O'dea Principal Accused of Sexual Abuse

By Stephanie Klein
My Northwest
November 1, 2012

with audio

O'Dea High School's principal has resigned after accusations of sexual abuse.

Brother Karl Walczak is accused of sexual abuse of a minor in another diocese in the 1970s.

Advocate group, Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP), says O'Dea and the Archdiocese are trying to cover up the alleged abuse.

John Shuster, Seattle co-director of SNAP, explains that Brother Walczak, although he answers to Archbishop Sartain, is not a priest of the Archdiocese. He belongs to a religious order.

"We don't have a very high estimation of Archbishop Sartain's judgment and actions in these types of situations," Shuster tells KIRO Radio's Ross and Burbank Show.

"One of the reasons we're so concerned about this is because when men cross a line and attack kids and don't stop, there are usually more victims out there."

Shuster is worried Walczak could have hurt a child at O'Dea.

"And you know how strict and containing a church culture can be. There can be a child at O'Dea right now who was hurt by Brother Walczak, sexually assaulted, and he's caught in this cage of silence and he doesn't know how to deal with it," Shuster says. "Many teenagers contemplate suicide in this situation."

SNAP wants to make sure that if a boy at O'Dea is dealing with this situation,that he has a safe place to go to get help.

Shuster says they'll be handing out information to parents listing signs of sexual abuse and where to get help. He recommends the Harborview Center for Sexual Assault.

Brother Walczak has only been at the school for a year and Shuster says he's not trying to scare families, but he says a lot can happen in a year and it's better to be active than keep quiet and trust an older person.

"We air on the side of safety for children."








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