Grad Goes Public in Prep Sex Suit
By Rich Calder and Lorena Mongelli
New York Post
September 23, 2013
|Felicia Mooradian came forward to The Post in response to demands by St. Francis Prep in Queens. |
A former student at a prestigious Queens prep academy who anonymously signed on to a scathing $17 million sex-abuse lawsuit against the school is revealing her identity to The Post after officials there coldly sought a court order demanding her name be made public.
“My goal is to be a brave face for other victims to come forward,” said Felicia Mooradian, a 2009 graduate of St. Francis Preparatory School who claims to have been sexually harassed and bullied at age 14 by a 62-year-old Franciscan brother who taught Spanish there.
“It should be called St. Francis ‘Predatory’ School,” she said. “The Christian thing would be to admit your mistakes, not hide them.”
The 21-year-old Queens native initially signed on as “Jane Doe” to the Brooklyn federal-court lawsuit, which was filed in June and accuses school officials of ignoring decades of complaints by her and other students of sexual and physical abuse by faculty.
Lawyers for the Fresh Meadows school — which is run by the Franciscan Brothers of Brooklyn — argued in court that there are no legal grounds for her to remain anonymous.
The suit’s other co-plaintiffs, ex-student Mark Evangelista and former teacher Elizabeth Cucinotta Sorvillo, identified themselves in the suit.
Mooradian said her trouble started freshman year, in 2006, when a veteran Spanish teacher, Brother Ben O’Reilly, now 69, began creepily flirting with her in class, massaging her shoulders and sticking his face close to hers, “noses nearly touching.”
She reported him to school officials after he told her, “You know, Felicia, my goal in life is to give you pleasure.”
O’Reilly was evaluated by a psychologist who deemed him unfit to work with children, but the school still allowed him to live on campus, although not to teach, according to the lawsuit.
Mooradian said O’Reilly then began badmouthing her to other students, saying she was “crazy” and that his niece, then a school senior, had her friends threaten to “kill” Mooradian.
“At that point, I was drinking heavily in order to cope with him and the bullying,” Mooradian said. “I would hide in the chapel between classes because I was terrified.”
The school denies the suit’s charges, lawyer Philip Semprevivo Jr. said. He also said the case could be harder to defend if Mooradian were allowed to remain anonymous.
“The law is clear that you can’t just have anyone use ‘Jane Doe,’ ” he said.