Court Sets Deadline for Child Sex Victims

By David Clohessy
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests
February 15, 2012

[with pdf]

  • Court sets deadline for child sex victims
  • Large religious order declared bankruptcy
  • Catholic Brothers run schools in at least 14 states
  • They want to "keep awful secrets secret," group says
  • SNAP begs all victims to come forward, report crimes
  • And victims blast church officials for "exploiting technicalities"
Anyone who was sexually abused by members and employees of a large international Catholic religious order has until August to come forward and seek justice, according to a decision handed down by a New York federal bankruptcy judge.

Late last week, Judge Robert D. Drain of White Plains, NY gave victims of child sexual abuse five months to speak up in a wide-ranging case involving the Congregation of Irish Christian Brothers, a New York-based Catholic order that runs at least one college and more than two dozen secondary schools nationwide,

The Christian Brothers filed for bankruptcy protection in the wake of child sex abuse lawsuits at its schools in the Pacific Northwest.

They operate or have operated schools in NY (15), FL (4), CA (3) IL (3),WA (2), NJ (2),AZ (2), RI (1), MO (1), MT (1), HA (1), MS (1) and MI (1).

The August 1, 2010 deadline, or "bar date," was set explicitly for child sex abuse victims. (Other "creditors" have an earlier deadline." After August 1, victims of sexual abuse by Christian Brothers or their employees will likely no longer be able to use the civil justice system to seek accountability.

This is not the first time the Christian Brothers have been hit by a child sex abuse and cover up controversy. The group is also the center of a scandal in Canada, where Irish Christian Brothers who ran the Mount Cashel Orphanage were accused of brutally beating and sexually molesting abandoned children. In the late 1990s, at least eleven Christian Brothers were arrested in conjunction with the orphanage. In the late 1990s, the order issued a public apology for the sexual abuse of children at Irish Christian Brothers schools in Ireland.

"There is only a very short period of time for victims to come forward and seek justice," said Joelle Casteix of Newport Beach, Western Regional Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. "We believe that there are hundreds of children nationwide who were brutalized by the Christian Brothers and their employees. For their own healing, and for the protection of other kids, it's crucial that they find the courage and strength to speak up."

Casteix was in Hawaii last week and exposed three child molesting clerics at a Christian Brothers' school in Honolulu called Damien Memorial High School."

"Church and school officials hid from parents, staff and alums that child predators were secretly dumped on its campus," Casteix said. "If we don't search for the truth, expose predators and reach out to these hurting victims, who will?"

The three men exposed by SNAP included a brother who was arrested for beating children at the Mount Cashel Orphanage, a brother arrested in a sting operation and later convicted for child pornography, and a priest who was banished from his home diocese for sexual abuse.

"This is only the tip of the iceberg," she said. "This pattern, I believe, will be repeated nationwide. That is why it is vitally important to urge victims to come forward now, before it is too late."


Any original material on these pages is copyright 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.