Group Tells Calvert Hall Memorials Must Go

By Jennifer Przydzial
North East Reporter [Maryland]
July 28, 2004

Francis Bacon said the sexual abuse he suffered as a high school student was horrific enough.

Honoring the man he alleges was responsible adds insult to injury.

So Bacon, a member of the Calvert Hall College High School Class of 1948, joined a group of about 20 protesters in front of his alma mater July 14 and again July 20.

The group of men and women, members and supporters of Abused by Calvert Hall Educators (ACHE) and the local chapter of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), want the school to stop memorializing Brother Xavier Langan, whom Bacon and another man both say abused them while they were students at the school.

The school's program for students with language learning disabilities and a major fund-raising event, an annual alumni golf tournament, are both named for Langan, who died in March 1985.

"Everyone thought it was an appropriate naming for it," said Brother Kevin Stanton, the school president, about the program, which began in September 1985.

"Brother Xavier had great sensitivity for the needs of the students, and kids felt he was very supportive of them," he said.

The program has about 50 students a year, Stanton said.

A black-and-white pencil drawing of Langan, who taught religion and business at Calvert Hall from 1942 to 1952 and 1960-85, hangs in a classroom of the Xavier Center on the school's campus in Towson.

Last week, the group delivered a letter to Stanton asking that the portrait be removed and that the program and golf tournament be renamed.

Members of the group also stood in front of the school July 14 and six days later, holding signs that read "Please stop honoring Xavier" and "Calvert Hall Covered Up Student Sex Abuse."

While some motorists made negative gestures as they passed by the protesters, mostly there was no reaction during the hour the group stood on LaSalle Road.

Alleged victims of Langan and Father Laurence Brett, a teacher at Calvert Hall from 1969 to 1973, came from Florida, Pennsylvania and Iowa for the protests.

"I don't want this to ever happen again. Not to anyone, not my children, grandchildren, anyone," said Bacon, whose grandson graduated from Calvert Hall in May.

The letter was delivered to Assistant Principal Charles Stembler, who gave it to Stanton.

Stanton said what the letter requests is "a matter that has been under discussion for the last two months between the advisory board, school community, facility and board of trustees."

"I can't comment any more," he said. "There will be a report to the school community shortly."

Stanton said the school faculty and staff talk about the importance of reporting any possible harassment or abuse.

"We want to make sure the students feel as comfortable as possible coming to one of us," he said.

Stanton said no school officials were aware of sexual abuse when Langan taught at the school.

The first time Calvert Hall was made aware of the allegations was in 2002, when former student Kurt Gladsky alleged abuse by Langan in 1967, Stanton said.

"I knew there had to be more people this happened to than just me," said Gladsky, who lives out of state but was at the protests the past two weeks.

Bacon, 69, said he was 28 when he was finally able to speak to his wife about the abuse he allegedly endured from Langan in 1948.

Bacon said he came forward because he could no longer live a lie.

"It was the happiest day of my life," Bacon said through tears.

He said while many victims turn away from the church after they experience abuse from clergy, he did not.

"I can actually pray for the perpetrator," he said. "I don't forgive him, but I ask God to have mercy on him."

Bacon came forward after media accounts of Gladsky's accusations against Langan, as well as others against Brett.

Brett was last seen in the Caribbean in 2002. No charges are pending against him in Baltimore County because of the one-year statute of limitations handed down by the Maryland Court of Appeals last year for crimes of sexual abuse that occurred between 1967 and 1991.

When Calvert Hall was made aware of the allegations against Brett in 1973, the school dismissed him within 24 hours, Stanton said.

"Anytime we learn of an allegation, we take it seriously," he said. "It is very difficult to validate, though, when someone is deceased."

Asking not to be named, an alleged victim of Brett said the group will continue to protest until the matter of the memorializing of Langan is resolved.

"Truth is very powerful, and we will gather as need be to get these situations righted," he said.


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