Back-to-school legal troubles at 2 Catholic high schools | Quigley

The Jersey Journal

By Joan Quigley | For The Jersey Journal
on August 28, 2016

This wasn’t a good-news month at two Catholic high schools in Bergen County.

Without admitting wrongdoing, officials of Bergen Catholic High School agreed to pay $1.9 million to 21 former students who alleged sexual abuse decades ago. And Paramus Catholic High School was knocked down in court on its plea to deny a hearing to a teacher who was fired because she is in a same-sex marriage.

Mitchell Garabedian, attorney for seven people in the Bergen Catholic suit, said that between 1963 and 1978 students were subjected to routine sexual abuse by some of the Christian Brothers in charge of the school. The students were between 13 and 17 years old at the time, he said, and had been taught to do whatever the brothers instructed, no matter how they felt about it.

The victims recalled being told to pull down their pants so they could be whipped with leather straps or pinched and groped by some instructors. Others said they were punched or beaten for minor offenses, while some complained not about touching of any sort but having to remove their underwear to allow brothers simply to stare at them.

Court-ordered payments will be distributed during the first week of December, with each award ranging from $65,000 to $115,000. An arbitrator will decide how much each alleged victim receives based on the nature of the abuse suffered, the duration and frequency of such abuse, and the extent of injuries suffered.

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