul "Brother Vic" Bendillo, 75, was convicted in February of second-degree sexual abuse and enticing a child.
The victim, Clark Glenn Jr. of Lawrenceville, N.J., now 27, got an apology during sentencing from Bendillo, who said he was "very remorseful, very sorry" for what he had done.
"I'm very sorry for the hurt and betrayal," Bendillo said, facing Glenn, who never made eye contact with Bendillo.
Before sentencing, Glenn urged Circuit Judge Robert G. Kendall to consider Bendillo's other victims. Several similar sexual abuse charges are pending.
"He set himself as a guidance counselor for boys going through difficult times in their lives," Glenn said. "He used that for his own personal desires ... . He's gotten away with this for 40 years."
According to trial testimony, Bendillo's concerns as a counselor turned to the teenager's sex life and the development of his genitals, with Bendillo allegedly masturbating the boy and saying it would improve his condition.
Bendillo's lawyer, Donald Briskman, appealed for probation, saying Bendillo's age and frail health made it unlikely he could survive in prison.
The judge described Bendillo's crimes as "one of the most cynical, one of the most selfish abuses of trust I've ever seen." He imposed the maximum penalty - 5 years in prison on the sexual abuse conviction and a year on the misdemeanor, with the sentences to be served concurrently.
Bendillo was immediately turned over to the Mobile Metro Jail. The one year sentence on the misdemeanor charge of enticing a child will be served concurrently with the five-year term for felony sexual abuse which he will serve in state prison.
After being booked into jail, Bendillo was released on bond pending a ruling on his appeal.
Bendillo joined the New Orleans-based Brothers of the Sacred Heart in 1943 and worked at McGill Institute, later McGill-Toolen Catholic High School in Mobile, from 1959 to 1998. Students viewed the counselor as a "father figure," according to testimony.
Briskman told the judge that Bendillo has not had contact with adolescents and youngsters for a number of years. He has been in therapy over the last several years and now lives at a St. Louis center that specializes in treating the clergy.
"He's restricted to that facility. He's in a secure place. He is basically free from contact with general society," Briskman told the judge.
The Mobile Catholic Archdiocese has a settled a civil suit with several Bendillo victims for $200,000, according Assistant District Attorney Steve Giardini.
Glenn hasn't filed suit, but wrote a letter to the church demanding $1 million, according to trial testimony.
After sentencing, Glenn said Bendillo went through the trial denying the sexual abuse, but now admits it with an apology. Glenn said the sentence was appropriate, but that "pales in comparison to the damage that he's caused for myself and everyone else who is a victim."
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