Sex Abuse Victim Group to Protest at Two Area Schools in Wake of Shower Video Scandal

By Cheryl Makin
January 3, 2012|head

In response to the recent arrest of Patrick Lott, assistant principal of Bernardsville Middle School and a volunteer coach at Immaculata High School, an organization for victims of sexual abuse plans to demonstrate in front of both schools today as they reopen after the winter break.

Lott was arrested and charged with videotaping naked teenage boys showering at the Immaculata High School in Somerville.

Prior to his current role as assistant principal at the middle school in Bernardsville, Lott was assistant principal at Bernardsville High School and a teacher at Montgomery High School, where he coached the wrestling and basketball teams for about a decade. The borough resident had volunteered with academic and athletic programs at Immaculata for years.

The group planning the protests, Road to Recovery Inc., is a nonprofit organization that assists sexual abuse victims and their families and friends. According to co-founder and president Hoatson, the intention of the demonstrations is to keep the issue fresh in the minds of those involved.

“We want to catch the parents as they bring their students back-to-school,” Hoatson said. “We want to keep this issue on the forefront.”

In addition, Hoatson said that recent statements by Monsignor Seamus F. Brennan, pastor of the Church of the Immaculate Conception, that Lott may not have ever abused any student physically seem to make light of the seriousness of the situation.

“When the pastor said that there is no evidence that he ever touched any child, that seems to minimize what (he) ,” Hoatson said. “We don’t know what he did at home or in the school. Many more could have been affected — more than what we are being told now. ”

Noting that Lott had access to thousands of children and potentially could have more victims, Hoatson said that bringing the situation to the attention of the parents will place the focus where it should be — on the children who have been victimized. Hoatson and his organization are seeking support of changes to current New Jersey laws.

“We want to talk to the adults,” stressed Hoatson. “They and the children need to know that there are people who will listen to them and people who are working for them.”

Specifically, Hoatson and his organization are seeking support for two pieces of legislation before the Legislature — Assembly Bill 3622 and Senate Bill 2405. They are intended to lift the statute of limitations in civil cases concerning childhood sexual abuse and expand the definition of those who are liable in these cases.

A flyer that Hoatson said he intends to hand out at both demonstrations is not a condemnation of the act that Lott is accused of, but an explanation of what is viewed as laws that are not partial to child abuse victims. Noting many abusers never go through the court system or face charges for one reason or another, Hoatson said in the flyer that this is because current law mandates that children who were sexually abused must come forward by the time they are 21 years old.

He added “most victims of sexual abuse can’t begin to deal with the abuse until they are well into adulthood, and by that time in NJ, it’s usually too late.”








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