Accountability Eluded Three Christian Brothers
Alleged Molesters Have Drifted from the Area like Most Clerics Accused of Sex Abuse, Study Finds, They Have Escaped Punishment
By John Simerman
Contra Costa Times
January 23, 2005
One lives in Sonoma and two out of state, aging former Catholic schoolteachers and counselors distanced by miles and years from allegations of sexual abuse.
They remain legally unscathed from accusations that have hit the Christian Brothers in the wallet, with a $6.3 million settlement that the Roman Catholic teaching order reached last month with three former De La Salle High School students.
None of the alleged perpetrators has faced criminal charges, and none will. The criminal statute of limitations ran out long ago, and the U.S. Supreme Court overturned an extension of the criminal statute. A recent study by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice found that the vast majority of clergy members accused of sexual abuse have avoided criminal punishment.
The Christian Brothers settlement fell under a one-year suspension in 2003 of state civil statutes on cleric abuse. Accusers could take legal actions against institutions, not individuals. Now, victims of clergy sex abuse can sue up to age 26, or within three years of linking emotional problems to childhood abuse.
Chris Barbour settled for $4 million for alleged abuse at the hands of Joseph Gutierrez. No longer a Christian Brother, Gutierrez is now a 65-year-old Sonoma consultant known as Jesse Gutierrez-Cervantes whom friends call a gentle spiritual leader.
Two former De La Salle students joined Barbour in his suit lodging allegations of sexual abuse against two other Christian Brothers.
One of them, a Bay Area teacher who did not want to be identified, settled for $1.2 million after alleging that Brother John Moriarty molested him in 1975 and 1976 at a St. Helena retreat house that Moriarty ran for the order. The student was a 17-year-old De La Salle senior whose mother had just died when Moriarty first molested him, said one of his lawyers, Laurence Drivon.
By phone, Moriarty, 73, said he now works at a center for senior citizens. His Missouri address is the same as the Wounded Brothers Project, an independent treatment center for troubled clergy members. He said he knew nothing of the settlement and denied any misconduct over a long career in the order.
"I certainly never admitted anything," he said. "Whether or not (students interpreted) activities as sexual is another thing."
Brother Raimond Rose, whose real name is Charles Anthony Rose, lives in Chicago, in a Christian Brothers residence near the De La Salle Institute, a high school for boys.
Robert Fuller, who settled last month for $1.1 million, said the former De La Salle religion teacher and Key Club adviser plied him with alcohol and molested him on a ski trip in early 1982.
Fuller, now 38, said he was a 14-year-old freshman "geek" whose father suffered from multiple sclerosis when he and four other boys stayed with Rose at a house in Tahoe Keyes.
Fuller recalls the drive up Highway 50 and the Old Milwaukee beer that he said Rose bought them near the state line. Rose had sex with Fuller in the shower, he claims. The next night Brother Raimond got pushy in the bed upstairs, he said. Drunk, he tried to fight off Rose, then relented.
"That's when I was - sodomized," said Fuller, sitting inside the mobile home he shares with his girlfriend in Salem, Ore. "He knew what he was doing. I was completely vulnerable."
A year later, Concord police investigated Rose after parents reported a separate incident. A police report cited several instances of Rose allegedly taking students on trips, loading them with alcohol and propositioning them. In at least one case, he reportedly offered a student money.
Police questioned several De La Salle students. The school's principal then, Brother Jerome Gallegos, sat in on some interviews. As rumors spread about Fuller at school, Fuller denied them to police. Another freshman on the trip, Thomas Freeman, first told police he witnessed Rose committing oral sex on Fuller, but then recanted. The case was dropped, the report shows.
Freeman, 38, now says he saw Rose in the act with Fuller but felt pressured by authorities, and Fuller's denial.
"The principal of the school was in the same room. It was very intimidating," Freeman said. "Hearing Rob was denying it left me with, 'What am I doing here?'"
Police never questioned Rose, the report said. When the allegations surfaced, the Christian Brothers quickly moved him back to the district in Minnesota where he lived before coming to De La Salle. There, he admitted himself to a psychiatric unit for counseling, De La Salle officials told police. When police questioned them about the move, a school official said they were "somewhat naive" in sending Rose away.
A school leader told police they had confronted Rose and he "fell apart and admitted the alcohol problem and also providing alcohol to the students, but denied any sexual advances." Later, school officials said they sent Rose east unaware that the alleged incident involved touching.
Along with money, Fuller finally will receive his high school diploma.
"I have felt a freedom I've never known," he said. "I've been able to tell people, 'Yes, I got a lot of money, but here's why: I was (molested).'"
Rose, now 71, declined to discuss the allegations in a brief telephone interview from Chicago. "I'm saddened by the whole thing of us, about myself. The word remorse is not strong enough. I'm sorry," he said. "I'm not connected with the school (in Chicago). I haven't been connected with anything in the last 15 to 20 years. I'm just retired. I'm not anything."
Fuller shuddered at Rose's apology. "It boggles the mind," he said, gripping a cigarette. "Sorry don't feed the bull."
Brother Michael Quirk, president of the boys high school in Chicago, said Rose is not permitted on campus. When Rose arrived about five years ago, Quirk said, "I wasn't made completely aware of the whole situation. I was just informed that this person would be moving here but should not be involved in any ministry."
Fuller's years after De La Salle were marked by methamphetamine binges, alcohol problems, an armed robbery arrest, he said. He worked as a roadie for the Grateful Dead and other bands, sold guitars at a music store in Dublin and moved to Humboldt County, where he "kind of floated."
He calls himself a "recovering Catholic" and said he still fears taking a shower with others in the house. Fuller takes the settlement as an admission, even if the Christian Brothers don't.
"That ain't chump change," he says.
Times staff writer Jessica Guynn contributed to this story.
Any original material on these pages is copyright © BishopAccountability.org 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.