St. Joseph’s Catholic School leader reacts to graduate’s claims of sexual abuse by priest

Greenville News

February 28, 2019

By Mike Ellis and Nathaniel Cary

The headmaster of St. Joseph’s Catholic School in Greenville sent a letter Tuesday to alumni and parents of students to address allegations of sexual abuse that a graduate made about a priest who used to perform sacraments at the school. The headmaster also defended a current teacher whom the graduate now believes could have known about the abuse.

Michael Cassabon, a 1998 St. Joseph’s graduate, told The Greenville News he was abused by Hayden Vaverek multiple times over the course of at least two years while Cassabon was a student at the school.

Cassabon reported the alleged abuse in 2013. The Diocese of Charleston, which comprises the state of South Carolina, and the Greenwood County Sheriff’s Office investigated. Vaverek was removed from the priesthood in 2016 after the diocese found Cassabon’s allegations “credible.”

Cassabon didn’t pursue a criminal charge against Vaverek, and Vaverek has not been criminally charged.

Cassabon, who was himself a priest at the time of the investigation in 2013, told The News that he wanted the matter to be handled by the church and feared that Vaverek would be killed in jail if he were convicted.

Multiple attempts to reach Vaverek by phone and email were unsuccessful Wednesday.

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