Jesuit High, plaintiffs reach settlements in 2 lawsuits claiming long-ago molestation by janitors
By Ramon Antonio Vargas
February 06, 2020
| Jesuit High School in New Orleans on Friday, December 7, 2018.|
Photo by CHRIS GRANGER
Two men who filed lawsuits claiming they were raped as children by janitors at Jesuit High School’s Mid-City campus have moved to dismiss their cases after receiving financial settlements.
The plaintiffs’ attorney, Roger Stetter, said Thursday that both sides had agreed not to disclose the amounts and terms of the settlements, which were negotiated through a mediation process.
As is standard with such agreements, neither the school nor the religious order that runs it acknowledged any wrongdoing. But Stetter said his clients stood by their claims that they were sexually molested decades ago by Gary Sanchez and the late Peter Modica.
A statement from Jesuit’s administration on Thursday declined to discuss the cases but said: “We remain saddened by any stories of abuse and continue our commitment to the process in place for people to come forward to tell their story."
It wasn’t clear Thursday which entity, the school or the Jesuit order, provided the funds for the settlement.
One of the plaintiffs, Bradley Dupree, publicly revealed his identity when he sued Jesuit in Orleans Parish Civil District Court in September. The other plaintiff, who sued in August, has chosen to remain private.
Neither plaintiff was a student at the all-boys school, but both lived nearby.
Dupree, 51, alleged that both Sanchez and Modica used their access to Jesuit’s campus to molest him there in the late 1970s. Modica by then had already pleaded guilty to molesting boys and Sanchez had been charged with sexually abusing a girl, but they were still hired to work on the school’s grounds.
The other plaintiff, 49, alleged that Modica similarly molested him in the 1980s.
Both men came forward after Richard Windmann, now a spokesman for the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, spoke out in September 2018 about a $450,000 financial settlement he received upon confronting Jesuit about being abused by Modica.
Windmann also lived near Jesuit but did not attend the school.
Since Windmann came forward, the school has repeatedly said it long ago implemented measures aimed at preventing further abuse.
Yielding to calls from the public for transparency about the church's abuse crisis, the regional Jesuit order in December 2018 published a list of priests, student clergymen and religious brothers who had been suspected of child molestation. Some of the men on that list have been accused in cases resulting in financial settlements.
Modica and Sanchez were not members of the order and thus were not listed on that roster.
Modica died in 1993 at age 69.
Sanchez, now 69, is serving a 30-year prison sentence he received in 2003 after pleading guilty to attempting to rape a 5-year-old boy in Jefferson Parish. His earliest release date is June 2032.
Multiple other claims involving Modica or men on the Jesuits’ list of those credibly accused remain pending, either in publicly filed lawsuits or in a private mediation process.