Cheverus Officials Meet with
articles about Charles Malia.]
Monday's meeting lasted about three hours, as Malia's alleged victims recounted what he allegedly did to them when he was their teacher and coach in the 1960s and 1970s.
"It was a face-to-face meeting where they heard the stories firsthand," said John Clark, a Cheverus graduate leading the effort to hold Malia and the school accountable. "I think we got through to them the severity of Malia's actions."
John Mullen, principal at Cheverus, said the meeting was productive.
"It was important for them to say what they said and for us to hear it," Mullen said. "It helps their healing and the healing of the community."
Clark and seven other men who either claim they were abused by Malia or say they witnessed his abuse toward others attended the meeting. Also at the meeting were Mullen, the Rev. John Keegan, who is Cheverus' president, and some school board members.
Both the school and the victims' group agreed not to publicly discuss what happened at the meeting, including the names of all who attended.
They have scheduled a second meeting for next week, at which they will discuss what actions the victims want the school to take.
The school has already met one of the group's requests by agreeing to take Malia's name off the school track. The track was dedicated to Malia in 1994 for his achievements as one of the nation's most successful high school track coaches.
The school has already covered the sign that bears Malia's name, and has hired workers to remove the sign, Mullen said.
Malia, who taught and coached at Cheverus from 1969 to 1998, admitted to abusing former students in a story published March 4 in the Press Herald.
"I have some guilt," Malia said. Later he added, "But I do know this: The behavior ceased a long time ago."
Malia was responding to allegations that surfaced in February, when several of his former students provided testimony to the state Legislature describing Malia's abuse. The alleged victims also talked to police and the Press Herald.
Police are investigating the allegations, which include Malia fondling the genitals of students at his apartment and in the Cheverus locker room. Malia faces no criminal charges because the statute of limitations has expired on all the alleged offenses.
Malia, who is 55 and lives in Old Orchard Beach, quietly resigned from Cheverus in the spring of 1998 after a former student told school officials that Malia had abused him.
Malia said he had hoped his resignation would ensure the matter would not be made public.
He checked into a local hospital to receive psychological treatment the day his admission appeared in the Press Herald. Attempts to contact him Wednesday were unsuccessful.
Staff Writer Peter Pochna can be contacted at 791-6329 or at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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